Zero Out Unallocated Funds

Any idea how I can get rid of a negative unallocated balance? I’ve been really bad and haven’t used good budget in over a year but am trying to update everything to get back into it. I didn’t want to try and catch up on all my transactions over that long of a time (plus I had gotten my numbers off before I stopped anyway) so I basically moved things around and updated all my accounts and envelopes to reflect my current state of things. Now I have a negative unallocated balance though and I can’t figure out how to get rid of it without messing up other envelopes or my accounts. Obviously, I create an envelope that I just stick it in and not worry about it but that would drive me crazy. Any ideas?

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Welcome!! A negative Unallocated balance means you’ve put more money into envelopes than you have to spend. The only way to “fix” this, assuming your Account balances are accurate, is to put less into each envelope. Remember, Envelopes and Accounts represent the same money, just shown in different ways.
Do you fill all your envelopes at the beginning of the month, with the knowledge that you’ll be paid again? If so, try filling with less money but more often (like half now and half when you get another paycheck) to make sure your Unallocated stays above zero. If you were to spend the money in your envelopes and not have any additional income, a negative Unallocated means you’d be overdrawn.
Hope that helps!

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Hi Tiffany –

Had the same problem. Here’s how I fixed it. Go to upper left of your homepage and click on the plus sign for new transactions. Then enter new income for the amount that is negative in unallocated. Voila. You’ll see your unallocated is now zero. Let me know this doesn’t work for you. I do this every year on 12/31, and it tells me how much I overspent for that year.

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Doesn’t that then also subtract those funds from the account you pick to fill?

Hi. Do you mean account or envelope?

TerpZone—you’re on the right track. This would register income/credit to an account, making your bank account balance go up showing money you don’t actually have. Since you’ve updated your accounts, I wouldn’t use this method because your balances will be artificially inflated and you could overdraw.

I agree completely with Tiffany.

dealing with the exact same issue right now and the stuff they’re saying doesn’t help me because like you I have all these old expenses and I know I have enough money in reality (more than -$1000!) rather than what my unallocated says, so I just created an extra envelope titled “the zero-out envelope” that I’ll just use hopefully this one time to get all this back on track and from now on just keep better track of all my expenses and envelope fills. Thanks for the idea!

Why don’t you just do a balance adjustment on your accounts so they’re all up to date, and then your Unallocated will be accurate (assuming your transactions have been entered)? And if you have transactions you haven’t entered, just download a file from your bank (I personally like QFX for the simplicity) and it’ll be easy to import them.

I’m having the same problem, which should be no shock because I seem to be numerically illiterate. I show WAY too much money in Unallocated, even though all my transactions are in place and I’ve adjusted all account balances to reflect bank numbers. I’ve even quadruple-checked my budget income/envelope fills and it’s below actual income. I have a lot of duplicate fills, and I deleted one which pitched most of my envelopes into the red but increased my Unallocated by the same amount.
In short: Adjusting the account balances didn’t rectify the Unallocated overage.
Our income gets put into only one of our listed accounts; the others are savings, more and less.
As always, Help Me.

Just to be sure; when you say only one of your listed accounts receives income, do you also have envelopes for your other accounts? For example, if you have $1,000 in a Savings account that you do NOT want to include in budgeting, then you’ll need a Savings envelope that contains the same amount. Since the Envelopes track ALL your money in every account collectively, a Savings account you don’t use still looks like available funds on the Envelope/Unallocated side.
To make it easier, I have monthly fills set up for the interest I earn in Savings, so it’s a “Fill From New Income” for the average interest payment that goes into my Savings Account and also fills my Savings Envelope in the same transaction. I may have to adjust it by a few cents, but that helps them stay correlated to each other. I also have transfers and fills that correlate for my regular bimonthly allotments to Savings.
That may not be exactly what you’re asking, but that would be my first thought. If that’s not correct, let me know and I’ll see if I can think of other troubleshooting tips.

Yes, bless you, that’s it. When we switched banks we created little accounts to stick savings in - but we’d been saving via envelope in the one account before, so I didn’t think to create corresponding envelopes for the little savings accounts. Thank you, my Advent just became a little less nutty. Now I can focus on matters of greater import.
Peace be with you!

The statement that negative Unallocated indicates you have more in your envelopes than in your accounts is partially correct. Debt accounts seem to throw off envelopes = account balances.
In my attempt to reduce my transactions to 2021 going forward, I have painstakingly removed all pre-2021 transactions (over 1,000 transfers manually deleted), reset the account balances to what they were before reduction, changed the date on the balance updates to 12/31/20, and refilled my envelopes. I now have a negative Unallocated amount the size of a mortgage. I have spent hours trying to fix this, to no avail. Is there a way to take care of this?

While it may not be entirely what you’re looking for, I would at least take a look at this Back on Track Video.
This is a sticky problem, and the answer isn’t immediately apparent. Do you have a large amount of money in a Debt envelope? The envelope should only hold the current budget period’s payment, while the Debt Account shows the entire balance. For example, I pay $300/mo on a loan with a balance of $20,000. The Debt Account has a balance of $20K while the debt envelope has a balance of $0 (since I’ve already made this month’s payment) but will be back to $300 on the 1st.
Are the balances in all your accounts, including debt accounts, correct today? If they are, and your envelopes are appropriately filled, the Unallocated should be on track as well.
I’m not sure how to reconcile this today, but importing transactions may be one method of making things align. Unfortunately, and the Admins can elaborate on this, transactions that have been imported in the past won’t likely show up again, so if they’ve been deleted they might be lost to import as well. @alex or @karisa, if a person imports transactions in a different format, for example they were previously imported as .qfx and are now imported as .csv, does that override this issue? Or would deleted transactions be re-imported anyway?
If that’s an option, and you want to clean up all of 2021, I would adjust your balances in each account back to the balance on 12/31/20, then import all the transactions for the year in a huge file. Match up everything that’s already present (make sure the fuzzy matches are correct–that can be a sticking point if you’re not careful) and add anything that’s missing but shouldn’t be. That should mean your deposits and withdrawals are correct for the year, which should align to your present balance. (Reconciling the accounts will need to be done in batches, since the system won’t clear that many transactions at once.) It sounds like you’ve already done some of these steps so maybe that’s not where the problem lies either.
Barring that, it may be necessary to request a review with an Admin who can view your accounts in real time and see where the numbers got off.
I wish you the best–this kind of thing can be SO frustrating, especially if it turns out to be a simple issue.

If your Envelopes and Accounts totals aren’t matching, shoot us an email at! Even if you have Debt Accounts present, they should be evened out.

As for just the Import switch suggestion that Tiffany asked us to weigh in about, generally speaking, we don’t recommend switching Import file formats, as there will likely be some issues in the transition. For example, the matching process for previously-imported transactions is different for QFX/OFX and CSV files. So if you switch from QFX to CSV, and the CSV contains previously-imported transactions, you’ll likely accidentally import those again, because Goodbudget won’t know to tell you that those transactions already exist.

If you do switch file formats, it’s best to portion them off by date if possible, and only upload date ranges that you haven’t uploaded before.

I do the same thing. And it tells me how much I had to move from savings and can give me an idea of how much I need to increase the envelopes the following year. Some people will say that it’s not living within your “budget,” but it works for me.