Goodbudget Review: A Digital Envelope Budgeting System

Quick Answer

If you like the envelope budgeting system but don't want to keep that much cash around, Goodbudget could be a solid choice. The app offers both free and paid tiers, giving you the option to budget for free or to get more bells and whistles.

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A budget is an important component of a strong financial plan, but tracking expenses on your own can be challenging. Budgeting apps like Goodbudget provide tools and resources to make the process go more smoothly and to help you make better money decisions.

Goodbudget offers a twist on the envelope budgeting system. If you're considering a budgeting app, here's what you need to know about Goodbudget to determine if it's right for you.

How Goodbudget Works

Goodbudget is essentially the digital version of the tried-and-true envelope budgeting system, which is a simple approach to budgeting.

The app has you assign spending categories, such as rent, groceries, entertainment and eating out, to separate "envelopes." Once you spend the money allotted, you can't spend any more in that category unless you pull money from other envelopes.

When you first set up your budget in the app, you'll add your income and the balances from each of your financial accounts, loans and credit cards. Then, you'll create different envelopes for monthly and less frequently recurring expenses.

Unlike other budgeting apps, such as PocketGuard and Mint, Goodbudget doesn't connect to your financial accounts and import transactions as they post. Instead, the hands-on app has you manually update your budget throughout the month.

Helpful Tools

Goodbudget's approach is relatively simple, but there are some added features that can make your budgeting process easier to manage:

  • Resources: The app offers a handful of courses you can take at your own pace to learn how to get started, determine your "why" for budgeting, break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck and deal with other financial issues. Goodbudget also has a podcast and articles with more information to help you.
  • Reports: Goodbudget allows you to see reports of your income vs. expenses and even breaks down your spending by envelope to help you spot trends and evaluate your progress.
  • Forum: The app's website has a forum where you can communicate with other Goodbudget users, who are more than happy to answer questions.
  • Budget sharing: Goodbudget allows you to sync your budget across all of your devices, and if you sign up for the Plus version, you can also create multiple accounts and share the budget with a partner.

Pricing

The app offers two pricing tiers. Here's what you'll get with each option:

FreePlus
$0$8 monthly or $70 annually
20 envelopesUnlimited envelopes
1 accountUnlimited accounts
2 devices5 devices
1 year of history7 years of history
Community supportEmail support

Security

Goodbudget uses 256-bit bank-grade encryption to protect your personal information, and the app doesn't share your data with other parties. Additionally, because Goodbudget doesn't connect to your financial accounts, you don't need to worry about those credentials being compromised by identity thieves.

Pros and Cons

As with any budgeting app, Goodbudget has its benefits and drawbacks. Depending on which type of budgeter you are, it's important to know both sides to determine whether Goodbudget is right for you.

Here's our evaluation of Goodbudget's pros and cons:

ProsCons
Offers a free version.The free version is very limited.
Simple approach to budgeting.Doesn't connect to financial accounts for more convenient expense tracking.
Provides spending reports.Limited features overall.
Offers resources to help you.No investing tools or resources.

Availability and Ratings

Goodbudget is available on your desktop browser, as well as on iOS and Android devices. The mobile app has 4.7 stars across more than 12,600 reviews on the Apple App Store and a 4.4-star rating over 19,080 reviews in the Google Play Store.

Is Goodbudget Right for You?

Goodbudget could be worth considering if you want to be hands-on every step of the way. Because the app doesn't give you the choice to either manually track expenses or directly import your transactions, it's best for people who have the desire and discipline to manually update their budget regularly enough that it doesn't get too unruly.

If you've been using the traditional envelope budgeting method up until now, that might not be too big of a deal. But if you want your budgeting app to do a bit more of the legwork, this one likely isn't the right fit.

Additionally, Goodbudget's free version is relatively bare-bones in the feature department, so you may need to pay to get everything you want—especially if you budget with someone else or want to be more detailed with your spending categories. You may be able to get more features from other free budgeting apps.

Before you decide to use Goodbudget, make sure you shop around and compare other budgeting apps to determine which is the best fit for you.

The Bottom Line

Budgeting can help you manage your spending and set and work toward your financial goals. But it's not the only thing to keep in mind as you set your sights on the future. It's also important to keep an eye on your credit.

Experian's free credit monitoring service offers access to your credit score and Experian credit report, which can help you assess your credit health and determine how to improve your credit score.

You'll also get real-time alerts when changes are made to your Experian credit report, which can help you spot fraud and track your progress toward good credit. As you work to build your credit score, you'll have an easier time getting approved for credit when you need it and save money on interest charges, insurance rates and more.

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