Transferring money between accounts

We are new and still learning. I had an unexpected expense. I transferred the money from my unallocated envelope to pay for it. THis left a negative balance in the unallocated envelope. I need to transfer money from savings to checking to make that a balance of 0. But when I do an account transfer… I don’t see where the money went. I assumed it would put it in the unallocated envelope?

Any money you have listed under any account (savings, checking, cash) needs to have a corresponding amount of money in an envelope. I simply have an envelope titled “savings” that reflects my savings account balance. If you choose not to have that envelope or account listed (out of sight, out of mind) then you would have to list it as an income transaction any time you make a transfer from savings to checking.

Edited to add: If you have the money listed under a savings account, it should already be floating around somewhere in your goodbudget envelopes. So if you transfer money between accounts, you won’t see any changes in your envelopes until you move it around.

1 Like

Your Accounts and your Envelopes show the same money, but in slightly different ways. Let’s say you have $1,000 in a checking account and $500 in Savings, and assume you have envelopes for Rent, Food, and Rainy Day Fund (an oversimplification just for illustration). The envelopes you create will start off showing $0 each, and your Unallocated will show $1,500. Now you fill your Rainy Day envelope with $500 and Unallocated goes down to $1,000 (because that’s the money you have that hasn’t been assigned yet.) You fill $500 into the Rent envelope, and $300 into Food. You HAVE $1,500 but you’ve only assigned $1,300 so your Unallocated envelope still has $200 for you to spend as you please.
When you transfer money from your Savings account to Checking, it doesn’t change the overall amount you have so your envelopes don’t change. If you don’t have enough extra money in Unallocated to cover a surprise expense, you’ll need to do an Envelope transfer to move it from one priority to another (Rainy Day to Rent, for example).
One feature that’s been requested is for users to be able to “toggle off” certain accounts so their balances won’t show up in Unallocated—for example, you may not want your Savings Account to look like money you’re free to spend. For the meanwhile though, your best bet is to create an envelope to assign/allocate that money so it doesn’t look so tempting. :blush:
Hope that helps!

1 Like

let me make sure I am understanding. I need to set up an envelope for “savings” in my savings account. Then I can do an envelope transfer between the two envelopes even though they are in two separate bank accounts? and … any money in any account that is not assigned to an envelope including the unallocated will not show up anywhere but is still there correct? and that can be reconciled by subtracting the amount our bank shows in the account minus all the money in the envelopes correct?

Not quite…envelopes aren’t “in accounts”; the two are completely independent. They’re just a representation of how your aggregated money is assigned to be spent. Assuming you track both Checking and Savings (or more) in GoodBudget, your Unallocated balance represents every dollar from every account in one big “pile”, from which you assign dollars to different priorities. If some of those dollars are held in a Savings account and you don’t want to spend them, you need to assign them to a Savings envelope, which sounds confusing because they have the same name. Your Unallocated balance will always be the aggregate amount of all the money in all your combined bank accounts minus whatever you’ve assigned to fill envelopes, whether it’s been spent yet or not (or even if you’ve gone into the red, spending more than you had allowed in an envelope.) In other words, it’s the money left over in the “pile” after you’ve filled your budget envelopes and it won’t update automatically just because you’ve overdrawn an envelope.
Since you’ve made an envelope for Savings, and that money was allocated from the pile of money that included your savings account, moving dollars between Savings and Checking doesn’t change the size of the pile, it only changes your intention for the money. Moving it from a Savings envelope to another category shows that it’s no longer money you need to save, but money you’ve decided to spend.
Hopefully that makes it clearer and not more confusing!

So the envelopes are money combined no matter what bank account? So I need to have an envelope for every penny in all my accounts for all money in all my accounts to be represented on Good budget? Am I understanding?

Yes, that’s correct.

As Tiffany said, envelopes and accounts are INDEPENDENT. Though they’re independent, they need to reflect each other correctly. As you stated, you need to have an envelope for every penny, that’s correct, otherwise you won’t have an accurate accounting of your finances. The easy way that I make sure my envelopes “balance” with my accounts is on the web page on the envelopes tab there’s a total amount of all your envelopes. Now go to your accounts tab and you’ll see a total there. Those two totals need to be equal.

Remember, accounts tell you how much money you have (combined in all various accounts), envelopes tell you how you’re going to spend that money. Personally, I keep my unallocated to zero. If I have money in unallocated and already have all my budgeted envelopes filled with what I need then I do an envelope transfer to move that money to my savings envelope.

So, for your original question (remember envelopes and accounts are independent) what happened is you pulled money out of the unallocated envelope for which you didn’t have enough money in, that’s why it went negative. At this point, you don’t do anything with accounts. You need to do an envelope transfer from any of your other envelopes that you may have excess funds in and transfer it to unallocated.

People manage their money differently using GB. Some people don’t let their budget envelopes have any excess funds so they’ll need to transfer funds from their savings envelope to get the unallocated back to zero.

I apologize if this made things more confusing. If so, just forget what I said and continue following Tiffany because she’s an expert with GB.

I feel like yours is a cleaner explanation than mine. Adding to your “everyone uses GoodBudget differently”, I DO leave some money in Unallocated because I’m bad about sticking precisely to my budgets, lol. I already budget for savings, and I “Set” all my envelopes each month so sometimes there’s a little left over. I leave it in Unallocated so I can dip into it on the fly, and I know how much “mad money” I have. :blush:

Thank you for asking this question. I still haven’t quite reached the stage of “oh, now I get it” with GB yet but this has helped. I’ve been using it for a month now - thought I’d give it a go without worrying about having everything perfect before starting off 2021 properly. This is one of the things I have been puzzling about.

This is one of the more complex answers, but the forums are great for getting help quickly and the Goodbudget admins are quick and super helpful on here too. Drop in any time and there’s a good chance you’ll have an answer within a couple of hours. :blush:
The big “a-ha” moment for me was the understanding that the Accounts tab and the Envelopes tab are showing exactly the same money, just allocated differently. Once my envelopes were set up to see it that way, it was smooth sailing.

1 Like

Understanding that about the accounts and envelopes tabs was definitely helpful to me, too! I hadn’t noticed and had been wondering how I could have some kind of controlling/reconciliation function. I still have a lot to learn but I think I’ve figured out enough to make a good start in 2021. I anticipate spending quite a bit of time in the next few days reading here and tinkering with my budget.