Multiple goals for a single category, but not simultaneously

Hi! I'm pretty new to YNAB, and I've been having this problem and maybe you guys could offer a solution that I'm unaware of.

If I want to budget $50 for gasoline for June (this month), but then budget $80 a month consistently after June, how would I do that?

Today is June. I tried setting up "target balance by June for $50" in June. Cool, done. Then, I went to July to set "monthly funding goal of $80." I try to check August to see if it was set to "$80 monthly" goal, but it's locked... I don't know why (help?) Anyway, now I came back to June, only to find that my June goal was meddled with and changed to "monthly funding goal of $80."

Is there a way to have multiple goals for a category, but have various goals for each month? If not, then how can I deal with this?

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  • You can't visit August unless you have money budgeted in June. (You can only see one month past the latest month where you have any money budgeted.)

    You can only have one goal per category. If you change the goal, either in the current month or next month, that will overwrite any previous goal. However, if you have the money to budget June's gas now, you can do what you want: budget $50 to gas in June, and then flip ahead to July and set the $80/month goal. If you don't have the $50 for June now, you'll need to leave yourself a note somewhere. That could be in the category name, the category note field, or your reminder or to-do list software. 

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  • I think I have the same problem. I had a monthly goal for savings set in May. The goal was met. The same goal was reduced in June. When I made the change to YNAB, it automatically changed my May goal. I didn't want this to happen as I had saved the money already. I would like a way to lock in the goals for each month so they can be specific. I am wondering if this is possible??? I am new to YNAB as well.

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      • mamster
      • mamster
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Hot Pink Wrench It's not possible at this time. If you have a category that has different needs in different months (e.g., you know you're going to be spending $30 this month, $80 next month, and $50 the month after that), you have a couple of options:

      1. Use the category note field. It won't nag you to fill the category like a goal would, but it's better than nothing.
      2. Use a Monthly Funding Goal and average. This is what I do for my Electricity category, which varies seasonally (baseboard heat); I just budget each month for the average bill, plus a little extra just in case. Money builds up during the summer and then it gets spent down in the winter.
      3. If there's a special upcoming expense that's going to inflate your category needs a few months from now, you could split that out into its own category and use a Category Balance by Date goal.

      There have been a lot of requests for more flexible goals, but these are the ones we have for now.

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      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Scheduled transactions and the underfunded button could help IF you budget one month at a time and they are for specific items. If you like to budget several months ahead, then it's no use because it only takes into account scheduled attractions in that month.

      That said, for the original example of fuel I prefer to use a normalised monthly funding goal and let any excess build up as per mamster 's option 2. At the start of each month I always consider each budget category separately and if I know the demands for that month will be more than is currently in the category then I add more funds. I wouldn't change the goal at this point unless I thought it was a permanent increase.

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      • RIP_MSMoney
      • Software Developer at Microsoft
      • rip_ms_money
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      mamster your option 2 is what I did as well when onboarding. It also helps make month saving requirements more static and predictable.

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    • mamster Do you think YNAB may become more flexible in the future? 

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      • mamster
      • mamster
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Hot Pink Wrench No idea, sorry!

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Hot Pink Wrench YNAB likes to keep that information close to the vest.

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  • Read about the wish garden concept. I think you can just search on it. Or for a specific category set up a group and then separate categories for each goal. I ended up doing this for university. I used to have one big university category but to be accurate, the money for the 4th year isn’t needed yet. And if I do have money for the 4th year I want to make sure I don’t pinch from it. So I set up a category group called university and then separate categories for each semester. I then set a target goal by date amount for each.  I attached a screenshot to show you. Then as each term ends I hide that category. 

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      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Tomaloha, if you're going to search for the concept, search for wish list  and wish farm. I believe that's one of those terms that were  initially introduced to the forums by a user that have now been adopted by YNAB. There are a couple of blogposts on it.

      What you call it is up to you, it's the concept that can be useful. 
       

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    • Hi Tomaloha !

      I just wanted to leave a few links for the Wish Farm articles - Welcome To The Wish Farm! and Start a Wish Farm & Give Your Budget Superpowers. :)

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