Unallocated at the end of month

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There are too many hits for 'Unallocated' on the forum, from a wide range of years. Reading all of them is a pain. Sorry if I ask something that has been answered

1. Where is money that remain in [Unallocated] gone at the end of a budget period?

2. What is a good approach to managing what remains in [Unallocated], and in general, to what remain as Unspent in monthly envelopes? I would like them to automatically be transferred to a predefined envelope at the end of month. I remember reading about [Sweep] envelope, but I can not find it. I am using Goodbudget for Android and a web based version on desktop computer. Is the [Sweep] thingy gone away?

3. As an alternative to automatic transfer from 2, I could go with performing such a transfer manually though tedious it could be. Is there a way to perform such a transfer with leftovers from the previous months (see question 1)? I can compute the leftover amount from the report (Income vs. Spending), but how do I register such a transaction in the application? This is not a transfer from an envelope to an envelope. This is neither a new income.

I enjoy using goodbudget, it really makes me more disciplined, but I seem not to understand its intended use. Please shed some light on the above issues.

Thanks in advance.
Niko
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Nikolai Krot

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Posted 2 years ago

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Wayne Woodbury

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Hi, Niko.

To answer your first question, it helps to understand the difference between and Envelope and an Account in Goodbudget.  When you receive money, you typically put it in the bank in a checking or savings account.  In GB, your Accounts represent your bank accounts.  For example, if your employer pays you $1000 and you deposit that money in an empty account, the account balance is now $1000.  If you earn another $500 and deposit that in the same account, the balance is now $1500 (I know this is really basic, but stick with me).  Your Envelopes are simply a way to manage how you spend your money.  When you fill your envelopes, you are simply earmarking your money for specific purposes.  You might earmark $500 for rent, $300 for groceries, $100 for gasoline, and $100 for trombone lessons.  That leaves $500 you have not earmarked.  Money in the Unallocated envelope is simply money you have not earmarked for a certain purpose.  The total money in your envelopes (including Unallocated) should always match the total balance in your account(s).  When you spend money, the expense is deducted both from your account as well as from one or more envelopes so that the total amount in your envelopes continues to match the total in your account(s).
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Wayne Woodbury

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Sorry, I clicked submit before I was done.  Here's my full post:

Hi, Niko.

1. To answer your first question, it helps to understand the difference between and Envelope and an Account in Goodbudget.  When you receive money, you typically put it in the bank in a checking or savings account.  In GB, your Accounts represent your bank accounts.  For example, if your employer pays you $1000 and you deposit that money in an empty account, the account balance is now $1000.  If you earn another $500 and deposit that in the same account, the balance is now $1500 (I know this is really basic, but stick with me).  Your Envelopes are simply a way to manage how you spend your money.  When you fill your envelopes, you are simply earmarking your money for specific purposes.  You might earmark $500 for rent, $300 for groceries, $100 for gasoline, and $100 for trombone lessons.  That leaves $500 you have not earmarked.  Money in the Unallocated envelope is simply money you have not earmarked for a certain purpose.  The total money in your envelopes (including Unallocated) should always match the total balance in your account(s).  When you spend money, the expense is deducted both from your account as well as from one or more envelopes so that the total amount in your envelopes continues to match the total in your account(s).

In other words, money left if the Unallocated envelope is simply money you have not decided how to spend.  It is still in your account, it just has not been added to one of your regular budget envelopes.  You can transfer money between your envelopes without affecting your account balance, and you can transfer money between your accounts without affecting your envelope balance.  However, when you receive money or spend money, both your account and envelope balances will go up or down by the amount of the transaction.

2. By default, when you do a "Fill" in GB, you can fill from New Income or from Unallocated.  Doing a fill from new income records both a deposit to your account as well as well as distributes the money to the envelopes you choose.  If you do not allocate all of the income to specific envelopes, the remainder will get "swept" into an envelope of your choosing.  By default GB will add it to the Unallocated envelope, but you may choose any other envelope you desire, such as a "New Trombone Savings" envelope.  With Android, the "Sweep" envelope is listed at the bottom of the list of envelopes on your Fill screen.

3. I am a little confused by question number three.  When you do your fill, GB automatically calculates how much money you have not allocated.  It show this at the very bottom of the list of envelopes and says "Sweep the remaining ###.## into" with a drop-down list directly below it that is defaulted to "[Unallocated]".  If you select this drop-down list, it will list all of your envelopes with a radio button next to each one.  Simply select the envelope you want, and all of your excess income will be swept into that account when you save your Fill.  Does this answer your question?

If you have money in Unallocated that you want to move into other envelopes, you and do an envelope transfer and just trasfer the amount into a single envelope, or you can do Fill from Unallocated which will allow you to distribute it to multiple envelopes.
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Nikolai Krot

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Hi, Wayne

Thank you for your instructive reply :) I think I had the same understanding of what [Unallocated] means. But I can not find this [Sweep] thing. Perhaps it was there when I first created [Fill envelopes] instruction but I missed it. Now I am condemned to do emulate sweeping manually :)

thanks again and all the best,
Niko
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Karisa Russell, Official Rep

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Hi Nikolai, 

Thanks for posting! I'll respond to your questions in order. Know that the answers to these questions can vary depending on how you have things set up. 

1. Where is money that remain in [Unallocated] gone at the end of a budget period?
This depends on how and how much you fill with. Unallocated will either get larger, stay the same, or get smaller depending on whether or not any Unallocated funds are needed to fill your Envelopes. 

2. What is a good approach to managing what remains in [Unallocated], and in general, to what remain as Unspent in monthly envelopes? I would like them to automatically be transferred to a predefined envelope at the end of month. I remember reading about [Sweep] envelope, but I can not find it. I am using Goodbudget for Android and a web based version on desktop computer. Is the [Sweep] thingy gone away?
The [Sweep] option is still there, and you'll be able to access the [Sweep] when you Fill from New Income only. Filling from New Income allows you to add a paycheck, and fill your Envelopes at the same time. 

What happens to unspent money in your Envelopes depends on how you set up your fill. If you want it to go to a set Envelope, try filling from New Income, and then defining your Sweep Envelope. 
3. As an alternative to automatic transfer from 2, I could go with performing such a transfer manually though tedious it could be. Is there a way to perform such a transfer with leftovers from the previous months (see question 1)? I can compute the leftover amount from the report (Income vs. Spending), but how do I register such a transaction in the application? This is not a transfer from an envelope to an envelope. This is neither a new income.
Yes, you can do this manually. You can create an Envelope Transfer on your Android by tapping on the Overflow Menu > Envelope Transfer. And, you can enter income in the Android app by tapping on the Fill Envelopes icon > From New Income > Then fill out the appropriate fields below. 

Hope that helps!
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Nikolai Krot

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Hallo Karisa,

thank you for your answers. From your answer I understood that there is no idea of [Unallocated] from previous months, because the current [Unallocated] contains all of them. This is what I wanted to know, thank you for confirming. Looks like I had done maths wrongly and was a bit surprised by the amounts in some envelopes. Now I seem to understand the workflow better:)

As for [Sweep] thingy, I do not see it (i checked [Fill Envelopes/New Income], [Sweep] is not there), I dont see it Mozilla (linux), Safari (Mac) and Chrome (Android). Is this feature accessible as paid subscription? I am using the free version of GB.

Thanks again und all the best,
Niko
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Karisa Russell, Official Rep

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Hi Niko, 

The Sweep option is available on the Free and Plus Versions. I've attached an image of the Fill screen on the web so you can see where to select the sweep. You'll use the 'To:' drop down menu on the right to select where you'd like leftovers from your paycheck to automatically transfer to. 







If you're setting up your Fill on Android, you'll find the 'Sweep' Envelope at the very bottom of the Fill from New Income screen. I've also attached a screenshot. 




Hope that helps!
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Nikolai Krot

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Thank you, Karisa.
I just want to add for the record, that [Sweep...] appears only when the field [Amt.] is non-empty. This is exactly what was confusing me.
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John Vander Stel

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Hi Wayne,

If you have accounts turned off in GoodBudget settings and simply look at the total on the top of the Android version of GoodBudget as the "total" of funds in one's account(s), that indicated total may not be accurate. It is actually only a total of funds already allocated into "normal" envelopes.  It does NOT include how much may be in "unallocated".

In the web version of Android, however, the total on top ALWAYS includes what is in "unallocated", as well. 

So if one does not have accounts turned on and relies upon that the total on top in the Android version of GoodBudget to account for how much is in one's account(s), only the web version may have the CORRECT "total."

This a unique and mostly unrecognized inconsistency of GoodBudget between the web version and the Android version.  Since very few people actually use GoodBudget with accounts turned off anymore, it is not considered to be a priority fix, so it has never been fixed.  Due to this unique inconsistency, those with accounts turned off may continue to have major problems tracking their account(s) total(s).

Many years ago, It took me forever to figure out why the total in my account was not always being indicated correctly by GoodBudgets.  Anyone else who might have accounts turned off remains at risk of bouncing checks or having really frustrating problems tracking their account(s) totals(s) due to this remaining unresolved inconsistency.

The reason I mentioned this, at this time, in this forum again is because one may have problems like you are experiencing simply because of this unresolved inconsistency. 

For those who bring these kinds of problems in this forum, this particular inconsistency could, indeed, be the cause, but rarely is it ever mentioned as a possible cause of the problem and confusion.

If I see others who bring these kinds of problems to the forum and they remain confused and/or their problem remains unresolved for any length of time after getting competent advice, I will then mention this inconsistency as a possible cause of problems and confusion, only because this unique inconsistency continues to be rarely mentioned in this forum, and because I was so perplexed due to this problem many years ago and it remained unresolved for a considerable amount of time until I finally privately discovered this unique inconsistency for myself!
(Edited)
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Nikolai Krot

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Hi John,

This is a keen observation. I have not noticed this discrepancy before. I have made the calculation and confirm that browser-based [Total] is larger than the Android-app [Total] by exactly the amount in [Unallocated]. Another confusion solved :) Thank you, John.

All the best,
Niko
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Wayne Woodbury

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I agree with Niko: Nice discovery!  I will have to keep that in mind.  Thanks for sharing it.  I wonder if the "Sweep" function also disappears with Accounts turned off.
(Edited)