Is it possible to just use the envelope function?

I have multiple places that I manage our finances, our budget is in spreadsheet form, I have a different money managing program to manage all our accounts, I only need GoodBudget to replace the paper envelopes filled with real paper cash. I don’t want to load my budget, I don’t want to list my income, I just want envelopes.

I reload envelopes weekly and my monthly budget varies in start and end date. We also have months with higher budgeted amounts then other months, there’s no real consistency.

I tried this app for a week and I loved the ease of entering receipts and it deducting from the total. At the beginning of the next week, all my budgeted amounts reset to the weekly fill, they didn’t hold the extra from the week before. Also, I keep getting unallocated funds even though everything is balancing. I’m thinking this has to do with not wanting to use the income part?

Am I trying to fit a square peg in a round hole? Can I use the app just to show envelope totals on mine and my husband’s phone and just keep track without having to enter a bunch more info? Please tell me there’s hope for me!

You can do that because in GB envelopes and accounts are independent, but related. So you can just fill envelopes and expense from them. However, it can get pretty ugly and out of control because you’ll still have to set up some type of dummy account to use when you pull from an envelope. The real problem is that it can be pretty easy to think you have money in a particular envelope, but in reality you don’t, or vise versa.

GB is designed to look at all your accounts and allocate that money into envelopes. So the total in your envelopes needs to equal the total in your accounts. If you’re only dealing with envelopes then it may not reflect what you actually have. So I’d be careful doing that.

I’m sure others on this forum can chime in and add better advice.

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Well, I don’t envelope all the money in my accounts. Like I said, I have another program that actually manages what comes and goes from my account. In the past, I used to pull actual money out of my account and put it in real envelopes, that became a big problem when stores closed and I started spending the majority of my “envelope cash” through online orders and grocery pickups. No more paying for anything at a checkout station with cash in hand. On my financial software, I enter a line item each week for “envelope funds” that money is then removed from my actual account and no longer shows as available. If I managed everything in our financial portfolio in envelope form, that would be a mess.

Wayne’s right—but there’s definitely an answer for you!!
If I were you, I’d use the Account in Goodbudget to only record the money you used to pull out in cash, but don’t relate it to your real money. For example, if you would have pulled $500 in cash and allotted that to groceries, gas and coffee envelopes you can mimic that in GB. Just record “income” equal to the cash equivalent and then dole it out to your envelopes. Continue to include the line item in your other software to cover the “withdrawal” (balancing that way will be trickier—but do-able) That way GB is 100% dedicated to your “cash” spending but leaves out the money you manage elsewhere. I hope I’ve described that clearly enough. Does that help?

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That’s exactly what I’d like to do. The only issue I have is that it requires a monthly setup. So, our grocery budget for example varies from month to month. So I don’t have a consistent amount to enter in the amount column when setting up the envelope. I tried setting it at zero and letting it just fill week to week but I think that’s causing the unallocated funds. It also didn’t hold over the amount that was left over at the end of the week.

For reference, I budget monthly then divide the available amount by the weeks (sometimes 4, sometimes 5) and whatever that comes to is my weekly amount for that month. The rollover is essential because of the variation in our budget.

Your Unallocated represents the difference between what’s in your account and what’s been allocated to your envelopes. If you’re not moving money 1:1 you’ll have an Unallocated balance, which may be negative. For example, your account has $500 and you allocate $100 to each of five envelopes. The Unallocated balance will be $0. In a month you do that again, but without adding any money to the “account” you’ll have a negative Unallocated total.
It sounds like you’ll want to Fill your envelopes using the “Add” function instead of “Set”. This will force a rollover no matter how much you’re over or under from the prior month.
If your budget is based solely on whether there are four or five weeks in a month, you could create two different fills and schedule them sufficiently far into the future that you could just choose the one that fits each month and use the “enter now” instruction. Otherwise, create a “fill from new income” instruction each month (this is the equivalent of physically filling your cash envelopes) and remember to use the “Add” instruction for each envelope to roll over. That should make everything nice and clean.

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I like the idea of two different envelope fills. I could also just manually enter each week’s fill, correct? Add the funds and set the envelope fill at the same time, is that possible?

I had my fill set to ADD but it still ended up resetting my envelopes. One envelope was over like $100, I did it intentionally, but it reset to the total balance I added instead of deducting the $100 deficit first. Did I just find a weird glitch this week or is that a normal thing?

Could the reset also be due to the fact that I have the budgetted amount for each envelope set to zero? I like seeing each week in a full bar, putting the full amount in but only filling the envelope partially each week makes it look like I’m missing a lot of money. In fact, some of my envelopes have a very large budgetted amount so the “green bar” looks really small compared to the full monthly amount, if that makes sense.

  1. Yes, you can certainly add money each week! A “fill from new income” will both add money to your Account AND disburse it to Envelopes. (Remember these are two different representations of the same funds)
  2. It sounds like your toggle may have been bumped to Set. If you Add money to an envelope, it will roll over. For example, if you have $50 in an envelope and you Add $100, the new total in the envelope will be $150. If you’ve overspent and your balance is (-$25), Adding $100 leaves you with $75 in the envelope. (These instructions don’t take your budget into account at all.)
  3. I’m not totally sure I understand your last experience. Are you saying, for example, you budget $100/month but only add $25/week? If so, you’re right in that the green bar will never be full. Maybe a weekly budget might work better?
    Keep asking questions if that wasn’t clear!