Thinking about leaving YNAB

My husband and I have been active YNAB users for more than five years. We finally switched to the new version after our computer died a couple months ago. 

I'm not afraid of a challenge, and have spent hours and hours trying to learn and love this new version. 

But it just doesn't seem to be working for how we use YNAB. It's very tedious now, and I dread doing our budget. I used to love budgeting and looked forward to our YNAB sessions. 

Now I'm confused, frustrated and annoyed, frankly. For the amount of work I'm putting in each week, I might as well use a pencil and paper ledger for our budgets. 

I think it may be a result of the way we organize our accounts and budget. We have three checking accounts and three savings accounts -- that's a personal checking/savings each, and our join checking/savings. And, we have three credit cards that are joint, but used for individual purchased. The old YNAB made it easy to organize all of these random transactions. On its surface, the new YNAB seemed like it would be fine. But the automatic credit card payment category (while logical, in theory) messes me up every time. And the savings accounts as budget accounts (again, while much more practical, in theory), is making it tedious to balance budgets because I need to calculate combined totals constantly. 

Anyone else experience the same problems? Has anyone overcome this tough transition to the new program? Any tips on how to do that? 

We've paid for the full year, so I'll probably see it through until our subscription runs out. But I just can't see myself using this program anymore. It's now a chore. 

Any advice is much welcome. I really loved the control YNAB gave us over our finances and would like to find a way to make it continue to work for us. 

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  • An added note: I've watched a ton of the videos and read through all the FAQs for the new program. It seems so simple in the samples.

    Our budget may just be too complicated for this new program. That would be unfortunate, as it wasn't too complicated for the old version.

    Reply Like
  • Why not just go back to YNAB4? I experienced all of the issues (and more) that you are seeing when I tried the new one 2 years ago. It just did not work for me. I've tried it again recently and the magic is just not there. I'm happily using 4 and don't plan to change. Is there a reason you don't want to use 4?

    Reply Like 4
      • JD Gil
      • jd_gil
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      VanillaCottage We had it installed on our old computer, but our old computer is completely fried, and won't work anymore. 

      I was under the impression you could no longer get a new copy of YNAB4.

      Were you able to get a new copy of the old version? I would do that in a second.

      Reply Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • 8
      • Reported - view

      JD Gil They aren't selling new license keys, but you can still download YNAB 4 and use your old license key to activate it. You can email support for help getting your old license key if you lost it.

      Reply Like 8
      • JD Gil
      • jd_gil
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas Thanks for the tip!

      Reply Like
      • blondeambition
      • damn millennial.
      • blondeambition
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      JD Gil You can use your old activation key to download it again here: https://classic.youneedabudget.com/

      Reply Like
      • Katejo
      • katejo
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      JD Gil  I keep a copy of my ynab 4 key/code on my work PC so I will be able to rescue/reinstall my account if my laptop dies and I have to buy a new one.  If i ever switch to nYnab, I will definitely not treat my CC account as a CC account because I really don't like the way it works.

      Reply Like 1
  • Hi, JD Gil

    I maintain 33 on-budget and tracking accounts. It isn't that different from YNAB4 except the cc methodology.

    I simply could not make the cc methodology work for me. It made me so very angry, I would be crying in frustration.  I pay my 2 cc accounts in full on the second last day of each month so that I can start each month owing nothing to no one. I buy gift cards and transfer from cc to gc accounts. I see these accounts as transactional or convenient flow-through accounts. nYNAB wants me to immediately acknowledge I am taking on debt the moment I use them. I finally gave up trying to use the nYNAB cc methodology.  To say it made me angry is deliberately understating just how crazed it made me.

    I defined my two cc accounts as chequing accounts. This allows me to use the YNAB4 cc methodology. As a bonus, it also removed the credit card payment box, which gave me back the top third of my computer screen. That too was a significant relief.  Having solved the cc roadblock, I am giving nYNAB the next three months of accurate entry, giving myself the chance to embrace new methods and see how they work for me without further work-around.

    blondeambition  posted a link to where you can download YNAB4 and look up your activation key if you didn't save it somewhere.  I keep a copy of the YNAB4.exe file and a jpeg of my activation code in my DropBox file. I also keep a jpeg of my mother's activation code and my sister's as well. I have reloaded their computers and replacement computers a few times with YNAB4, activated with their codes, and reloaded their existing budgets (resident on DropBox) and saved the day triumphantly.

    Reply Like 6
    • HappyDance  I have been having this problem with my cc for a few months now and it's been driving me crazy.  This seems like a viable solution. How did you go about setting up the cc as a checking account? Did you have to create a new budget sheet?  When you're setting it up, doesn't YNAB know it's a cc when you link to the account? Or is it not going to be linked to the account and you're entering transactions manually? 

      Any direction would be hugely helpful. 

      Thanks!

      Reply Like
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Hot Pink Wrench 

      I don't use the account sync to my bank. I only do manual entry. First, and this is my primary reason,  because I'm unwilling to violate my account-holder agreement with my bank which would remove their responsibility in dealing with cases of fraud involving my accounts. I would rather rely on my bank in Canada (governed by consumer protection laws) than a software as a service company in another country when it comes to safeguarding my accounts. Second, doing manual entry keeps me very focused and hands-on with my budget.  I don't know if you can use the bank sync if the account is masquerading as a different type.  Sorry. Maybe someone else reading this thread can help with that.  If it doesn't work, you can always switch it back by following the exact procedure outline below for changing a current cc account into a chequing account.  Good luck.

      1. right click on your current cc account and change the name of your current cc account to include the word OLD, i.e. VISA-old

      2. create a new account for your cc, but define it as a chequing account and then name it how you'd like it to appear, i.e. VISA

      3. go to the old account register, select all the transactions, then select Edit, which will give you the option to move all your transactions to the newly created cc account (screen capture below)

      4. delete the old account

      5. make it your habit to never leave a category overspent or a TBB in a negative. If you can commit to that, you can be confident that you can pay your credit card balance or statement balance every month.

       

      Reply Like 4
  • How did you have savings accounts set up in YNAB4? There’s been no change as to how nYNAB handles savings account. If you had them as off-budget, they’re now called tracking accounts. 

    In terms of credit cards, what is tripping you up specifically?  The key for PIF credit cards is to budget the outstanding balance for the first month only. After that, when you use a credit card for spending, it automatically deducts the amount from the category, and makes that amount available for the credit card payment. 

    I would also suggest contacting support directly (as well as asking questions here!).  I’ve heard they can send you videos specifically for your questions.

    We have about 15 accounts (mix of checking, savings, credit cards, investments, and car loans) with nYNAB  with no issues. There are some differences with nYNAB, but the core principals are the same. 

    Reply Like 2
  • Yeah, I have 42 on-budget accounts, so I don't think the number of accounts causes problems.  Some of them are credit cards (1 of which I'm about to stop paying in full for a few months, but don't anticipate problems), one's savings bonds, some are savings, some are checking, some are gift cards and cash, and I have also had a couple of loans which I've since paid off.  I'm also curious about what is causing the difficulties with the original poster.

    Reply Like 1
  • I also got very frustrated with the credit card handling and used it for over a year and the complexity it added was not worth it to me.  I did the same thing that Michele  did and changed my credit card accounts into checking accounts, they now work like YNAB4, I like that much better now.

    Reply Like 2
  • +1 on setting up the CCs as savings accounts. The current method (and the immovable CC payment categories at the top of the budget screen) annoyed the hell out of me so much when I first signed up. 

    I created a savings account for each CC, moved my transactions from the CC account to the savings ones, then deleted the the CC accounts.  I don't think I'd still be using nYNAB now if not for that workaround.

    Reply Like 2
    • TheTabby
    • Just a common cat trying to budget uncommonly well.
    • TheTabby
    • 1 yr ago
    • 1
    • Reported - view

    Another option, I'm not sure how much carry-over there is between your "personal" money and your "joint" money, is to create separate budgets for each.  I'm currently running two.  One is "my" money and one is "our" money.  DW doesn't want to run a budget, so she just knows that I pull $X from her account every Monday after she gets paid which covers the fixed expenses, and the rest is hers to play with.

    Reply Like 1
  • With the greatest respect- perhaps it's a signal that you should simplify and consolidate your budget into something more manageable.  I originally had a complex setup, but I'm now finding it a total breeze, and that's without auto-import! 

    Reply Like 3
  • VanillaCottage said:
    Why not just go back to YNAB4? I experienced all of the issues (and more) that you are seeing when I tried the new one 2 years ago. It just did not work for me. I've tried it again recently and the magic is just not there. I'm happily using 4 and don't plan to change. Is there a reason you don't want to use 4?

     

    I too tried nYNAB when it first came out. Was not impressed and stuck with YNAB4. I agree with VanillaCottage that it's easy enough to just continuing using YNAB4.

     I've been using YNAB since it was an excel spreadsheet. I revisit the forums periodically to get a ping on nYNAB. This yet again confirms that YNAB4 is still superior. I won't be moving to nYNAB anytime soon.

    Reply Like 6
    • Beige Cobra For Mac users YNAB 4 will probably break with the next release of Mac OS.  Apple has already stated that they will no longer support 32 bit applications sometime in 2018 and I sent YNAB an email and they said that YNAB 4 is a 32 bit app.  

      Reply Like
    • ynaber2613 Oof, that will be rough then. I guess I can run it in virtualization (have Parellels with a Win7 license) but not ideal. For the time being, though, I'm still on Yosemite or maybe Sierra so I can kick this can down the road a bit.

      Reply Like
      • ZuleikaD
      • ZuleikaD
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      ynaber2613 Ugh. Thanks for the heads up. I'm not sure what I'll do when that happens, but it sounds like I need to start planning a move to other software. But it's been a good run that's made a huge difference while it worked.

      Reply Like
  • I think sometimes we just have to admit that we are better off sometimes with the old version. I've looked at the new fancy thing multiple times but I've come to the conclusion that there is just to much added work doing things in nyab compared to version 4.  I've got a workflow that works and I'm comfortable with so why change, especially when its now an subscription with the added tedium it introduces.  

    Reply Like 1
  • Wish I read this earlier!! I switched to the new YNAB in January and while I like the way it imports transactions so I can approve them...I don't like anything else. I'm actually working on a google sheets document so I can get a better look at my overall budget. Sigh.

    Reply Like 1
      • VanillaCottage
      • Believer in the life-changing magic of YNAB4 - since 2013
      • VanillaCottage
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Coral Memory You can always still go back to 4! 😉

      Reply Like
  • JD Gil said:
    We have three checking accounts and three savings accounts -- that's a personal checking/savings each, and our join checking/savings. And, we have three credit cards that are joint, but used for individual purchased.

     This is why I don't do all of this.  Personally I like to make things simple when it comes to budgeting.  I have one checking account and one savings account.  I use those for everything.  I have credit cards but they are shared again to make it easy.  I know everyone has a preference.  I just don't understand having multiple accounts like this.  Though I have been tempted to create a new checking account that has say my mortgage payment in it.

    JD Gil said:
    But the automatic credit card payment category (while logical, in theory) messes me up every time.

    Yeah I am not a fan of this at all.  Honestly I just ignore it and pay my credit card as I see fit (Paid in full).

    Reply Like 2
  • JD Gilynaber2613, and  isang:  

    Setting up a credit card as an account, sounds interesting. 

    So how does this work in your budget?

    You spend on your credit card (which is set up as a checking account), do you just show negative in that account? How does this work with your categories? 

    For Example:  Say you've got a zero balance on your CC (set up as a checking account).  Your Gift category has $0 budgeted. You buy a gift for someone for $100.  You categorise it as a Gift (for budget purposes).  The account shoes -$100. The category goes down to -$100.  Won't this "steal" from next month's budget?  

    I'm not crazy about the way CCs work in nYNAB, so I'd be open to a workable alternative that is more like YNAB 4.

    Thanks for any info.

    Reply Like
      • isang
      • isangkuripot
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      JollyBugeteer 

      I recently bought a gift, so here's what I did:

      The gift I bought was about $60 (approximately) So:.

      • My Gifting category had $20 at the end of December.
      • At the beginning of January, I budgeted an additional $40. So Gifting category now has $60.
      • After buying the gift, I entered a transaction for -$60 with account = my CC (that is pretending to be a normal savings account), and category = Gifting. So now my Category = 0, and my CC is -$60.

      So yeah, I just leave the CC with a negative amount, then at the end of the month, I just look at the current total and pay that. I'll enter that as a transfer debiting my savings account (the 'real' one), then crediting the CC. I reconcile it the same way I would with my savings account, too.

      I don't think there would be a risk of stealing from the future this way, so long as you still continue to spend by category.

      I hope that helps! 😊

      Reply Like 2
      • isang
      • isangkuripot
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      JollyBugeteer PS... when I switched to YNAB, my CC had a small balance. What I did is set it up as a savings account with starting amount as -current balance.  Annual fees I entered as debit to CC, for category = Miscellaneous (budgeted).

      I haven't (knock on wood!) been hit by interest/late fees yet in nYNAB, but if I do, I'll enter it the same way I did in YNAB 4 --- debit to CC, category = Stupid Tax.😅

      Reply Like 1
      • Katejo
      • katejo
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      JollyBugeteer  You must first have the money budgeted to the relevant gift category. It is essentially the same as using a CC on Ynab4. You pay for something and your category balance goes down. When you pay the CC bill, you do a transfer from the relevant bank account.

      Reply Like 2
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      JollyBugeteer 

      JollyBugeteer said:
      For Example:  Say you've got a zero balance on your CC (set up as a checking account).  Your Gift category has $0 budgeted. You buy a gift for someone for $100.  You categorise it as a Gift (for budget purposes).  The account shoes -$100. The category goes down to -$100.  Won't this "steal" from next month's budget?  

       Yes. An overspend in your categories on a cash-based account that you leave unresolved as the month transitions will subtract from the to be budgeted balance next month. Pretending your CC accounts are cash-based will do exactly the same thing. I wouldn't recommend setting up the CC as a cash-based account for anyone who has the kind of scenario you used as an example.

      I am a paid-in-full cc user, and I never enter income ahead of date or leave categories overspent in my budget. For that reason I am confident that in using the CC workaround I'm not creating a future disaster for myself. The workaround simply forces nYNAB to treat CC the way YNAB4 did/does.

      Reply Like 1
  • JollyBugeteer said:
    You spend on your credit card (which is set up as a checking account), do you just show negative in that account? How does this work with your categories?

    For Example: Say you've got a zero balance on your CC (set up as a checking account). Your Gift category has $0 budgeted. You buy a gift for someone for $100. You categorise it as a Gift (for budget purposes). The account shoes -$100. The category goes down to -$100.

     This is not a problem with your cc account being negative - it's a problem in the way you are using your categories. Whether it's a CC set up as a checking or set up as a CC, you should always budget money to your categories before you spend. So if your gift category has $0 budgeted, you need to move money into it from another category (either before or after your transaction, but preferably before). So when you spend, the account shows -$100, the outflow shows -$100, and the category balance should show $0 (not -$100). It is okay for your CC account to be negative (as that is what they are in real life), but the YNAB way is to budget for ALL expenses with money you already have. The CC is just a method of payment. YNAB(4) showed me how to get out of debt, not how to create more and stay there.

    Reply Like 5
  • JD GilKatejoisang, and VanillaCottage:  Thanks for your comments. I get what you each are saying, but the difference is that in YNAB 4, you can turn on the red arrow to account for the negative category until you paid the CC in the following month (I too pay it off monthly).  You could always move money from another category, but I preferred the red arrow.

    I'll think about trying this method. It might work better.

    Thanks again.

    Reply Like
  • Thanks for all the feedback. Based on the advice here, I got set up again with YNAB4. 

    It has been smooth sailing since. 

    I know our budget is a little complex, and considered for a moment trying to simplify in order to keep using YNAB. But YNAB4 caused zero complications, and I like how we have everything set up in separate accounts, so I decided to just return to what worked for our budget system. 

    Reply Like 2
    • JD Gil If you get forced to nYNAB again, I'll suggest setting up your CC accounts as tracking accounts and making a single CC category on your budget. Makes it easy to handle without the constant hoop jumping that the horrible standard CC setup requires.

      Reply Like
  • What's so wrong with the way nYNAB handles credit cards?

    Reply Like
      • Katejo
      • katejo
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Six Hats  For me the simple fact of having to have a credit card category to budget my payments. I don't need that. i budget the spending in the original categories and the payment to my CC account is a simple account  transfer. Also I don't like the way in which nYnab handles refunds. Sorry I can't describe it accurately here because I haven't tried it for a while but I have read comments from other users more recently.

      Reply Like 3
      • Six Hats
      • monkeychicken
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Katejo But doesn't nYNAB just move the money from the category you've spent against to the credit card payment? The only reasons to budget money to a credit card that I can are if you have a pre-YNAB balance or don't clear the total balance in the previous month. At least, that's how I understand it. I don't use my credit card very often so it could be different with heavy use.

      Reply Like 2
      • Katejo
      • katejo
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Six Hats  Yes I believe it does but I just don't need that category at all. If i ever move to Nynab, I will treat my CC account as a bank account as it is on Ynab4.

      Reply Like 2
      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 1 yr ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      Six Hats 

      Six Hats said:
      What's so wrong with the way nYNAB handles credit cards?

       YNAB 4 was a net cash budget, i.e. the total budget was the net of checking, savings, cash, and credit cards.  nYNAB is a gross cash budget, i.e. the total budget is the sum of checking, savings, and cash.  This gives a larger total budget number, which is accounted for by the card payment category.

      In YNAB 4, when you spent money on groceries, you spent budget money.  Buy $100 worth of groceries, and your total budget decreased by $100.  Didn't matter whether you paid cash, used a debit card, or used a credit card.  When you paid the card, it was not a spending transaction.  It was a transfer from checking to the card, with no change to the budget.  In effect, you were sending dollars you no longer owned to their rightful owner, on a schedule as per your credit card agreement.

      In nYNAB, if you spend $100 on groceries using cash or a debit card linked to your checking account, you have reduced your total budget by $100, same as YNAB 4.  But if you buy $100 of groceries using a credit card, there is no change in the size of your total budget.  Behind the scenes, nYNAB does a Whack-a-Mole operation to move $100 from the Groceries category to the Card Payment category.  When you pay the card, you record a no-category transfer; and behind the scenes, nYNAB reduces the Card Payment category.

      Later, when I was working through the budget theory issues, I found the description of Age of Money that said credit card purchases didn't count for calculating AoM.  Say what?  If I spend using a credit card, those aren't my dollars any more!  Dig into it, dig into how nYNAB treats credit card transactions, and I conclude that the underlying theory (whether intentional or accidental) is that using a credit card is not spending and paying a card is spending.

      In effect, nYNAB treats using a credit card as "not spending" and paying the card as "spending."  This is horribly wrong from a theoretical perspective, as the point of control is when the card is used, not when it is paid.

      All this would not matter for a paid in full credit card user, if it worked perfectly all the time.  But there are apparently several situations where nYNAB assumes based on other numbers within the budget that the user intended to add credit card debt.  The PIF user must watch for this type of event and manually correct the Card Payment category, or learn what all the types of transactions are that make this happen and record transactions in ways that avoid it.

      That's an awful lot of attention required for what ought to be routine transactions.  The first thing I noticed as a PIF card user was that the dance with card payment categories added no value to my budget.  The second thing I noticed was several forum posts asking why the card payment category diverged from the card balance.  As a PIF card user, that alone is enough to tell me that the way nYNAB handles credit cards is horrible for my situation, and I should avoid it by telling nYNAB that my cards are really checking accounts.   Then they work as they did in YNAB 4, and I don't have to worry about arcane budget rules for adding debt I don't intend to add.  (Others note that they also got back a lot of budget screen space by eliminating the card payment categories.)

      If you are carrying a balance on a credit card and still making charges with the card, the nYNAB treatment of cards is the least bad way I've seen of accounting for that in a budget.  But you still need to be wary of nYNAB assuming you intended to increase debt when you didn't.  If PIF card users can be surprised by the card payment category being unexpectedly less than the card balance, users who are carrying debt are likely unaware when nYNAB is assuming some of their transactions intended to add to that debt.

      Reply Like 6
      • Six Hats
      • monkeychicken
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Patzer 

      Patzer said:
       YNAB 4 was a net cash budget, i.e. the total budget was the net of checking, savings, cash, and credit cards.  nYNAB is a gross cash budget, i.e. the total budget is the sum of checking, savings, and cash.  This gives a larger total budget number, which is accounted for by the card payment category.

       I'm not sure I understand this part. Are you saying that YNAB 4 took into account the debit you had and removed that from the total you had to budget? Because if it didn't then the amounts would be the same.

      Patzer said:
      In nYNAB, if you spend $100 on groceries using cash or a debit card linked to your checking account, you have reduced your total budget by $100, same as YNAB 4. 

      This is correct and makes perfect sense. I've used my money or my card attached to my bank account to make the purchase. 

      Patzer said:
      But if you buy $100 of groceries using a credit card, there is no change in the size of your total budget.  Behind the scenes, nYNAB does a Whack-a-Mole operation to move $100 from the Groceries category to the Card Payment category.  When you pay the card, you record a no-category transfer; and behind the scenes, nYNAB reduces the Card Payment category.

      This is also correct. The money I have in my accounts has not changed therefore the money has not left my budget. What I have done is used the credit card company's money to buy $100 of groceries. I have not spent my money. I have borrowed $100 from the credit card company which I now owe them. To cover this nYNAB moves the money from my grocery category to the card payment. But the money is still in my possession. I could in theory take that $100 and spend it on something else. I have not spent any of my money until I pay the credit card company, at which point the money leaves my account (and my budget) and enters the credit card company's.

      Later, when I was working through the budget theory issues, I found the description of Age of Money that said credit card purchases didn't count for calculating AoM.  Say what?  If I spend using a credit card, those aren't my dollars any more!  Dig into it, dig into how nYNAB treats credit card transactions, and I conclude that the underlying theory (whether intentional or accidental) is that using a credit card is not spending and paying a card is spending.

      The money hasn't been spent from your budget until the credit card payment is made. You are not spending your money until you pay money back to the credit card company. When you make a purchase on the credit card you are spending the credit card company's money. As I understand it the AoM is based on the average of the last ten spending transactions, so this makes sense.

      In effect, nYNAB treats using a credit card as "not spending" and paying the card as "spending."  This is horribly wrong from a theoretical perspective, as the point of control is when the card is used, not when it is paid.

      I would agree with your first point. That is correct. I would amend it to say "not spending my money" and "spending my money to pay back the credit card company." I can't really comment on your second point because I don't know what theoretical perspective you are referring to, and I don't know what you mean by point of control.

      All this would not matter for a paid in full credit card user, if it worked perfectly all the time.  But there are apparently several situations where nYNAB assumes based on other numbers within the budget that the user intended to add credit card debt.  The PIF user must watch for this type of event and manually correct the Card Payment category, or learn what all the types of transactions are that make this happen and record transactions in ways that avoid it.

      I would be careful to check transaction automatically downloaded from the bank as they may treat purchase s as a positive increase in the account balance when in fact they are a negative increase, ie the amount owed has increased. I have had an issue with this with my bank. I am sure there are other reasons why this happens, but I have not had any experience with them to be able to add anything useful.

      That's an awful lot of attention required for what ought to be routine transactions.  The first thing I noticed as a PIF card user was that the dance with card payment categories added no value to my budget.  The second thing I noticed was several forum posts asking why the card payment category diverged from the card balance.  As a PIF card user, that alone is enough to tell me that the way nYNAB handles credit cards is horrible for my situation, and I should avoid it by telling nYNAB that my cards are really checking accounts.   Then they work as they did in YNAB 4, and I don't have to worry about arcane budget rules for adding debt I don't intend to add.  (Others note that they also got back a lot of budget screen space by eliminating the card payment categories.)

      I don't know what your situation is and if you find treating credit cards as checking accounts works for you then that is your decision. I think it is based on a misconception about credit cards and whose money is being spent. Credit card spending is debt from the moment the card is used.

      If you are carrying a balance on a credit card and still making charges with the card, the nYNAB treatment of cards is the least bad way I've seen of accounting for that in a budget.  But you still need to be wary of nYNAB assuming you intended to increase debt when you didn't.  If PIF card users can be surprised by the card payment category being unexpectedly less than the card balance, users who are carrying debt are likely unaware when nYNAB is assuming some of their transactions intended to add to that debt.

      What are the more bad ways you have seen? Again, credit card spending is debt from the moment the card is charged. I cannot comment on the issues other people have had regarding the payment amount not matching what is on the card as I haven't experienced it yet myself.

      In essence, credit card accounts are separate from your budget as the money spent on them is not yours. It belongs to the credit card company which has bought you your groceries. Until you pay them back, the money is still in your budget and is yours to do with as you wish. 

      Reply Like 2
      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 1 yr ago
      • 10
      • Reported - view

      Six Hats We have a philosophical disagreement about what buying something with a credit card means.

      If I understand you correctly, you view buying $100 of groceries with a credit card as spending someone else's money and creating debt.  Then you have an option to spend that $100 on something else.  Legally, you are correct; I do not find this to be a helpful way of looking at my budget.

      I view buying $100 of groceries as spending my own money, but being allowed to keep custody of that $100 until the payment due date on the card.  At that time, I must send the $100 I no longer own to its rightful owner.  If I fail to do so, it becomes debt and I pay interest from the date of the purchase.

      Legally, that $100 is really debt from the time I buy the groceries until the time I pay the bill; but if I'm paying no interest on it and paying the bill in full each month, there is no value added by tracking it as debt.  It is much simpler to think of it as money that is no longer mine, under budget rules which do not give me the option to spend it a second time.

      Your view of things is more suited to the way nYNAB is designed.  Mine is more suited to the way YNAB 4 was designed.  You can be content using nYNAB as intended; I need to do a work around to make nYNAB work the way I need it to.

      Reply Like 10
      • Six Hats
      • monkeychicken
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Patzer My understanding of your last post is that you view your money as spent when you spend it on a credit card and therefore need the budget to reflect the fact you can no longer spend that money as it is put aside for the credit card payment. Have I got that right?

      Reply Like 1
      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 1 yr ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Six Hats That is correct.  I choose to organize my finances so that, at any given time, I could pay the balances of all my cards in full in however long it takes ACH transactions to clear.   This isn't quite as conservative as people who pay the card as soon as they charge anything, but it does guarantee that I'm not living on the float.

      Reply Like 4
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Six Hats It makes no sense to think of it any other way. When you spend money on a credit card, you spent the money.

      Reply Like 5
      • Six Hats
      • monkeychicken
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Patzer I don't mean to keep banging on about this but how is that different to what nYNAB does? I'm genuinely curious as to the benefit of treating a credit card as a current account. How does it work exactly?

      Reply Like
      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 1 yr ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      Six Hats There are two differences.  I've already written in detail about the philosophical difference, and it doesn't matter to you.  In fact, it more closely matches the way you think about credit cards.

      As a practical matter, suppose I pay the balance shown on my credit card statement in full by the due date, without fail, every month, for every credit card I use.  (Yes, I do this.  So do many other people.)  nYNAB promises that I can continue to use my cards this way, and nothing much will change.  That turns out to only be partially true.

      First, nYNAB creates a Card Payment category for each card that I put into the budget.  Then that category is supposed to continually match my credit card balance, for each card.  If it all works correctly, this happens automatically, and the only down side is I've got these totally redundant categories that park at the top of the web page and force me to scroll down to see anything meaningful.

      But several other users have found situations where nYNAB assumes that I would intend to add debt when I do not.  One is posting cash back from the card as a statement credit.  Do it one way, it works.  Do it another way, and nYNAB changes things so the Card Payment category and the account balance diverge.  Another is a transaction that overspends a category.  Do that in a credit card account, and instead of showing you a negative category balance that you need to fix, nYNAB assumes you want to add debt to the card.  I saw another thread where this happened with a cash transaction, but in a category that had a credit card transaction earlier in the month.  How on earth would I predict that the software would create debt when I make a cash transaction?

      All this *clutter* means that someone who pays their cards in full must watch those redundant Card Payment categories and fix them whenever nYNAB does something to move the Card Payment category out of sync with the credit card balance.  There is a business term for this type of activity.  It's called "rework," i.e. doing something over that should have already been completed.

      I can fix all of those redundancies and rework issues, and also reclaim the space at the top of the web page, by the simple work around of telling nYNAB my credit cards are really checking accounts.  So that's what I do, and for my own budget I don't need to worry about the little things that nYNAB does to mess up the PIF credit card user.  

      From a philosophical perspective, I become concerned that someone who is trying to pay down a card while still using it may be paying it down slower because nYNAB assumes he wants to add to the debt when he might not want to; but that's a philosophical issue, and we've already established that philosophical issues aren't what you are asking about.

      So you are happy with nYNAB out of the box, including how it treats credit cards.  I'd rather not mess up your happiness; it is not mandatory for you to convert credit cards to checking accounts when you see no need to do so for your situation.  Go forth, and have a good budget.

      Reply Like 6
      • Six Hats
      • monkeychicken
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Patzer I was asking about the mechanics of managing the card as a checking account. Do you move money into the account to cover the payment and then pay the card from there? Do you have a category for the money to go into? That kind of thing.  I'm not trying to change your mind or criticise your way of managing your budget. If it works for you, great. It's no skin off my nose. I'm just curious. If I can see a benefit to my own budget management then I might do it myself.

      Regarding the credit card category group  that nYNAB creates, just drag it to the bottom of the screen. That's what I did.

      Reply Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Six Hats if the credit card is set up as a checking/current account, there is no difference in the payment method - just a transfer from your actual checking/current account to the credit card account. And you know how much to pay because the credit  card statement tells you what you owe.

      Reply Like
      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Six Hats The mechanics are very simple.  The credit card has a negative balance.  Paying the card is a no-category transfer from checking to credit card, with no impact on any budget category.  This is much simpler than the nYNAB system of washing everything through a Card Payment category behind the scenes.  I have a statement that has a number called something like "Total Balance;" that's what I pay.  This will typically be less than the balance shown in YNAB, because I will have charged something else after the bill cycle closed.  So nYNAB's Card Payment category doesn't even tell me how much to pay.

      As far as dragging the card payment category group somewhere, I supposed I dragged it into hyperspace where I will never have to look at it again.

      Reply Like 3
      • Six Hats
      • monkeychicken
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Patzer Ah, so when you use your card to pay for the $100 of groceries, you enter the transaction in the credit card account against the grocery category. This reduces the grocery category by $100 and takes the credit card account into a negative balance? 

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

      Six Hats The *normal* balance for a credit card is negative, reflecting the fact that I owe the card issuer some money.  This is true regardless of whether I set the card up as a checking account or a credit card account in nYNAB.

      Reply Like
      • Six Hats
      • monkeychicken
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Patzer I can see why you do it now. It removes the category group which you find annoying and cuts out the nYNAB credit card manoeuvres which cause you issues. How does this hold up in the scenario of using a credit card in an emergency to cover spending which the budget just can't cover?

      Reply Like
      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Six Hats A credit card is not an emergency fund.  Having dollars sitting in savings waiting for something unexpected to happen is an emergency fund.

      There is no such thing as credit card spending in an emergency which the budget can't cover.  There are only emergencies that require budget adjustment.  If an emergency that requires budget adjustment happens, I can use the card for whatever I need that I can pay for with a card, then move money around between categories so the unexpected expense is covered and between accounts so the card can be paid.  Whether the card is set up as a checking account or a credit card account within the budget has no impact on real world expenses; but if it is set up as a checking account I don't have to worry about nYNAB doing something stupid with my categories when I'm addressing a real world issue.

      To mitigate the unforeseen, I have an "Unexpected Expenses" category.  It was originally targeted at $1000, after the common advice to have a $1000 mini e-fund.  In 2008, my daughter drove my car with $1000 deductible collision insurance into the side of my garage with $1000 deductible homeowner's insurance.  At that point, I decided $2000 was a better number for the Unexpected Expenses category.  I got through that episode by frantically playing Whack-a-Mole and actually spending less on things I had budgeted for because it happened. 

      Rule 3 is Roll with the Punches, a name I've never particularly liked.  If I were to name that rule, I'd call it The Money's Gotta Come from Somewhere.  This expresses the idea that if I spend more than planned on something, I must adjust the plan to spend less on something else.  Taking the excess as credit card debt is the Wrong Answer.   And that's the root of my problem with the nYNAB treatment of credit cards; every time I turn around, it seems someone posts something on the forum describing a situation where nYNAB facilitates the creation of credit card debt.  I don't want to go there, and a good budget program should not encourage going there.

      Reply Like 2
      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 1 yr ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Patzer Six Hats is correct though-- there is no way to carry debt on the card and track it  when you treat a credit card as a checking account.  Because there's no longer the ability to turn the arrow to the right,  there's no way to absorb debt into the budget except for using a credit card category.  So the prerequisite for treating the card as a checking account is that you don't have debt, and you have enough assets  to prevent the creation of future debt in a true emergency.  Five years down the line, I am now in that position,  but five years ago I wasn't. I am loathe to tell people that they shouldn't use credit in an emergency as a result. Of course it should be a last resort, but not everyone is in a place where they can avoid using their last resort. 

       Without the PYD category  and red arrow right,  any debt being carried must be tracked outside the budget in nYNAB  if you choose to treat the card as a checking account.  ( or it has to be tracked by manually creating a negative category at the beginning of each month).  It's an important point. 

      Reply Like 4
      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor Thank you for that perspective. 

      I had been thinking that the "keep your hands off the stove" solution is, don't use any card that carries a balance for budgeted expenses.  Independent of how the budget functions, this is a very standard recommendation in systems for getting out of credit card debt, and it eliminates all need to track budget and debt commingled in the same account.

      Of course, many people prefer to keep their hands on the stove, and I guess they need to be able to budget.

      That having been said, the point of the original post on the thread included confusion over the card payment categories messing up what had been a perfectly functional YNAB 4 budget.  The issue of carried debt did not enter until late in my conversation with Six Hats attempting to explain why the way credit cards work in nYNAB cause issues.  At the start of that conversation, I thought the topic of discussion was credit cards that are paid in full each month.  Perhaps I was mistaken.

      I'll shut up and go away now.  It appears that I have ceased to add value to this thread, and may have edged into the area of value subtraction.

      Reply Like 2
      • Vibrant
      • No more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars
      • vibrant
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Patzer I for one found the discussion interesting and informative, even if it did skew slightly off topic. 😊

      Reply Like 3
      • ungifted
      • More fresh starts than hot dinners
      • Powder_Blue_Koala
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Six Hats I have come back to ynab after a long while away and ADORE the way nynab treats credit cards! I really struggled with them in ynab4. I'm a simple person and I find it so elegant and love the way it moves the money into the payment account. So happy, so so happy with the new cc process 🙂

      Reply Like 1
    • Patzer Exactly. That's how I handle credit cards and nYNAB doesn't allow that. It's a major step backwards in how the program is set up. My counter was to change my philosophy and put all my credit cards in tracking instead of budgeting and set up a redundant category just for paying to the cards.

      Reply Like
  • This has been a very interesting conversation for me to follow as a new YNABer.  We started in mid January and have a bit of credit card debt we are working to pay down....why we stumbled onto YNAB in the first place.  I can see the benefit of the "checking account cc" method for PIF users and hopefully we will be there by the end of this year.  But for those of us with a debt paydown plan I like the nYNAB way of budgeting additional payments as it is helping us keep track of our $1600/month we pay towards credit cards using the snowball method.

    Sounds like the YNAB 4 method works great for some of you, just keep in mind that many rookie YNABers come here with preexisting debt and that the designers of nYNAB may have to tailor to new users as well as PIF budget ninjas.

    Reply Like 1
  • I think the issue with the way nYNAB handles credit cards comes down to a misunderstanding between spending on the card and spending on the card which is covered by the budget. Spending on the credit card is outside the budget, with the payment category showing what is available in the budget to put towards the debt. The payment category and the credit card balance are not referring to the same information.

    Reply Like 1
      • Katejo
      • katejo
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Six Hats  My spending with the cc is always budgeted and covered by funds in categories. I agree that converting your cc account to a bank account will only work if you budget all the spending and pay the card account in full each month.

      Reply Like 2
      • briefcase
      • A rack of ties, a travel mug, telephone, briefcase filled with papers
      • briefcase
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Six Hats I've had my issues with nYNAB in the past, CC handling really hasn't ever been one of them.  I'm intentionally being a little snarky and provocative by saying this, but if you dissect most of the naysayers' criticism of this particular feature, it almost always boils down to "I'm perfect at budgeting, therefore the design is wrong."  I think that the approach to CCs in nYNAB is understandable to new and experienced users alike, however, as others have stated there are multiple ways to handle, think about, budget for, etc, CCs in nYNAB.

       

      I think that it's more important that you're budgeting than you're budgeting perfectly, personally, which is my advise to others.

       

      Use whatever works for you.  As I said, I haven't really ever had any major problems with the CC category, and I've thrown some significant life changes at nYNAB since it launched.

      Reply Like
  • I've found credit card easy in nYNAB, just need follow some basic rules:

    Say I have a £1000 CC paying £10 interest per month

    1. Create a separate budget for credit card interest. Ensure this is always funded with the £10 interest charges expected during the month. When you debit the interest charge to the CC account, nYNAB will move it to available for payment. New balance £1010 and £10 available for payment.

    2. Enter an amount that want to reduce the card debt by during the month into the CC budget, say £50 to reduce £1000 balance to £950.  Payment available is now £60 made up of your reduction amount (£50) plus interest (£10) in total, all covered by the budget. £1010 - £60 = Balance £950 when you make payment.

    3. If you also use your card during the month for purchases, nYNAB will move the money to the payment amount from the original budget. Say I spend £200 on fuel on the card, balance is now £1210. The available for payment will now be £260 made of the £50 I typed into the budget, £10 interest and £200 moved by YNAB = £260 available to pay off. So £1210 - £260 = Balance £950 when you make payment.

    The amount you actually type into the budget for CC payment is the actual reduction in debt that will occur that month. The available for payment consists of this reduction, the interest and the spending.

    Just enter into the budget how much you want to reduce the card debt by. And that can be £0 if you want and your CC balance will stay static that month. Just make sure your spend amount plus interest covers the minimum payment in this case, if not, top up to minimum by entering into budget amount. You will reduce debt by this amount.

    Reply Like 2
  • Late to the discussion but I am in the 'treat credit cards as checking accounts' camp too.  I tried for over a year to use the new credit card methodology but it often frustrated the heck out of me.  The straw that broke the camels back for me was when I made a cash purchase in a category that I had previously made a credit card purchase in and it caused the category to go orange instead of red when I overspent the category in cash.  I pay my credit cards off multiple times per month, basically treat them like debit cards.  In this particular instance the credit card balance was zero and the category was green.  I made a cash purchase in the category which was more than I had available in that category, I expected the category to go red indicating cash over spending which is actually the case here but YNAB assumed it was credit overspending and turned the category orange.  

    YNAB's fidelity is not good enough to handle this case, it must calculate the credit card spending on monthly basis, not a real time basis.  YNAB should have known that I had already paid the credit card off and that the over spending was in cash.

    Changing the CC accounts to checking has simplified YNAB and now all over spending is red and under funding is yellow.  I liked the way YNAB 4 handled them and this is how I treat them now.  

    Reply Like 4
    • ynaber2613  Similar thing happened to me, only previously I had used a credit card that I then "closed" prior to overspending on that category.  So when I overspent the category using my checking account, the YNAB app added a "Credit card payment" category and showed it as overdrawn by the overspent amount. 

      There was no credit card available to pay, and no debt on any credit card because I'd spent out of my checking account so this response made zero sense to me.   Worse still, nothing I did would get rid of the "credit card payment" category debt!  I was so confused, and Support had to make me a personalised help video to show me what happened.  I ended up doing a fresh start and setting my accounts and balances up from scratch.

      It seemed to me that the app was trying too hard.  If I overspend a category from my checking account, it shouldn't interact with my credit card at all.  Support indicated that it was worse for my checking account to go into overdraft than it was for my credit card to go into debt, which is why the app responded in this way.  The thing is, the credit card may have money that is available to me, but surely I get to decide when I use it?  My intention all along was to WAM from another category, easy as pie (or it should have been).

      I have my credit card as a Tracking account now too.  I didn't think about adding it as a checking account.  That sounds like another good workaround if you want to budget your credit card purchases. 

      Reply Like 1
  • Seems to me that you might benefit from a little simplification. Your account structure looks a little “high maintenance” to me. I started with 2 checking accounts and 5 savings accounts, some set-up “on budget” and others as off-budget “tracking” accounts. I now have only one “on-budget” checking account with the others set-up as categories within that account. Super simple. Easy peasy. 

    Reply Like
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