Discrepancy between digital and real envelopes

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  • Problem
  • Updated 1 year ago
Love the app, but every month we're finding we have a big discrepancy between our good budget envelopes and our actual cash. We're in Nepal, a totally cash based society, and are in the habit of recording every transaction as it occurs (at least we think we're remembering!). We keep the month's cash in a big pencil case, and top up our own wallets from that when needed.
Thus far we've often had a couple of envelopes that go in the red, but have always had others that have excess left over, this balancing each month.
However, at the end of each month the total cash good budget thinks we still have is always much more than reality. Right now the app tells me we have about 6000 rupees more than is actually in the pencil case and our wallets. (The only record of transactions we have is good budget as there's no receipts, so we can't really go back and make sure every payment was recorded.)
My wife and I share the good budget account, so two phones are recording transactions.

Any ideas what couple be happening? Possible options that I can see:

1) We're forgetting to record a number of transactions
2) Some don't get saved properly, maybe when syncing across devices
3) We're being given inaccurate change all the time
4) Someone is stealing from us

Is there any chance this isn't just human error on our part, as we're really trying to do it well.

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Jon Slack

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Posted 1 year ago

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Wayne Woodbury

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Any of the above could be happening.  The one thing I can recommend to help you narrow down the source of the problem is to create three accounts: Pencil Case, Jon's Wallet, and [Wife Name]'s Wallet.  When you move money from the pencil case to a wallet, record a transfer transaction so that the Pencil Case account accurately reflects the amount in the pencil case and the wallet account matches what is actually in your wallet.  When you spend money, record the expense from the desired envelope(s) and whichever wallet the money comes from.  The remaining balance in the wallet account should always match what is in your wallet.  Check it regularly for discrepancies.  If you find one, you either know you have forgotten to record a transaction or there is a really good pick pocket lurking about who can get money out of your wallet without you knowing it.

Before you move more money from the pencil case to your wallet, check the balance of both accounts against the actually money in the pencil case and your wallet.  Both should match your records.  It should be easy to spot where the problem is occurring.  Fixing the problem is another story....

Good luck.
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Karisa Russell, Official Rep

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Hi Jon, 

Sorry for the troubles! That definitely sounds really confusing! 

Although unlikely, there's a chance it could be a syncing error. When you're not syncing, the Goodbudget app will let you know by telling you it can't connect to the server. If you've been seeing an error like that, try force syncing the app by tapping on the Overflow Menu > Sync. That will force down any changes that haven't been pulled down to your device yet. 

If that doesn't help, Wayne's suggestion of using multiple Accounts to track your separate wallets and the pencil case sounds like it could give you a more gradient look at your separate wallets, so you can spot check errors more closely. For example, if you have a Jon Wallet Account in Goodbudget, you could check that balance on daily or weekly basis to double check it's correct. 

Finally, now that you see the discrepancy, be sure to update your Goodbudget Account balance now so that it correctly matches what you have in your pencil case. You can do that on your Android by tapping on the Overflow Menu > Edit Accounts. This way, Goodbudget's helping you budget with the correct amount of money. 

Hope this is somewhat helpful!
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Wayne Woodbury

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Just another note.  I keep some cash in my wallet and have an account for Cash On Hand in Goodbudget to track it.  I also frequently find the amount I have in my wallet does not match the amount recorded in Goodbudget.  The biggest cause of this is I don't record transactions at the time they occur.  I try to remember things in my head for a time, but ultimately I know I am forgetting to record them. 

One thing I do to help is I don't track coins as they fall out of pockets or get lost in the laundry too easily.  I track only whole bills.  I try to always spend the coins in my pocket whenever change is required, but I don't record it.  I find that even though I might use coins that came from another budget envelope, it has a negligible impact on my overall budget and all comes out in the wash (so to speak) over time.