I have only 1 account that I am keeping track of; my checking account. To keep it simple (and in my eyes more consistent with what I actually do), I fill my envelops based on my income razer than “Unallocated”. I have never filled the envelops with money I do not have (Expenses and equal to or lower than Income). However, I do show a negative amount under “Unallocated”. This is not new. It has been that way for months no. I just want to zero it out so I don’t have to read a red number on my report. So I think: "If possible, why not just zero it out. Any way to do that?
It sounds like you’re prefilling envelopes with the income you’ll be receiving rather than what’s already in your account. Even though you know it’s incoming, it isn’t yet reflected in true money, so there’s a negative flow until the income comes in.
Remember that envelopes and accounts represent the same money, just displayed differently. Any money in an account that isn’t in an envelope is Unallocated, so if you fill envelopes with money you haven’t received (it’s just like cash) you’ll show a negative balance. The sum of the money remaining in your envelopes plus your Unallocated will equal the balance reflected in your account, so you can’t “zero it out” without adding income.
You can trying building up a one month cushion (the Goodbudget admins have a nice video about this) or filling your envelopes when you get paid rather than at the start of the month to avoid a negative Unallocated balance.
Hope that helps!
That might be it; I get paid monthly and in the middle of the month. That is when I fill the envelops. Still don’t understand the negative in unallocated since I have leftover income every month. Shouldn’t that make a positive in the unallocated fields?
It may help to think of the money in envelopes as already spent; even though you haven’t made the payments, it’s been set aside for the things in your budget and isn’t available for other things anymore. Filling envelopes is like withdrawing cash from your bank and putting it under the mattress to use throughout the month, so it has to be there on the day they’re filled.
You can change your budget period to start on the day you get paid (for example, let everything reset on the 15th instead of the 1st) if that helps, but until you make up the deficit in Unallocated the Fill will always put you into the negative because you’re “spending” (putting money aside) what you don’t have yet. If the income goes straight into the envelopes, there’s never an opportunity to make up the difference because it goes in then comes right back out.
In a perfect scenario, you would make your deposit Unallocated (because the current month’s envelopes would already be filled), then you would use the previous deposit to refill envelopes at the start of the next period (which empties your Unallocated bucket) and the next paycheck goes to refill Unallocated to prepare for the next month.
I hope I’m understanding your situation correctly!
The only way to “zero out” the Unallocated amount is to add income or take money out of envelopes until everything is in balance. If Unallocated is negative/red, then you have put more money in your envelopes than you actually have in the checking account.
I guess I just don’t like to see red… especially when I still have money in the bank that is increasing monthly but the red “unallocated” is growing. I have to go in monthly to adjust my account balance every month. I have no idea if I am doing something wrong but here are what I think are my option… some better than others.
- Start all over next time I get paid
- Start all over now
- Zero out all my envelopes. But then what? Not sure that would work
- Get used to seeing red
Since I have not allocated every dollar, I’m not sure why the “unallocated” keeps going negative (red)
I can’t speak to why anything would be changing without being able to see your household’s specific setup, but as for Unallocated, the simplest answer is that your Unallocated is negative when your Envelopes have more money in them than you have in your Accounts. This is because Unallocated = Accounts total - Envelopes total.
One extra thing that trips up some people is that your Credit Card Accounts (if you have any) decrease your total available balance / Accounts balance, so if your Credit Card total balance is higher than your Cash, Checking, Savings balance, you may have a negative household total.
That is it. I am paying off a mortgage that I handle as a Credit Card. Thanks
I’m not a big fan of using debt accounts in GB, but tracking a mortgage would be the place I would use as a debt account. Just food for thought.
Tiffany, I stupidly turned on accounts and I now have a negative unallocated amount in my envelope (Accounts is again OFF because I don’t need it). I was actually trying to resolve another issue when I toggled it on. I already had a small negative unallocated balance because I think I deleted an envelope before I changed all of my auto fills. Then I could never figure out how to get rid of that amount since the envelope was gone. Now I have compounded the problem with adding negative $$ to my unallocated pot because of the account snafu.
I understand the money in-money out thing but none of this has a true balance. My only thought was adding an envelope, entering the unallocated amount then deleting the envelope.
I’m going to share my thoughts but maybe jump around a little bit in the order…
First, whether you have Accounts on or off shouldn’t influence your envelope balances (I don’t think—if I’m wrong here I hope an Admin will jump in). It just aggregates your money OR distributes it across different banks, but doesn’t change the total value. Second, deleting envelopes doesn’t delete their transactions—so any money in the envelope just gets swept into Unallocated whether it’s positive or negative; it doesn’t go away.
The fix is to start by making sure the amount in your Account is the true balance of whatever real-life account(s) you budget from. This won’t change your envelopes at all (except Unallocated, but I’ll come back to that). For example, if you do all your spending from a single checking account and its true balance today is 1,000, Edit your Account in Goodbudget to 1,000 and then you’re finished in the Accounts tab.
Now in the Envelopes tab you’ll have exactly 1,000 distributed across all your Envelopes, including Unallocated. If the regular budget envelopes contain more than 1,000, then Unallocated will show the negative difference between what’s really available and what you’ve assigned. What you’ve already spent won’t matter at this point—it’s only what you have vs. what’s left in the envelopes.
Goodbudget only looks at the money you have at any given moment, so it won’t consider the paychecks you expect to get later this month (for example). If your Unallocated balance is negative, the expectation would be to take some money out of your spending plan until you can afford to fill the envelopes, so make envelope transfers from budget envelopes back to Unallocated until it’s at 0.00. When you get paid again, put that money into envelopes (this is where the Due Date feature or the envelope tic marks might help, so you can see where your priorities are).
As long as you haven’t assigned more spending than you have in your Account, Unallocated will be zero or positive. Some people choose to leave a bit of money unassigned for unexpected expenses, while others want to have every penny in an envelope and then move things around if something comes up. That’s a pure preference thing depending on how you feel, but either one is fine from a budget perspective.
The bottom line is that Unallocated will always show the difference between what you have on hand and what you’ve planned to spend, so you don’t want to promise more than you can “afford” at any given time.
TL/DR: 1) edit your working account balance to today’s accurate value (assuming all your transactions have been added); 2) make envelope transfers to or from Unallocated until its balance is 0.00; 3) add additional money to your envelopes when you receive more income in your primary account.
Sorry this was long-winded, but I hope it helps!