Earmark fixed percentage of income for charity

John gnw at nb.net
Sun Jan 30 19:04:49 EST 2011

On 1/29/2011 4:26 PM, Aryeh Leib Taurog wrote:
> Hi all,
> I'm just starting to use gnucash.  I want to make sure that I give 10%
> (exactly) of my income to charity.  What's the best way to do this?
> I like to think of it as a debt that I incur when I receive money for
> my services, so my first thought was to create a liability account for
> it, but I'm not sure at all how that would look, so maybe it's not the
> right idea.
> Another thought is to maintain a separate asset account for charity
> money.  This at least I can picture:
> +600    Income:Freelancing
> +540    Assets:Checking:Personal
> + 60    Assets:Checking:Charity
> and then
> + 60    Expenses:Charities:Soup Kitchen
> - 60    Assets:Checking:Charity
> but the problem with that is that I'd have to set up sub-accounts for
> every asset account from which I give charity, which is at least
> three, and then it seems to be I'd have to look at all three to know
> how much I have on hand for charity.
> I guess the "simple" solution would be just to set a budget on the
> Expenses:Charities account, but if I were to do that, how would I
> 1. Adjust the budgeted amount properly each time my wife or I receive
> money
> 2. Treat the budget amount as an absolute running total of 10% *
> income - charitable contributions and not an arbitrary per-period
> limit which will be reset at the end of that period
> 2. Verify that I actually spend the desired amount on charity for any
> given period.
> Extra credit: it would be really great if I could have the 10%
> earmarked automatically when I enter income transactions or by some
> regular automatic processing (I'm a programmer, so I'd be comfortable
> coding that myself, and I'd prefer to do it in python if possible).
> thanks much,
> Aryeh Leib
> _______________________________________________
> gnucash-user mailing list
> gnucash-user at gnucash.org
> https://lists.gnucash.org/mailman/listinfo/gnucash-user
> -----
> Please remember to CC this list on all your replies.
> You can do this by using Reply-To-List or Reply-All.
Hi Aryeh,

Based on some advice given me by a GnuCash user in England, this is how 
I track my "Tithe".
I created a liability account "Liabilities : Unpaid Tithe" and an 
expense account "Expenses : Charity".
When I deposit income I include a pair of split transactions using these 
accounts.  I debit(aka deposit) 'Expenses : Charity' by 10% of the 
income being deposited.  Then I credit(aka withdraw) 'Liabilities : 
Unpaid Tithe' for the same amount.  When I write a check to pay the 
tithe (a credit/withdrawal on the checking account) I debit/deposit 
'Liabilities:Unpaid Tithe' by the same amount.  I can check the 
'Liabilities:Unpaid Tithe' account any time to see how much "Unpaid 
Tithe" I should be giving and my "Expenses:Charity" gives accurate 
reports on the giving.    BTW.... I'm still working on keeping 
debit/credit vs deposit/withdrawal straight so I hope my notation does 
not cause confusion.

John G.

More information about the gnucash-user mailing list