Scheduled transactions

I use a LOT of scheduled transactions and goals, and I also use auto-pay on my bills whenever possible. It cuts down on my time doing stuff I don't like to do so I can concentrate on things I care about.

BUT, I have to remember that "the map is not the terrain" sometimes. I have my water bill which varies and is due quarterly, and the city doesn't offer the option of auto-pay. A few months ago I thought everything was going fine when I saw the scheduled transaction show up, until I remembered that I had not actually scheduled the check to go to the city.

Usually when the bill comes, I enter the amount in the scheduled transaction and also schedule a check to be paid at the same time. Somehow I forgot the latter.

Does anybody have a process that helps remember things like this? I prefer simple.

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  • Under no circumstances will I enter the amount in YNAB until it's arranged in the real world. Just make it an unbreakable rule.

    If you're editing the recurring version, you might get confused next time since it now has an amount. One of these two are most common:

    * Put the month in the scheduled memo (a mismatch with the recurring transaction date signals not handled)

    * Enter Now to generate a one-time instance and fix the date/amount of that

    Like 1
  • I also have reminders on appropriate days to arrange bill payments along with all my other to-do items. There are just too many things to keep in my head.

    Again, I will not check it off until actually done. I've been burned clicking "Done" when the reminder comes up thinking I would go do it immediately following... then get distracted and it's forgotten.

    Like 1
  • I only used scheduled transactions for things that are auto-paid.  I use goals for planning for things I pay manually.  

    Like 1
  • Autopays are flagged blue and set for the due date. 
     

    Payments I have to make are red and set for the billing date. 
     

    I leave the amount empty. When I get a notification for either type, I enter in register now and set the amount on that particular item. 


    When I make the payment, I remove the red flag. 

    Like 3
    • casner
    • Now retired, and figuring out transitions
    • casner
    • 2 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Thanks for the suggestions! I will look at how they fit with what I have been doing. Never really figured out a good use for flags before, so I may try that first.

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      • JoeDid
      • Remember: It is To Laugh
      • Purple_rain
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
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      casner I use a combination of suggestions you already received: I put the month-due number at the start of the memo field for all auto-pay bills, and for those I need to pay manually, I use a red flag.

      It will really stand out in your register given that, at this point, you aren't using other flags.

      Like 1
  • We have the same problem with the water bill. We only get billed every 3 months. So what I have done is set up a recurring bank bill payment every other week (on payday) for 1/6 of the regular amount (which varies but not by that much). For us this is $40. So every other week, the water company gets a $40 payment and when my bill arrives, it is usually for some small incremental amount above the total payments made.

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      • Annieland
      • YNABbing every day since 2009!
      • Annieland
      • 2 mths ago
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      MXMOM Why not just pay the total water bill when it comes in?  Why give them your $240 to hold when you could just make a budget category?

      Like 2
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Annieland Yes, I guess I could do that. My problem is I always forget to pay them when the bill is due so I did it this way to "automate" the payment to them. 

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 mth ago
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      MXMOM I have a scheduled transaction of $0 for my gas for a few days before they are due. So when it pops up to approve, I know to go pay the bill.

      Like 4
  • I use flags too.  Orange means it's actually been scheduled.  And green means to expect a bill but it's not in or scheduled yet.  Stuff that is auto has no flag, it's just scheduled.  It's been working well for me, only effort is to flip the flag color after something posts.

    Like 2
    • casner
    • Now retired, and figuring out transitions
    • casner
    • 2 mths ago
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    Without using flags yet, today my water bill came, and per an earlier suggestion I logged into the Credit Union and entered the payment date and amount FIRST, then went to YNAB and entered the information there. I feel better.

    Like 3
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 mths ago
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      casner Glad things are improving for you!

      FWIW, I've not found flags to be useful to indicate "processing state" because of the need to mess with it after something posts (i.e., the state changes). I know I WILL screw that up eventually, so the fewer moving parts the better. The fact it's less to do/remember is a nice bonus, IMHO. :)

      Like 2
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 mths ago
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      dakinemaui Yeah, I've never really used flags in YNAB. Over the years I've experimented but nothing stuck.

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    • Superbone The main thing I use them for at this point, and this is a niche case, is marking business transactions on which I owe use tax (i.e., sales tax that wasn't paid at the time of purchase). That's an inherent part of the transaction, so I don't need to clear the flag later.

      Like 2
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 mths ago
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      Matthew I put that sort of thing in the memo. It's much easier to remember #usetax means "usetax" in contrast to "blue", "red", etc. 😉

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      • jerald
      • jerald
      • 2 mths ago
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      Matthew Interesting idea.  Like dakinemaui , I've always used a keyword in the memo ("SalesTax") and just do a search for that at tax time.  

      Like
    • dakinemaui You may have a point there. 😄

      Like 1
    • casner
    • Now retired, and figuring out transitions
    • casner
    • 2 mths ago
    • 1
    • Reported - view

    I just got my property tax bill for next year, and per dakinemau's suggestion I put the checks into my autopay at the bank FIRST, then went into YNAB and entered the scheduled transactions. That is definitely the right order to do things.

    Like 1
      • Annieland
      • YNABbing every day since 2009!
      • Annieland
      • 2 mths ago
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      casner You're lucky you can pay your property tax online through your bank.  I tried to do it once years ago and got a "warning letter" that online billpay was not to be used for "Official Government Payments."  ???  So I still have to remember to send the paper check.

      Of course, I can pay online through the county website but I ain't giving them an extra $3 on top of all the ridiculous taxes I already pay.

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 mths ago
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      Annieland They charge you $3 to directly debit from your checking account? That sucks. No fee for me so that's how I do it. My county only charges if you pay with credit card. Something like 2.19%. So of course, I don't do that.

      Like 1
      • casner
      • Now retired, and figuring out transitions
      • casner
      • 2 mths ago
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      Superbone Yes, they charge me the fee if I want to use a credit card. The points are not worth the fee, so I don't. But the Credit Union does allow sending checks by autopay, so I do that. Of course, the city is well connected to the banks, so no paper check ever happens; it is done electronically and called a check. ;)

      Like 2
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 mths ago
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      casner I don't pay by autopay checks but by electronic check on the county website. This way the payment date posts that day. Mine are set up as scheduled transactions in YNAB which serve to remind me to go to the county website and make the payment. I have this scheduled transaction set about 10-15 days before late fees would set in to make sure I pay on time.

      Like 2
      • Annieland
      • YNABbing every day since 2009!
      • Annieland
      • 2 mths ago
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      Superbone Yeah, mine charges the "convenience fee" regardless of method of payment.  Money grubbing township here grrr.

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 mths ago
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      Annieland :thumbs down:

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      • Annieland
      • YNABbing every day since 2009!
      • Annieland
      • 2 mths ago
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      Superbone I just set up a payment to see if I'm still correct.  And it gave me $98 for credit card and $3.00 for electronic check.  This is actually the first time I'm not paying before the end of the year and instead waiting until the Feb due date.  I figure with the $10k cap on deductions for state and property taxes, there's no benefit in paying early this time.  So I'll grab a few more bucks in interest and spring for a 55 cent (!!!) stamp next year.

      I love how we all pay our property tax ourselves.  In real life everyone looks at me like I'm crazy if I mention some new tax increase for something, or even just mentioning I paid the bill.  It seems most people think you need the escrow people to hold your money for you (and then some), and don't even bother to read exactly what they're paying for.

      Like 1
  • Annieland said:
    I love how we all pay our property tax ourselves.  In real life everyone looks at me like I'm crazy if I mention some new tax increase for something, or even just mentioning I paid the bill.  It seems most people think you need the escrow people to hold your money for you (and then some), and don't even bother to read exactly what they're paying for.

    Yes, we're weird, right?! 😄 I love that I now pay my own property taxes. I love having control of my own funds. Most people don't have the tools or the knowledge to do it without it being a surprise (in a bad way) to their finances. It's the same reason I like getting my state and federal taxes as close to 0 as possible and like to err on the owing side whereas most like a big tax check in April.

    Like 4
  • Annieland said:
     I just set up a payment to see if I'm still correct.  And it gave me $98 for credit card and $3.00 for electronic check.  This is actually the first time I'm not paying before the end of the year and instead waiting until the Feb due date.  I figure with the $10k cap on deductions for state and property taxes, there's no benefit in paying early this time.  So I'll grab a few more bucks in interest and spring for a 55 cent (!!!) stamp next year.

     Along those same lines, when I was paying my son's college tuition online, they would always charge a $0.95 "convenience" fee to pay by electronic check and it used to really irk me. For who's convenience?! The university gets the funds directly into their account in a timely manner. They should be paying me for the convenience versus receiving a paper check in the mail and having to deposit it. "Grrr" is right!

    Like 5
  • On the topic of property taxes, we’ve also used our mortgage escrow account to cover that. I’ve never considered that we could pay it ourselves as YNABbing ninjas. How might I go about making that change? Is it as simple as contacting the mortgage company, and then the county to figure out when it’s due and how to pay?

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 1 mth ago
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      Sky Blue Tugboat That’s a good question. I had escrow accounts on my previous mortgages but never tried to change it. I just googled the topic and found this info below. My county sends me letters and emails to remind me when payments are due and for how much. My insurance company contacts me via email for when my yearly insurance is due.

      https://finance.zacks.com/reasons-remove-escrow-account-2014.html

      Like 1
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