Budgeting Income

When I set up goals and bills, it shows up in the budget so I know where to allocate money.  However, what if I set my goals and bills and it’s over my expected income. Because there is no where to budget that or see it, I could be setting unrealistic goals.  How does Ynab propose to deal with that?

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  • Since you should not budget any money until it is in your account, if you start filling in your budget amounts in the categories and the TBB falls below zero, you know that your goals are unrealistic.

    Reply Like 4
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
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      Similarly, if you continually end the month with underfunded goals, that's another sign goals are not realistic.

      Reply Like 1
  • Yeah, it's fairly awkward to get a total. The proactive option is to look at a future month where there are no budget entries. When no categories are selected, the "Underfunded" Quick Budget button shows the total of your goals.

    (Unfortunately, this total could be overstated if the previous month has yet to get its contributions toward any Target Available By Date goals. Similar if there are any scheduled transactions coming due in the month you're looking at.)

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    • dakinemaui Thanks, so it looks like from both responses there is not a way to budget income.  I don’t like work arounds, which is what I do for reports today (google sheets add on), I will have to use google sheets still as I want to set realistic goals and not learn at the end of the month that they are unrealistic

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
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      Slate Gray Hail Looking at the total in a future month can be done at any time. You could even temporarily budget for those Target Balance By Date goals in the prior month (making that TBB negative) to give a more accurate Goal total. I personally wouldn't maintain a duplicate in Sheets.

      Realistically, though, YNAB needs to add a goal total to the interface. You're not the first to have noticed this weakness.

      I'd be interested to hear the latest official response on this issue.

      Reply Like
  • Slate Gray Hail said:
    However, what if I set my goals and bills and it’s over my expected income. Because there is no where to budget that or see it, I could be setting unrealistic goals.  How does Ynab propose to deal with that?

     If you use the 3rd party Toolkit, there is an option to show total of goals in the inspector.  On the budget page, with no categories selected, it looks like this:

    Reply Like 1
    • Patzer Thanks!!!

      I wish the toolkit allowed you to budget income, as I think it would be useful as well. 

      This will help!

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      • Dashon
      • Musician
      • dashon
      • 5 mths ago
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      Slate Gray Hail Enter your income as separate scheduled transactions and switch on the running total in the YNAB Toolkit, you'll be able to see a little bit better, but yes, it isn't in the core functionality of YNAB. You'll probably enjoy another app more, if this is a dealbreaker. Good luck!

      Reply Like
    • Patzer Also important to mention that "Total Monthly Goal" only calculate "Monthly Funding Goal" and "Target Balance By Date" type of Category Goals. For an unknown reason, "Target Category Balance" is not accounted by the toolkit.

      (And it is not accounted by the Underfunded function either).

       

      I reported this to support already. 

      Reply Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 5 mths ago
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      Eric Poulin That actually makes sense. Monthly Funding Goal and Category Balance By Date Goal both have specific calculated funding amounts for the month, whereas  the Target Balance goal is just a target for the category balance..

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    • Dashon thanks, this makes sense.  I just account for all our income on the first in an account I labeled income.  This seems to work

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      • monkeyhanger
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      Slate Gray Hail An account? Or a category?

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    • nolesrule I would actually respectfully disagree, mainly because the name of that section is "Goal".  Allow me to explain extensively, for the benefits also to other readers. 

       I have no issues in having a function saying that you have a desire to reach for a Target Balance.  But for me, I think functionality should be binary.  In this scenario, this section which is called "Goal" offer 3 possibilities

      1. Target Category Balance   
      2. Target Category Balance By Date
      3. Monthly Funding Goal

      The only differentiation between #1 and #2 is that one is by Date, and the other has no date..... So I am not sure I can agree that removing the concept of Date/Period around a function called "Target Category Balance" makes it a kind of Goal which should behave in much different ways. Right now, it will not become Yellow if it is under its target, and the UnderFunded function will not be available either.  

      Now I do get that the color coding  behavior of the Available bubble for every category is based on the "Budgeted" function", and that these 3 Goals are measure differently:

      1. Target Category Balance (Goal based on the amount of money in the Available Section, so the "content" of the envelop)  
      2. Target Category Balance By Date (Goal based  on Budgeting the calculated amount of money  required for the current month to meet goal at the target gate. The calculation setting the monthly requirement will change based on the amount of money available in the Category)  
      3. Monthly Funding Goal (Goal based  on Budgeting the amount of money  I want to put in the Category, no matter how much there is in it)  

      So #2 and #3 cares about how much money you pour in the category, while #1 cares about how much money you have in the Category. 

      It is not a big issue, but since I have regular and irregular incomes, it would be great to set yup fixed amount per category where the Underfunded function could allow me to address all my categories with Goals quickly. 

      And yes I can do it manually and its all right. But I wanted to share for clarity as I took for granted the 3 types would behave the same way.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
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      Eric Poulin I stand by my statement.

      How useful would the Total Monthly Goal amount be if you have Target Balance Goal for $25,000 with no target date? It's not practical information and that's why it should be excluded. The Total Monthly Goals tell you how much you need to fund this month to meet your goals. But an open ended goal doesn't need to be funded this month to meet the goal. If you want it included, put a target date on it so that they can calculate how much it needs to be funded in the current month to meet the goal.

      Reply Like 2
    • nolesrule If I may add on your comments, you outline:

      How useful would the Total Monthly Goal amount be if you have Target Balance Goal for $25,000 with no target date?

      While I do agree with you for the example you provide above, I do have different view (and need) than you which make this function useful. I know that to pay my mortgage, I need to have 2500$ available monthly in the Available funds of the category. My need/goal is not to deposit 2500$, but to have 2500$. Working in sales, I get commission payments that can allow me sometime to fill that category way above the number. By example, I could put 7500$ in this category, and I wouldn't need to fund it until it goes below my requirement.
       

      Another example is my son's Pay-by-Use cell phone. I know he may be using "up to"  30$ per month, but it can be anywhere between 5$ and 20$. My REAL goal is to have 30$ in this account available for any given month. I do not need more than 30$. But I absolutely need 30$. If I use "Monthly Funding Goal", it does not align with my goal, as if my son only use 10$ on it, I got 20$ remaining. The Monthly Funding Goal will simply "guide me" to deposit 30$ so the category flips to green. 
      I do not need to deposit 30$ per month, I need to always have 30$ available on a monthly basis.

       

      Now, the Target Category Balance does this. The only difference is that it doesn't handle that "Goal" in the same way of the others, which force me to handle these categories manually. Nothing wrong with that, but the "Monthly Funding Goal" setting which allows me to use the Underfunded function is fantastic, and would make my life easier on this setting.

       

      I have around 10 others categories where the withdrawal are inconsistent, and sometime they have 0 expenses. But I absolutely need a specific amount in these to not fall behind, and using "Monthly Funding Goal" will make me deposit much more money than I need on these.

       

      Here another real example of this. I need to keep 120$ per month in the School Meal Category for my son. But when he is with his mother, he often bring a lunch (that I do not pay). 2 Months ago, my budget was aligned and he had only use 30$ of this category, so 90$ was left. Last month, Using the QuickBudget function, this category (with 15 others), got their "Monthly Funding Goal" deposited. Well School Meal ended 210$ last month. He used 100$, so 110$ was remaining... but in June, this Category is up to 230$. I really don't need that amount of money there. I need a 120$ cushion, and it is a within month goal. And for me, having a need for a specific amount of money available in one month is not an open-ended goal.

       

      Now, all of this is easily manageable. And experience user like you knows much about the product. But I am still a newbie on it, I start in January. And for me, it was clear in my mind that Target Category Balance was behaving the same way than 2 others. 

       

      And I am sure I am not the only one user thinking this. The company I work for those a lot of UI design for the IT Infrastructure we are selling, and one of the biggest principle is that functions grouped together and named in the same ways *must* behave in the same fashion, as we know users will assume this. If not, we have to make it clear in the UI by either adapting the naming convention, changing the grouping of the functions/elements or provide contextual messaging explaining it. 

       

      I still understand you point. I believe it is simply that we do not have the same need, and it is perfectly find. And again, I am managing all of this manually. Right now I am more focus on Direct Import bugs with YNAB so its all good. :) 

      Reply Like
    • nolesrule Quick Update. YNAB contacted me and seems that the function I am looking for will be tested soon in their Beta. So I do understand from this that both functionality we are debating might be there. 

      Great conversation ! :) I'll share what I hear.   

      Reply Like 2
      • Patzer
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      Eric Poulin 

      Eric Poulin said:
      Here another real example of this. I need to keep 120$ per month in the School Meal Category for my son. But when he is with his mother, he often bring a lunch (that I do not pay). 2 Months ago, my budget was aligned and he had only use 30$ of this category, so 90$ was left. Last month, Using the QuickBudget function, this category (with 15 others), got their "Monthly Funding Goal" deposited. Well School Meal ended 210$ last month. He used 100$, so 110$ was remaining... but in June, this Category is up to 230$. I really don't need that amount of money there. I need a 120$ cushion, and it is a within month goal. And for me, having a need for a specific amount of money available in one month is not an open-ended goal.

       I have the exact same problem with goals.  I end up trimming categories like this manually, and I've coded CSS to turn off the goal nag icons and make the bubbles transparent.  That's good enough for working in YNAB.  However .  .  .

      In another budget program, I've seen a cognate of YNAB goals coded as (YNAB terms) "Accumulate $X by budgeting $Z per month."  Then the program calculates how long it will take to get $Z in the category, though I don't really care about that.  I care about the one-click budgeting.

      If I set X = Z, that works for your $120 goal example, which is how I want to manage Groceries:Food and Recreation:Dining.  If I set X = 2000 and Z =200, that works for my Auto:Service category, where I want to build to $2000 as a cushion, but put no more than $200 per month in when rebuilding after a major service event.  If I set X = 24,000 and Z = 200, that would work for my Car Replacement category, and the program calculation would tell me if I'm on track to have $24,000 by my target car replacement date of October 2027.  One goal type, coded by one guy building a budget program in his spare time.  (Unfortunately, that spare time budget program has other weaknesses that make it less convenient to use than YNAB, even with all the manual stuff I need to do in YNAB.)

      If I were to pick one new goal type for YNAB to create, it would be Accumulate to Goal by Monthly Amount, and work exactly like that other program's goal does.  But I believe this to be moot, since YNAB has shown no interest in creating new goal types to match how users want to budget.

      Reply Like 1
    • Patzer I get what you mean.  Well, I am hopeful we will see improvement on this aspect in the futur. I can work around it now, but like you I am a fan of the one-click budgeting, and it would be great to have it better adapted.

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    • Eric Poulin 

      I just put in a feature request to separate the two functionalities into two goal types: "Maintain Target Balance" and "Future Target Balance" 

      The first would be as you want, with a quick budget tool that replenishes what you spent last months, thereby bringing the available back up to the Target.

      The second would be what we're used to, in which we set a long-term saving goal. This has merits for large purchases (car); true expenses that are waiting to be deployed at an unknown time of misfortune (house repair); or other categories where you put what you can, when you can, up to your Target, then find another goal to fund.

      I think without the quick budgeting tools, using a single goal successfully satisfied both functionalities, simply because the user had to manually budget the appropriate amount. However, the point of the quick budget is to know our chosen functionality and fill in the proper amount.

      If it's in beta testing, I shall hope it makes it to the other side! (That's why I did a feature request - sometimes these things seem to need extra momentum to keep going).

      Reply Like 1
    • Move Light Sound Life Thanks for putting the feature request in. On the good news side of the house, I was told that they are working to make the goals better and they have ideas. So I am looking forward to see this coming through...! Cheers

      Reply Like 1
    • monkeyhanger sorry, my explanation wasn’t clear.  I put my income into an account called income.  I then out all my income coming I in on the 1st. I label each entry on when it should be received.  When it. Clears the bank, I delete the amount in income.  It doesn’t work for everyone, but we use our credit card for everything, stay in budget and pay it completely off for rewards. 

      Reply Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
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      Slate Gray Hail So you are budgeting with income you don't have.

      Faness Todd See? The lack of future dated transactions in the register does not prevent what you're trying to prevent. Kinda defeats your whole argument.

      Reply Like 4
      • monkeyhanger
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      • monkeyhanger.1
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      Slate Gray Hail Well that makes even less sense to me! Are you doing accounting sleight of hand to pretend you have income before you get it in a fake account?

      Reply Like 1
    • monkeyhanger yes, I’m tricking the system. I know I’m getting the money, so I’m not worried  about it. It allows me to budget to the income I’m actually going to get.  I’ve used this system since I’ve had solid income in YNAB 4.   They have never allowed to budget for income, and they didn’t have goals before. I have always used excel to plan vs YNAB which sucks

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      • monkeyhanger
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      • monkeyhanger.1
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      Slate Gray Hail so why use YNAB at all? It's the method that's the powerful bit not the software.


      That's a rhetorical question btw. If there was an unlike button I'd have simply used that. 

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      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
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      Slate Gray Hail Todd

       

      Slate Gray Hail said:
      monkeyhanger yes, I’m tricking the system. I know I’m getting the money, so I’m not worried  about it. It allows me to budget to the income I’m actually going to get.  I’ve used this system since I’ve had solid income in YNAB 4.   They have never allowed to budget for income, and they didn’t have goals before. I have always used excel to plan vs YNAB which sucks

       This is exactly what I was talking about with future committed transactions.  People who want to budget income before they have it are going to do so anyway, so could I pretty please get my future committed transactions back?  They will let me budget conservatively, and illuminate information about upcoming category and account balances after my committed payments that YNAB currently obfuscates.

      Reply Like 8
    • monkeyhanger because it is the best budgeting software. Envelopes and Quicken aren't as good.  I like the Zero sum budget.  However, because I don't follow their method I'm not sure I should stop using.  I understand their system, I just choose to follow my own. It works for me.  I'm not suggesting others use it like me as I know one size doesn't fit all.

      Reply Like
    • Patzer I would use their system if I could do this.  I would not recognize income early before I've received it. I simply put income in to know how much to budget. I can't rely on the goals.  

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      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
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      Slate Gray Hail 

      I really don't care if you don't want to use the system as designed.  My point was that the system forbids future transactions in an attempt to keep you from budgeting as you wish.  That obviously fails, and it really annoys me that my future committed payments aren't reflected as reducing category balances and reducing account balances.

      I do hope your example helps YNAB realize how incredibly stupid forbidding the entry of future transactions directly into the register is.

      I agree with you that goals are a massive failure if they are intended to be the primary means of budgeting.  But YNAB took away deliberate deferral of income, which supported the ability to budget a full month at once using income already received. I believe that was a poorly conceived change, but YNAB disagrees with me.

      Reply Like 2
    • Patzer nolesrule

      Many Many years ago I was using a Budgeting software made locally and they had a fantastic feature around budgeting, which was a simple visual calendar on how your overall budget situation will improve if you keep the current trend.  I stopped using them when they stop developing it....  It is now back but they lack simplicity and no cloud version. But, they still offer that feature, and as long as you budget our incomes and expenses correctly, it is pretty simple and flawless

      The calendar below allows you to move forward up to 2 years, and I always great when I could see that my Current Strategy Pays out in one year or 2 !!! or that it looks good now, but I will hit a wall soon. (Each line in the screenshots are your accounts) 

      Having such feature in YNAB would be nothing else than awesome!

      Reply Like 1
      • sgarelick
      • sgarelick
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      Eric Poulin At the end of the month, I sweep any leftover money out of categories like this so the balance becomes zero before I fund for the next month. When I fund in the next month, the correct monthly amount is in the category and the category never grows beyond my goal amount.

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      • Patzer
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      Eric Poulin 

      I don't need my budget to project forward 2 years.  I need future committed transactions in the register (not just in the scheduler) so my budget will reflect all the payments I have scheduled if they come through before any income does.  Simple.  Easy.  Forbidden by YNAB.

      I also need deferred income, so I can budget a month in one budgeting session.  YNAB provides no program support for this, but I can work around it.  Having future transactions in the register would make the workaround easier.

      I do budget forward-looking income; but that budget is very high level and happens in a spreadsheet outside of YNAB.  Then my YNAB budget reflects reality, and sometimes reality is that I don't need to draw as much income from investments as I had projected to need.

      Reply Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
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      Eric Poulin That approach seems exactly backwards to how YNAB is designed. With YNAB, you define where you want to be (how much money) in whatever time frame, which calculates the pace to achieve it. Very efficient.

      The graph you describe would be useless to me because it will simply tell me what I already know (i.e., I will "end up" exactly where I originally planned to be).

      Reply Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
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      Eric Poulin said:
      I could see that [...] it looks good now, but I will hit a wall soon

      If you're following the YNAB methodology, it would never show this. 

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    • dakinemaui Well, I love the YNAB methodology, but I guess I must be missing a big component (wouldn't be the first time... :) )  Let me share you what I see, and I am sure you may be able to point me out in the right direction.

       

      So unless I use an excel spreadsheet on the side, I have no way to know if I have enough money to cover a year spend. 

       

      My understanding of the YNAB methodology is that I should only work with the money I have , in the present. But if I want to reach all of my goal, I need to do some math. I have money to put for my son`s school but also university in the future, my RRSP (CAD equivalent of 401k), etc. That part is easy, I just put the categories and the goals... And I love this... but until I have the money in YNAB, how do I know if my budget make sense in the future?

       

      I can literally create 200 Categories in YNAB, and decide that I want to be 100$ as a monthly goal in every single one of them. Now I have 20,000$ of monthly goals! Great nothing is impossible! :) But YNAB will not correlate if I have enough income to cover it. Well I will most likely be able to cover the first 30-40 categories, but the money will never pour down to all the categories, because I don't have enough. 

       

      Now,  I can easily do the math and see that I can`t cover my goals, since I have used a crazy number..  And the appropriate response to such situation is to redefine my goals to something more realistic! :) 

       

      That approach seems exactly backwards to how YNAB is designed.

      Well I do not want the methodology to change at all. The only thing I'd like to see is a report that take a look at all my Goals and correlate with the schedule incomes so see the future trend. 

      With YNAB, you define where you want to be (how much money) in whatever time frame, which calculates the pace to achieve it. Very efficient.

      Totally agree here for anything in the present. And yes, each category will have their own time frame, and you can adapt the pace with the date when you want that envelop funded. But that is for each single category by themselves. Like I said above, I can set a very unrealistic numbers of categories/goals, and the only way I will know is because I will never have enough money to cover my month. 

      Now if I would have a way to be told that I have too much "Goals" for my capacities, it would force me to make choices in these goals and redefine my expectations. And if I would have a report that would show a sum of all my Monthly Goals vs Budgeted VS the expected income, it could tell my if I need to redefine some of my goals. 

      Don't get me wrong, I love YNAB the way it is and it is helping me tremendously. It does covers 90% of my needs. But I do still have my Excel Spreadsheet on the side to help me out to see if I can afford 2-3 news goals. 

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      • Patzer
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      Eric Poulin 

      Eric Poulin said:
      Now if I would have a way to be told that I have too much "Goals" for my capacities, it would force me to make choices in these goals and redefine my expectations.

       I've wondered about this.  How DOES the new user set appropriate goals?  When I started using YNAB Pro, long before goals, I set up my budget.  I put $100 into Fun Money.  It didn't last a week, and I've never budgeted that much to Fun Money in a month since.   There is no way I could have built goals for my entire budget and come up with reasonable goal numbers that first month.  Or even the second month; I was still fighting fires and whacking moles until the 3rd or 4th month of using YNAB.

      But once I got to where I could Live on Last Month's Income (former YNAB Rule), I could see the entire month's budget in one session and it was clarifying.  I could plan out (forecast, if you like) my needs by category and make budget decisions on how to fill those needs.  At that point, I got to where I could maintain a par budget (now, monthly budget goals) and adjust categories based on the current month's status.

      I may be missing something, but the theme of budget by color and unmet goals screaming for more money strikes me as the program telling the user to go find more income.  And, as you note, if there isn't a way to look at total income for a month versus total goals for a month, the discipline of budgeting is really hard to achieve.

      Oh, well.  Goals are just a quick click budget to me.  The real budget is how I adjust the month after populating the goals, and I'm much happier since I learned to turn off all the goal nags.  Yes, I have to use a workaround to Live on Last Month's Income because that's no longer a thing in YNAB.  It's worth using the workaround.

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      • dakinemaui
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      Eric Poulin said:
      until I have the money in YNAB, how do I know if my budget make sense in the future?

      Rule 2 would have you normalize everything to a monthly basis. It considers both desired amount and desired timeline. If your monthly income supports the current month's budget allocations, then you already know it makes sense. (For now, assume income is consistent.)

      The only "math" you wind up doing is adjusting scope (amount) and timeline of various categories which impact the required monthly contributions. Goals will even do this math for you. All you need to do is juggle these things until the required contributions toward your higher priority goals/expenses fit within your monthly income level.

      No one has enough money to do/buy everything they want. The best we can do is to ensure the important things are satisfied. The only hard part about budgeting is recognizing/establishing these priorities. If you have a handle on that, the budget entries themselves just fall into place.

      As long as your priorities remain constant -- as you put it, "if you keep the current trend" -- the budget entries remain constant, and the money WILL be there at your desired endpoint.

      I suppose if you wanted to, you could put these into Excel, copy those same numbers N months into the future and total them up. It's hardly going to be a surprise, though, when the ending total is exactly enough.

      Hopefully you'd agree with all of this when monthly income is consistent. In such cases, normalization of expenses eliminates the need to project into the future. The only complication in your situation is that income is not constant. However, exactly as with variable expenses, the impact of variable income can be mitigated by normalization. Doing so allows you to work with a consistent monthly amount -- a constant "effective income", if you will.

      Reply Like 2
      • dakinemaui
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      Eric Poulin said:
      Now if I would have a way to be told that I have too much "Goals" for my capacities, it would force me to make choices in these goals and redefine my expectations

      The Underfunded quick budget gives an estimate of the total of your Goals if you look at an empty month. This isn't accurate, however, if you haven't made the previous month's contributions (typical if you're not a month ahead) or don't use Goals/scheduled transactions for every category. 

      In my case, I eschew Goals and just use the total of my budget entries (in the "Budgeted" column rollup). As long as that total is within my "effective" income, I'm golden.  (I have variable income as well.)

      When I want to change priorities/amounts/timelines/whatever, I just adjust until the new total (in a blank month) again matches my effective income. If I ever get a raise (on the part of my income that is consistent), I may accelerate timelines or increase scope of some categories until the total again matches the (new) income level.

      In essence, I never need to look beyond my nominal monthly values because of normalization. By design, any projection into the future will be identical.

      Reply Like 4
      • dakinemaui
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      Patzer said:
      if there isn't a way to look at total income for a month versus total goals for a month, the discipline of budgeting is really hard to achieve.

      When I was a newbie (and paycheck-to-paycheck), I made this comparison by temporarily entering all the nominal budget entries (going overbudget), ensure the total was acceptable, make a note of the nominal amounts in the category name (this was before Goals), and then delete budget entries until TBB was $0.

      This got easier as I got further ahead, because the number of temporary budget entries decreased. Now that I'm a month ahead, it's trivial to evaluate since an accurate monthly total is always displayed.

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      • Patzer
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      dakinemaui 

      I might note that this is trivial solely because you work around to budget an entire month at once.  If you followed the YNAB guidance of budgeting every time you get paid, and you are paid more than once a month, you'd be back to the starting situation of budgeting paycheck to paycheck.  It's not a problem for my budget because I do a similar workaround to budget an entire month in one budgeting session.

      Preacher, meet choir.

      Reply Like 2
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 5 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view
      Patzer said:
      There is no way I could have built goals for my entire budget and come up with reasonable goal numbers that first month.

      I'm sure you actually got a number of categories exactly correct. As for the others, is it any different than what happens when a bill amount increases today? Or timelines need to be changed? Realistically, one has to adjust the nominal values to ensure the higher priority items are funded and hope for the best.

      I know we agree on all this, I bring it up primarily for the benefit of others. I think the important thing is for people to draw a line in the sand for nominal values that reflect their priorities and knowledge of amount/timelines as best they know them at that time. If things need to change, then so be it.

      ETA: the budget is the plan for your money. The nominal or template values is the plan for the budget entries when you get new money. In short, the plan for the plan.

      Reply Like 3
  • I know there are some categories that I will stop funding at a certain point and only fund more when I've used up some of the money in that category.  I don't need to add money to my clothing category past $500 so when that category hits $500, I'll only add to replace what I've used.  I want my mower category to eventually be enough to replace the mower but once I've reached that amount, I will only need to budget for the upkeep of the current mower. 

    So right now my monthly goals are above where I want to be.  However, I think that using windfalls and future 3 paycheck months, I can work on my sinking funds and other categories that can be capped eventually, and thus decrease my total monthly goals to where I want them to be.  It's kind of like a snowball, but with sinking funds and other categories.  

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      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 5 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Technicolor Cheetah 

      Technicolor Cheetah said:
      I don't need to add money to my clothing category past $500 so when that category hits $500, I'll only add to replace what I've used. 

       I have many categories like this.  I use goals of Budget $X per month, then salvage the overfunded amounts and make a budget decision where to apply them.  Of course, this works best when I budget the entire month at the beginning of the month, which stopped being part of the YNAB method with the web rollout.

      YNAB wants to nag me for unmet goals associated with all the categories that I trim because they're overfunded.  After the recent color flap, I learned to code CSS to turn the underfunded pills transparent.  Now the inappropriate goal nags don't bother me.

      This is one of many areas where YNAB is laser-focused on the needs of people who are living paycheck to paycheck, but does not gracefully handle the needs of people who get ahead of living paycheck to paycheck.

      Reply Like 4
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Patzer 

      I usually go to a previous month and move some money out the overfunded category or just reduce the budgeted amount.  So that way the underfunded pill exists on a previous month of the budget and I don't see it when I'm checking this month's budget.  

      Reply Like
      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Technicolor Cheetah 

      That would work fine for categories that are capped at the monthly budget amount, such as Groceries:Food.  It would require extra calculation for categories that are capped at amounts greater than the monthly budget amount, such as Auto:Service.  The idea with Service is that I have a cap that will cover a lumpy expense, but I rebuild at a rate greater than the average month to cover the possibility of lumps coming more frequently than average. 

      Before I edited the pills to be transparent, I used to go into the next future month and edit all the goals.  That way, they didn't exist in the current month and thus didn't give me nags.  But editing the pills to be transparent eliminates that work.

      Reply Like
  • Eric Poulin said:
    Working in sales, I get commission payments that can allow me sometime to fill that category way above the number

     I've found with variable income that budgeting is far easier once I embraced the intent of the YNAB methodology. The idea behind Rule 2 is to normalize things to a monthly basis to facilitate a consistent budget. Just as I break down "lumpy" expenses, I've found breaking down "lumpy" income to greatly simplify budgeting.

    When I get a larger than average paycheck, I stash the amount over the average in a category called Deferred Income. When I get less than average, I pull from the category. This allows the vast majority of my budget entries to remain unchanged (as long as my priorities haven't changed).

    This allows me to focus on priorities when I budget rather than deal with the additional complications of the specific timing of income arrival.

    Reply Like 9
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