Toss those paper envelopes in the trash and budget with virtual ones instead.
Tired of carrying around paper envelopes everywhere you go? Goodbudget is a digital tool that lets you ditch the physical envelopes in exchange for virtual ones. But you may find its free version too limiting for your needs.
$0 per month
Cassidy Horton is a writer for Finder, specializing in banking and investments. She has a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a Master of Business Administration from Georgia Southern University. Cassidy enjoys educating people about financial services, exploring the Pacific Northwest and watching endless reruns of The Office.
If you want to use the envelope budgeting method to track expenses without being forced to carry around cash, Goodbudget may be a good alternative.
But it doesn’t support automatic imports from financial institutions. Instead, you’ll have to manually enter expenses one at a time or download a CSV file from your bank and import them in bulk.
If you’re the type of person who doesn’t want your budget synced to your financial accounts, then you may like Goodbudget. But if you’re looking for a little automation, it may not be for you.
How much does Goodbudget cost?Goodbudget has a free and paid version of its app. Both versions give you access to a community forum, email support and a debt-tracking feature.
|Plus||$6 per month|
$50 per year
How do I open a Goodbudget account?
You can create a new Goodbudget account through its official website or mobile app.
- Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
- From the official Goodbudget website, download the mobile app and click Sign up.
- Enter your email address and password, select your plan, review and agree to the terms of service and click Get Started.
- Enter your payment information if you’ve purchased Goodbudget Plus, otherwise, click Next.
How does Goodbudget work?Goodbudget uses two virtual envelopes to track expenses. Regular envelopes keep track of recurring monthly expenses like rent, groceries, gas and debt payoff. More envelopes are for occasional expenses like property taxes, vacations, car insurance and auto repairs.
You start by setting up your envelopes and adding your total income. You can’t link to financial institutions or add your bank account, but you can manually enter the amount of money you currently have in your account. You can enter one account with the free version and unlimited accounts with the paid version.
There are two ways to manage funds once your account is set up:
- You manually enter your purchased transactions through the mobile app as you make them and assign it to an envelope.
- You bulk import transactions through the website by downloading a CSV, QFX or OFX file of transactions from your bank and uploading it to Goodbudget and then assign the transactions to an envelope.
As you enter and categorize transactions, Goodbudget will deduct the amounts from the envelopes. A green envelope means there’s money left over. A red envelope means you’ve overspent.
Is Goodbudget safe to use?Goodbudget protects and stores all information using bank-grade 256-bit encryption. It doesn’t share or sell your private information to third-party sites.
Most products allow you to stay signed in to your account indefinitely. With Goodbudget, it will only keep you logged in for two weeks at a time. After that, you’ll need to reenter your password for security measures.
What are the pros and cons of Goodbudget?
If you sign up for Goodbudget, keep an eye out for these pros and cons:
- Syncs devices. The whole family can use Goodbudget thanks to its ability to sync across all devices.
- Transfers. If you overspend in one envelope, you can move money from another envelope to cover the extra cost — just as you would in real life.
- Reports. Dive into the nitty-gritty by running reports in Goodbudget to see how much you spend per month, per payee, per envelope and more.
- Forum support. Goodbudget has a robust forum where you can get feedback from community members.
- Limited free version. Those with more than one financial account or complex budgets may need to pay for the Plus version of the software.
- Doesn’t sync to financial accounts. You’ll have to manually enter transactions or import CSV bank transaction files from your financial institution.
- Can’t track investments. You can track debt repayments, but you can’t add any retirement or investment accounts to Goodbudget.
But if you’re looking for an app that automatically imports transactions, check out other options in our budgeting guide for beginners before you decide.