It's just not adding up!

I'm still having issues with getting the budget right.  I've added everything for the week, including my check and now, it looks like I have received extra money and I'm in the red for some things, even though I've budgeted for it and added the transaction.  Should I not be adding my bank info and just using this as a template?  I have watched the videos so many times and I'm still not getting this correct.  I've spent so many hours too!  Is there live support?

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  • Am I correct in that I should not be adding my income to the budget but keep it as to be budgeted and then budget it out?  I just read that in the docs.  If so, that solves this issue. However, I still seem to be in the red with my monthly goals.  In the picture I've posted, I have a monthly goal of $400 and $100 is budgeted each week.  So far, I've applied $200 and it's cleared the bank but my budget says that I've overspent when I'm actually right on track.  

    Reply Like
      • Ben
      • Toolkit for YNAB Designer & Developer
      • furiousfalcon
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Kym H Correct. Income should be categorized to the "Inflow: To Be Budgeted" category, then budgeted out to your various categories. See this article on adding income: https://docs.youneedabudget.com/article/31-adding-income

      Income generally shouldn't be categorized directly to categories, except in very specific situations, like a return on a purchase where you want that money to immediately flow back to the original purchase category (this allows your reports to stay accurate, since that's really not "new" income, but simply reduces how much you spent from that category). 

      In your screenshot above, you've budgeted +$100, but have -$200 of spending, so YNAB is showing you correctly that you are -$100 for that category based on the money you have now ($100 - $200 = -$100). You're in week three of December, but only have budgeted one week's worth of funds. If you are budgeting $100 per week, I'd expect you to either have budgeted $200 or $300 by now (depending if you're waiting on a Friday paycheck to budget for this week or something similar). At least in that specific category, YNAB is correctly showing you that you not on track for your $400 monthly goal, since you have more spending than budgeted money.

      Reply Like 1
      • Kym H
      • Orange_Chef.3
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ben with the screen shot item, I have a monthly goal of $400 set up.  This is a weekly expense and needs to be $100 per week so that I can accurately see what we have left over.  If I put $400 in the budgeted line then it will change the amount that is to be budgeted and I won't have an accurate reflection of what is left to move around.  I have new income each week so each week too.

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      • Ben
      • Toolkit for YNAB Designer & Developer
      • furiousfalcon
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Kym H Right, I get that. But it's 60% of the way through December, and you've only budgeted 25% of what you need for the month. YNAB is correctly showing you that you need to budget more to avoid overspending the category. Based on that screenshot, you missed budgeting $100 last week.

      You don't need to budget $400 all in one go if you don't have the money available. But you do need to have budgeted at least $200 at this point in time to keep up with your expenses.

      Reply Like 1
      • Kym H
      • Orange_Chef.3
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ben what I'm trying to do with the budget that I began after the 1st is budget $100 per week for a total of $400 a month.  This week, I have $100 budgeted to be paid, it cleared my bank and the $200 is reflecting two weeks paid.  What I would expect to see is that I'm still needing $200 (red) and not $300.  As it stands, it appears as if I've only paid $100 total.  

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      • Kym H
      • Orange_Chef.3
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

       Ben  here's what a screen shot looks like.  My house payment is the same way.  I withdraw money weekly for it and pay when all of the funds are there.  As it stands with the goal, it looks like I've overspent.

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      • Ben
      • Toolkit for YNAB Designer & Developer
      • furiousfalcon
      • 7 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Kym H Maybe you are just getting the columns confused?  

      * The left column is your budgeted column -- that represents the amount of money you have budgeted towards this month's expenses. You would add to it over time, so by the end of the month, there should be $400 in that column ($100 per week). Right now, you only have one weeks worth of money budgeted.

      * The center column is the activity -- money entering or leaving that category. That column shows you have paid $200 this month.

      * The right column is the total you have available: budgeted money minus activity. It is negative because you haven't budgeted enough to cover your expenses in the category.

      Your screenshot shows that you have budgeted $100 total for this month, and have had $200 of expenses. YNAB is correctly showing you that you are 1/4th of the way to your goal, because that is correct (400 - 100 budgeted means you still need to budget $300 more by the end of the month).

      Keep in mind that the budget numbers represent your total for the month, not for the week, so week one you should have budgeted $100, then week two you should increase that number to $200, then $300, etc. You don't budget $100 in week one, and then keep the budget at $100 for week two.

      To fix this, you need to increase your Budgeted column by $100, bringing it up to $200. 

      Reply Like 2
      • Kym H
      • Orange_Chef.3
      • 7 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Ben ahha!  I think it is making sense now! 

      Reply Like 2
  • The columns are Budgeted, Activity and Available. What your budget currently shows is that you have only budgeted $100 so far but have spent $200. 

    Available = Budgeted + Activity +Any budgeted balance b/f from the month before.

    (Technically it is the net budgeted and the net of any activity). The available balance is just the sum shown above, it does not relate to your goal. If you had budgeted $200 and spent $200 at this point you would have $0 in the available column with an orange $0 showing that you haven't yet reached your monthly funding goal.

    Reply Like 1
      • Kym H
      • Orange_Chef.3
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      monkeyhanger is there a way to budget weekly for things in the way that I already do?  If I were to budget for a large bill, it would take away from the money available for budgeting.  Would I increase the amount in the budget each week?  For instance, would I increase the amount to $200 since I've already paid that much?

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      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Kym H - I think you've worked it out from your reply to  Ben . The budgeting is separate from the payments. To do what you want to do budget-wise you just need to add $100 to the budgeted column each week. You can do this either by typing $200 over the $100 that's already in there or by using the + that comes up when you hover over the budgeted cell.  If your spends are also weekly then you will repeatedly get $0 in the available column once the payment has gone out. Each week the goal will show as being closer to being achieved i.e. 50% week 2, 75% week3 and 100% week 4.

      Reply Like 1
  •  Kym H , are you paid weekly?

    Reply Like
      • Kym H
      • Orange_Chef.3
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      monkeyhanger yes, kind of.  I'm paid every other week and my husband on the opposite weeks. We pull out money for groceries and dining out.  That was our first step in budgeting. :)

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      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

       Just checking. I'm UK based and most of us are paid monthly over here.

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      • Kym H
      • Orange_Chef.3
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      monkeyhanger I think that could sometimes be easier - being paid frequently has allowed us to be a little lazy.  

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      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Kym H , it's certainly different. I would find weekly budgeting more difficult because (a) it's not what I'm used to and (b) most of my regular payments are monthly so there's less need for me to juggle what gets paid when or work out how I choose to budget from each pay cheque.

      I was asking because I was concerned that you were potentially budgeting based on payment schedules rather than income. You do need $400 in your COTH category and, more importantly than that, if it's paid weekly you need to ensure there is $100 in there before each payment. However, you don't have to budget that at $100/week because that is how the payment is currently set up. 

      I don't think I'm explaining it very well and the example of COTH is not the greatest because that is a weekly payment so for now at least budgeting $100 out of each pay cheque is probably the easiest way to go until you build up a buffer.  The key step every time you receive any income to be budgeted is to think "What does this money need to do before I get paid again?" and budget the money into the relevant categories. This may mean that you don't have the same distribution for each pay cheque. As things get a little easier you will ultimately find that you don't need to use that pay cheque immediately and you can use it to build up a buffer.

      Buffer has a very specific meaning in YNAB. It is not an emergency fund or a nebulous amount of money that will get you out of jail. In YNAB it is the money that lets you budget for the whole month in one go and means you have broken the pay cheque to pay cheque cycle. HappyDance has already sent you the links on that.

      Reply Like 1
      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

       Pressed send too early! 

      Stick with it. YNAB works differently to some traditional budgeting software but it is so worth the extra effort that it takes to get to understand it fully. It's more akin to the old envelope budgeting system where people would stick £10/week in an envelope to pay for gas, £5/week for electricity and so on so that they didn't accidentally spend the money on something else.  The goals are writing on the front of the envelope what you plan to put in there. Some envelopes would say £5 per week or month, some would say £60 by December and some would say cap at £100. Those are essentially the goal options in YNAB.

      Budgeting is actually sticking the money in there. It's not a static process. If a bill came in that was more than in the envelope, you'd have to physically take money from one envelope and move it to the one that needed it more urgently. You do this in YNAB using the move money feature. This, for me, is one area where YNAB is superior to more traditional methods as it reinforces the fact that you can only spend each £ once. Moving that money is important as it keeps your categories honest. If you have overspending in one category then you can't trust your balances in the other categories and you risk going into overdraft.

      Keep it really simple in the beginning. Ask questions on here, read the support material and watch the videos repeatedly. It will start to make sense.

      Reply Like
  • Hi Kym H ,

    I've just looked at your other posts and it seems to me like the goal feature is potentially what is confusing you. Goals do not do anything other than let you keep a record of what you want to achieve for a category and how you are progressing against that plan. They do not actually budget any money. 

    https://docs.youneedabudget.com/article/128-goals

    I know that the YNAB quick start guide has goals as step 1 but you can budget very successfully without them. Indeed they didn't exist in any prior versions of YNAB. They can give a very easy overview of how you are doing against your plan and do the maths for you if, for example, you have a $463 bill to pay in 5 months time but they are not essential and can be confusing for people just starting out.

    The key thing to remember is that setting up goals does not allocate any money into your categories. You need to follow this step to actually do that.

    https://docs.youneedabudget.com/article/150-step-3-budget-your-money

    Reply Like 2
  • Hi, Kym H

    This has nothing to do with the question you asked.  But you mentioned that you are budgeting weekly with 4-5 paycheques a month.  One of the life-altering budgeting concepts in YNAB is that of aging your money, or as YNAB used to say 'getting buffered'.  You can read about that concept in this thread:  What's a Buffer?  

    Right now, you're organized to manage your finances and budget once a week, upon each inflow of a new paycheque.  Using YNAB can get you and your husband off the frenetic paycheque-to-paycheque cycle. Imagine how civilized it would be to calmly sit down on the first of each month and budget the entire upcoming month with all of the money you earned in the previous month.... YNAB can get you there.  You'd be amazed at what a difference that shift in financial organization can do for your ability to plan, spend, and save.

    Welcome to the forum.

    Reply Like 2
      • Kym H
      • Orange_Chef.3
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance thanks!  This year, I've been using other budgeting tools and none of them really helped me to plan ahead in the way that I've wanted.  I just recently heard of YNAB and have been working at getting it all set up as it appears to give me the visual that I've been wanting.  Plus, having the app, allows my husband to see what is going on too.  We've embarked on a debt free journey this year and have been pouring everything extra into paying it down.  It's very exciting.

      Reply Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 7 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Kym H 

      Kym H said:
       We've embarked on a debt free journey this year and have been pouring everything extra into paying it down.  It's very exciting.

       Make sure all of your other needs are taken care of before pouring everything extra into paying down debt. If you are too aggressive, it can set you back. It's harder to see how much is really extra when you are budgeting each paycheck just trying to stay on pace.

      You also have to take into consideration the liquidity factor and the debt type. With credit card debt, the worst case scenario if you need to take on more debt in an emergency is you go back into credit card debt. So that's a wash. But if it's something like a loan, the debt payment is gone and you can't get it back. So if an emergency arises and you don't have the liquidity to handle it, you could end up trading lower interest loan debt for high interest credit card debt.

      Reply Like 3
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