Setting up how to handle partially cleared credit card payments

I’m setting up my accounts and I want to enter all the unreconciled transactions into my accounts so that when I go to reconcile to my next statement they will match up. The problem I’m running into is that I have several credit card payments that have already cleared/reconciled on the checking side, but not cleared/reconciled on the credit card side. So I want to see the payments in the credit card account for when I reconcile those, but not in the checking account since I’m only inputting the uncleared transactions in each account. I know normally credit card payments are handled as a transfer from Checking to the Credit Card account, but in this case would I just enter them like a return transaction (as a negative amount working on a laptop). I plan to just use a dummy envelope to charge all these too during the set-up process

Cleared and Reconciled act a bit differently–if you mean they’ve cleared, as in, the money has been credited to your credit card but has not yet left your bank, you can enter them into GoodBudget as cleared transactions, or even as Reconciled if you wish (just click the line item in the web version and the status box will appear). Clearing or reconciling a transfer in one account does not affect the other account for exactly the reason you’ve described.
When you next reconcile the account, the previously reconciled transactions will not appear so it wouldn’t affect the balance of that account. Cleared transactions will, so if they didn’t appear on your last bank statement you won’t want to reconcile them until the appropriate statement comes in.
I realize this doesn’t sound very clear but I hope the process helps. In short, enter the transfer as it happened–from checking to the credit card–then clear or reconcile the side that has gone through but not the other.
Using dummy envelopes is usually not a good idea because the money is assumed to be real no matter what, and deleting the envelope either returns to or takes money from Unallocated to make up the difference. It’s better to use real envelopes and transactions and adjust your account balances accordingly if there’s a need for edits. The return/credit/negative amount you mention will be entered as income regardless of whether you put it in a dummy envelope or not.

You are right I wasn’t very clear with my terminology. I guess I was meaning reconciled both when I said cleared and reconciled. What I mean is since I’m coming from another envelope based program I want to be able to take the balance of my envelopes and transfer them over. Which means I’m going to set-up the accounts in Good Budget and all money will be transferred out of Unallocated (where it initially puts it which is kind of what I meant by a dummy envelope) and to the correct envelope matching the current envelope balances of my old program. So basically the money already came out of my envelope in the old program for the transactions that are entered, but some of them haven’t been reconciled in Mvelopes yet so I still need them to show up as transactions in my accounts (but not my envelopes) so that when the next statements comes all the transactions that are on it appear in Good budget. So basically I only need one half of the credit card payment transaction to show up. Just the credit card side and not the checking side. I’m entering all the transactions I’m transferring from the old program to this program just assigned the unallocated envelope because I don’t want to go through the extensive time it would take to recreate them to their correct envelopes and I wouldn’t want that anyway because the envelope balance I’m transferring over from the old program already has them subtracted since they were entered there initially. So I was basically just trying to come up with a way to show the credit card side of the credit card payment only so I can reconcile it when the statement comes and I couldn’t do it as normal because then I’d have the checking side too and I don’t want that side since I already reconciled it in the old program and don’t want that side transferred to Good Budget. It should work just entering them as you would a return because then I’ll see it in the credit card accounts when I reconcile, but it won’t mess up the checking account balance. It is a very complicated mess to transfer from that program to this program since I have 19 accounts and 67 envelopes. I think I got it figured out though mostly I hope

Just to be sure–and you may know this already–the envelopes and accounts represent exactly the same funds, just viewed from different perspectives. You won’t be able to show transactions in envelopes OR accounts, but you could adjust the balances manually (although I don’t think that’s the easiest way) to account for the discrepancies. However, if crediting your account for unreconciled transactions works for you, then that’s great–but it seems unnecessarily cumbersome IMHO. May I share an example?
On the day of the data migration from one program to another, you have $1000 in checking and a credit card balance of $1,200. You’ve made a payment of, say, $500 that has been reconciled in Checking (the statement has come and you’ve balanced it against the previous statement). However, the payment has not yet been credited to your credit card. That means that when they’re both cleared, the Checking balance will be $1000 and the credit card will be $700, correct? By inputting that Account Transfer exactly as expected, reconciling the transaction on the Checking side but not the credit card side, and inputting the account balances of $1000 and $1200, everything will align. When the credit card posts the payment, you’ll clear it and the CC balance will now be $700 but the checking balance won’t change. (You can reconcile and clear transactions between accounts independently in each account.)
Each account in the web version of Goodbudget will display a current balance and a cleared balance; in this case the current and cleared checking balances will both be $1000, but the current CC balance will be $700 and the cleared CC balance will be $1200 (since the payment has been entered but not cleared or reconciled).
I’ve pared my envelopes down to “just” 31 now, but I’m also juggling 26 accounts, and in multiple currencies, so I feel your pain! I learned a lot by trial and error in the beginning, and those of us who use the program a lot have developed some interesting workflows (like kschedler’s Projected Income envelope, for example).

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I’m trying to track with what you are saying, but I think you might be missing that payment was input on both sides in the old program it is just that one side is reconciled already and one isn’t. So I put I the correct account balances from my old program adjusting for the amount of all unreconciled transactions that I was going to re-enter so that after I entered those (which I’m doing so they will be there to reconcile when I get the next statement) then it would match the balance from my old program which would be the actual balance for the envelopes and accounts (which match in the old program because yes it is talking about the same funds). If I put in the payment on both sides, but it has already been reconciled on checking then when I get the statement to reconcile I’ll have that side of the transaction sitting in checking unreconciled (because it won’t be on the statement nor on a future statement) and if I mark it reconciled the account balance will be wrong since it was already reconciled on a previous statement. Everything should still be lined up because the next payment I do I will do as a regular transfer and that will be correct. I’m only talking about the one payment on a few accounts that I’ve already made. So the checking side has already been input in checking in the old program and been reconciled so next statement I don’t want to see it in the new program and that will be correct because it already was reconciled. On the credit card side I will see it (because I just entered that half as a return) and be able to reconcile it when the statement comes and that balance will also be correct. The envelopes won’t be affected because the money pulls from the envelopes when the transaction are made (which was done in the old program) not when the bill is paid. So basically I accounted for all unreconciled transactions in each account and then entered that adjusted account balance to start then entered all those unreconciled transactions and after that then each account balance matches the account balance in the old program. Then I started all the envelopes at the balances they were in the old program and the account and envelope balances match in the new program so I think I should be all set. It shouldn’t mess up account or envelope balances I don’t think for next payment because all the transactions for that will be in this new program

That sounds like it would work; I just wanted to point out that if you manually mark a transaction as Reconciled it won’t show up at the next reconciliation nor will it affect your previous balance. That’s USUALLY a bad thing (makes reconciliation a nightmare) but in this case it would work in your favor!

EDIT–I stand corrected. Apparently you can’t manually reconcile a payment–I’ve been using GB for many years but never realized how that behavior changed between transactions and transfers. You CAN reconcile line items, which is what I was envisioning. Sorry–yours may in fact be the simplest solution given that restriction.

Apologies if I’m slightly misunderstanding your situation, as I tried to catch up on what you and Tiffany were discussing, but if you’re trying to make something (a CC payment, in this case) show in one side and not the other, you might simulate it with an adjustment?

Like, let’s say your credit card balance was 500, then you paid it off to 0, and now (at the time you’re setting up Goodbudget) it’s…250. If you enter the balance of the Account as 750, then save, then go back and edit it down to 250, you’ll have a transaction that stands as a decrease of 500 in your balance, that you can consider the “payment” for Reconciliation purposes? That way it only touches one Account.

Would there be a difference/advantage to doing it that way as opposed to just doing a credit transaction like a return? The envelope balance doesn’t matter because all the money went into a set-up envelope when I set up the accounts and then I used took/added all the transaction to that envelope that I was duplicating from the other program for the reconciliation purposes and then I transferred all the money left out of that envelope to the correct envelopes so all their balances matched the old program (where the original transactions and payments had been charged to) and everything balanced when I was done.

If the Envelope balances don’t matter, the only reason to do what I suggested is to minimize the “paper trail” (because it’ll only create a transaction in the Account rather than the Account and an Envelope). But if you just want things set up and don’t care about the “evidence”, it doesn’t really make a difference!