Chapter 10. Manage Your Finances

By now you may have noticed that there is an open source application for just about anything you could want to do with a computer. Managing finances is one of the most common computer tasks, so it should not come as a surprise that an open source application exists to do just that; it’s called GnuCash .

GnuCash is the open source world’s answer to popular personal financial applications like Microsoft Money and Intuit’s Quicken. While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of those applications, GnuCash has everything you need to keep track of your money. You can keep tabs on your income, expenses, checking and savings accounts, debts, investments, and assets like cars and houses. Once you master GnuCash’s easy interface, a simple investment of a few minutes each day will keep you on top of your financial life. You will be able to see into the past to figure out where your money has been going, keep an eye on your balances in the present to make sure you don’t suffer any nasty surprises, and forecast your financial well-being into the distant and not-so-distant future.

If you use an off-the-shelf application like Money or Quicken, you’re in for a few surprises when you try GnuCash. Compared to those applications, GnuCash’s interface is extremely straightforward. There are no fancy embedded web pages or advisors. You won’t find endless options dialogs and wizards, and you can’t pay your bills electronically from inside GnuCash. Instead, when ...

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