Starting Point for Annual Envelope Goal

I want to use an “other” envelope to track my contributions to charitable organizations. The way I would like to handle this is to establish a certain amount that I want to give every year (i.e. the envelope amount) and then fill the envelope as money is given until I reach the goal.

I also want to track this “annual giving” from September to the end of August of the following calendar year (i.e. September 1 2021 to August 30 2022).

I only started tracking my budget in GB as of Jan 1 2022, but I would like to reflect the fact that my Charity envelope is already half full for example (i.e. amounts I’ve already contributed since September 2021)…

What would be the simplest way to do this (NOTE: I don’t really care about the income and individual contributions that went into getting to this point with the envelope)?


Just to clarify, every time you give to charity, you are adding to this envelope balance? That is the opposite of how envelopes work and is going to throw everything off and cause confusion down the line.

Spending/giving money away reduces your envelope balances. Fills/income increase your envelope balances. The only way to get an envelope balance to increase from a transaction is by entering a negative amount (i.e. a credit like when you return something for a refund). If you did that, then you’re also adding that amount back to your accounts/unallocated. So if you gave $100 to a charity but entered it in GB in such a way as to increase the balance of your Giving envelope, your GB account balance will be $200 greater than what you actually have in the bank.

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Sorry, I realize what I was asking wasn’t perfectly clear. I would also be filling the envelope periodically as income comes in, so that every donation would still make sense as drawing down the envelope. But what I was really trying to do was reflect the current state of things without having to enter all of the income/expense transactions. But I think that’s what I’ll do anyway because there aren’t that many and it’ll just work as designed.

Thanks for the response!

I would try setting this up as an Annual envelope with a due date of 12/31. That way, at least GB will tell you how much you have added and how much you have left to add, even if in the meantime you have spent/given some of the balance down.

If you’re determining at the beginning of the year how much you’d like to give, I wonder if it might make sense to set this up as a Debt Account that you’re “working to pay down”. Let’s say you decide to give $1,200 this year, so you set the balance due on your debt account (with 0% interest) as $1,200. An envelope will be created for those payments that you can use like any other budget envelope (i.e. fill it or not, whatever works for you). When you make a donation, it will be reflected as a payment against that debt and you’ll be able to see your progress against your target at any given time. On the first of the following year, you should be able to Edit the amount due on the debt Account for the following year, and an “Updated” line item will show the total from the previous period.

I actually gave this a go and it seems to work. I created a Charity account on the “first of last year”, then paid it off throughout the year, then changed the amount due for this year.
Here’s how it would look at the end of the year:

And here’s how it would look as the new year’s goal is established:


@Tiffany I like that suggestion since it is conceptually the way I am treating it. Thanks!


Ok, I do run into one issue when I set things up this way…if I make a donation using my credit card (that I am tracking in GB), I cannot figure out how to make everything balance because I cannot record the credit card transaction as being allocated to the debt (charity) envelope. If I use the debt transaction to record that donation, I have to choose a non-credit account as the source, but that isn’t right either.


Hmmm, I hadn’t thought about that but I definitely see your point. I think something similar to this came up before, when someone asked about transferring a balance from one card to another one with a better interest rate, and that wasn’t supported.
I think I have a workaround, but it’s likely more trouble than it’s worth. You would probably have to just adjust the balances of both the credit card debt account and the charity debt account manually, then rename the transactions to make sense. In that case, you would choose the Add/Edit button on the Accounts tab, here:

and then adjust the balances manually by increasing the credit card balance by the amount donated, and decreasing the charity “card” balance by the same amount, like this:
Screen Shot 2022-01-10 at 7.50.02 PM
That will create line items/transactions in each account where you can rename or add notes, but I get that it’s more work than you were hoping for. Still, it does accomplish your goal of tracking the amount donated against a goal AND maintaining accurate accounting in your credit card.
Again, I haven’t tested this extensively but I think it would work.

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This might actually work for me because this is more of a one-off scenario - I made the donation using the credit card before I decided I was going to track things in GB. Going forward, all donations would be made from a charity savings account I have set up and tracking in GB so I should be ok. Will give this a try!

Tiffany has more than ably described how this would best work, but just wanted to chime in quickly to confirm that yes, in any case where you are “paying a Debt Account with a Credit Card Account” (even if you’re technically not, like in your case), doing manual adjustments of both Accounts is currently the best way to make that happen.

@alex highly recommend updating GB to be able to pay a debt account with a credit card. This is possible in real life, so GB should allow it also.