Goodbudget Review: Is This Budget Tracker Actually Good?
If you’re somebody who swears by monthly budgeting, chances are you are always on the lookout for new tools and philosophies to try. After all, many of us find that there is only so far an Excel document or a Google Sheet can go. In many cases, a budgeting app can handle our cash more effectively than we can!
There are many apps on the market, offering their unique approaches, advantages, and perks. Goodbudget is one of those apps.
In this review, Wealth Rocket provides an overview of the popular budgeting app so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not it’s a good fit for you and your financial planning.
What is Goodbudget?
Goodbudget is a budgeting application that allows its users to build and manage their budgets. Before diving into how the Goodbudget works, it’s important that we first explain the app’s philosophy on personal finance.
Goodbudget’s approach is known as the “envelope method”, a tried-and-true approach to money management that involves placing your money in a collection of envelopes designated for different purposes.
The idea is that, when you get paid, you allocate a predetermined amount of money in each envelope. This way, you are less likely to go over budget by accident, as doing so would involve adding more cash to the envelope.
Aside from the practical aspect of the envelope method, there is a psychological element to it as well.
Since many of us handle our budget digitally, it can be harder than ever to visualize where our money goes, which sometimes leads to a detachment between the money and the spender.
While ignorance can sometimes be bliss, this isn’t always the healthiest of approaches, as the whole point of budgeting is to track your spending more effectively.
How does Goodbudget Work?
Goodbudget takes the envelope budget system tradition and makes it digital with an easy-to-use mobile app with virtual envelopes.
Much like offline envelopes, the app allows you to fill each envelope with whatever amount you anticipate spending on specific categories of your choosing.
As you spend money, the cash you have allocated will decrease proportionately, allowing you to track exactly how much you are spending.
You have the option of adding other envelopes that can track certain financial goals, whether it’s for paying off debts or saving.
Once you’ve created your envelopes, it’s time to start tracking your spending habits.
Goodbudget offers its users the option to either input their transactions themselves or import a summary of their bank’s recent transactions. This file is available on your personal bank’s online portal.
Goodbudget provides easy-to-follow visual cues in the form of green or red bars that let you know with a simple glance whether or not your budget is on track.
If you find yourself constantly in the red, despair not — you can always go back and re-customize your envelopes at any given time.
Is Goodbudget Free to Use?
There are two versions of the Goodbudget app: one that is free to use and one that costs a cool $5 a month or $45 a year.
In the free version of Goodbudget, users can designate up to ten envelopes, which allows you to connect with one account on a maximum of two devices.
The app’s free version will also keep you from spending history on hand for up to one year.
In the paid version of Goodbudget, users can create an unlimited number of envelopes and track them from up to five devices with unlimited accounts.
The app saves your financial history for up to five years. As an additional bonus, paid users also have access to comprehensive customer support.
While the free version may suit the needs of individuals who have a limited number of savings goals and a simple fiscal life, those who prefer to have a broad range of spending categories may find that premium is more accessible.
Goodbudget Pros & Cons
There is a lot to love about Goodbudget from a user’s perspective. While some budgeters seek out a budgeting app that can offer them a litany of features and in-depth analytics, some individuals need an app that can help them visualize their spending habits as a way to save money.
If you are somebody who has in the past felt overwhelmed by financial planning software, it’s worth your while to give Goodbudget a shot.
Here is an overview of other pros and cons to consider:
Pros: The Good Stuff
Uniquely based on a respected and well-established financial philosophy (the envelope system)
Offers digestible analytics in the form of a pie chart that breaks down which categories your money goes to
Allows users to customize their envelopes to fit their lifestyle easily
Offers both a paid and a free version
Allows households to sync their apps together to track budgets simultaneously
Offers both a web and a mobile version
Cons: The Not So Good Stuff
The free version of the app is relatively limiting
The envelope system is a unique personal finance philosophy that may not appeal to every user
The app lacks the ability to directly sync with bank accounts, and relying on manually-entered transactions can be time-consuming.
Our final thoughts
Overall, some users may find the lack of ability to sync to a financial account to be bothersome.
It can be difficult to remember to input every transaction immediately after it occurs.
It can be especially difficult to account for any transaction automatically deducted from your bank.
However, Goodbudget is a great fit for any loyal fan of the envelope system and for anyone who has felt disillusioned by sophisticated budgeting apps with superfluous features.
Some users with privacy concerns may not even lament the loss of the ability to sync transactions with your bank account. Automatically, its absence may make the app all the more enticing.
Frequently Asked Questions
In short, no. While the free version of Goodbudget is likely to be sufficient for anybody with straightforward budgeting needs, it only offers a limited number of envelopes and linked accounts which can lead many users opting for the paid version.
It certainly can. While Goodbudget does not automatically sync with your bank account, you can allocate yourself an envelope that is dedicated to paying off your credit card debt, which can help you save up to tackle large sum payments.
It has certainly worked for some folks. While budgeting styles are ultimately a matter of personal opinion, many individuals find the envelope system successful as it provides them a spending ceiling that is comfortable for them. It also provides subscribers with a tangible way of thinking about money, an all-too-elusive concept in today’s digital world.