How To Make Unallocated Money Work for You

For a while now our Plus and Premiums users have been enjoying a feature called “Unallocated Money” that made it easy to organize multiple or irregular incomes into a steady budget. This feature has been so useful that we decided to make it available to all our users!

What is Unallocated Money, anyway?

Unallocated Money is simply a “holding pen” for money that you’ve received (like from paychecks), but haven’t yet distributed to your Envelopes. To leave money Unallocated, go to Transactions…Add Money / Receive Income and choose Keep Unallocated. When you want to distribute your Unallocated Money, go to Envelopes…Distribute from Unallocated.

So, how can Unallocated Money help me?

  • If you’re never quite sure that you’ll have enough to pay your electric bill on the 18th, put a cushion of about one month’s expenses in Unallocated Money. (Or set aside a little bit from every paycheck and build up a cushion in Unallocated). Then you can always fill your Envelopes to the max at the beginning of the month.
  • If you have multiple and/or irregular incomes, use Unallocated Money to organize everything into a steady budget. Learn how here. (This method works for everyone now, including free users.)

Hmm… what if my Unallocated Money is negative?

There are a few ways this could have happened:

  • You took more money out of Unallocated than you had at one point. (Oops!) If you have extra money in one Envelope, move that money to Unallocated by using Envelopes…Distribute and entering a negative number. (I know this sounds weird, but it works.)
  • You have the Accounts feature turned on and haven’t added all your Accounts yet. (Maybe you forgot to put in your Savings Account or Cash Account?) Go to Accounts…Add Account.
  • You have the Accounts feature turned on and have more debt (credit cards, etc) than assets (checking, savings, cash). Check out how to handle debt here.

Can I Schedule the Income and Distributions?

Yes! On Plus & Premium plans, you can ask EEBA to automatically receive your Income, keep it Unallocated, and Distribute funds from Unallocated to your Envelopes. Check it out on the web under Scheduled.

We’d love to hear how you’re making Unallocated Money work for you!

19 Comments

  1. I have a negative unallocated money balance due to credit card debt I’m working on paying down. It’s really annoying that the text on the Envelope balance page always says something along the lines of “oops, you haven’t added all of your accounts yet.” Can I turn off that little note somehow?

  2. Hi Krista,

    Do you mean the text at the bottom of the Accounts Overview that says “This is ###.## less than what’s in your Budget Envelopes. You probably want to finish adding your Accounts.”? If so, the way you can make that go away is to create a Debt Envelope with a negative balance that represents the credit card debt you are paying off. Option #1 in our blog post on paying off credit card debt explains how. Check it out here:

    https://www.goodbudget.com/2010/10/credit-card-balances-on-cards-youre-working-on-paying-off-pluspremium/

  3. Dealing w/ credit card debt as only an Envelope and not also an Account doesn’t allow the appropriate tracking of interest on that debt or any continued use on the card.

    My accounts should be able to be all of my accounts w/o the software telling me I’m wrong about which accounts I have with what balances.

  4. Hi Krista,

    I’m sorry – I don’t think I was clear in my first comment. Option #1 in the blog post I referred to tracks the debt as *both* an Envelope *and* an Account. You can also track interest as an expense on both Envelopes and Accounts. If you’ve read the other blog post and still have questions or concerns, please email support@eebacanhelp.com and we’d be happy to continue the conversation.

  5. In our household, we have both regular & irregular income; I calculated that we need roughly a minimum of $2100 of irregular income to make our budget work, so I’m gradually building up a buffer of $2100 to make it easier to fund our budget 100% at the start of the month. Rather than hold this buffer in Unallocated Money (as suggested) because it can be confusing at times, I have a “Budget reserve” envelope that I allocate money to throught the month. At the beginning of the month, I unallocate money (and I hope this isn’t a bug that you fix) by allocating a negative amount from that envelope. It works great!!!

  6. I want to add money but can’t find such a facility on my free version 1.6.3 12/21/2011. Please advise.

  7. Hi Peter,
    You can add money on the Android EEBA app via the “Add $” button on the Envelopes tab. However, at the moment the Android version of EEBA does not support Unallocated Money, though you can still add funds to your Envelopes directly.

    Hope that answers your question, feel free to contact us at support@eebacanhelp.com if you have any other questions.

  8. I’m switching from bi weekly to monthly and just tried to fund $100 into my unallocated – it isn’t showing up. I deleted, tried to put it into an envelope, and then my unallocated has a negative balance of $100. Anyone? Anyone?

    • Hi Amy,
      If you have just activated accounts but have not created any accounts, money cannot be added to Unallocated. When accounts is on, added money needs to be connected to an account and an envelope. Your income may have been designated to the Unallocated Envelope but had no account to be associated with. Once you’ve created an account, when you go to the Add Money/Receive Income page, select an account and choose to Keep Unallocated. The money will be added to your account balance as well as the Unallocated Envelope balance.

      When you distribute from unallocated, your unallocated balance will drop. Accordingly, if you distribute from an unallocated balance of $0, your unallocated money will go into the negative. Please feel free to contact us at support@eebacanhelp.com if you have any other questions.

  9. I accidentally added too much to my unallocated envelope. How to I change the amount?

  10. Hi Shaye,

    You can edit the income that added money to your Unallocated, or you can delete it and recreate it the way you want.

    If you aren’t sure how the money got there, worst case you can also record a new income with a negative amount and choose “Keep Unallocated” to get that money out of there.

    Hope that helps!

  11. My accounts reconcile with what is allocated in my envelopes, yet I still have -$435.88 in Unallocated. If I add 435.88 as income, I can’t add it to Unallocated just to clear it out, I have to add it to an account. Which I don’t want to do. Please help!

    • Hi Abby,
      Sorry for the confusion! Can you email support@goodbudget.com so that we take a closer look at what’s happening? If your Account balance is correct, it might be negative because you’ve filled your Envelopes with more than you actually have in your Accounts, or it could be the from a credit card Account if you’re tracking that.

  12. I accidentally deleted the unallocated envelope. It still says unallocated on my accounts but its hard to manage now. Without starting over, what can i do. I paid for the app so don’t want to delete and start a new household

    • Hi Kristin,

      Sorry for the confusion with Unallocated. You don’t need to start a new Household–we’re happy to help you figure out how to get started in your accounts again. Just email support@goodbudget.com with your Household username and we can work with you to get your Envelopes and Accounts back to how you set them up.

  13. I’ve been having difficulty finding where to move money from one envelope to the other.

    I just started using this, arranged envelopes, filled them, then realized I needed to restructure things because the limit of free envelopes is set at 10. I deleted some, renamed others, and extended the max on that envelope to cover multiple things instead of just one. When I deleted those other envelopes, the funds in them disappeared, too, instead of just shifting into ‘unallocated’. So after doing some math I know how much was lost in the switch, but I put too much into one envelope and it’s becoming insanely difficult to figure out how to move funds from the envelope with too much into the envelope I should have put it into.

    So, again, and hopefully to help clear up that word vomit there: How do I move money from one envelope into another?

    • Hi Zack,

      You’re right that when you delete an Envelope, the balance becomes Unallocated, but it sounds like the balances for some Envelopes might have been negative so that math isn’t working out right? You can delete the Initial Envelope Fill that added money to the original Envelopes you created. Then create a new fill for your new Envelopes. After that, you can create Envelope transfers if you need to move money from one Envelope to another. Email support@goodbudget.com if you have more questions.

  14. Thank you. It just didn’t look like it moved into unallocated because the amounts were not negative. They were nearly full envelopes and, after looking at my current unallocated funds and everything else, it was not equaling the number it should have. That the money from those envelopes did disappear.

    • Hi Zack,

      Hm, I’m not sure I know how that happened based on your explanation. Can you email support@goodbudget.com so we can take a closer look at your Household?

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