[this is a ymoyl update.]

as of the first of the year, i started using gnucash instead of cbb. it’s easier to use, and gives me a much more detailed and accurate account of my finances. for example, i have money which is in trust to me for a couple of groups i’m involved with. they aren’t big enough to require their own bank accounts, so their money lives as virtual accounts in my checking account. previously, i just kept two deductions at far future dates in my cbb checking account record, representing the money belonging to them. as money was donated to them or i paid bills for them, i adjusted the deductions accordingly. this was tedious and error-prone. now, i have liability accounts set up, and it’s all handled automatically. i also keep liability accounts for reimbursed expenses, and can tell at a glance what people owe me. when i sell something on ebay, i record the payment i receive as a split transaction, with part of the total recorded as sales income and the other reimbursing “liabilities: reimbursed expenses: shipping: ebay”. it’s wonderful.

two items i’m recording in much greater detail are my paychecks and mortgage payments. before, i just recorded them as lump sums; now, i break them into their constituent parts. i record which parts of the mortgage payments go to interest, principal, and escrow. i balance my escrow account, and so track property tax payments, etc. instead of just recording my net pay, i now enter all the information available on my paychecks: net income, federal taxes, state taxes, social security taxes, medicare taxes, and health insurance.

previously, the only time income taxes showed up in my accounting was when i paid them or received a refund once a year. now, i’m tracking them as part of my monthly expenses. for continuity, this has meant that i’ve had to adjust all the figures on my graph for the last five years. i got out my tax records and found out how much had been withheld from my pay each year. i divided this by 12, and increased both the income and expense figures for each month by this amount:

withholdings 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
federal $56.58 $1,233.65 $7,389.70 $7,353.67 $7,273.88
state $52.63 $415.12 $2,214.22 $2,139.45 $1,950.73
social security $344.82 $698.17 $2,697.00 $2,723.40 $2,832.35
medicare $80.62 $163.30 $630.79 $636.92 $662.41
totals $534.65 $2,510.24 $12,931.71 $12,853.44 $12,719.37
per month $44.55 $209.19 $1,077.64 $1,071.12 $1,059.95

so the graph still has the same curve, but it’s been raised so that i’m now tracking the gross income and paycheck withholdings each month.

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