How to Track Reimbursements

We spend our own money on things that our company reimburses us for. In the past, I just kept a negative balance and basically just used it to keep track of expenses between my husband and I. I recently upgraded my Goodbudget account, and now I have to choose an account for everything, thereby nullifying my old system. What’s the best way to keep track of those expenses and reimbursements that come in randomly?

I have an annual envelope called Miscellaneous: Work Related with a budget amount set to $0. When I purchase something that I will get reimbursed for the funds will come out of this envelope. When I actually get reimbursed that money will be allocated to that envelope.


I have a similar system, but with two envelopes. One is for “Work Expenses to be Reimbursed” and the other is for “Work Expenses–Submitted”. When I charge a business expense to my personal card it goes into the first envelope. When I submit my expense report, I move it to the second. The reimbursement amount should always equal the amount in the second envelope (and gets posted as a one-off Fill), even if I’ve made more charges in the interim. This way, I never overlook submitting a valid expense AND I can be sure that everything I HAVE submitted has been repaid.

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Wayne and Tiffany have given two good suggestions for how to setup your Envelopes to track the reimbursements, but I just wanted to add there are usually two ways to track the actual reimbursement.

The simplest is to just do a Credit transaction. That’ll basically reverse the original Expense, to the point where it won’t show up in your Reports as Spending either.

Alternatively, you can do what it sounds like Tiffany does and do a Fill from New Income directly to the Reimbursement Envelope. In this case, the original payment you made will stay in your household as “Spending”, and the reimbursement will show up as Income instead.

I wouldn’t say that one is necessarily better or worse than the other, so you should just choose whatever makes more sense to you.

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