Reset Goal Envelope Date

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  • Updated 4 months ago
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As I understand it, goal envelopes are designed for "one-time savings goals."  But I think they would be better if there was an option to "reset" the goal date so that they could be used again.
I realize a due date was added to the Annual envelope, which I appreciate.  But the Annual envelope logic is that a certain amount must be added by a certain date, regardless of how much money is already in the envelope.  This functionality is great, but not the one I need.
To give an example: I save for vacation expenses every year.  Obviously, I have no idea how much I will actually spend on vacation, and I am always looking for ways to spend less than my budget.  This year, I budgeted $1500.  I spent a little more than $1000, leaving me with $484 and some change.  For this coming year, I want to save UP TO the amount of $1800, but I want the money currently in the envelope to count toward that goal.  Furthermore, I want to be able to reset the due date each year and do the same thing again.
To give another example, my wife likes to keep $120 on hand at all times to make meals and buy diapers for families who just had a baby.  These expenses, obviously, come irregularly, which means she will spend out of the already completed Goal envelope, then save the money up again over the next several months after spending.  It would be good if she could periodically reset the Goal date and have the envelope begin tracking progress toward the savings cap again.
If there is a way to already do this effectively, please let me know!
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D. Aaron Wells

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Posted 2 years ago

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Karisa Russell, Official Rep

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Hi there, 

Thanks for posting! It sounds like you want to be able to save up to a certain balance. So, if you spent some from the Envelope, Goodbudget will give you a smart calculation to get back to that specific balance. Is that right? 

If so, then yes there's not an Envelope for that right now. Currently, Goals with due dates will help you save up the money needed for a one-time expense. While saving, you can spend from the Envelope and Goodbudget won't make you re-save that amount, since what you're filling helps you hit a saved amount target, and not a balance target. One work-around you could try is increasing your budgeted amount. That way, you technically won't have hit the Goal so you can save more. 

For now, I've added your idea to our feedback tracker. 
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D. Aaron Wells

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Karisa,
One year later, is there any hope of adding a reset button to a goal envelope?  I have a number of goals I want to hit for the same things each year, and the annual envelope logic does not work because it deducts any expenditures from the progress when figuring monthly amounts.
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Alex Park, Official Rep

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Hi Aaron,

Thanks for checking back. Unfortunately we're not working on this at the moment, but it is on our tracker for future consideration.

In the meantime, you should be able to use the workaround Karisa mentioned above to simulate a reset. To use your wife's $120 goal expense from your original post as an example, let's say the most recent time she spent from this envelope she spent $100, so $20 was left. Once you've updated the due date to be in the future, to have the goal envelope calculate $100 of added savings so you save back to the desired balance of $120, you can change the budgeted amount of that goal envelope from $120 to $220, and it will have you save $100 more back up to a balance of $120.
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Colin Grant

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It is a bit of a messy workaround though, you have to admit. You say its on your tracker for future consideration. Does that mean there is a commitment to doing this mod or is it just a way of saying noted but we have not even thought about it yet!
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Alex Park, Official Rep

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Hi Colin,

Yes, unfortunately it's a bit of a messy workaround. When Goal Envelopes were created they were intended to be one-time use, so attempting to use them multiple times means you will have to trick the envelope into doing what you want.

We consider every feature request that is made, even if we don't decide to work on it right away. We're not working on this particular feature right now, but we'll let you know if those plans change.

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Colin Grant

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It raises the old problem though Karissa - archiving. It seems very odd to have a process that keeps creating envelopes that cannot be used again but equally cannot be archived/hidden once they are finished with. Maybe a general archive folder would work in which to sweep all entries so that the now redundant envelope can be deleted? Would that work?
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Karisa Russell, Official Rep

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Hi Colin, 

Thanks for posting! I agree it's odd we can create one-time Goals but not archive them when they're done. Right now, your work-around of creating an 'Archive' Envelope to store old transactions into is a good option if you won't to clear out completed Goal Envelopes or Envelopes you're no longer using. 

We have added Bulk Edit on the web, so that will make moving lots of transactions at the same time much easier. You can see how to do that here: https://help.goodbudget.com/customer/en/portal/articles/2852501-how-do-i-move-multiple-transactions-...

Thanks
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Colin Grant

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Just a thought on this - why not just use a standard envelope (they can be used over and over) for this type of saving with the target in the title. An annual vacation is just another expense really so putting money into an expense type envelope works for me. That is what I do and I find myself using the speciality envelopes less and less as a result. You do lose some of the bells and whistles like goals and target dates but I certainly do not miss that. 

As I said, just a thought :-)
(Edited)
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Colin Grant

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Karisa, as a follow on to this, can you set an Annual envelope up with a target date and a target balance of zero and once that target date has been reached can it be changed and the envelope used again?
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Karisa Russell, Official Rep

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Hi Colin, 

Annual Envelopes with or without due dates can be used again, unlike Goals which are designed to be single use. Adding a due date to an Annual Envelope just allows you to pick the date you'd like to hit your goal by each year. By default, an Annual with no due date follow a calendar year, and renew on January 1 each year. 

So, theoretically, the answer to your question is yes. But, GB won't give you a suggested fill amount since your target is zero. 

Does that answer your question?
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Colin Grant

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Indeed it does answer my question, Karisa, thank you. It just adds little bit more flexibility to my suggestion above. To push it slightly further, to add an amount to an annual envelope still means it can be reused with different dates and amount the following year?
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John Vander Stel

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Hi Karisa,

In this situation, I, personally have been renaming the envelope to "unused" and have just reset it's budget amount back to zero.  That way all of the envelope's past "unlabeled" transaction details would remain for normal charting purposes.

Later, I can simply rename that "unused" envelope to serve a different purpose.  It would still retain its "unlabeled" past transaction history lines.

One better, but still simple solution for GoodBudget would be to offer the user a button that would allow the user to gracefully stop using an envelope without losing its attached past transaction history.

Clicking that switch would simply label all of its transaction line notes with the current envelope's name, then change the envelope name to "unused", and finally reset its budget amount to zero.   (This would only be possible if the envelope's balance is zero.  If the envelope's balance is not zero, the user would then be alerted that the envelope's balance must first be zero.)

Of course, all charting routines should then simply consider any possible official renaming label in the notes of each transaction line.

Any user or staff comments or suggestions about this possible solution would be welcomed and appreciated. :-)

Cheers!

John Vander Stel
Grand Rapids, Michigan
(Edited)
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Colin Grant

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That seems a reasonable option too, John. Thanks. Does it play havoc with reports though - not that I use them that much?
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Karisa Russell, Official Rep

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Hi Colin,

To answer your question - "to add an amount to an annual envelope still means it can be reused with different dates and amount the following year?" - yes, you can change the budgeted amount to save a different amount for the new year. In face, you can change your budgeted amount at any time for an Annual Envelope, and GB will adjust the suggested fill to reflect the new target!

And thanks for the suggestion John! Is this a solution to deal with Envelope's you're no longer using?
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John Vander Stel

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Yes, Karisa.  Other GoodBudget users could use the same method I am using, but reports for newly renamed envelopes would then also include the old transaction lines that belonged to the formerly named envelope.

I personally don't actually use the reports, anyway... but for those that do use reports:

GoodBudget could do the things I suggested above with a new "rename envelope" button and then just add an additional routine in the reports section to first look for an official envelope name label in each transaction line's comments field.  If it contains an official envelope name label, that line would be identified as a transaction line belonging to that labeled former envelope name.

In other words, when the reports section recognizes a transaction line for an envelope, each transaction line's comment field will either have an official envelope name label in its comments field or it will not. 

The reports routine for generating reports would first look for an official envelope name label in the comments section of the transaction line.  If the comments section contains an official envelope name label, then that transaction line would instead be processed as belonging the labeled former envelope name.

If the transaction line's comment field does not contain an official envelope name label, then the line would be processed for its particular envelope name, as usual. 

These additional routines would allow old envelope names and their corresponding transaction lines to be retained and that old data would also continue to be used in the generation of reports.

On the other hand, like now, if the user simply deletes an envelope that is no longer needed, then those old envelope transaction lines and their corresponding no-longer-needed envelope would simply be lost.

If you still have questions about this particular suggestion, please ask me about it, Ok?

Been there, done that and got the tee-shirt. :-)

Cheers!

John Vander Stel
Grand Rapids, Michigan
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Colin Grant

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Hi John,
Deleting the envelope and losing the data would not be an issue for me after, say, the budget year end. In that regard it is a shame GB does not have a year end process but I suppose it sort of does via selecting the dates reports cover. Either way what are the implications of deleting an envelope as you describe? True the envelope and all its data will be gone but there are two sides to that as related transactions could be an envelope transfer of a payment out of the bank?

Colin
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John Vander Stel

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I'm not sure I understand what you are actually referring to Colin.  You seem to be well versed in the software and philosophy of envelope budgeting, as well, so I truly do respect your opinion, Colin. :-)

You have helped me to better understand some different styles of virtual envelope budgeting use in the past due to my originally unique style in developing virtual envelope budgeting in isolation.

I developed my own style and unique virtual envelope budgeting software in literal isolation way back in 1981, so because my personal style and philosophy evolved in complete isolation, my style and philosophy may be very different from your own. 

We may indeed be able to learn more from each other by looking through the lens of each other's own uniquely original experience with virtual "envelope" or "zero-based" budgeting.

I may be missing the whole point of your question, but if you would indeed like to completely delete an envelope along with all of its transaction data, then you could go ahead and still simply delete the envelope instead of gracefully changing its name to "Unused" and bowing out of that particular envelope's use, without losing its transaction history data.

Does that answer the question or am I just confused?  I am currently using the free version of GoodBudget to work with my checking account and just track my credit card account with a simple "Credit Card" envelope.  My style of use doesn't actually require the use of GoodBudget's accounts tab or any of the reports, it can generate.

The only report that holds any interest in me whatsoever, due to my unique style of envelope budgeting is the "Budget Allocation" report ... only due to its interesting visual display of the data ... but, even so, there is still no support for actually printing it out on paper, anyway.

If I am totally missing the point of your question and thus completely missing something really important about your question, due to my own unique style, then I am even more curious about how much more I may be able to learn from you about the inner workings of Good Budget.

Cheers!

John Vander Stel
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Colin Grant

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We use it differently, John. I use the full version with all the accounting that goes with it. With that in mind every entry has a corresponding entry be it another envelope (envelope transfer) for bank account (payments in or out). Presumably therefore deleting an envelope and all the entries in it would impact on other areas of the budget. Does that make sense? That is why I always favoured, but have not yet tried, the idea of an archived entry envelope as rather than delete all the entries relating to a deleted envelope they could be transferred to the archived envelope. The alternative is just re-use the envelope and leave all historic data there.
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John Vander Stel

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I understand what you were trying to convey now, Colin.

Colin and Staff:

The free GoodBudget plan that I am personally using does not allow storing an unlimited amount of envelopes, along with each envelope's transactional data.  That is the primary perspective that I am coming from.

Even the premium plan does not offer an easy way to even hide or archive a large number of no longer used envelopes along with their own transactional data. 

At the current time, when one deletes an envelope, one also effectively deletes all of that envelope's transactional data, as well, leaving a permanent gap in historical data which the report functions actually need to generate reports with accurate proportional and percentage representations. 

Thus, when the reports functions draw from incomplete historical data, they create visual representations that represent incomplete historical data, and thus generate inaccurate proportional visual charts and inaccurate numerical percentages.

My proposed solution would eliminate the whole problem internally for all who use GoodBudget, no matter which GoodBudget plan they actually chose. :-)

I welcome any and all questions and comments from users and staff, alike. 

Together, we can solve any problem.  :-)

Cheers!

John Vander Stel
Grand Rapids, Michigan 
(Edited)
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John Vander Stel

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Karisa,

I just thought of one modification to the suggested reports routine.

Before the suggested routine inserts an official label into a comments field in a transaction line, if that comments field already contains an official envelope name label, the official label should not be put into that particular comments section.

The reason for this is because if a transaction line's comment section already contains an official envelope name label, then it's original envelope name was already marked there.  This way, no transaction lines will ever contain more than one official envelope name label.

We definitely don't need the reports routine to be confused by encountering more than one official envelope name label in a single transaction line! ;-)

It's these little logic bugs that a programmer needs to watch out for.

Again.  Been there, done that, got the te-shirt! ;-)

I hope this tip will be helpful in the future. :-)

Cheers!

John Vander Stel
Grand Rapids, Michigan

P.S.  Please include this note along with my other relevant post on your end for future reference.  Thanks. :-)
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Yasin Junaideen

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Hello, I'd also like the ability to have a "balance" goal. Not sure if there is is a way to up-vote specific ideas. But I think this would be useful in several scenarios as D. Aaron originally described.

My example is for gifts. I like to maintain an envelope at about $100 so that when birthdays or other occasions come up, I have funds set aside for it. However, I wouldn't say I'm saving for a goal. I simply refill my envelope when I get paid. That could be any amount, and basically the goal is to maintain a set amount.

If this isn't in the works, I wonder if there's a method to do this that others are using that I'm overlooking. Thanks.
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Alex Park, Official Rep

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Hi Yasin,

Thanks for your comment. Sharing your reply on this thread is your up-vote, and I've added your vote for a Goal Envelope reset feature to our features tracker.

In the meantime, as a workaround for the example you gave, you can change the budgeted amount of your Goal Envelopes to have it prompt you to save toward the desired balance again. Let's say you spent $50 from your Gifts Envelope and want to save back up to $100. If you change your Gifts Envelope budgeted amount from $100 to $150, the Envelope will prompt you to save $50 more than you'd previously saved, bringing you back up to a balance of $100.
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moonshire

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Ah! So this is the problem that I've been having. I initially thought it was a bug. Seems to me that this was a programmer's logical thinking to set it up this way but it isn't really what the end users expected.

"Hi honey, could you head to the grocery store to buy milk and eggs?"
Husband comes back empty handed
"They had eggs but no milk"
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John Vander Stel

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That is a really funny analogy!  Obviously, the problem at hand is much more complicated, though! :-)  Thanks for injecting some comedy, though, Moonshine!  It helps to keep it all in perspective from the user's point of view and it never hurts to put a smile on a support team's face!  Kudos! :-) 

 There are many different ways in which this could be fixed, but the problem seems to be in how they could best fix it without introducing bugs and actively focusing on the most pressing priorities.  It will take a lot of time to work out the best possible solution to this particular problem, so the time to be spent to figure it all out might be spent more wisely on a problem that is of much higher importance or may already have the best fix identified. 

Due to the staff's small size, they must prioritize all problems and commit their time to fix the most high priority problems.  Offering possible solutions may also give them better insight on how long it may take to implement the wisest solution and thus make it easier for them to assign the amount of time it would take to implement the solution. 

Also, the more people who actually need a solution, the higher the priority it will be assigned.  If you also need the problem solved, "me too" the problem so it can be assigned a higher priority. 

GoodBudget has a highly skilled team and they try to get the most bang for the buck in their efforts.   Help to support them by offering your own personal perspective on the problem.  That may also increase the problem's priority, as well. 

As a coder in the past, I truly do recognize the staff's perspective.  Our most productive efforts would be spent on expressing our own unique perspectives on the identified problem, suggesting possible solutions, and indicating how many users the problem is actually affecting.

I, for one, applaud and am very thankful for the exceptionally skilled GoodBudget team!  The effects of the GoodBudget team's exceptional collective talent sometimes leave me in complete awe! :-)

Cheers!
(Edited)
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Shanella Ramlall

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I would also like to "reset" goals. Especially since there is no way to "archive" the reached goal.
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Alex Park, Official Rep

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Hi Shanella,

Thanks for your comment. I've added your vote for this feature to our tracker.

As for "archiving" a completed Goal Envelope, you may consider simply deleting the Envelope if your primary goal is to remove the Envelope from your list and you don't plan to make any changes in the future. This works because deleting an Envelope does not remove its transaction history from your household, all associated transactions will continue to be viewable in your transactions list and your Reports. So if you simply would like to remove the Envelope to reduce list clutter, this is an option you can try.

Hope that helps!