How do you handle changing budgets? Or one-offs/projects?

There are some things that will be pretty steady through the year but there are also things that maybe I don’t even know will be a budgeting item until they come up. Maybe I get some extra money and decide to redo the bathroom. Or maybe I know every spring I do my plants but the amount I spend varies greatly from year to year depending on if I want to keep the status quo going and just repot, replace unhealthy plants, etc or I want to breathe new life into it by getting new pots for everything.

If I were using a real-life envelope system I would grab a new envelope and stuff money into it from my extra money (“unallocated”) or my savings for that short lived budget. In the digital world though if I do that every time won’t I eventually have tons of abandoned envelopes that were only used once? …and which I can’t delete (the equivalent of throwing away the empty envelope when I’m done the project) because then the transactions will no longer be sorted.

I don’t have a perfect answer for you, but did you know you can use hashtags to sort your transactions? I’m thinking maybe have one envelope labeled “Special Projects” but then use tags in the notes to separate your deposits and spending when they’re designated for a specific goal. You can sort on the hashtags in order to view just the relevant transactions. Maybe that would work for you?

In that case then would you not include it in the monthly budget and instead add money in advance when you expect to use it?

Something I used to do in YNAB which may work with Goodbudget. Create an envelope to save for whatever the thing is, “Kitchen Renovation” for example. Then once you’ve saved for it, move those funds to a more generic category such as “Home Improvements” and spend from the generic category (with a note to say what it was in case you want to look back on it). Then when you next want to save for a big project / one-off expense, just rename the one you used before.

From what you describe, I probably would put it in the Annual envelopes. If you wanted to contribute a small amount each month you could still include that with your periodic Fills, but it sounds like you use it more for one-offs and windfalls. Just my 2¢!

Thank you everyone for your helpful replies!

I also saw in the Help docs that if you delete an envelope it doesn’t affect transactions, they will just reference a deleted envelope. I didn’t realize this, I thought it would mess everything up.

I think you are right, an annual or goal envelope is a good way of handling it

I came here to say this part! If you’re completely done using an Envelope (or Account), feel free to delete it – the transactions will still be viewable and sortable in your transactions list and search and Reports, the Envelope (or Account) just won’t be in your list anymore. That’s how I handle saving for one-offs myself!