How to Balance Envelopes with Bank balance

I’m brand new, just getting started today. I’ve got everything in and envelopes set up for each category. Been working on getting set up for hours. Starting with today’s payday and my existing bank balance I planned out the next 2 weeks to the next payday.
I paid my bills and using those items and expected automatic withdraws I’ve figured out what each envelope should still have left in it and based on the same transactions figured out my expected bank balance (after all that clears) and thought it should match my envelope balance, but it’s off. Not by a lot but I expected them to match.
How do I confirm that what my envelopes have is actually available in my bank account to spend? The envelopes have slightly more (just over 11$) than the checking account and I’m not sure why. What should I be looking for to resolve the issue? I have a 2nd checking account, but I’m disregarding that amount and I’m still off by the 11$ in my primary checking account compared to the total balances of the envelopes.

Thanks :slight_smile:


Find out what options your bank provides for downloading your transaction history. If QFX or OFX is an option then those are best. If not, CSV will work, or if they give you an Excel file you can use Excel to save the file as a CSV.

On home page of GB just above your transaction journal is a link to “Import bank transactions”. Using this page, you can upload the file you downloaded from your bank. If it’s CSV you’ll have to tell GB which columns to use and what they represent, but if it’s QFX or OFX it will skip that step.

Once the file is uploaded, GB will attempt to match the bank transactions with what it’s own journal of transactions. The results will be presented in a nice side-by-side view where you can review and make changes before saving the results. The first thing to look for is items which do not have a matching entry on the other side. There may be charges in your bank file that you forgot to enter in GB. Or there may be items you have entered in GB which have not yet cleared at the bank so are not reflected in the download.

Also, you can check for bad matches. GB will make some “fuzzy” matches sometimes in order to help catch data entry errors or accommodate for a day or two of clearing time. You can “unmatch” these and rematch them correctly or leave them unmatched for now. This is how I catch most discrepancies like you are describing.

That said, on more than one occasion my download file had an error in it. Perhaps a duplicate or the wrong name or something which caused me a great deal of confusion for a time. This was a problem with my bank rather than GB, though.

Also, it’s very rare that GB balances will match bank balances at a given moment in time due to the various asynchronous processes involved. I have settled into a pattern of weekly reconciliation. Every weekend I enter my stack of receipts for the week, then I import my latest QFX file to catch all the little online and app store purchases I didn’t have a paper receipt for.


Be sure you are trying to match the right things.

Your real life account balances should match the Goodbudget account balances. This is a critical step because your funds available to put into envelopes come from the account balances so if the account balances are wrong, your envelope balances won’t reflect reality and you have a budget you can’t trust.

Provided your account balances match between Goodbudget and your bank, the envelope balances can be whatever you want as long as none are negative. Any negative balances in an envelope mean that other envelopes are misrepresenting how much money is available.