When you have money that is able to be used for spending, but is not in an Envelope, that money is placed in the Available bucket (formerly called Unallocated). Another way of thinking about it is that your Available balance equals the sum of money in your Accounts minus the sum of money in your Envelopes.
In this article we’ll go over where Available money comes from and what you can do with it.
Where does Available money come from?
When an income is added, you can choose whether to add that money directly to your Envelopes, or leave it Available.
If you want to add funds directly to your Envelopes, click on the “Fill
Envelopes” button, then choose to “Fill From… New Income” on the right.
That will let you add money and fill your Envelopes in one step.
If you have multiple or irregular incomes, it may be easier to pool that
income in Available before distributing it to your Envelopes. To pool your income, click on the “Add Transaction” button, then click on the “Income”
tab and enter your paycheck details. Once you’ve saved the transaction, the money will become Available.
2. Adding or Editing Accounts
When you add or edit your Accounts, you are changing the amount of money that you have to budget. The change in amount remains Available until you use it to fill in your Envelopes. For example, if you add a Checking Account with a balance of $500, that will add $500 to your Available money. If you add a Credit Card Account with a balance of $500 that you pay off in full every month, your Available money will *decrease* by $500. Adding a Debt Account will not adjust your Available balance.
3. Deleting Envelopes
When you delete an Envelope, its balance becomes Available. So if an Envelope has a balance of $45, deleting it will make that $45 Available.
4. Unassigned Imported Transactions
In the event that an imported transaction doesn’t have an Envelope assigned to it, the transaction will be placed in Available until you assign it to an Envelope and confirm it.
For example, if an expense of $50 is imported and Goodbudget can’t guess at which Envelope it should go into, the $50 will be removed from your Available money until you assign it to an Envelope.
What do I do with my Available money?
How you use your Available depends on how you want to budget. You can use it to pool irregular income, save up for big expenses, or simply not use it at all.
Give it a job!
The fastest way to give your Available money purpose is to add it to your Envelopes. Click the Fill Envelopes button and choose the “Available” tab. There you can choose how to divvy up your Available money to your Envelopes.
Pool multiple or irregular incomes.
You don’t need to use your Available money the moment it comes in. If you have multiple incomes you can let them pool together before filling your Envelopes. When you’re ready, click the “Fill Envelopes” button and choose “Fill From… Available.”
Build up a one month cushion
Having a one month cushion in Available means you can fill all of your Envelopes to full at the start of the month, rather than filling some partially while you wait for more income to come in. That allows you to stash your new incomes away until the new month hits. Once you’ve built up that cushion, transfer any extras in Available to a Goal or Savings Envelope to start working towards your next money goal.