Penny Pincher

Penny Pincher

Article from Issue 216/2018
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Most accounting programs available for Linux are aimed primarily at businesses. Eqonomize focuses on personal use, offering a smart solution for getting a handle on your household budget.

Although many accounting programs populate the Linux universe, most provide features that private households do not need. Additionally, these applications usually rely on a database in the background, which requires time-consuming installation and configuration.

Eqonomize [1], a KDE program specially designed for private households, offers a different approach that dispenses with unnecessary features and brings order to personal accounting in no time at all. The program, published under the GPLv3, can be found as a variant for 64-bit systems, as well as a DEB package for Ubuntu and its derivatives, on the Eqonomize website [2].

Source code for manual compilation and an AppImage that runs on most distributions and does not require installation also are available. To start AppImage, which weighs in at almost 30MB, you need to assign execution rights to it the after downloading by entering

chmod +x Eqonomize-1.3.AppImage

To start the program with a simple mouse click, move the AppImage to a suitable subdirectory (e.g., /opt/) to integrate it into the system's menu structure.

Ready, Steady, Go!

On startup, Eqonomize opens a window with a center section that shows a large list area of various accounts and their balances. Above is a buttonbar and the obligatory menu. In the bottom area, you can set the display period and, if enabled, the budget data (Figure 1).

Figure 1: The clearly structured program window is largely self-explanatory.

First, open the Accounts | New Account dialog (Figure 2) and create a new account, which then appears in the main window's Accounts & Categories tab. In addition to space for entering the necessary data, the Accounts dialog lets you select an account-specific currency.

Figure 2: Create new accounts in a simple dialog.

After entering the initial inputs, the data immediately appears in the main window's list overview. In the Assets group, you only see a few account types in the basic setting; you will need to add most of the additional account types.

In the New Account dialog, you can select additional types such as Credit Card or Securities. Alternatively, right-click the Assets group and select Add Account from the context menu. To edit an existing account, right-click on it to open the context menu and select Edit.

In the Liabilities group, you then enter liabilities, such as loans or mortgages, against which you make regular payments. Since this group does not contain a category, you can right-click on the group name to open the context menu and choose Add Loan. Then enter the relevant data.

The Incomes and Expenses groups deal with recurring business transactions. The Incomes group already contains the Salary account and a category named Other. The Incomes group can also be customized, for example, to include an account for receiving regular rental payments.

You can create a new subcategory by right-clicking on the desired category and selecting Add Category from the context menu. Creating such subcategories is particularly useful if, for example, you receive your salary or fee payments from different sources and want to enhance the Salary category by adding corresponding subcategories.

The Expenses group, which already contains some categories for daily needs, is much more extensive in the default setting. However, categories for capital goods and for irregular expenses, such as home repair or renovation, are missing. Similar to the Incomes group, you can also enter these costs either by creating new categories or allocating them to subcategories.

Amounts

To calculate your income and expenses correctly, use the two tabs Expenses and Incomes in the main window. The dialog window for both of these tabs splits into two areas. In the list area, individual transactions are listed based on specifications, such as a time period. In the input area at the bottom of the window, you can enter the transaction along with information such as recipient, category, amount, and the debited account.

Note that Cash is also an account type. Clicking on Add moves the transaction to the main Accounts & Categories section; at the same time, the tool recalculates the corresponding balances (Figure 3).

Figure 3: The list view displays all processes clearly.

Entries only appear in the Expenses and Incomes list view when you click on the Filter tab next to New/Edit Expense or New/Edit Income tab and search for the corresponding expenses or incomes according to the specified criteria. These then appear in the list above for the defined period.

To exchange amounts correctly between individual account balance sheets, use the Transfers tab. For example, you can transfer funds from your checking account to your cash account. The Transfers tab is divided into a list and an input area in the same way as the other options; Filter lets you display specific transfers. Transactions then immediately appear in the main window allocated appropriately so that you always have an overview of your account balance sheets.

Securities

The Securities tab lets you manage a securities account. First, you need to create security groups. To do this, click on the New Security button above the empty list view.

In the input dialog, you can then specify whether the security is a stock or a mutual fund. The Other category can be used for other securities, such as cooperative shares. The input dialog also expects you to create an account that the software uses to process transactions.

I recommend creating a stock market account to specifically use for trading securities. To purchase or sell securities, use the New Transaction button. The dialog lets you buy, sell, and exchange shares, as well as post dividends.

In the corresponding dialogs, you can also specify a target account: For example, dividends can be allocated to your checking account. In the list view, you can also see security account fees, giving you an exact overview of your investments (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Eqonomize also manages any existing securities in a simple but efficient manner. Dividends can be transferred directly to your checking account if desired.

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