Filling future envelopes

I budget a couple of months ahead and I do zero balance budgeting. Apparently when you do that in GB, it doesn’t just see the current month’s available, it see all months as available. Ex. I filled Dec, Jan, Feb envelopes. The amount available for the envelopes is the total of all months combined and not just the current month. So I guess my question is, what’s the best way to do this (allocating for future months with money already available - NOT future income) while maintaining an accurate envelope balance for the current month? Or is it even possible. I guess I can make monthly envelopes (future months) or just dump it all into a master envelope (or leave it unallocated) but that kind of defeats the zero budget thing. Any advice appreciated.

I haven’t seen this asked before and I’m trying to wrap my head around it a bit…it sounds like you don’t want to keep your funds in Unallocated because you HAVE allocated them to the next months’ budgets, correct? What do you do with the income you receive between now and then; does it just go into an “envelope” for the future?
If you don’t want to pull from a master envelope or Unallocated but you want to remain on a monthly budget, I think your idea of future envelopes makes the most sense. So if I understand, you’d have envelopes like Fuel:Current Month, Fuel:Month+1 and Fuel:Month+2, right? Then on the first of the next budget cycle you’d move the money up from next month to this month, and begin filling the Month+2 (or +3) envelope for later? Kind of like a financial kanban system?
I guess I’m just not understanding the disadvantage of scheduling future Fills for the months in the future, regardless of where the money “lives” today (Unallocated or some master envelope). I suppose if you also use your Unallocated money in addition to your budget it could get tricky, but it with zero balance budgeting you wouldn’t actually have any Unallocated funds.
I feel like I’ve played with Goodbudget so much that I’ve found solutions or workarounds for almost every situation, but this isn’t one I think I’ve heard before!

Morning and thanks for the reply.
I’m coming over from another software (YNAB) and I have been budgeting about 6 months out for some time now.
In the previous software I was using, you simply selected the next month and budgeted. If you wanted to see what that month had available, you looked and while it did have the total unallocated, it didn’t lump all the months together.
I guess I could make monthly envelopes and just move it back and forth as the month rolls around.
The idea of just leaving it sitting in unallocated won’t work for me - “every dollar has a job” philosophy.
I think, if I have to do this that way, I’ll probably make a Monthly Envelope (12 of them I guess) and allocate 6 months out - to “tie up” the funds so they don’t get spent on something else.
Any better suggestions will be appreciated. Have a good day.

Remember I just started with Goodbudget, but the disadvantage I saw in future filling envelopes (and I could be wrong) was that it didn’t separate the monthly budget money - it just limped it all together and instead of $100 for whatever, it showed $100 x # of months budgeted.

GB is not designed with the sophistication you seem to be after. You add all your accounts as sources, and you add envelopes as sinks, and that’s about it. Anything else regarding budget period or weekly/monthly/yearly envelopes is really just window dressing to help you stay on track, but it’s always operating in context of the “current” period.

I also use zero based budgeting, but I do include projected income for the current month. In any case, anything not specifically allocated to a periodic envelope or a specific goal envelope gets tucked away in my “Slush” envelope. I could see creating a couple of such envelopes for “Next Month” or “Month after That”, etc, but I would really hesitate to build out full set of monthly envelopes for each month because then you’re just creating a great deal of envelope transfers for yourself to roll those months forward as time passes.

If I did this, and had a “Next Month” envelope with a month’s worth of expenses in it, then when it came time to roll that allocation into the current period, I would simply do a “Fill From Unallocated” and add to that envelope a negative amount to zero it out, which then frees up those funds as “Unallocated” to fill up the normal envelopes.

Because GB only operates on the current period, I personally use an Excel spreadsheet to plan the next month. That’s probably how I would handle planning future months in your case. Just list out all the future expenses in a table, have Excel calculate the total for that month for me, and then just allocate that total to the “Next Month” goal envelope. Repeat until everything is allocated for as many months out as I wished.

For me, I see no benefit in planning out regular expenses so far in advance. I use Goal envelopes like a boss, though, to save up for Christmas, or travel, or a new kitchen sink. To do what you seem to be asking for will require creating a LOT of envelopes, 12 copies of everything. That might make it possible to allocate how you want, but it will make entering transactions a lot more painful the rest of the time.

I had another thought to expand on my previous comments. I will still do my itemized planning in Excel to generate a total expense per month. Then I would create Goal envelopes in GB and name them accordingly:

Future: December 2021
Future: January 2022
Future: February 2022


Fill these envelopes according to the spreadsheet totals. Now when it comes to the last day of November or the first day of December, I would fill my regular envelopes from December 2021 envelope and then delete that envelope and create the next one in the future sequence. That would eliminate having to roll the future months forward in a series of transfers if they were generic buckets like “Next Month”, “Month After Next”, etc.

Hi @Jrwill228. I’m also recently from YNAB. I would just do the old “Income For Next Month” category thing that many in YNAB do. You wouldn’t need twelve, just six would do. Instead of calling them “January”, “February”, “March”, etc, you could call them “This Month +1”, “This Month +2”, and so on.

The really cool thing about Goodbudget is that it treats envelope filling events as transactions that can be saved and scheduled. For example, you can have a scheduled transaction that dumps your “Income for Next Month” category into “Unassigned” on the first day of the month, then another one that fills all of your envelopes however you’ve chosen.

You could automate the process of shuffling all of your months from one to the next one down, although it would be functionally the same if you just moved “This Month +6” to “Unassigned” and left the others where they are, which raises the question of why you need all those months budgeted in the first place rather than just dumping it all into an “Income Replacement” category or similar.

Thanks for the reply. I do the 6 months out because I budget 6 months out and have done so for a few years with YNAB (I left due to the, “recent unpleasantness”. I don’t know your situation but in my case the price went up approx. 110%). I’ve tried a few other alternatives like Quicken but didn’t like them. I like the envelope style of budgeting and I like the “every dollar has a job” idea of zero balance budgeting. I budget the exact same amount every month. I guess I could have one envelope that gets 6 months of $ dumped in it and just take from there, but I prefer the monthly allocation,
I think I’ve got this figured out but I’m going to try it for a little while and see how it goes.
Again, thanks for the reply.