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You can manage your categories in the budget page. Actual supports both expense and income categories.

Add a category

  1. Hover over the category group and press the down arrow
  1. Select Add category

Adding a category group

Scroll to the bottom of the budget sheet and select add group

Only one income group can ever exist and it cannot be deleted.

Renaming or delete a category

  1. Hover over the category and press the down arrow
  1. Select Rename or Delete from the menu

Categories are organized into groups and same actions can be performed on groups.

Merging categories

Let's say you have two categories that are the same but you want to delete one.

Hover over the category and select the drop down that appears and select Delete

If the category your deleting has a positive balance OR has been used for existing transactions you will be presented with a box to select which category the balance and or transactions should be moved to.

In our example, we want to use Food which will take over from Foods once you are happy, click Delete

You can see in the budget that our categories have now been successfully merged and the positive balance moved to the new category.

Expanding, Collapsing or Hiding Categories

Updates, in June and July 2023, added the ability to (a) expand or collapse category groups by clicking on the three dots at the top of the Category list and (b) hide categories that are no longer needed (using the down arrow by each category name). Hidden categories can be viewed, when needed, by clicking on the three dots at the top of the category list. The screenshots above do not currently reflect these enhancements.

Category Notes

It is possible to add notes to Categories, to do this hover over the category that you would like to add a note to, a paper icon will appear.

Click the paper icon and type in your note.

Viewing Category Notes

Once a Category has been given a note it is possible to view it in one of two way.

  1. Hover over the paper icon on the category and the note contents will appear for you to view.
  1. Click the paper icon, this will open the edit box where you can see the note content and also edit the note should you wish.

Tips for new users

If you don't have much experience tracking your finances yet, we recommend starting simple. For this reason, Actual only comes with a few basic categories by default. Don't worry about tracking things super closely. Tracking a few basic areas of your life will still give you profound insights on your spending.

The basic categories are:

  • Food: all grocery and restaurant spending.
  • General: everything else (you probably want to split this up over time, but having a general category is nice for a lot of miscellaneous expenses).
  • Bills: all bills that charge that same amount each month. Some people like to split this up too, but we think reports will eventually make this clearer.
  • Bills (Flexible): All bills that charge various amounts (power, water, bi-monthly bills, etc).
  • Savings: any transfers to savings accounts. These are treated as expenses because it's moving money out of the budget, but if you add your savings account on the budget you'll want to budget all that money accordingly instead.