GnuCash

I recently starting using GnuCash again. I had tried it a while back and was put off by the complexity of it. When I first tried it I wasn’t terribly interested in tracking my finances so I didn’t give myself much time to get over the learning curve. Lately I’ve become much more interested in my finances and decided to try GnuCash again. I’m impressed.

At first I thought the whole double-entry thing was going to force me to enter the same data multiple times. For example I thought that I’d first have to credit my salary account with my paycheck and then transfer that to my bank account (inside GnuCash, not the real institution). That is not the case. In fact there is very little data entry that I need to do.

The technique that I’m starting to use is to use the QIF importer to import credit card statements. The importer is fantastic. You tell GnuCash what account the QIF data is for and then you tell it what each transaction should be billed to. That seems daunting but GnuCash remembers who the payee is so the next time you do an import those expenses are automatically charged to the correct account. As an example if you import your credit card statement and you made a purchase at Wegmans you tell GnuCash to associate that charge with your grocery account. When you import your credit card statement the next month GnuCash knows that you want transactions from Wegmans associated with your grocery account.

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