I tried asking this in Ask Anything, but didn’t get a response. At the risk of duplicating topics, thought I’d ask here since I use the Google Sheets version.

I use the Savings Budget template sheet and it’s quite useful. I’m using it in part as digital envelopes to save for recurring known expenses that will come up in future months. For example, I know that in June each year, I’ll incur about $500 in bar association dues, so I allocate money to that piece of the budget each month so that the money will be there when the expense comes due.

Because we didn’t spend it (yet), Spending Trends says “great, you were $500 in the black this month!” but I know that $450 of it is already actually spoken for by those accruing envelopes. My wife just sees “we have $500 extra to play with!” and wants to go spend it, and gets mad when I say “no, we *don’t* actually have $500 extra to play with, but without doing a bunch of math, I don’t know what the actual number is that we have to play with is.”

The trouble I’m having is calculating how much of our savings is essentially “spoken for” by these envelopes.

What I need is some way to determine out of our savings/net worth how much of the savings in the envelopes is already allocated and should not be treated as excess, and how much is actual excess that we can figure out what to do with (either putting it into savings or finally pulling the trigger on some wants we’ve been putting off). This needs to also take into account if we’ve overspent on a category month-to-month and would need to draw from savings to actually cover it to make the category “whole.” I’d also like to account for an emergency fund number that we need to leave alone, period.

I could probably do this just by adding some savings to the envelope, but I’m afraid that if I do this, it will look like we have more left in a budget month because I zeroed it out, essentially. I don’t want my wife to just keep seeing “oh, there’s X amount available this month” because I keep just adding to the category every time we go over. That red negative number really does cause her to stop and go “we can’t spend anymore here,” and if the number is black, she tends to spend it. If there was a way to decrease available unallocated savings when I add savings to the category for the month, that would be ideal.

I’ve been sort of manually adding up all the categories each day with the budget and savings in envelopes and comparing that against our primary checking and savings accounts with an emergency fund number, but it’s a pain, and I’d like to find a way to automate that somehow. I *thought* I essentially just needed to take the absolute value of the savings in each category and add it all up, calculate the total amount remaining in each category for each month, reference a cell labeled “emergency fund value,” and have a formula that compares to total assets or net worth to all of that, but my attempts so far to do that have not actually worked in practice.

Does anyone have any ideas how I could do this right in the Savings Budget sheet?

Thank you in advance!