Hi there. I’ve muddled my way through using GB in December and feel confident enough now that I want to start the new year off right (and we got paid a day early, so I can start the new year today. Woohoo!).
I haven’t deleted everything because I’ve finally gotten my planned budget to where I want it. I have moved the small amount of leftover money in my current accounts into savings so that my current account (I think that’s what you call a checking account in the US) balances are at zero.
I have money in various savings accounts, which is reflected in the different envelopes I have set up.
E.g. I have a savings account for holidays with €161 in it. I also have an envelope for holidays with an annual budget of 1,200 and it is currently filled with 161.
Apart from the envelopes that reflect these savings, I wanted to make sure all envelopes are at zero, to start the year off from scratch. So I have essentially done fake transactions until I got to the point where my standard envelopes are at zero and my savings or goals envelopes match up with the amounts in my savings accounts (except for one where a savings goal shows 12.32 less than is in the account - but I’ve decided to ignore that, since it’s a positive and not a negative and a relatively small amount, don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good and all that).
I noticed, however, that my credit card amount is deducted from the total amount of my accounts. I often overpay my credit card (just by rounding up) in order to build up a buffer there. At the moment, for example, my credit card has a positive balance of 8.66. I entered 8.66 under the credit card section of accounts. GB seems to identify that 8.66 as a negative amount and deducts it from my total. Should I have entered -8.66?
Yes, entering a negative value in the expense/credit transaction will record that value as a credit or positive value.
Thanks for replying. It seems counter-intuitive. But on the other hand, this is exactly how I have done it for years on my spreadsheet (mostly because for years all I had was negative balance so whether a number had a plus or a minus before it didn’t matter ). Will make the change now.
And this also sorted out the 12.32 shortfall because when I changed the credit card balance from 8.66 to -8.66 all of a sudden, I had 25.98 in unallocated. I don’t understand why but am not going to hurt my brain any more by trying to. Onwards and upwards!
I hope I’m not beating a dead horse here, but just adding a little more clarity:
Credit cards and Accounts in Goodbudget work like mirror images of each other, since most people store money in accounts and owe money to credit cards. In your case, it sounds like you have a credit balance on your card which is awesome but also pretty rare! Rather than transferring money around or making fake transactions, I’d recommend that you adjust your credit card balance to $-8.66 to reflect the credit on that account (which it sounds like you did). That WILL add money to your Unallocated because it’s available to be spent now, so it’s essentially acting like a little checking account with a tiny balance. That money gets added to your regular cashflow and goes into the Unallocated pile.
Also remember that your envelopes will all essentially go to zero on the first day of your budget period if you have a Fill instruction to “Set” them (not “Add”) to the budgeted amount, and you don’t need to make any dummy transactions. (Clearly things that accumulate like your vacation envelope will need to remain in an “Add” instruction!) This will leave your Unallocated balance as the true remainder of your money in your bank accounts (and your credit balance!) minus the money used to fill the envelopes, which you can then do with what you please (e.g. add more to some envelopes, put it in Savings, or leave it as a buffer for unexpected expenses).
I hope that helps!
I did some extemely weird things when I was starting out so the fake transactions were just to get me to a zero starting point for this one time. From now on, everything should work out. I think. It will at least be an interesting month.
LOL there’s definitely a learning curve! But now that I’ve finally figured out most of the nuance, I can’t imagine not having it