Hello, been a GB user for a few years now. I have currently have about 19 envelopes and have considered reducing them for efficiency, however we budget for very specific things each month and it’s hard to know what ,for example , makes up the 200.00 Personal Supplies. Haircut 100, pedicure 75, etc etc. I have a spreadsheet with a detailed breakdown of each envelope and I suppose I could create even more envelopes so those details would show up in GB, but that would be cumbersome, Any ideas from some of you power users? Maybe there are some tips and tricks I’m missing. In other words, if my wife looks at an envelope and sees $200, how will she know if the particular thing she wants to purchase is something budgeted per my spreadsheet? Make any sense?
I’m not sure whether this really solves your issue, but have you tried using grouped envelopes? I don’t know that it eliminates any envelopes per se, but it will put all those individual expenditures into a unified line item in the budget. I don’t know of another way to get close to what I think you’re proposing besides have an envelope for each thing.
Maybe this will help?
I was going to suggest Groups also! I like being really detailed with my budget, so I’m okay with having lots of Envelopes. Groups definitely help to keep things a little more organized. But I get that having fewer Envelopes can make things easier to manage. One thing that I still do is lump my subscriptions into one Envelope. It’s still helpful to know which expenses go into that Envelope, so I’ve named it as such: ‘Subs: Ntflx / Sptify / Hulu.’ That might be something you could try if you want to keep the number of Envelopes to a minimum.
I too, use grouped envelopes, and I can see that you’re a detailed-oriented person by your use of a “spreadsheet with a detailed breakdown of each envelope.” I personally would eliminate the spreadsheet and use GB for everything. Yes this will create more envelopes, which is what you’re trying to reduce in GB, however, in reality with using the spreadsheet, in essence you’re using more envelopes, but just in a different program – your spreadsheet. Consolidate all your information into GB using grouped envelopes in such a way that your can easily track and report on your budget and spending.
For example, I need to budget for and track all my food costs, but I need to see what I’ve spent at the grocery store as opposed to restaurants. I also find myself spending a lot at coffee shops, yikes, Starbucks isn’t cheap. So I have envelopes called Food:Groceries, Food:Dining Out, Food:Coffee Shops and have a budget for each of those envelopes. There are times when I’ve overspent on the coffee shops, but didn’t eat out as often, so I’ll do an envelope transfer from dining out to coffee shops to get that envelope back into the black.
Of course one can get carried away with the number of envelopes that are created. You don’t want to create an envelope for every one-off purchase that is made. Just create an envelope of the items/categories that you need to budget for and track. Then create one envelope for those one-off purchases. I’ve named it Misc:Unassigned. Overtime you may start seeing similar purchases that keep getting pulled from that envelope, then you may decide to create its own envelope so those types of purchases can be better monitored. That’s exactly what I did with my coffee shop. All my coffee shop purchased were lumped into dining out. Then I decided I need to better monitor that particular spending so I pulled it out and created its own envelope.
When envelopes are broken down like this and detailed as such, running reports gives a lot of good information on the bigger picture of spending habits and adjustments that may be needed in those habits.
I hope that helps.
wrbird and everyone else, yes I am using Group envelopes. For example, i have a Food Group with Food: Groceries and Food: Dining Out… I have a Personal Care Group with Personal Care: Supplies, Personal Care: Spa, Personal Care: Clothing, Personal Care: Medical… and the same thing for other categories. In order for me to scrap the spreadsheet, I would need to add even more envelopes. I think though this becomes cumbersome for my wife if she is using the phone app and is scolling down through all the envelopes to find the budget for, let’s say cosmetics. I guess i just need to go to one extreme or the other.
Thanks for the information on groups. This happened to me by accident when I named one of my envelopes something that had a colon in the name. Drove me mad trying to figure out why it didn’t show up under Other, the way all the other envelopes did. I have now changed names on several envelopes to give me some groupings. It’s all a work in progress but reading through these questions is really helping! So thank you to stak12, too, for asking the question.
FWIW, I think a description or info box for each envelope would be a great idea, especially for ones like subscriptions. I could see me potentially getting to a point where my envelope names get a bit cryptic because of trying to abbreviate too many thing. I would prefer to have a relatively straightforward envelope name and then a description box to add details. For example, an “i” button on the web interface that I can hover over and read what is in that box. No idea how that would translate into something for the app, though. I’m not what you would call an advanced smartphone user.
You can do this for transactions, although not for envelopes. If you enter a note in a transaction, you’ll see an indicator on the web and hovering over it reveals the note. If you had a different envelope for each subscription this wouldn’t help (and may be pretty cumbersome in my opinion) but if you put all of your subscriptions in one “Subscription” envelope, you could easily see which one is which using the notes. You can also hashtag notes to make them easy to retrieve later, so with #Vacation2020 (LOL amirite?!?!?) you could easily sort all your transactions together even if they’re in different envelopes.