Trick to "skip" funding a Goal in the Current Month (remove the orange warning while keeping the future goal!)
I recently accidentally stumbled upon this handy trick and posted about it in my journal, and it seems it's likely of use to others, so I figured I'd make a separate post to share!
SCENARIO: You have one or more Goals set up in YNAB (perhaps a whole Budget Template!), and for one reason or another, your priorities change for the current month, so you decide that one or more of those goals won't be fully funded this month.
ANNOYANCE: However, YNAB's handy orange-underfunded warnings continually glare at you, reminding you that you'd intended to give those categories more money!
Sometimes this is annoying but easy enough to ignore. But I've found that at other times, this persistent warning can actually (a) make me feel unnecessarily bad/guilty about making potentially tough but responsible choices about how to roll with the punches, and also (b) can lead to me paying less attention to the orange warnings in general, if they're showing up everywhere but mostly just crying wolf.
SOLUTION: Click forward to NEXT month's budget, then EDIT & RE-SAVE the Goal(s) you'd like to "skip" this month. Now, when you click back to the current month, the Goals and their associated orange warnings are GONE! :)
Hope others find this helpful, as well!
(NOTE: this is definitely a rather kludgey workaround "solution", but it works because YNAB's goals currently have no "history" and only one goal can exist per category - e.g. if you change a category's goal this month, any goals you previously had set in that category (in past months) will disappear. If YNAB changes how their goal functionality works, this trick may no longer work - but maybe they'll add a built-in way to "skip" a goal for a month if they do??) :)
Likewise, I had noticed this "bug"/annoyance, but had never thought of using it purposefully! Thanks to you I've been able to have my first proper WAM/punch rolling session :) So far the orange everywhere would make me way too uncomfortable to be really flexible with the budget, but tonight using this trick I was able to figure out how to magic a couple hundred euros out of thin air for a possible investment in the future - it may or may not pan out, so I'm reluctant. But I can squeeze out the money without touching the immediate obligations or true expenses pots, nor making big sacrifices on the other quality of life goals that are important to me. So, maybe I will do it! Thanks for sharing!! 🙂Reply
I saw you post this over on your journal, and while I was intrigued, I was also worried that I would use it to just push problems to the next month, and not get a needed 'alarm.' But, your point about orange crying wolf -- a wall of orange turns into so much noise, y'know? Once you get a couple of these, you end up with the exact situation YNAB warns against -- you start to disbelieve the budget (or at least the software).
Where I think this would come in especially handy (and not run the risk of being unrealistic about my money) is when I have a very clear reason to budget less than my monthly goal. For instance, I started YNAB mid-February and budgeted to a bill that had been paid earlier in the month; I am now on track to pay next month's bill with next month's second half of the amortized payment, but I have to suffer the orange circle of underpayment. It has been driving me crazy every time I visit my budget (which is 1-10 times/day...I may be a bit obsessed right now, lol).
One thing that helps me somewhat is using the Chrome toolkit extension, which creates an extra column that shows the budgeted amount; it doesn't get rid of the warning orange, but it lets me take a moment to compare the target to the actual amount, and remind myself of the decisionmaking process I went through. But I'mma try your trick when the paycheck hits tomorrow.Reply
This actually came up in a workshop I attended and the YNAB instructor told us to email support with our feedback - we all agreed in the workshop that the orange flag is too heavily used. Because it's used when you overspend with credit *and* when you haven't budgeted to your goal, it can get hard to know which is which. We were told we should write in and just let our thoughts known that having a separate color for these two events would be much more helpful.
I often budget to my goals every month, but then as those unexpected "punches" come along, I find myself needing/wanting a little bit of extra in one category or another, and as I generally round up with my monthly budgeting goals, I will often have a few dollars here and there left over after using up a categories budgeted amounts, so I will move those extra dollars around to other categories. Which then makes those categories orange because according to the frank numbers, I haven't budgeted to my goal. Which is more than obnoxious lol. So when I look at my budget at a glance, even though I have paid all my bills and allotted enough for all pending transactions and such, it will still look like I've got overspending concerns all over my budget.
I don't know if I'd go so far as employ your trick, but it's a handy one to have figured out. Thanks for sharing! I would definitely suggest writing in to support to throw in your two cents as well about the orange alert concerns. If enough people comment, they'll update the design. :)Reply
Is it easier just to have a "Stuff I forgot category" and put your flex money in one pot rather than upping lots of individual budgets to create a buffer?
When the mid-month punch comes, you won't have any amber balances. Also easier to see how much flex you have left immediately when you get the punch rather than sifting through lots of categories to cream bits off.
This way the budget is minimally changed throughout the month which encourages good spending habits rather than always thinking "oh there will be some spare in another category if I go over"Reply