GNU Pem: user guide

I recently had to compile a short guide for getting started with GNU Pem for Nanonote users, and thought this might be beneficial for the project's page.

Getting started with GNU Pem:

GNU Pem is a console personal expenses manager. It uses brief commands to document transactions in comma separated files, which are stored in a calendar directory tree inside the ~/.pem folder. Each month is stored in a separate file, and months from the same year are stored in their own folder. A typical file will be named


for July 2011, and will look something like this:


if you spent 10 dollars on candy. The developer does not advise editing these files manually, but using Pem to interact with them. They can be later easily imported into spreadsheet software like's Calc or KDE's KSpread.

System clock notice!

Because Pem relies on the system clock to save the time of the transaction, setting your clock before using Pem is necessary.


To Begin using Pem, simply start documenting transactions from the console, by invoking pem with a description and amount like this:

# pem candy 10

Both description and amount are mandatory, and if you specify an amount first it would be interpreted as a description. You can track earnings by specifying the -e option, like this:

# pem -e eBay 60

Finally, you can generate reports, the easiest of which is the daily report which can be generated with the -s option, like this:

# pem -b -s

Pem's other options are available through the --help option.

   - Ernest Kugel