So I've decided I want to try and rein in my spending a bit, and keep my money a little more under control, and while I know there are more simple expense tracking programs, I'm not one to use a hammer when there's an atomic piledriver out there (in case that's a terrible metaphor - and it probably is - what I'm trying to say is I'll rarely use a simple tool when there's a more fully featured one out there), so I downloaded GnuCash and have been working through it, setting up accounts, logging some expenses, etc.

My real question is thus: I get paid fortnightly, and in my budget I'm trying to restrict my spending to say $200 a fortnight. Is there any easy (or if not easy, then complicated) way to see in GnuCash how much I've spent (regardless of whether I'm taking it out of my transaction account, paying cash, or using a credit card, but not including things like transferring money between accounts), and if possible how much is left of my $200 budget, since I last got paid?


1 Answer 1


Yes. The simplest option to track your spending over time is to familiarize yourself with the "Reports" menu on the toolbar. Take a look specifically at the "Reports > Income/Expense > Income Statement" report, which will sum up your income and spending over a time frame (defaults to the current year).

In each report that you run, there is an "Options" button at the top of the screen. Open that and look on the "General" tab, you'll be able to set the time frame that the report displays (if you wanted to set it for the 2 week block since your last paycheck, for example). Other features you're going to want to familiarize yourself with are the Expense charts & statements, the "Cash Flow" report, and the "Budgeting" interface (which is relatively new), although there is a bit of a learning curve to using this last feature.

Most of the good ideas when it comes to tracking your spending are independent of the software you're using, but can be augmented with a good financial tracking program. For example, in our household we have multiple credit cards which we pay in full every month. We selected our cards on specific benefits that they provide, such as one card which has a rotating category for cash back at certain business types. We keep that card set on restaurants and put all of our "eating out" expenses on that card. We have other cards for groceries, gas, etc. This makes it easy to see how much we've spent in a given category, and correlates well with the account structure in gnucash.

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