Using envelopes with Savings Account

Hi All,

I am using GoodBudget to help my daughter start learning how to budget. She understands the envelope system so this is a good app. Hoping someone can offer some insight how to set something up. She gets very overwhelmed with too much information so I’m starting her out with a simple set up. She has three different accounts:

  1. Fixed expenses (she never touches this account - we have it set up to run automatically with deposits and auto payments). I’m not putting this in GoodBudget just yet.
  2. Variable spending account (groceries, auto gas, dog food, etc) - I’ve set up the GoodBudget app for this account. She is two weeks into using it and doing really well.
  3. Savings account (auto maint., clothing, yearly memberships, emergency fund, etc).

I would like to add the savings account to GoodBudget so she can see it grow. I’ve got this account set up with envelopes as well (currently in a spreadsheet).

I was hoping to use the “other” envelopes for the savings account but can’t because they don’t have the “Every Two Weeks” option for filling them. She is paid bi-weekly so the semi-monthly option won’t work. These envelopes don’t seem to have a manual option.

I need to keep the envelopes separate so she doesn’t get the envelopes from each account confused. Does this make sense? I have to be very careful not to overwhelm her (she is on the high functioning autistic spectrum and has limitations).

Does anyone have any tricks they’ve used to set this up? Or would it be best to use a separate app to keep track of the savings account. Any inspiration is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

I think it’s great that you’re helping your daughter learn to budget–it was always just sort of assumed in my house growing up, and I had to teach myself as an adult (after first getting us into a world of hurt with debt!)
You mentioned that some envelopes don’t have the “every two weeks” option to fill, but I think you may be confusing the fills with the budget period. For savings, I would probably set the envelope up as either an Annual or Goal envelope, and whether you choose to add a target amount and/or date is up to you both.
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I find it’s easiest from the web version, but you can schedule Fills to happen every two weeks, as well as Account Transfers (this is how I manage our savings accounts).
Create a new Fill that’s scheduled to drop on her payday and every two weeks thereafter.
Screen Shot 2023-02-04 at 6.36.16 AM

Toggle all the envelopes except Savings to “Add $0” and toggle Savings to “Add $x.xx” if you know the amount already. If it changes from week to week as some of mine do, I personally instruct it to “Add $1.01” and then I just go in and adjust the amount to match the actual savings deposit. (This is just a reminder for me to update it; the amount is so weirdly specific that it’s obvious it needs to be edited.)
Screen Shot 2023-02-04 at 6.34.12 AM

You’ll need to do scheduled Account Transfers to match this allocation as well, and that process is simpler but very similar.
This might be a lot right now if she’s still getting used to using Goodbudget, but it may also “tickle” the organizational part of her brain in a good way (I also have executive processing dysfunction and I just love playing in our budget–but that’s me :slight_smile: )

So, the simplest summary:

1–create a recurring Fill scheduled on payday and dropping every two weeks after that
1a–Toggle every envelope to Add $0 except savings; toggle this one to Add $1.01 or something
1b–After the transaction drops in the register, edit the value to the actual savings

2–create a recurring Account Transfer scheduled on payday and every two weeks after that
2a–edit the Account Transfer to match the revised Savings Fill

(Finally, a not-Goodbudget-approved plug for my bank Ally, which has a great interest rate and Savings Buckets that allow me to break down my savings into subgroups to help me plan for our future. I’m sure other banks do this too, but I’m only familiar with mine)

Everything Tiffany said above is great, but I just wanted to respond to this part directly: in Goodbudget, it’s not possible to connect an Envelope to one specific Account. Or in reverse, you can’t have a separate budget for each individual Account.

You can use Envelope Groups to organise Envelopes in a unified way that helps make sense when budgeting, but this won’t actually stop money from an “unconnected Account” from entering into those Envelopes, so you’ll have to be vigilant about this if you want them to be separate.

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Thank you, Tiffany! This was very helpful. I ended up creating Annual envelopes for her savings account and will manage those for her until she is ready to add another step. So far, she’s doing really well with the bi-weekly envelopes to manage her every day expenses. Have a great day! Jody

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Hi Alex,

I did figure that out. I ended up doing the savings envelopes as annual envelopes so they were obviously separated visually in her app. I’ve got them set up to fill every two weeks with her paycheck. For now, I’m managing those envelopes until she gets completely comfortable with the new system. Thanks for your advice!! Jody