I started GB towards the end of April. I get paid weekly and one other payment at the end of the month. My husband gets paid every two weeks. I want to set up the May budget ahead of time so that we can see what needs to be paid on which date, using the income we have available at the time. We do not have a month cushion yet as we just started this. Any ideas? Thanks!
It may take a little juggling in the beginning as you build up a month’s cushion, but here’s what I’d do:
First, enter all your expected expenses as “Scheduled” transactions. That will put them in your future transactions list but not in your check register. If you know how much you’ll need to spend on essentials, you can budget for other needs, luxury items and savings with the remainder of your expected income.
When you get paid, determine how much is due in the “must pay/must buy” categories (utilities, gas, groceries, etc.) before your next check, and fill your envelopes with enough to cover. Then you can use your Unallocated remainder to fill the other envelopes—be sure to put some in an envelope for your cushion! Each time you get paid, just repeat the process. Eventually you’ll have enough in the Cushion envelope to cover the whole month and you can fill from there (or move it to Unallocated and drain/refill that each month).
I hope that helps!
PS—you can schedule income just like another transaction, so if your checks are consistent you can put them in your future list to help with planning.
Thank you. I am going to have to print that and read it, and read it again!
I am still a bit stuck. We have 1235 in our account right now. We only have one bill due on the 6th for 50.00, but the rest including the mortgage is due around the 16th. Obviously, I will need to budget for groceries in the interim. I get paid 485.20 each Tuesday, which means I will have that in addition by the 16th.
How do I sort the money into envelopes when right now there is not enough to cover everything for the week of the 16th? How do I know I will have what I need for that week if I get groceries this week? I feel like this is the last thing that will catch me up and then I will be good. Do I add in our income up to the 16th and sort it out that way-for right now until we can create a cushion? I am at a loss! Thanks!
I think you have a couple of options, and one may “feel” better than the other.
My preference, since you get paid every Tuesday, (and since Goodbudget now lets you use several different budget periods in the same account–yay!) would be to convert your monthly expenses into weekly budgets using the “Add” instruction until you build up a cushion. For example: Let’s say your mortgage is $500/month or $6,000/year. That means $125/week will be enough to cover your mortgage. Create a weekly “Mortgage” envelope with a budget of $125 but fill it today with $375. Then when you get paid on Tuesday, it will add the budgeted amount of $125 and you’ll be up to the $500 needed for the bill. (Bonus–you’ll actually build a little cushion in that envelope over time because of the four extra weeks per year that aren’t calculated.) Next, make sure the envelope with the $50 bill coming due has at least $50 in it; do a Fill if needed so it won’t come up short.
Now you know how much of your Unallocated balance can be sent to other envelopes, including groceries.
Another option is to go “into the red” in your Unallocated balance OR enter your paycheck early (they’re the same thing really) but that takes a lot more mental gymnastics to be sure you don’t accidentally overspend. If you’ve put all of your scheduled payments into the system you can look ahead to see when you’ll actually have to pay them out, and do some mental math to see whether it’s safe to spend money elsewhere. This has a lot of room for error though, so if you don’t have a savings account you could easily transfer from in an emergency I don’t think it’s worth the risk.
Budgeting can definitely be tricky until you build a cushion, but it sounds like you’re doing it right!
Thank you so much! I think the first option may work better. Definitely didn’t think about setting the mortgage to weekly.