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Currently using grisbi to manage my personal money, I'm considering moving to gnucash (as it seems to fulfill my needs, to have better dev support and some functionalities I am missing -- e.g. sub-tiers, better report and graphics).

However, I do appreciate using both category and budgetary imputation to categorize my expenses regarding respectively "what do I spend money for" and "for what do I spend money". For example :

  • 50 € for a train ticket paid to rail operator
    • Category: Transportation/Train
    • Budgetary imputation : Vacations/Winter2016

Reason for that is that I want to keep track of these two informations.

Question: As explained in gnucash's manual, categories are the same than accounts. But I found no way to keep track of the budgetary imputation. Would there be a way to manage it with gnucash? I didn't succeed while fiddling around with it.

  • GnuCash has a budget feature. (I don't use it - but I know it is used). What exactly is 'budget imputation'? Is that just assigning a transaction to a budget category? – verdammelt Feb 21 '16 at 1:17
  • I will further explore the "budget" tool I wasn't aware of, thx. For me, ´budget imputation' refers to the budgeting category: if I buy 100€ of foods (bank account:credit card -> groceries:food:vegetables), I want to be able to distinguish if this expense is related to my everyday life (budget : everydaylife exepenses) or to my ´vacations' budget I spared money for during the year. (This would help me to track if I'm sparing enough money monthly for vacations/clothings/taxes/etc.) – ebosi Feb 22 '16 at 12:35
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Gnucash is much more designed for accounting than for budgeting. While it does have some simple budgeting features, they're largely based around tracking how much has been spent in the Expense categories/accounts, and seeing how close one is to a limit that's been set. Because the point of Gnucash is accounting, there's not a way to track an expense in two expense categories simultaneously. (You can split a transaction across multiple categories, to have a grocery store purchase of $150 be split across $100 Food and $50 Phone Minutes or whatever. But not have a $150 purchase be tracked as $150 Food and $150 Household expenses, because that's not how double-entry accounting works.)

The closest way to do what I think you're looking for is to take advantage of the hierarchical account structure, and repeat subcategories as needed. For example:

  • Expenses
    • Household
      • Train
      • Food
    • Vacation
      • Train
      • Food

This would allow you to see Household expenses vs. Vacation expenses, and still see what it got spent on. Reporting on all "Food" purchases, if you want to do so, is slightly more tricky as you'd need to select all those "Food" categories separately in your report, but it's possible.

You speak about wanting to "track" expenses multiple ways, so I think that this would allow you to record data sufficient to "track" it. But the point of tracking any data is to be able to report on it in some fashion, so if you have more specific reporting requirements, you might want to ask about that as well.

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