Category: Q&A

Sweeping Envelopes

By , July 16, 2012 5:47 am

Matt writes:

Is there a simple way to “sweep” leftover money from multiple envelopes into another envelope after bills are paid and some funds still remain at the end of the month?

For instance, say I budget $300 for electricity, $100 for cell phones, and $75 for the water bill each month. But this month the bills only come to $250, $75, and $55 respectively and $50, $25, and $20 is then left over in those envelopes. I’d like to move all of those leftover funds into another envelope (say, “Savings”) at that time. Of course, I could do several individual transfers from envelope to envelope to accomplish this. I’m just wondering if there’s a way to sweep them all out at once that I just don’t know about yet.

Sure there is. This method is sort of an undocumented feature, but I’ve used this method a few times myself.

Basically you would want to select your savings envelope, or the envelope you want to sweep funds into, then click the allocate button.

Now, instead of entering amounts to allocate from your savings envelope, enter negative amounts to pull funds from other envelopes into your selected envelope.

I created a demo account and recorded a short video to show what I mean:

Using Cash Envelopes with Inzolo

By , June 11, 2012 3:59 pm

Brandon writes:

What is the best way to manage cash envelopes as well as my checking account’s envelopes?

I still use the cash envelope for some categories – mainly blow money. But to best illustrate this point, lets say we are using the cash envelope system for the following categories:

  • Groceries
  • Fast Food
  • His Blow Money
  • Her Blow Money
  • Clothing

On my next paycheck I allocate the following amounts in Inzolo:

  • Groceries +$300
  • Fast Food +$20
  • His Blow Money +$10
  • Her Blow Money +$10
  • Clothing +$30

I would then total these virtual envelopes (putting them all in the same category labeled “Cash Envelopes” would give you a total automatically). The total above is $370. I would then go to the bank or ATM and withdraw this amount. The next time I log into Inzolo I would see this cash withdrawal transaction of $370. I would split this transaction to equal the same amounts above essentially setting them all to zero. Then I would following the cash envelope method as described in this video:

Transferring Funds Between Savings Accounts

By , May 24, 2012 9:41 am

I received the following question I thought might be helpful to address on the blog:

I have a lot of savings accounts that I essentially treat as folders. I have an automated savings plan for most of these. There are then many transfers in from checking each month and 1-4 out of these each month. How do I handle all those ins and outs in Inzolo and still have correct accounts and envelopes?

The answer to this is essentially the same as how I handle using credit cards with Inzolo. If you are tracking each savings account in Inzolo, when you make a transfer you should have two transactions that are imported – one for the withdraw and one for the deposit. I have a created an envelope called “Bank Transfers”. This is where I keep all these transactions for auditing purposes. I put both the deposit and withdrawal transactions in this envelope.

Envelopes are not tied to a particular bank account by design. I did this because I may spend grocery money from my debit card, or from a Costco AMEX card. I wanted both funds to come out of the same envelope. If you have an envelope that represents a savings account, you would just keep that balance in sync manually by transferring or allocating the funds you need within Inzolo.

Note that there is a feature request in the feature voting system to add this account transfers envelope automatically if you are tracking more than one account. I will likely add this feature at some point in the future, but for now, creating a envelope yourself is the workaround and only needs to be done once.

Tip: I used to have a few savings accounts with my bank to help me separate my emergency fund & other savings. Once I started using Inzolo, I stopped using these separate bank accounts because 1) I wasn’t really earning any extra interest worth the effort of transferring funds, 2) I didn’t need them anymore. I look at my bank account as a big pile of cash. Inzolo is the method for me to organize that pile of cash. I don’t really look at my bank account balance anymore other than to verify that it matches my envelope balance. 3) It wasn’t worth the time I spent making the transfers (I didn’t have any automatic transfers set up with my bank).


Unallocating Income

By , February 18, 2011 4:17 pm

“Oops. I didn’t want to do that.”

It happens. Today I got the following questions:

I allocated $158 to an envelope.  I then changed my mind on the funds I wanted to allocated to the envelope.  How do I edit that envelope – say take the money back out of the envelope so it shows nothing was funded.

If you look in either your unallocated income box, or the envelope you allocated funds to, you should see a transaction record of your allocation. Simply click on the undo icon .

Here is short video showing you how.

Budget and Envelope System – What’s the Difference?

By , September 13, 2010 2:29 pm

Heather writes:

I love the idea you’ve come up with on this product.

How do I create a budget for next month when I haven’t gotten paid yet? Everything seems to be based on having cash in the bank BEFORE you fund the envelopes. Am I talking two different things here? A budget and an envelop system?



Hi Heather,

This is an interesting question. I guess I have been doing this for so long that I haven’t really thought about the difference between budget and envelope system. Thanks for the fresh eyes. I’ll try to explain it.

With Inzolo, you can’t budget money you don’t have yet (well, technically you can, so it might be better to say you shouldn’t). So you are right, this system is based on having money in the bank BEFORE funding envelopes. Each envelope has a monthly goal amount that you can edit on the allocation view, or by clicking an envelope and the the edit envelop budget. There is a report that shows all your goal amounts. You could say this is your average monthly budget.

But, we all know there is no such thing as an average month. Every month is different. With Inzolo, as soon as you get paid, you move that payment into the unallocated income box, then allocate that money into your various virtual envelopes. The idea is is to allocate your money before you spend it. If you overspend in one category and go in the red (negative), you should then move money from another envelope into the one you spent in to bring that envelope category to zero or a positive number.

I hope this makes sense. Let me know if you have questions on how to do any of the things I explained above.

If you are just getting started it may take a while to get the hang of it. It can be a bit of a paradigm shift. But once you start telling your money where to go before you spend it, you find you’ll start to get a buffer and it will get easier. For example, when I first started I would get paid twice monthly. Depending on which paycheck it was, the way I funded my envelopes was very different from the first paycheck in the month to the second. I had two different allocation plans for each paycheck. Now I just have one allocation plan where I allocate 50% of each goal amount each paycheck, then make adjustments as needed. If I overspend I have an emergency fund to pick up the slack.

I hope this helps.


Transaction Import Options for Bank of America

By , August 9, 2010 9:30 am

Fred writes:

I signed up for Inzolo after reading a facebook post you made talking about the benefits of inzolo over mvelopes. All the things you said you disliked about mvelopes are also things I dislike, so Inzolo sounds right up my alley. My problem so far is that I cannot auto get transactions from Bank of America ..the error says my account is not enabled for this. After researching, it seems that I would need to enable quicken direct connect access on my account for $9.99/mo with BoA. Is there any way to auto get transactions similar to the way Mvleopes works? Mvelopes didn’t require me to sign up for anything extra with BoA.
Or is manually adding my only way?

Hi Fred,

I believe Mvelopes uses a 3rd party account agregator provided by Yodlee. This is what my credit union told me anyway. I once met an Mvelopes employee (before I created Inzolo) and he denied it and said they built all their account aggregation services themselves. I don’t know if I believe him though. Several companies use Yodlee (such as & I have spoken with Yodlee about their services and they charge and arm and a leg – first just to get started, then per user. It just wasn’t feasible if I wanted to make a low cost service. Plus, I don’t have or want the big financial backing that Mint & Thrive have. (Note: was purchased my Intuit for $170 million – I’m guessing Intuit will replace Yodlee with their own account aggregation if they have not already done so).

So that left me to figure out how to make use of the Open Financial Exchange (OFX) protocol to import transactions. It works great once you get it set up. Unfortunately, it is not supported very well from all banks. I’m fortunate to have an awesome credit union that implements it very well.

So, I guess the if you don’t want to pay for the direct connect access fee (which is ridiculous to charge for IMHO), then your best bet is to download transactions in OFX format (MS Money) and import them into Inzolo.

I hope this helps.


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