Statement Cash Back?
I have been using credit cards for a long time and this is the first time I'm applying my cashback rewards directly to my statement. They never enter my checking account, they just are applied directly to the total balance. How do I show this in YNAB? It wants me to give it a category like Inflow, but that's not really correct.
I know exactly what you mean. I got confused by that too. After doing some research I realized that simply set it as "To Be Budgeted" you then need to take the money out of the credit card category and budget it else where. I think that isn't as smooth as I would like it, so instead, I set it as its own positive category called "Credit Card Rewards" because you are actually taking the money that would have been sent to the "credit card" and "freeing" it up so it can be used else where in your budget. So you can take that money and actually budget it. The best part is I can then track how many rewards I have.
Here is an example: Let's say I have a balance of $2000 on my credit card. My credit card company just issued me a cash reward of $200. I categorize it as "Credit Card Rewards". Then that credit card balance is now $1800. I owe only $1800 not $2000. Credit Card Rewards is now $200. Which is correct because my balance is $1800. So the $200 I would have spent to pay the credit card is now available for me to budget elsewhere. Very simple!
Here is a screen shot attached.
This seems to work well for me. Would love to read what others do.
Neither of these are a solution to what I'm looking for. I have debt on my credit card. It is not paid in full. I need those $50 to help my pay off the debt. I cannot use them elsewhere because that would defeat the purpose of paying down debt. I have tried allotting the dollars directly to my credit card category but this is not correct because they never entered my bank account. The dollars went directly to my current balance.
Hey Tomato Colt (0bcf162afc41) ,
Janelle's actually out on vacation this week, so I hope you don't mind me jumping in! :)
I saw it mentioned above that inflows to your credit card aren't actually available, and that's exactly what's going on here. When there's a negative balance on a credit card, categorizing an inflow as Inflow: To Be Budgeted covers that debt first. It's going into that account and that account is negative, so it can't add to your To Be Budgeted (because there isn't a positive balance). So, if there's a $100 balance on a credit card and you receive a $150 cashback reward, categorizing it as Inflow: To Be Budgeted would add $50 to your To Be Budgeted amount.
Following the example above, you have a $100 balance on your credit card. Since all of the spending was budgeted for, you already have that $100 set aside to pay it off. This is when you'd want to categorize that cashback reward to another category, because you don't need it for the card balance.
Let's say you don't need the cashback reward to cover the card balance, because you've already budgeted for that spending, but you categorize it as Inflow: To Be Budgeted anyway. The Available amount would be higher than the card balance - at that point you could use the move money feature to put those funds where you'd rather have them. ( Sidenote: If you ever make a payment on a credit card that gives the card a positive balance, the amount will be added to your To Be Budgeted amount to be budgeted towards your other categories).
I hope that helps clear things up! Essentially, debt prevents you from being able to budget those funds if you leave them as Inflow: To Be Budgeted.
Thanks Faness Your response above finally clarified to me what is happening here. I have been using YNAB since last January and just noticed more funds available in one credit card than the balance shown. After doing a lot of searching I found this thread, then realized that the conceptual issue only occured with the cash back to the card balance transactions, not refunds due to store returns. With a refund I just naturally assigned the refund back to the category where it was spent. However, since the cash back to balance was not originally spent from a specific category, it made sense to assign it to To Be Budgets. The explanations for the current YNAB behavior above suggests a possibly better approach: If a cash back to balance is assigned to a specific category (other than to be budgeted) then YNAB acts as it currently does. However, if the cash back is assigned to To Be Budgeted AND the amount budgeted to pay the card is sufficient to pay the credit card balance, then any cash back that is over the amount needed should be placed into To Be Budgeted. So if a card's balance is $1000 and I have $$975 available to pay it, then I get a $50 cash back to the balance, allocating that $50 to to be budgeted should send $25 to cover the card balance and $25 to To Be Budgeted. If I had $1000 available, all $50 should appear in To Be Budgeted.
I pay in full every month and receive a cash reward to my statement every month. So, just to keep things simple, I just categorize the cash reward to my "general merchandise" category where I usually spend a few thousand a month. Because the cash reward is about the same every month, this seems to work well. My advice is just pick an expenditure category that is pretty consistent (like groceries or general merchandise or gasoline) and apply it the same way every month. It's not perfect, but it works well enough.
Now, if you're actually USING that reward to pay something off specific, change it to that category.
Throwing my solution into the mix since it seems everyone has a different approach that makes sense for their situation. When I added the cash back credit directly in the Credit Card account as Inflow to be Budgeted, I had an issue where that amount would add to my "To Be Paid" amount in the Credit Card Payment section of my budget. For example:
Let's say I have a $1000 balance on my CC, then budget & spend $200 on Groceries. Total CC balance is now $1200, with a $200 payment showing on my Credit Card Payments budget section. If I allocate a $100 cash back reward to Inflow - the "To Be Paid" field on my Credit Card Payments budget moves to $300. This is problematic, because that transaction itself *was* a $100 payment, but YNAB is now expecting another $300 payment (instead of $100).
I ended up creating an Unlinked account called Credit Card Rewards (though I suppose it could be Miscellaneous Credits or some more generic thing). I deleted the CC synced Cash Rewards transaction, then added a transaction for the cash back amount as an Inflow into the Unlinked Rewards account. Then I made a payment to the Credit Card from the Rewards account, which reduced my amount to be paid (instead of adding to it).
I've tried to follow this thread, but I'm still a little confused. My situation is that I am very new to YNAB, I'm actually still finalizing my budget. In the next week, we will have some returns hitting our credit cards. I don't think I can assign them back to original categories since these were purchases from before I had YNAB. Discover will also be sending me cash back in the form of a statement credit at some point. I don't want these credits to reduce my monthly payment amounts -- I'd rather continue following my plan knowing that I'll get out of debt just a little bit faster. Can I assign the credits such that my debt balance decreases without affecting my monthly payment amount, or giving me extra "money", which I really don't have, that I need to budget elsewhere? I'm sure I'm over complicating things, but as I'm just starting out, I really don't want to mess this up. Thanks for any advice.
Reading through the entire threads and I got even more confused 🙁
For a fully paid credit card, when I receive $15 CC cashback, and I categorize that $15 inflow as 'To Be Budgeted', that CC budget will show green color $15 as available, which actutally means "I need to pay $15 to that CC"! But I was just given $15, not spent $15.
Does it mean I should budget "-$15" (negative) to that CC category? Because that's the only way to make the 'Available' column becomes $0!
Janelle Your reply was not entirely correct. Yes, if I mark cashback as To be Budgeted it reduces my credit card balance. However, YNAB expects me to make my full payment, and ignores the applied reward. i.e., I normally spend $200/month on Visa, applied a $50 cashback, yet YNAB still expects me to pay $200 instead of the remaining $150.
This topic was super helpful for me. I was really struggling with "cash back directly to card balance" because all "inflows" turned into available cash where I simply had it applied to the card balance. Setting the category to "To be budgeted" did exactly what I needed as it applied it to the balance and did not make the funds available to the budget.. Thank you support team!
While I LOVE YNAB and have been using it for years, I HATE (yes, caps, bold, etc.) how YNAB deals with those "Cash Back" cards. Hate. I don't use that word very often. I truly hope someone from YNAB is reading these posts and finds a better way of dealing with Cash Back. Putting "cash back" automatically back in To Be Budgeted is not efficient (I work with finance in my "day job") because then I still have to go through more mouse clicks/typing to have Cash Back do what it is supposed to do --show up as a "credit" (much like a refund) in my AMEX.
I would like a Cash Back to act like what it is, similar to a refund for any item you returned to Macys, it would post back to the credit card as a "credit" or "refund". There is no easy way to do as YNAB wants you to assign a "Payee" and a "Category".
The only way I can "manually" make this work is to create a Payee called "Refunds" and then create (manually) a new category called "Flexi Expenses: Cash Back Rewards". Seems like a lot of steps just to post a credit to the account, which is not very efficient as it is a work-around.