A User's view of Hledger

Learning about hledger

A better desc(ription)

One option, in an hledger transaction, is to have a payee, or a payee and a note. For example, the line below includes a payee:

2023-12-21 taxes

and the following includes both a payee and a note (separated by the canonical vertical line):

2023-12-21 taxes | state

In the above examples, the payee would be “taxes,” and “state” would be the optional note. Some of my transactions have just a payee, and some have both a payee and a note. The problem is, I sometimes don’t remember when I put something in a note vs. the payee field. So, I may run a command filtering by “payee,” but not finding what I needed, because it was in the note. Or vice versa.

Then I remembered that hledger can filter by “desc,” which matches either the payee or the note. So, no need to remember how I set up a transaction, at least in terms of payee and note.

My new timesaver, then, is to filter by desc by default.

Why this matters

For me, using hledger to track my expenses is a good habit. Thus, it’s a habit that I want to continue. The easier it is to do a task, the easier it is to start or maintain a habit. So, a way that saves time, such as filtering with desc supports a good habit, and good habits can lead to a better life.