Coming from YNAB…
Info needed to help me: husband gets paid every 2weeks. Same amount, same day. All bills are on autopay from our only bank account. We have an emergency fund and no debt/credit cards. We have 3months income saved.
I have set up my envelopes. I have recorded my husbands paycheck (just one since signing up). I have recorded transactions as they happen.
Is that it? I feel like there should be more. YNAB felt very stressful with checking your balances, accounts, moving money here and there, etc.
We want to buckle down on the “extra” money after the bills are paid. It’s not extra as in go buy a car but extra as in vet bills one day or Christmas gifts.
I wanted to make sure I’m doing this correctly.
Don’t usually respond, but your message caught my eye.
My wife and I have been following a strict envelope budget system for over 30 years. Our budget is very close to reality as we have been living with it for these many years.
We use history plus trends to determine our monthly amounts as well as actual amounts (payment dues). after we do our budget we take what’s left and set it in “unassigned” so in the end we come out with a zero balance. While we try to keep to our budget, as sure as I am sitting here, the unexpected happens which means sometime we have an envelope with a negative balance even after drawing down the various emergency envelopes.
One thing that has really helped us, and we have been doing this for years, is we each have a personal spending envelope that is budgeted in. This personal spending envelope we each use doesn’t have any accountability and no permission needed from the other, We can let it build up as fast as we want depending on our spending which lets each of us to get our guilty pleasures without a fight.
Hope this all helps.
I really think you can make Goodbudget work for you. Whether you want a simple budgeting solution or a fairly complex one, either can be effective.
I’ve never used YNAB, so forgive my ignorance, but what you’ve described sounds like all you “have” to do. To make things a bit easier, you can schedule your husband’s paychecks since they’re consistent and that way they’ll drop in automatically every two weeks. You can do the same for your bills since they’re on autopay as well.
I assume you’ve set up your envelopes since you say you’ve input transactions, but my one recommendation is to review your spending at least quarterly and make adjustments to your budget envelopes based on your real habits.
You certainly should keep an eye on your balances, but if you’ve allocated the money appropriately and are diligent with your transaction entries, the envelopes should tell the whole story. And at those times when you need to borrow from one envelope to cover an expense in another, Envelope Transfers are quick and easy.
It sounds like you’d benefit from a Goal envelope (if you don’t already have one) to hold that “extra” money you mentioned. You might even want two; one for gifts and one for unforeseen expenses. That way you can have money available for things that are bound to come up unpredictably, but you won’t necessarily have to dip into your true savings.
Finally, you mention just one bank account but if you happen to have a savings account as well (for your three month safety net) be sure that money is allocated if you track it in Goodbudget. If you have an account with a balance, it will show up as Unallocated until it’s assigned so either track it outside of the program or make an envelope for Savings that mirrors the balance in that account.
I hope all that helps and makes sense!
Welcome to Goodbudget!
It sounds like you’ve got everything set up. But, just in case, it looks like you didn’t mention filling your Envelopes. That’s a crucial step in Goodbudget because it essentially takes the money you’ve entered into GB, and allows you to allocate it to your Envelopes for spending.
So, just in case, here’s a link to a tutorial: Step 4. Fill Your Envelopes | Goodbudget
GB is pretty easy, don’t overthink it. Create one Account for each place you have money you can spend (Checking, Savings, PayPal Balance, Wallet Cash, etc). Create monthly envelopes for all your bills and regular expense categories. Create Goal envelopes (with no due date) for Emergency Fund, Christmas Fund, Veterinary Fund, etc. When you have “extra” income just allocate it to those Fund envelopes.
I have done that- that was part of setting them up and then he got paid.
Great! the only thing left is to decide how often you want to reconcile with your bank files. Once a week I download the QFX file from my bank, import it into GB, and go down the list to make sure everything matches.
I always have extra transactions in the bank file than I have in GB. These are typically online or app purchases where I didn’t have a paper receipt to enter. You can drag these transactions to envelopes on that page, but I often don’t like the way the transactions are named in the bank file, so I keep a second window open to the Add Transaction page and just enter them manually as I go.
Did you know that if you drag the transaction to “Other Envelope”, it will let you change the formatting, name, etc.? That way you can still do everything from one tab and save a few clicks.
I had not noticed this before, thanks for the tip.
Combined with my bank now using cleaner names in the QFX file, this works great now! Much faster than entering by hand.
Thanks for sharing that detail! Sounds like something that could be useful to have on the Help Center page … I’ll look into getting that added.