Sometimes you have to pay for something for which you will be reimbursed later, whether it’s a business travel expense or just spotting a friend some cash. Ledger makes it easy to not just track these expenses, but to know whether they’ve been paid back yet or not.
If you keep all your ledger transactions in one big file, it can quickly become messy and unwieldy. Fortunately, ledger has a feature that allows for easily separating different accounts into different files, without losing the ability to report on them all at once.
When trying to budget or understand regular baseline spending, special events like travel or large one-off purchases can distort the picture. Fortunately, ledger's tagging system allows us to report on these transactions separately, giving us better insight both into everyday expenses and the real cost of unusual events.
Instead of typing out the same half-dozen options every time you want a
ledger report, you can define them once up front in a
file. This does make it annoying when you don't want those specific
options, but there are ways around that.
The Ledger accounting system is a powerful (but not very easy to adopt) software tool for double-entry bookkeeping. It can be used for far more than just basic finances: tracking billable hours, calculating taxes and tithes, reporting on the asset class balance of your investment portfolio… almost anything you can think of — if you can figure out how to do it.
Most of the information I could find just presented a basic overview of the simplest possible use of the tool. The official documentation, on the other hand, is very comprehensive, but it's like being given a pile of logs and some nails when you're trying to find out how to build a house.
I therefore will be writing up a series of posts on “Ledger Practices”, describing how I actually use the system for intermediate-complexity personal accounting. These should be “recipes” for solving real problems or answering real questions using ledger.