Expense/Credit Transaction Should Allow You to Select “Unallocated” as One of the Envelope Choices

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  • Updated 9 months ago
Maybe I’m all alone on this one but I think I should be able to spend this unallocated income directly without the second transaction entry. I can’t even see why it’s set up this way. Every other “Envelope” drop down menu I have seen includes the “Unallocated” (which is an envelope for all intents and purposes). This seems more like an oversight in the transaction modules set up. I’m sure there is a rationale for why it’s set up this way, I just don’t get it.
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Phil Shuart

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Posted 9 months ago

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Karisa Russell, Official Rep

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Hi Phil, 

Thanks for posting, and welcome to Goodbudget! Your question makes sense, and I do agree that Unallocated is a pseudo Envelope. (In fact, I often describe it to folks as an Envelope.) But, it differs from your regular Envelopes because Unallocated was designed to be a place to hold available money that you can allocate to other Envelopes, rather than a place where you can add miscellaneous transactions. If you were using the envelope budgeting method with physical envelopes, Unallocated would be the Envelope that you put all of your income into right after you withdrew it from the bank. Once you got home, you'd them divvy that income up to your other paper envelopes. 

I might be misunderstanding your intention, but it sounds like you might be looking for a place to add miscellaneous expenses that you don't have an Envelope for. If so, you can create a Misc Envelope and transfer your Unallocated balance there. But, I personally would advocate for making an Envelope for every kind of expense, if you can. That way, you can use the reports to see more easily where your money is going.

I hope that helps! 
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Wayne Woodbury

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This might not be the best answer, but to me, perspective goes a long way.  My perspective of a budgeting application Goodbudget is that it is a tool for gaining and maintaining control of my finances.  Meeting this objective requires tracking.  For that, all income must be allocated to a specific purpose and every expense must be recorded against one or more of those purposes.  Unallocated is an envelope that holds funds until they are assigned a purpose.  To spend directly from this envelope or apply credits to this envelope does not make sense, because those transactions are not recorded against any specific purpose.  As such, you are not able to track what it was for and if it fell within the constraints of your budget.  Reports become meaningless.  It defeats the purpose of using the app in the first place.

That being said, the reality of our existence is many of our expenses are not things we are interested in tracking directly as it just makes extra work in areas of our lives where we feel we are maintaining pretty good control.  For those expenses, I do what Karisa recommended and I have a Miscellaneous envelope.  Actually, I have more than one as I like to differentiate between wants and needs.  For example, I consider toilet paper a need and a raspberry fritter a want (although sound arguments could be made for reversing that assessment).  If I have a need to tighten the belt a little, I'm going to be looking at the "Miscellaneous (wants)" envelope for places I can cut spending.  I probably won't spend too much time looking at the "Miscellaneous (needs)" envelope.

Hope that helps.