Biweekly pay

Hello, so I budget our bills based on a biweekly pay schedule. 95% of our bills are monthly bills but I have built a system (prior to coming to goodbudget) that essentially has us paying every bill every 2 weeks. One of the checks of the month is our “first half” of the bill and it is set back in a hold account and the second check is our “second half” of the bill and Is set back into a hold account, neither of our hold accounts are accounts that we spend out of. When the actual due date of the bill comes, I transfer the money that was in the hold account to either 1 of the 2 bill payable accounts (non fixed and fixed) and then pay the bill. I am getting stuck with unbalanced amounts. This paycheck the second half of the truck payment was due and the actual truck payment will be paid before the next check comes. The first half has already been set back in the hold account from the previous paycheck. So essentially any bill that is coming out of our check from yesterday and already had the first half taken out, goodbudget is negative by half of that payment amount. I tried doing “dummy income” transactions and just added the missing amounts but it isn’t doing what I thought it would. Any suggestions? I am also having the same issue with our annual bills, I essentially do 12 “hold” payments, the hold payments I already have accumulated are being wonky.

I want to be sure I understand–are you new to Goodbudget, and saying that you’ve already put the first half of a payment into the account before you started with the app? Now you’ve “only” received the second half, so the envelope isn’t full enough for the truck payment when in reality you already set that money aside. Is that right?
If I’m understanding you, then you should have the “first half” money in the account, which means it should be sitting in Available. In that case you would do a Fill from Available transaction, move the “first half” money into the truck payment envelope (and any other for which the first half has already been allocated), and then from this paycheck add the second half to the same envelope. That gives you enough to make this month’s payment, and the next check (after the payment) will cover the first half of the next payment.
To budget this way, you’ll need two separate “Fill from New Income” transactions each repeating every four weeks, rather than the same one every other week, making sure that the envelopes you don’t want to adjust are all marked “Add 0” in their off-weeks.

Am I understanding you clearly? Otherwise,

the actual truck payment will be paid before the next check comes

sounds like you’re making a payment with money you haven’t received yet and I don’t think that’s what you’re telling us.
Let me know if I’m on the wrong track!

Hello, yes I am new to Goodbudget. I have already started over at least twice and still haven’t got it all right. But what you are saying above about the set up sounds about right. Yes, some bills already have half set back from the previous check while other bills this check is the “first half” so that isn’t a problem, its the ones that already had half set back. So the two “hold” accounts that I have (one for fixed bills and 1 for non fixed bills) are checking accounts but we do not spend out of them, they are strictly “holding accounts” for those half payments. Once the hold accounts have the full amount of the bill, I transfer that money into another checking account which is our accounts that we do actually pay out of. I have fixed and non fixed for those as well. I was told for the hold accounts I have, not to sync those to the bank accounts and only do manual transaction uploads so that the transfers are in goodbudget and do not show up negative. But I do have some bills that are annual and have 12 “hold” deposits total and I have already been working on them and this wasn’t in my OP but I do have bills quarterly, so the bills are all over the place. I essentially take whatever the increment is and make bi weekly deposits with whatever the divided amount is. I would have to go back at least 6 months in statements and manually put them in to the GB “hold” accounts to offset any prior “hold” amounts that have been accumulated to date. Is that true? I understand the 2 separate “fill from New income” transactions, that makes sense.

Also, would you recommend I delete what I currently have in GB? It is an absolute mess and I wouldn’t even know where to start without starting over according to your advice above

You have a pretty complicated setup but you’re not alone! And no, I don’t think you need to delete everything as long as you could live with some “bulk” transactions to catch everything up.
If you have more in the holding accounts than is just used for bill payments, then first I would create an envelope for the overage. Since the Accounts and Envelopes page will always show the same amount of money, you’ll need to assign that somewhere so it doesn’t look available (since you said you don’t spend from there).
Then your Available fund should be accurate, and you can distribute from there. You don’t need to go back in time, as long as today’s balances are correct. You could just do a single big line item to account for everything that happened already, and that could catch you up.
I agree with not syncing accounts primarily used for transfers; the sync function is new and it’s best for importing daily transactions rather than managing debts, transfers, etc. Personally I’ve always either entered things in real time or imported a .csv or .qfx file from my bank, so the sync function is both foreign to me still and not something I think would really help with my style.
I don’t feel like I’m explaining this very well because it’s got a lot of moving parts. If you wanted to, I’ve volunteered to do Zoom calls with people before to help get things back to a clean baseline, but like I always tell folks–I don’t work for Goodbudget, I’m just a user with years of experience who’s more than happy to help people get set up or straightened out! If the suggestions above don’t get you where you want to be and you want to do something in real time just let me know :slight_smile: Otherwise, keep sending questions (or even screenshots) if you want more help. Happy to keep drilling down until you’re all set!

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I appreciate your help so so so much! I noticed you said more in the hold accounts than the bill money, thankfully I do not. I feel like because I only have bill money in there and nothing else ti will probably make this process easier, I assume? The balances/accounts in GB aren’t even close to correct so I figured deleting and starting over would be easiest? I will stop here with this comment and wait to hear your response back before going further.

The way GB works “best” is when you have at least a month’s worth of expenses built up and available so on the first day of the month, you simply fill all your envelopes up and there are no problems with splitting envelopes across paychecks. Until you get to that point, however, you have to deal with partial fills. Either you spread a paycheck out across all your envelopes, or you spread your envelopes out across all your paychecks.

In my early days with GB I used the latter. First paycheck filled the car payment, electricity, gas, phone, etc bills. Second paycheck filled the mortgage. Whatever was left after those was spread out through groceries, etc.

Eventually I got tired of trying to track how much I had already put in an envelope, so I developed my “Projected Income” account. I start every month by filling all my envelopes 100% full using a deposit to “Projected Income” of the entire amount I expect to receive in the coming month. I have posted about it several times before if you want to search for more details.

And FWIW, I have periodically wiped GB clean and started over. Not necessarily because it was a mess, it’s just that my methods and envelope setup have evolved over time.

I don’t think you need to delete; you can adjust account balances without entering transactions to help get back to what today’s real values should be. That way you’ll be saving the work you’ve already done and going forward everything should align the way you want it to.
Since you ONLY use those other accounts for bills, it should be a lot easier because the cumulative Bills total should equal the amount in those two accounts.
I think the easiest way to do this is to reconcile your accounts using whatever method you used before you started here, then clear/reconcile anything in Goodbudget that’s been posted. Adjust the account balances to today’s real values (using the Edit button, not transactions) and add in any outstanding line items that have been paid but not posted, and you should be on track on the Account side.
In the Envelopes, be sure you’ve doled out the Available funds so that the totals in those envelopes match the totals in the paying accounts today, and the rest (if there is any) will go where ever else you spend money. It bears repeating that the envelopes and accounts are just two ways of looking at the same funds–by “where they live” or by “what they do”, and the totals are cumulative. You won’t have accounts tied directly to envelopes (except in the case of debts) or vice versa, and that throws off a lot of new-to-the-software users who expect them to be connected somehow. Hope that helps!

I think you will find GB easier to manage if you aren’t transferring money back and forth between accounts so much. There’s really no need for your “hold” accounts, they are serving the same purpose as your GB envelopes.

When you get paycheck 1, you simply add the income to your primary checking account and fill your envelopes as you see fit. It is the act of allocating funds to an envelope that “holds” it for that purpose. Physically moving those funds to a separate account and then back again is only increasing your accounting efforts without providing any benefit to justify that effort,

From what I’ve read so far, and because we’re so close to the start of a month, I would probably start over. Wipe GB clean, then set up your monthly/quarterly/yearly/goal envelopes, then set up accounts in GB to exactly match what the balances were on July 1. All your bank accounts, any cash on hand, any PayPal balances, etc. Then go and fill up your envelopes as they should be for July 1, looking only at your Available balance without any regard to any account balances. Now you have an accurate picture as of July 1 and you can start to add/import transactions from the past few days.

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Thank you all for your feedback. I have made some changes and things are slowly cleaning up. I am changing my bank accounts and removing the hold accounts because that does make it easier there. So far I have cleaned out GB, I went in and did the envelopes, set the balances per July 1st and filled envelopes. I am in the process of adding/importing transactions. I do have a road block that I am stuck on, I did an “income” deposit to the fixed and non fixed payable accounts in GB in the amounts that are currently in the “hold” accounts in my bank. But I still have issues between the accounts. Should I treat the transactions that happened within the 2 hold accounts from 7/1 to current as additional transactions for the 2 payable F and NF accounts? The money is all together now instead of being in 4 separate accounts. I don’t know if this question makes sense, I am not very savvy with this to begin with, so I am trying to explain it as best as I can.

For reference here are the amount differences from the NF bank account, not GB:

Payable NF:
7/1 - $123.33
Current - $78.29

Hold NF:
7/1 - $1,741.54
Current - $1,350.81

There are a total of 17 transfers in the “hold” account for NF from 7/1 to current, but because they are all transfers I am not quite sure if that would be the reason the accounts aren’t balancing correctly. Before I put in the work to manually import them I wanted to check first.

I guess the easiest and quickest would be to just start from today. After you consolidated your funds into a single bank account, just create the one in GB with today’s starting balance and go from today. I would not enter the balance as an income transaction because there is no such transaction at the bank to match it with. Simply edit the balance on the account to match whichever day you are starting with.

If you really want your GB data to start from 7/1, you will want to create GB accounts exactly as your bank accounts were on 7/1 and record all transactions since then, including the transfers between bank accounts as you consolidate your funds. You will be left with some accounts in GB that you are no longer using but everything will be accurate. In the future you could simply delete those unused GB accounts