Unallocated vs savings

I thought that since savings is technically unallocated this balance (on envelope screen)should show up as the same as the savings acct on the “account screen” assuming that all other monies have been allocated to envelopes. Is this correct?

1 Like

If I understand you correctly, you’re right. If the amount in your other accounts is all allocated to envelopes down to the penny, the Unallocated balance should equal the savings account balance. (Goodbudget aggregates all your accounts, so the Unallocated balance is the total of Savings, Checking and whatever else you may be tracking.)
That’s hard for me to interpret personally, so I have a Savings envelope that contains exactly the balance of my savings Account. That way my Unallocated balance is accurate to what I can actually spend.
I hope that helps, but I’m not entirely sure it answers your question…


Yes it does. And I think I’ll do the savings envelope instead. Thanks!!

1 Like

This is a slight problem for me as I have two banks and two savings accounts, so I would have to include all 2 of these savings accounts plus the Checling Account that is not primary. Also, a problem raises its head when setting up an envelope, so that Unallocated equals available, when interest or some other transaction changes the totals in these 3 non-primary accounts. I would have to remember to recalculate the envelope with the totals. This seems a little burdensome for me.

I can appreciate that–I have eight checking/savings accounts at four different banks tracked in GB and I use different savings envelopes for each of the accounts and for my Ally savings buckets! Since interest and most of my other transactions/transfers are scheduled, I just set them up that way in Goodbudget. For example, I have a recurring transaction that’s a “Fill from new income” for my interest payments. It adds the amount of accrued interest and automatically drops it into my savings envelope in one action; all I have to do is adjust the amount each month to accurately reflect the deposit. My weekly transfers are also scheduled, albeit in two steps: one, an account transfer from checking to savings and second, an envelope fill to the appropriate savings envelope. If you make a lot of one-off transfers that does add an extra step for those transactions, but if not it’s easy to automate everything.
If you’re not using your savings accounts regularly and they’re not included in your spending budget, would it be worthwhile not to track them at all? Then you’d just record transactions to your primary checking account as income or debit, rather than transfers. I considered doing this since I have easy access to the information via the banks’ apps, but scheduling my transactions has made it simple enough that I’d rather have all the data in one place.

Boy do I have a mental block on how to tell how much of unallocated is available to spend. Tiffany, please tell me if I am correct and if not where I am going wrong. I realize that this is different from what you noted but coming at it from another direction will help me to understand.

  1. I take the total for my checking account.
  2. I subtract from that total the total for my credit card account (pay in full each month and all transactions are from envelopes)
  3. I subtract from that total the total of all my envelopes.
  4. The difference subtracted from my unallocated would be the amount of unallocated available.
    I have played with numbers all my life in my professional capacity, so maybe I am just getting old and not thinking as clearly as I used to, which could very easily be. In any case this has become confusing to me.

I see how you’re planning it, but I think you’re making more work for yourself than is necessary and I think you’re double counting the amount you owe the credit card. The key is that Goodbudget looks at Accounts and Envelopes as two separate but related entities. When you start subtracting envelope amounts from accounts, it gets really confusing.
Let’s say all your envelopes were unfilled–the budgeted amount doesn’t matter, just the fact that the amount of money in the envelope is $0. In that case, the Unallocated amount would be equal to the sum of the money in all of your Accounts (credit cards excluded).
Now just like using cash, you fill each envelope with an appropriate amount; this decreases your Unallocated total (because you’ve allocated some funds) but it won’t change your account balance at all because you still have the money, you’ve just assigned it a “job”. (You can pretty much manage your entire budget in the Envelopes section and never refer to the Accounts, except when it’s time to reconcile them against your bank.) Once all your budget envelopes are filled, the Unallocated balance is the “left over” money. It doesn’t have a job so you can spend or save it as you see fit. The money in your envelopes should be enough to get you through the month, and if your Unallocated balance is positive you won’t end up overdrawn.
The credit cards don’t need to be managed separately since you pay them off every month. (If someone is reading this who’s working to pay them off, just make sure you have budgeted an “additional credit card payment” so you can account for your paydown in your budget.)
If you spend $100 on groceries on MasterCard, it comes out of your Grocery envelope and will be charged against your Credit Card account. If you spend $30 on gas with a debit card, it comes out of the Gas envelope and is removed from your checking account. This is how the envelopes and accounts are tied together. At the end of the billing cycle, you’ve already accounted for the purchases you made on credit from your Unallocated balance when you filled the envelopes, so you should be able to just transfer money from the bank account to the credit card account and it will all be where you expect.
Throughout the month you’ll presumably get more income, and it will go into the Unallocated pile (unless you assign it differently). That should mean that at the start of the following month there’s at least enough in there to reset all your envelopes so they’ll have enough for the next month, but if not this is what Goodbudget refers to as a one-month buffer–it’s the goal to reach.
Finally, it’s good to know that the only time the Unallocated balance changes (I think) is when 1) you receive income into an account and don’t immediately assign it to envelopes, 2) you Fill envelopes from the unallocated money, or 3) you transfer funds to Unallocated from another envelope (sort of an “unfill”). It’s basically just the pile of money you aren’t planning to use for anything else, which is also why I make sure to have a Savings envelope with all my savings money in it, so it doesn’t look like it’s available.
I didn’t intend this to be so long, sorry! But I hope it’s helpful; I think the biggest thing is realizing that envelopes and accounts represent the same money just viewed differently, so trying to reconcile between them adds unnecessary complexity.

Thanks a lot Tiffany, it is going to take me awhile to digest