I have one checking account that is made up of a number of "funds" that I am using to save money for yearly or quarterly expenses. I put "funds" in quotes because I only mean designated money in the checking account, not any kind of financial fund (mutual fund, etc.).

Right now I am tracking the funds in the account manually using a spreadsheet and manually reconciling the total in the spreadsheet with the actual balance in the checking account.

So here is my question. Is there a certain term for this setup? Secondly, and most importantly, is there software that can manage and track these "funds" so I don't have to keep using a spreadsheet? I have looked into both Mint and Wave but I don't see a way to do that. I would love to use a web-based app if possible.

Thanks for the help.

  • 5
    It's commonly called the Envelope method, as one might literally put money from each paycheck into separate envelopes. Software to do this still uses that word. Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 12:57
  • Joe - It is advisable at stack exchange to try not and answer questions via comments. I could find references to this at the main meta site but... I'm on mobile and too lazy. In any case; please convert your comment to a short answer!
    – dpollitt
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 13:07
  • You could always answer your own question. Something like I found this using xxxx, and like yyy the best because......
    – Pete B.
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 14:26
  • @dpollitt lol...
    – quid
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 15:22

3 Answers 3


I'm currently using You Need A Budget for this. It lets you track spending my category and "save" money in particular accounts from month to month. They also have some strong opinions about how one should manage one's cashflow, so check it out to see if it'll work for you. It's neither web-based nor free, but the licensing terms are very reasonable.


This style of budgeting is referred to as the 'Envelope' method. It could be done by withdrawing cash from the checking account and putting into envelopes (which I used to do for my Grocery & Clothing funds).

I currently do this in GnuCash by creating sub-accounts of the actual bank accounts. The software rolls up the numbers so when I am looking at the "real" account I see the number that matches what the bank says. It is not, however, web-based.

You should be able to do the same in other tools if they allow you to create sub-accounts, or have some budgeting feature built in.

  • 1
    Mint does it via budgets that you can set.
    – David Rice
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 19:08
  • @DavidRice whoops - thanks for pointing that out - I don't think I used them in Mint. I'll update my answer
    – verdammelt
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 20:12
  • 1
    This is NOT the Envelope Method at all. The whole point of the Envelope Method is that it isolates a portion of your income such that it can only be used for a specific, budgeted purpose. If the cash is in an envelope, it's not in your checking account. The Envelope Method does not require any software or other mechanism to track it. I keep multiple 'pots' of money in various accounts, and I used the term 'funds' for want of a better word as well.
    – andyb
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 5:01
  • It is, perhaps, a Virtual Envelope method. The advantage of the (physical) envelope method is you are not tempted to spend money that has been earmarked for other purposes (you can't... it's in another envelope/account). So long as the OP has the discipline to always consult the spreadsheet before spending (as opposed to looking at the bank balance and thinking "there's enough here...") then it should be almost as good (and safer than having physical envelopes of cash lying around).
    – TripeHound
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 14:18

I currently use Mint for this, which I see that you have already disqualified but not why you have disqualified it.

Set "budgets" for how much you want to spend on what type of expense, and then be sure to assign expenses to a budget as they come in. Mint actually learns what expenses go to each budget and eventually does it automatically.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .