I want to zero out my "Unallocated"

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!

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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.

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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.

  1. Start all over next time I get paid
  2. Start all over now
  3. Zero out all my envelopes. But then what? Not sure that would work
  4. 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.