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command line tool for organizing finances

Project description

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An application (possibly running as Flask webservice) that helps you administering your daily expenses and earnings. Interact via the command line interface.

The financeager backend holds databases (internally referred to as 'periods'). A period contains entries of a certain year.



Who is this for?

You might be someone who wants to organize finances with a simple software because you're tired of Excel and the like. And you like the command line. And Python.


The project is actively developed. Expect things to break - e.g. the command line interface, the REST API definitions, ... - before version 1.0.0 is released.


From PyPI package

pip install --user financeager

Using pipx

If you're using Python >= 3.6 and have pipx installed, install financeager into an isolated environment via

pipx install financeager


You can use financeager as a client-server or a serverless application (default). The user interacts via the command line interface (CLI).

Serverless mode

The user request invoked from the CLI is passed to the backend which opens the appropriate database, processes the request, closes the database and returns a response. All communication happens within a single process, hence the label 'serverless'. The databases are stored in ~/.local/share/financeager.

Client-server mode

Flask-webservice related functionality will be moved to a dedicated plugin, see #53.

To run financeager as client-server application, start the flask webservice by

export FLASK_APP=financeager/
flask run  # --help for more info

This does not store data persistently! Specify the environment variable FINANCEAGER_DATA_DIR.

For production use, you should wrap app = fflask.create_app(data_dir=...) in a WSGI or FCGI (see examples/ directory).

To communicate with the webservice, the financeager configuration has to be adjusted. Create and open the file ~/.config/financeager/config. If you're on the machine that runs the webservice, put the lines

name = flask

If you're on an actual remote 'client' machine, put

name = flask

host =
timeout = 10
username = foouser
password = S3cr3t

This specifies the timeout for HTTP requests and username/password for basic auth, if required by the server.

In any case, you're all set up! See the next section about the available client CLI commands and options.

Command line client

usage: financeager [-h] [-V] {add,get,remove,update,copy,list,periods} ...

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -V, --version         display version info and exit

                        list of available subcommands
    add                 add an entry to the database
    get                 show information about single entry
    remove              remove an entry from the database
    update              update one or more fields of an database entry
    copy                copy an entry from one period to another
    list                list all entries in the period database
    periods             list all period databases

On the client side, financeager provides the following commands to interact with the backend: add, update, remove, get, list, periods, copy.

Add earnings (no/positive sign) and expenses (negative sign) to the database:

> financeager add burgers -19.99 --category Restaurants
> financeager add lottery 123.45 --date 03-14

Category and date can be optionally specified. They default to None and the current day's date, resp. financeager will try to derive the entry category from the database if not specified. If several matches are found, the default category is used.

Add recurrent entries using the -t recurrent flag (t for table name) and specify the frequency (yearly, half-yearly, quarterly, bi-monthly, monthly, weekly, daily) with the -f flag and optionally start and end date with the -s and -e flags, resp.

> financeager add rent -500 -t recurrent -f monthly -s 01-01 -c rent

If not specified, the start date defaults to the current date and the end date to the last day of the database's year.

Did you make a mistake when adding a new entry? Update one or more fields by calling the update command with the entry's ID and the respective corrected fields:

> financeager update 1 --name "McKing Burgers" --value -18.59

Remove an entry by specifying its ID (visible in the output of the list command). This removes the burgers entry:

> financeager remove 1

This would remove the recurrent rent entries (ID is also 1 because standard and recurrent entries are stored in separate tables):

> financeager remove 1 --table-name recurrent

Show a side-by-side overview of earnings and expenses (filter by date/category/name/value by passing the --filters option, e.g. --filters category=food to show entries in the categories food)

> financeager list

               Earnings               |                Expenses
Name               Value    Date  ID  | Name               Value    Date  ID
Unspecified          123.45           | Rent                1500.00
  Lottery            123.45 03-14   2 |   Rent January       500.00 01-01   1
                                      |   Rent February      500.00 02-01   1
                                      |   Rent March         500.00 03-01   1
Total                123.45           | Total               1500.00
Difference         -1376.55

It might be convenient to list entries of the current, or a specific month only (example output is omitted):

> financeager list --month
> financeager list --month January
> financeager list --month Dec
> financeager list --month 7
> financeager list --month 03

The aforementioned financeager commands operate on the default database (named by the current year, e.g. 2017) unless another period is specified by the --period flag.

> financeager add xmas-gifts -42 --date 12-23 --period 2016

Copy an entry from one database to another by specifying entry ID and source/destination period:

> financeager copy 1 --source 2017 --destination 2018

Detailed information is available from

> financeager --help
> financeager <subcommand> --help

You can turn on printing debug messages to the terminal using the --verbose option, e.g.

> financeager list --verbose

You can find a log of interactions at ~/.local/share/financeager/log (on both the client machine and the server).

More on configuration

Besides specifying the backend to communicate with, you can also configure frontend options: the name of the default category (assigned when omitting the category option when e.g. adding an entry) and the date format (string that datetime.strptime understands; note the double percent). The defaults are:

default_category = unspecified
date_format = %%m-%%d

The financeager command line client tries to read the configuration from ~/.config/financeager/config. You can specify a custom path by passing it along with the -C/--config command line option.

More Goodies

  • financeager will store requests if the server is not reachable (the timeout is configurable). The offline backup is restored the next time a connection is established. This feature is only available when running financeager with flask.
  • Command line tab completion is provided by the argcomplete package (for bash; limited support for zsh, fish, tcsh). Completion has to be enabled by running activate-global-python-argcomplete. Read the instructions if you want to know more.


Want to use a different database? Should be straightforward by deriving from Period and implementing the _entry() methods. Modify the Server class accordingly to use the new period type.

Plugin support

The financeager core package can be extended by Python plugins. The supported groups are:


All plugin types

For developing a plugin, create a plugin package containing a file:

from financeager import plugin

class _Configuration(plugin.PluginConfiguration):
    """Configuration actions specific to the plugin."""

and implement the required PluginConfiguration methods. Finally, specify the entry point for loading the plugin in

        <group_name>: <plugin-name> = <package>.main:main,
        # e.g.
        # "": "fancy-service = fancy_service.main:main",

The plugin name can be different from the package name. The package name should be prefixed with financeager-.

Service plugins

For developing a service plugin, extend the aforementioned file:

# fancy_service/ in the fancy-service package
from financeager import plugin, clients

class _Configuration(plugin.PluginConfiguration):
    """Configuration actions specific to the plugin."""

class _Client(clients.Client):
    """Client to communicate with fancy-service."""

def main():
    return plugin.ServicePlugin(

Provide a suitable client implementation.

Done! When the plugin is correctly installed, and configured to be used (name = fancy-service), financeager picks it up automatically. The plugin configuration is applied, and the plugin client created.


The following diagram sketches the relationship between financeager's modules. See the module docstrings for more information.

      | plugin |
       ¦      ¦
       V      V
+--------+   +-----------+   +---------+
| config |-->|    cli    |<->| offline |
+--------+   +-----------+   +---------+

                 ¦   Λ                     +---------+     +---------+
[pre-processing] ¦   ¦  [formatting]  <--  | listing | <-- | entries |
                 V   ¦                     +---------+     +---------+

|                clients              |

        ¦                     Λ
        V                     ¦

+--------------+   |   +--------------+
| httprequests |   |   |              |     FRONTEND
+--------------+   |   |              |
================   |   |              |    ==========
+--------------+   |   | localserver  |
|    fflask    |   |   |              |     BACKEND
+--------------+   |   |              |
|  resources   |   |   |              |
+--------------+   |   +--------------+

        ¦                     Λ
        V                     ¦
|                server               |
        ¦                     Λ
        V                     ¦
|                period               |

Known bugs

  • see issues
  • Please. Report. Them.


Always welcome! Clone the repo

git clone
cd financeager

Create a virtual environment

python3 -m venv .venv
source .venv/bin/activate

Install development dependencies

make install

You're all set for hacking! Please adhere to test-driven development, if possible: When adding a feature, or fixing a bug, try to construct a test first, and subsequently adapt the implementation. Run the tests from the root directory via

python test

If you added a non-cosmetic change (i.e. a change in functionality, e.g. a bug fix or a new feature), please update accordingly as well. Check this README whether the content is still up to date.


  1. Tag the latest commit on master by incrementing the current version accordingly (scheme v0.major.minor.patch).
  2. Run make release.


This is a 'sandbox' project of mine. I'm exploring and experimenting with databases, data models, server applications (Pyro4 and flask), frontends (command line, Qt-based GUI), software architecture, programming best practices (cough) and general Python development.

Feel free to browse the project and give feedback (comments, issues, pull requests).

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