A typical transaction in Flowing Pennies might go through the following steps in its “life cycle.”
In one sense, this page is a description of Flowing Pennies’ available footer modes. But in another sense, this is a bottom-up description of how to use Flowing Pennies, and can be contrasted with the top-down description found on the user stories page.
The first step in a transaction’s life cycle, like the first step in any entity’s life cycle, is creation. A Flowing Pennies transaction is created via the add footer mode.
The Add footer mode will get the most use. In add mode, you can enter information about a new transaction. After you enter the transaction information, click the add button to add the transaction to your Flowing Pennies document’s transaction list.
After a transaction has been created, and before it has been marked as reconciled, it can be changed. This happens when you are in the Edit footer mode.
If you need to make a change to a transaction, you can use the Edit footer mode. If you entered the transaction with the wrong account, or simply made a typo when you entered it, edit mode is how you can change an existing transaction. You can only edit transactions before they are reconciled.
When a statement (either an online statement such as when you log into your bank’s site or a paper statement you received in the mail) lists a transaction, you can match it up in Flowing Pennies and click the checkbox to indicate that the transaction has cleared.
When you are in Reconcile footer mode, you can compare an account's cleared balance against an online or physical statement. After you've marked transactions as cleared, the balance should match what you see on your statement. Once you've verified that the balances match, you can mark that account as reconciled using the Equal button. This will “lock” the transaction (you will no longer be able to edit it) and if you wish, you can then merge and split reconciled transactions.
The Merge footer mode is used if you'd like to combine multiple (reconciled) transactions into one. This can be useful in several ways. If you want to reduce the clutter of older transactions, you could even merge a whole month’s reconciled transactions into one. If you select a merged transaction in merge mode, you can split it to restore the original transactions. So feel free to merge transactions! You can always split them later.
The Summary footer mode lets you see the running balance of each account if no transactions are selected; but its real value comes when you select some transactions. The summary footer will show the accumulated balances, per account, of all selected transactions. This can be tremendously valuable for analyzing selected timeframes or even specific transactions to see how your money was spent.