I always thought I’d graduate to using ‘real’ book keeping software sometime down the road when I was earning enough to make great plans with my money.
As it turns out, I’m having to make great plans now. Well, greatly complicated plans anyway. I’m making my full-time-student budget work for me. We’re getting by, but just barely sometimes. And since I no longer have any W2 employment, I need a better way of tracking my income for taxes.
Open Office spreadsheets combined with downloaded statements from my banks had suited me just fine in the past. Now I’m looking for something to help me document everything more specifically, and help me to easily be able to pull up reports. The hunt commences today, and I’ll let you know what I find, but in the meantime if you’ve got recommendations I’d be happy to give them a go.
I’ve been using GnuCash for almost four years now and I absolutely love it.
I also use GnuCash.
GnuCash. But I don’t use it for budgeting. I find a spreadsheet more applicable to that task. My budget is simplistic in 3 categories:
Needs (shelter, food, transportation, must-pays)
Savings (including paying down debts)
If you arrange the GnuCash accounts accordingly, you can get a rundown of your expenses easily with reports and plug the numbers into the spreadsheet. Evaluate how you did, and set up some numbers for next month. Lather, rinse, repeat.
A good book I read said you should have 50% net go to needs, 20% net to savings, and 30% net to wants. May be hard to do while you’re in school full-time, but it seems like a sound philosophy.
Three votes here and one via twitter for GnuCash! I’m giving it a shot.
I’ve also primarily used percentages for my personal budget. Obviously I cant go with THOSE percentages on my tiny income right now, but setting up some realistic percentages for myself (like 80% to needs, 5% to wants, 5% to savings, and 10% to charity) and staying within those percentages has worked well for me.