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I want to see during a year if I am good with my household budget. I have made a monthly budget for all my expenses and income. Thus I would like to see for example in June what the current amount since January is compared to the budgeted amount for the same periode.

Currently I am using the Budget Report to see if my expenses correspond to the planned. The problem is that it happens than planned expenses does not occur on the planned month. This means that I have over-expenditure on one month and unused budget another. I would like to have the same report but using the cumulative amount instead of the month amount. This way I can track how much of my budget I spend from the beginning of the year until now.

Does anyone know if there is a way to do it in gnucash.

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  • I have found this where someone added a way to have cumulative amount for Budget: lists.gnucash.org/pipermail/gnucash-devel/2006-September/…. However it's old and outdated and fire the following compiling error on gnucash 2.6.21: ;;; ERROR: In procedure primitive-load-path: Unable to find file "slib/guile.init" in load path
    – Oneira
    Oct 28 '16 at 15:04
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I'd recommend trying the Simplified Envelope Budgeting approach. It has the following advantages over the GNUCash budget tool:

  1. Budgets are cumulative rather than monthly - so budgeted money not spent 'rolls over' (or under ;-)) to the next month.
  2. It uses double entry accounting like the rest of GNUCash in contrast to the budget tool.
  3. Budget reports are just normal Asset/Liabilities Reports, Expense Reports, etc, with the budget accounts selected.
  4. It's trivial to tell if you are currently over or under budget in a particular category. If the budget account has a positive balance, you're under budget. If zero, you're dead on. And if negative, you're over budget.

There are disadvantages as well:

  1. It is difficult to budget out of multiple asset accounts for the same category. It really works best if you're only budgeting for certain categories (e.g. Auto) out of a single account (Checking).
  2. Splits can be a little more difficult. For example, it becomes tricky to split a single purchase from a store up amongst multiple budget accounts.

After trying several alternatives, I switched to this approach several months ago and am very happy with it.

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Wild guesses here...

Perhaps the way to use the cumulative amounts is to have an annual budget rather than monthly ones.

On the other hand, this sounds like a classic case of the disadvantage of cash-basis accounting. Perhaps you could account for your planned expenses on an accrual basis instead. That is, create liability accounts that increase with the amount of expenses incurred each month, and then when you actually pay the expense decrease the liability account and increase the expense account.

Novice accounting knowledge here... will appreciate constructive criticism of this answer...

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  • The main problem I see with your solution is that there are some expense your cannot pay in advance in the year (food, electricity, ...) and other you pay in total at a given point (transportation plan, some insurance, ...) So some account would be 99% spent in January, some will be 0% until December where they will be fully used and other which would be gradually spend. With a yearly budget it is very difficult to visualise all those together and have a good idea of where you stand.
    – Oneira
    Oct 28 '16 at 6:54
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This is possible in GnuCash 4.8 (the latest version at the time of writing). I haven't used any older versions so I'll let the commenters share which ones include this feature.

Budget Report w/ Accumulated Amounts

  1. Open the Budget Report
    • Reports -> Budgets -> Budget Report
  2. Choose the Budget you want to see in the report
    • Options -> General -> Budget -> Select from dropdown.
  3. Turn on accumulated amounts
    • Options -> General -> Use accumulated amounts

Budget Chart w/ Accumulated Amounts

Although not the specific report the OP asked about, a similar report that may be of interest to readers is the Budget Chart which I personally prefer since it helps me visualize the exact gap between my budgeted and actual amounts.

  1. Open the Budget Chart
    • Reports -> Budgets -> Budget Chart
  2. Choose the Budget you want to see in the report
    • Options -> General -> Budget -> Select from dropdown.
  3. Choose the Income/Expense accounts to show in the report
    • Options -> Accounts -> Select the accounts you want to see in the report.
  4. Turn on the Running Sum
    • Options -> Display -> Running Sum
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