Recording an item from an external account

Hello. I have been using Goodbudget for several years now simply as an envelope tracker but I am, more and more, tracking my checking account, as a whole.

My question is about when I have a budgeted item (regular cell phone bill) that I plan to pay with a gift card that I recieved, rather than my checking account. Do I simply remove it from the budget that month or is there a way to record this?

There are a couple of options IMHO:
1- if you use multiple accounts, you could create one for the gift card. To keep it out of your Unallocated balance (if you want to) you’ll need an envelope to match. Then you would pay the bill as usual but from the gift card account, then transfer money from the gift card envelope to the one you pulled the bill from.
2-if you don’t want to track the card, I would also pay the bill like always, then add a credit to the checking account for the amount (like you’d do if you returned an item to the store, for example). This will keep your checking account balance accurate and your bills all tracked, but your envelope won’t reflect that spending.
3-or like you said, you could just delete the bill for one month, but I’d invariably go looking for it, forget I’d used the gift card, and panic that I hadn’t paid it!
It all just depends on how granular you like to be in your reviews.
Hope that helps!


If you want to record it and be able to see what happened long after you’ve forgotten about it, I would add an account for the gift card with it’s current balance. If you carry an unallocated balance then you can just leave it there. If you haven’t filled your cell phone envelope yet for the month then do it now. When you pay the cell phone bill, just record it against the regular envelope and the gift card account.

If you’ve already filled the cell phone envelope then you can leave the gift card balance unallocated, or add it to any other envelope. No need to keep it separate or transfer it between envelopes, all your account balances are fungible.