Debt payment 2 week set aside off

Here’s something odd I can’t make right: On a debt payment where the monthly amount due is $1250, the program says the amount to set aside every two weeks is $35.17.

Another monthly envelope with a balance of $350 has a two-week fill of $587.35!

What’s going on?

At first I thought you had annual envelopes set up as monthly or biweekly, but that math doesn’t work either.
Is this an error in scheduled Fills? Or maybe the result of rollover balances?
Without seeing it I really can’t imagine what’s going on!

Screen Shot 2021-12-21 at 7.35.39 AM

Screen Shot 2021-12-21 at 7.34.39 AM

Do you by chance have Due Dates on any of those Envelopes? The calculations aren’t as straightforward when you have Due Dates, so that’d be my first guess.

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I do have due dates on both, but the two-week fill amount is so bizarre that I can’t see how that matters much. I did play with the dates to see if changing them would help and it does not.

Without seeing the full picture of your household and transaction history, it’s hard for me to say exactly what’s happening, but having Due Dates on an Envelope can definitely change a lot about the suggested budget amount, because when you have Due Dates, the budgeted calculations are based off your past Fill/Transfer history, not your current balance.

For example: imagine you have a Monthly Envelope with a Due Date of the 10th. The Envelope’s full budgeted amount (aka the number you put in on Edit Envelopes) is 100.

  • If you hadn’t Filled anything between the 11th of last month and the 10th of this month, then the budgeted amount suggestion would be 100.
  • If you had Filled a total of 100 between the 11th of last month and the 10th of this month, then the budgeted amount suggestion would be 0.
  • If you had Envelope Transferred 200 from that Envelope to another Envelope between the 11th of last month and the 10th of this month, but also Filled an extra 50, the budgeted amount suggestion would be 150.

In all of these cases, the current balance does not matter for the calculation. That’s why it’s possible to have a Fill suggestion higher than your total budgeted amount, or to still have a Fill suggestion if your balance is higher than your total budgeted amount, or to have a Fill suggestion of 0 even if you have a negative balance – because the current balance does not matter.

Does this help make more sense?

To specifically use your screenshot, the odds are that the “Bills: Home: Landscaping” Envelope has such an absurdly high budgeted amount because you transferred some money out of it, and the “Debt Payment: DCU” Envelope has some Fills in it already, so the calculations are altered, unlike the “Bills: Communications” Envelope that is doing more straightforward-looking maths.

Ah! Yes, thank you. That makes sense. Will the program learn to suggest a more reasonable fill if the actual fills stay steady? And whether that happens or not, in this situation is having a due date more trouble than its worth?

I’m not quite sure what you mean by “learn to suggest”. The logic I explained above for how the calculations work does not change from month-to-month. What does change, however, is the period of the Envelope. A Monthly Envelope with a Due Date will work on a cycle, so every month after the Due Date, it’ll reset its internal counter for how much you’ve Filled so far this month, and tell you that you need to Fill again – again, regardless of your current balance.

In other words, even if the calculation seems weird or silly this month, it’ll reset for next month. That being said, if you do the same actions that caused it to display a non-standard amount next month, it’ll show something non-standard again next month as well.

Whether or not you want to use a Due Date on your Envelope is totally up to you and how you budget. Because of how they’re designed, they’re best for recurring and mostly fixed value expenses, like Debt Payments or rent or things like that, rather than things like groceries or gas where the amount spent in a month will vary. But like many things in Goodbudget, the “right” way to do things is the way that works best for you and your budget.

Thanks, Alex, you’ve explained it well. Goodbudget is a great tool and I appreciate learning how to better use it.
Merry Christmas,
Mary Stewart