Organize your Finances with KMyMoney

Tutorial – KMyMoney

Article from Issue 236/2020
Author(s):

Looking for software to help you manage your money? The personal finance program KMyMoney can help you track income and expenses and better plan your financial future.

If you are looking to keep track of your finances, improve your financial planning, and discover potential savings, it's essential to accurately track your assets and expenses. KMyMoney [1], a KDE financial management program, is designed to make this process easier. While it is primarily aimed at individuals tracking their personal finances, it may also be useful for some smaller commercial enterprises and associations.

As of this writing, the latest version of KMyMoney is 5.0.7. It runs not just on KDE Plasma, but also on Gnome (e.g., on Ubuntu). The program sources are available for download from the KDE website. The commands from Listing 1 allow you to install KMyMoney below /opt/ in a terminal window. This relies on CMake [2], which most popular distributions preinstall, but you may need to install it first depending on your system.

Listing 1

Install KMyMoney

$ wget https://download.kde.org/stable/kmymoney/5.0.7/src/kmymoney-5.0.7.tar.xz
$ tar xf kmymoney-5.0.7.tar.xz
$ cd kmymoney-5.0.7
$ mkdir build
$ cd build
$ cmake.. -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/opt
$ make
$ sudo make install

On Ubuntu, you can set up KMyMoney in a terminal window using the command:

sudo apt install kmymoney

After the installation, you can either click on a shortcut, or you can launch the program with the kmymoney shell command.

Setup Wizard

KMyMoney has a detailed user manual [3], as well as a mailing list [4] and forum [5]. The first time you start KMyMoney, a wizard guides you through the program setup. Start by entering your personal data, decide on a currency, and enter the data for your checking account. Next, select the types of accounts and categories you want the program to create (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Thanks to the setup wizard, you can create a new file quickly and easily, choosing from a variety of templates.

Many individuals will get by with a simple system and are well served with a selection from the Base section. If applicable, you can add further account types, such as accounts designed for homeowners. Decide on the basics here first; you will adjust the account specifics later on in the program. Finally, specify a name and location for the KMyMoney file. Clicking on Finish completes the setup.

Importing Data

If you have been tracking your finances with another program, you can transfer the existing data to KMyMoney using File | Import. The program can read GnuCash files [6], as well as the common QIF, OFX, and QFX formats, typically without too much trouble.

To protect your data against unwanted access, you can encrypt your KMyMoney file with GnuPG [7]. To do this, use the same key pair that you use to encrypt your emails. You can set up encryption via Settings | Configure KMyMoney. In the dialog, go to Encryption and check the box to use GPG encryption. In the Your Key selection menu, KMyMoney lists all the GnuPG keys that are set up on the system. You can choose the one that suits you best from the list.

Below this, you will find an entry for additional keys. This is where KMyMoney lets you add more GnuPG keys and thus use the KMyMoney recovery function [8]. For this purpose, the developers have stored a public key on the project page, which you can store as a secondary key in the program if required. If you lose your own key pair one day, or forget the password, you can send your KMyMoney file to the developers who will decrypt it for you.

Overview and Accounts

Upon start up, a summary of your finances appears (Figure 2). You can decide which information is displayed in the overview via Settings | Configure KMyMoney. Among other things, you will find an overview of your existing accounts (assets and liabilities) on the start screen. KMyMoney also calculates your net worth (i.e., all your assets added up after deducting all liabilities).

Figure 2: Once you've set up KMyMoney, you'll see an overview of your current finances each time you start the program.

To ensure that the accounts contain the correct values, you first need to enter the opening balance of each account. To do this, click on the Accounts icon in the left sidebar. Accounts are grouped by type (e.g., you will find the Savings account listed as a type of Asset). After right-clicking on the account, select Edit Account from the context menu.

A new window opens with the account details. In the General tab, you will find the field for the account balance. In Type, you can specify whether the account is a checking, savings, or other type of account. Checking Preferred Account adds the account to an overview on the home screen, so that you can see the account balance directly. The Institution tab lets you enter details such as the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) code for a bank account. The Hierarchy tab lets you determine where the account will appear within the account overview.

The Limits tab also has useful tools. You can set a minimum balance to have KMyMoney display a warning if the account balance drops below this amount, .

The Tax tab is useful for business owners. Check VAT account if your business pays sales tax. Also, selecting Include on Tax Reports is only required for business accounts. For personal finance, not all account records are relevant for your taxes. You can therefore determine later on in the individual categories what you want to appear in the tax report. Click on OK to save the settings and return to the account overview.

Delete any unnecessary account subcategories to keep the account easy to manage. You also can add more accounts if needed. This will give you an overview of your checking account, savings account, cash and securities accounts, credit cards, and loans.

After you have entered all the opening balances of your existing accounts, KMyMoney will calculate the future account balance based on the transactions you record. For example, when you pay a credit installment, the balance in your checking account and the liability in the credit account will decrease. If you withdraw money at an ATM, the balance in your checking account will decrease, but the amount of cash will increase.

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