I use double-entry accounting (with ledger-cli) for my personal finances. I recently found out that I had $40 stashed in one of my drawers, and I don't know when exactly I acquired them, or where I got them from. How should I record the journal entry for this? It certainly doesn't feel like a revenue, because the $40 have been sitting in the drawer since the day that I put them there.

The first half of the entry would be crediting my cash account. But what should be the other half of the journal entry?

  • 1
    How do you record a Birthday gift of money? Commented Dec 11, 2020 at 22:11
  • If you always had it, its no different than "original balance" or coming from the "equity:opening balances" account. Commented Dec 11, 2020 at 22:20
  • What if you know that you got it after the date of your opening balance, but you don't know exactly when? @MorrisonChang Commented Dec 11, 2020 at 22:56
  • How did you record the $1200 stimulus payment?
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  • I'm a dependent :( I didn't get the stimulus. What would be the correct way of recording it? @RonJohn Commented Dec 11, 2020 at 23:12

1 Answer 1


I would source the funds as coming from "original balance" or "equity:opening balances".

If you've always had the money it is no different than having a bank account or other asset prior to recording transactions in the ledger.

You can mark the $40 the day you "found" the money or the dated of beginning of your ledger. Really it is up to you.

If you figure out where it came from, change the source if necessary. If it was a loan from a friend, gift, or income from job, and you've setup your accounts to track, source it as such. Otherwise its just a time-shifted opening balance which is from your pre-existing Equity.

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