Goodbudget is a personal finance tool that utilizes the envelope method to help you track your spending and get your finances in order. The platform can sync across multiple devices, so your partner and all your family members can get up-to-date information on how much money is coming in and how much is going out.
How Goodbudget Works
The envelope budgeting method is where you divvy up your monthly income into envelopes that represent spending categories. These categories vary according to your needs but usually includes things like gas, groceries and eating out. Whenever you need to make a purchase, just take the money out of the corresponding envelope. Once the envelope is empty, you’ve essentially spent your budget for that category.
Goodbudget puts a modern twist on the tried-and-true envelope system. Instead of physical envelopes, you’ll set aside money into digital ones. The huge plus to this high-tech system is that couples and families are able to keep track of their expenses together, thanks to the app’s ability to sync across multiple devices in real time.
Goodbudget’s got a lot going for it. Check out its main features below:
Goodbudget gives you two types of envelopes: regular and more. Regular envelopes are for frequent spending categories like rent, groceries and entertainment. More envelopes are used to save up money towards big expenses like an emergency fund, vacation or Christmas gifts.
Every time you spend or receive money, you’ll want to log it in Goodbudget. Once you’ve set your categories and assigned an amount to each envelope, you can enter transactions to see how your budget is affected.
Each envelope’s balance can be seen at-a-glance with a colored bar graph that adjusts to reflect your transactions. Green denotes the money you have left in the envelope. Yellow indicates you’re nearing your limit, and you don’t want to see red because that means you went over your budget.
To enter your income, toggle to the Fill Envelopes screen. If you have regular paychecks coming in, you can schedule it to recur automatically. Goodbudget gives a good range of intervals, from weekly to annually.
To fill each envelope, you can either enter the dollar amount manually or you can choose to have Goodbudget allocate funds for you.
There are several customizable reports to choose from, including spending by envelope, spending by payee, monthly spending, and spending compared to income or budget. Each report is displayed as a user-friendly, colorful chart or graph.
To make things a bit easier, you can import your bank transactions using Quicken (QFX), MS Money (OFX) or CSV files. This will make recording your transactions less monotonous. Simply download the file from you bank’s website, then upload it to your Goodbudget account, and pick the corresponding envelope for each of the transactions listed.
There are two Goodbudget plans to choose from: a free plan and the Plus plan. The latter costs $7 a month or $60 a year. With both, you’ll get to log into your account on multiple devices, adjust your budget as needed, transfer money between envelopes, and schedule future transactions.
|# of Regular envelopes||10||Unlimited|
|# of More envelopes||10||Unlimited|
|# of accounts||1||Unlimited|
|# of connected devices||2||5|
|History remembered||1 year||5 years|
|Priority email support||No||Yes|
As you can see in the table above, the free version does have limitations. Besides unlimited Regular and More envelopes and number of accounts, Plus members also get the ability to connect to more devices, a longer history archive, and access to priority email support.
Before you sign up for Goodbudget, keep in mind the points below.
Free Version Isn’t Enough
Realistically, the free version doesn’t quite do it for the average person. For some, it doesn’t include enough envelopes. For others, it’s too restrictive with just one financial account.
App Functionality Is Limited
You don’t have access to all functionalities from the app, regardless of which plan you choose. For instance, you have to use your web browser to edit your budgeting period or listed accounts.
Does Not Sync to Financial Accounts
Not for Investment Accounts
Purely a budgeting tool, Goodbudget does not have any investment features.
Simple and effective, Goodbudget lets you break down your budget by categories and puts your spending in perspective with personalized reports. The ability to access one account from many devices is particularly useful for couples and families who want to share their spending activity.
Although easy to use, Goodbudget is also fairly high maintenance. The software doesn’t automatically sync to your bank and credit card accounts, so you’ll have to manually enter all of your transactions.