Credit card transactions in a card you are not paying off in full

So, I have a debt account for my credit card which means I pay for groceries using my cc in the Debt Transactions. I then make a transfer from my grocery envelope into my cc envelope (something I found on the forums), so that my grocery expenses still get taken out of the grocery envelope. When I go to make a payment on my cc I use the Debt Transactions and Payment and put the $ amount in the principle so that it shows up in full…and my unallocated is still not accurate! Also, the cc “envelope” listed under debt is a totally wonky number, should I have put a negative balance in that envelope to start? Please, what am I missing?

Debt accounts work kind of like mirror images to regular accounts—are you charging your groceries as an expense added to the card balance, so it’s not showing up as a payment? That would require a “negative payment” (thus adding to the balance) to make the balance correct after each new transaction. You were correct to use the actual balance of the card when you set it up (as a positive number) but I suspect the most likely reason for things being off now is the negative/positive switch when you go from a regular envelope or account to a debt account. I’m not even sure if you can do that on the mobile app, but it can be done on the web (which you could of course access from the browser on your phone)
Moving money from your Grocery envelope to your Debt envelope should be fine, as long as you’re paying the card from that envelope when you post payments, but that shouldn’t be affecting your Unallocated balance.
I’m not sure if that helps, but I hope so?

Oy, this is so confusing! I really wish you guys offered phone service, writing and reading is just not working that well for me.
OK, so when I buy groceries I record it in the Debt Transaction tab and set the Type to Add Interest, Fee or New Charge and Debt to my cc. So, this should add to the balance, right? The balance shown on GB for my cc is accurate to my statement, so I think it’s OK.
So then, what about my cc envelope under Debt Payment? When I look at all the transactions in that envelope they are positive, unless I make a payment which is negative. What does that balance mean? My credit card is not paid off, so the balance is negative in the Accounts tab, but it’s positive in the Envelopes. This should make my Unallocated super off, right?

Lol you mean “those guys”! I’m just a user like you :grin:
1–yes, adding a “new charge” will increase your credit card balance as intended (sorry I forgot that’s an option now with debt accounts—I don’t have any anymore—yay!)
2–The envelope is just existing money you’ve set aside to pay off the credit card bill. Transactions should be positive any time you add money to it (like the monthly budgeted payment or any transfers into that envelope from, say, the Grocery envelope) and negative any time you use those funds (specifically to make a credit card payment)
That usually means your envelope will be empty right after you’ve made your monthly payment, since you would have sent all of that money to the credit card company to pay down the balance.
For example, I owed my parents $1,000. I’d agreed to pay them $100/month. My debt Account had a balance of $1,000. My debt envelope was filled on the 1st of each month with $100, and then it was empty on the 15th when I made the payment. The next month I put $100 in, then paid it out on the due date. Debt envelopes shouldn’t usually carry over into another budget period, so they’ll never match the credit card balance.
3–The beauty of Debt Accounts is that they don’t get included against your Unallocated balance. The debt Envelope should only include the amount you plan to pay each month, but the debt Account can be much larger.
**The Unallocated total is the combined balance of all your regular (not debt) accounts (including any savings or other accounts you’re tracking) minus the amount you’ve put into envelopes. Importantly, it does NOT account for overdrawn envelopes either. If you theoretically were to set the amount in every envelope to zero, the Unallocated balance should equal the total amount in your non-debt accounts.
And finally, since you have a premium account you can request help directly from the Admins. There are only a few but they’re really good and helpful and I’ve learned a lot from them. :blush:

Hi Tiffany,
First off, I’m sorry I identified you as part of the Good Budget team rather than a fellow user! My assumption was wrong and I apologize for my comment.
Secondly, thank you for responding and for using your own example!
So, when I go to pay $ towards my cc debt, how do I reconcile all the envelopes? For example, if my grocery envelope is empty and I paid $100 for groceries using my credit card, and now I want to pay $50 to my cc, how do I track that in the envelopes? I assume I log a Payment in the Debt Transaction tab, but then do I also take from the unallocated and put it into the grocery envelope, then transfer it to the debt envelope?

There’s another way to do this that IMO is simpler and cleaner. If you use a credit card as just another way to pay for things from your budget then you can use a regular account for it and avoid all this juggling.

The idea is to treat your credit line as asset rather than your credit balance as a liability. All you have to do is enter your CC into GB as a normal account (same as Savings, Checking, etc) and set the balance to your credit available rather than the amount due. This will add your available credit to your Unallocated balance which you can then allocate to envelopes, spend, and transfer as normal money.

Checking Account: $1000
Credit Card Limit: $5000
Total Unallocated: $6000
Allocate to Mortgage: $1500 (Unallocated now 4500)
Allocate to Groceries: $500 (Unallocated now 4000)
Pay $1500 Mortgage with CC (Credit Card account balance now 3500, Mortgage envelope empty)
Pay $200 Groceries with CC (CC account balance now 3300, Groceries envelope at $300)
Receive Income $1500 (Checking Account balance 2500, unallocated 5500)
Pay off CC $1700 (transfer from Checking to CC account, unallocated unchanged)

If this doesn’t make sense I will translate it to a spreadsheet for clarity.

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Such a fantastic option that I never would have thought of, thank you!
To start, should I enter my current balance on my cc or the limit? If the limit, perhaps then I should just transfer funds to the right envelopes until it reflects my current balance?
I’m excited to try this!

Also, forgot to ask about specific cc transactions…do I record them under the expense/credit tab, out of the grocery envelope (for example) and from the cc account?

Yes, just record them like you would any other normal expense, i.e. Groceries envelope and CC Account.

Start with your CC account balance set to your current credit available. If you have a 5000 limit but your balance due is currently 2000, then you would enter 3000

If you carry a balance, just treat the interest charge as an expense from a misc envelope against the CC account. this will reduce the account balance in GB (i.e. the credit available goes down) which is the same as the balance due increasing.

This seems like it would make it way too easy to max out one’s credit cards…all the available balance looks like money to spend, when in reality the idea would be to have no credit debt at all.
If you’re paying them off in full I can see how this would work, but otherwise it feels dangerous.


Technically the available balance IS money to spend :slight_smile:

If you don’t want to let yourself spend it, just put those funds in a sink envelope :smiley:

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Your budget should ideally only include money you have, not credit. If you budgeted $100 for groceries, spent it all on your card, then transferred the money from the Grocery envelope to the Debt envelope, you should send the entire $100 plus your regular payment to the CC. If you find yourself short, you’d either need to pull money from another envelope or adjust your budget.
It can take a while to get to a budget you can live with, but increasing debt on a credit card should always be a last resort. Otherwise the hole just keeps getting deeper (take it from someone who had well over $80K in credit card debt at one point in my life). Don’t be me.


Yes I also had a mountain of CC debt and for the record I never use a CC anymore unless I have to (e.g. car rental) and pay it off immediately. The problem back then was lack of accountability to a budget. If you have the discipline to create envelopes and limit your spending to those envelopes, then a CC is just another accounting device and you’ll never get in trouble.


I found a couple of no-annual-fee cards with great cash back benefits so I use those for everything and pay them off weekly. Free money!
CreDiT cArD coMpanIeS hAte HEr fOr tHis OnE wEirD tRicK :joy: