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Categories and Category Groups

Category Groups

Category Page Category Page

In Reckoner, categories are first specified by creating a category group. The naming of the category group can help to reveal it's purpose. For example, you can name a category group "Budgets" and attach category budgets to each category and have the standard spending budgets built into other financial trackers. Thus category groups are a generalization of what was distinct data types under other financial trackers.

Data Fields

The only required data field is the category group name. There are two other toggle values which aren't selected when creating a new category group: required toggle and the use budgets toggle. The "required" toggle is there to indicate that when editing transactions, a category from this category group must be specified to save the transaction. The use budget toggle enables a host of additional fields.

Group Budget Settings

When enabling budgets, there are five other fields that must be specified.

  • Enable Limit AutoBalance: This enables a piece of functionality which can be used to balance budgets which have exceeded their limits by increasing/lowering the limits of the other budgets.
  • Default Limit Color: This is the default color of the line bars for the category group when the transaction total for the budget is within the desired tolerance. More details on this will be specified in placeholder. Green is the default color.
  • Limit Exceeded Color: The default color when the transaction total is outside the desired tolerance. Red is the default color.
  • Limit Generation Period: The default period for new categories. This is a calendar period. Most budgeting applications use the month as the budget period.
  • Periods per Limit: the number of periods per limit by default. For example, a monthly period with 1 limit per period is the typical monthly budget. However using a weekly period with 2 periods per limit generates a biweekly budget. Another example is a monthly limit with 3 periods per limit generates a quarterly budget.


Categories are a core part of categorizing transactions in Reckoner. Categories are unique in that they allow the user to specify a parent category. This enables a hierarchy of categories. Consider a common category hierarchy below.

graph TD
  A[Food] -->|child| B[Groceries] & C[Restaurants] ;
  C -->|child| D[Fast Food] & E[Takeout];

Food is food regardless of source. However, there is a distinction in effort (Groceries vs Restaurant) and you might want a stringent budget on the money spent on Restaurant as compared to Groceries. Alternatively, you may have budgets for both groceries, restaurants, and food where the budgeted amount for food is less than the sum of groceries and restaurants. This would allow flexibility on where you spend on food without dictating how much to spend in those individual categories.

Category Fields

Category Edit Page Category Edit Page

Categories only require a free text name which needs to be specified. Optionally another category can be specified as a parent. Note that if this category is already a parent of other categories, then those categories are removed as an option. This is done to prevent loops from forming. Using the family analogy, a grandchild cannot be a parent of a grandpa/grandma.

Budget Fields

When using budgets, there are other fields which are required.

  • Limit Type: This determines what type of budget limit is being used. A spending limit is what is thought of as a traditional budget. It is the maximum amount of net spending you want for the period. Not that deposits added to a spending limit is essentially the same as increasing the limit by the deposit amount. In contrast, a saving limit is the minimum amount of net deposit you want in the category.
  • Limit Generation Period: This is the same as for Category Groups. This is the period over which the budget limit applies.
  • Periods per Limit: This is the number of periods for the budget.
  • Limits: This is a set of data points defining the limit. Each limit has the following fields
    • Currency: One of the currencies in Reckoner to make a limit for.
    • Amount: The amount in the currency for the limit.
    • Rollover Balance: This allows any over/under spending to be added to the next budget period.
  • Alerts: This allows a user to change the color of the progress bar in response to a percentage completing the limit. Each alert has the following.
    • Percent Complete: The amount of completion to apply the color. To override the category group defaults, specify a color for 0 (corresponds to Default Limit Color) and 100 (corresponds to Limit Exceeded Color).
    • Color: The color of the indicator when it reaches the percent complete on the limit.