Money Management in Linux

Personal finance programs have been popular in the DOS and windows environments for years, and so it is not surprising that until about a year ago, many new Linux users wished for a good personal finance program for Linux—but there simply wasn't one available. One creative user decided to do something about that.
Prerequisites and Installation

Before installing CBB, you should make sure you have Perl version 4.036 or later, and Tk version 4.0 or later installed on your system.

Installing CBB is very straightforward:

  1. Unzip and untar the distribution file, and change to the newly created cbb-0.?? directory.

  2. Type make install.

You will be prompted for 4 items:

  • The location of your Perl binary.

  • The location of your wish4.0 binary.

  • Where to install the CBB executable scripts.

  • Where to install all the associated CBB files.

CBB attempts to present you with reasonable defaults for all of these items.

When you have finished answering these four questions, CBB will be installed.

Short Tutorial

So, you want to go for a little test drive? Want to see how, or if, this thing works? Want to send me a 21 inch monitor or the DOS drivers for my ancient Sony PAS16-SCSI CD-ROM drive? Well, read on...

The following procedure will lead you through the process of creating a new account, importing some data, editing transactions, and balancing your account.

First, here is the “one-paragraph” version of the tutorial. To use CBB, first create the directory where you would like to keep your accounts. Then, change to this directory, run CBB, and create the accounts. You may import the default account categories at any time. Finally, load the desired account (if it is not already loaded) and create, delete, and edit transactions to your heart's content, while printing reports, viewing graphs, and so on. When your bank statement arrives in the mail, balance the account.

For a more detailed tutorial, read on...

Create a demo Account

After installing CBB, the first thing you need to do is create an account.

  • Run CBB by typing cbb.

  • Select Make New Account ... from the File menu.

  • Enter an account name (e.g., my-demo.cbb) and an account description (e.g., My Demo Account).

Figure 1. Making Account

  • Click on the Create Account button. Your new account will be created and added to the master account list at the bottom of the main window. The name of the account will also be added to the category list (e.g.. [my-demo]). This name is used to specify transfers between accounts.

  • You will be warned about not having a categories file. This is perfectly normal at this point. An empty categories file will be created for you.

  • If you want to use the default categories, pull down the Functions menu and select Categories -> Add Default Categories to create the default categories.

Import Some Data

Once you have created an account, it is time to enter a few transactions. You can import some sample data to save your fingers from the brutalities of typing. The CBB distribution comes with some sample data for this tutorial. Otherwise, feel free to skip this section and enter your own transactions.

  • Select Import QIF File ... from the File menu.

  • You will be presented with a file selection dialog box. Navigate to the CBB distribution directory. Beneath the distribution directory is a demo directory. Go to the demo directory and find the file named demo.qif. Double click on this file to select it and import it.

Figure 2. Choosing the Demo Import File

Now that you have some data to play with (Figure 3), try editing a transaction. Then try creating new transactions. Try playing around with “splits” to specify more than one category for a transaction. Play around with CBB until you get the hang of it.



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Anonymous's picture

It's great to see there are new ways for people to get sound money management. It's unfortunate they don't teach people about personal finance in grade school.
reputation management

I think we need a lot more

gerry's picture

I think we need a lot more than personal finance problems, I think we actually need the basics in handling finances as there are plenty people complaining about debts, credit cards or even balance transfers . We need to learn how to face changes and turn things into our favor.