How to spend cash?

How do you “spend” cash when you don’t know what it was spent on?

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  • You mean cash you had before and no longer have?  If that is the case, the money is gone and you don't know what you spent it on, right?  I would create a category for something like "Unknown spending" and enter it there.  When I started budgeting I was amazed how much money I was spending without thinking about the choices I was making.  What would you name the category?  

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      • Brad Hull
      • Since YNAB Pro
      • sinceYNABPRO
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      TryingToGetAhead  If I make an ATM withdrawal and, let’s say, I make I make a donation to a 501c3 qualified charity with some of the money from the ATM withdrawal but forget to even attempt to record where the remaining went, but is gone and I cannot remember or deduce what I did with the money (and really care where it went) but my cash account is off by the the unknown category amount. I suspect that answer probably obvious and trivial. I guess my mind wants a way to make the amount disappear without showing up in any of my categories.

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      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      BradfordNelsonHull 

      Lost Money and Found Money  are two vendor names I use to explain discrepancies, forgotten transactions,  lost money, and (sadly) suspected theft. I categorize the lost money entries to the same administrative category I use for bank fees, currency exchange, library fines, infrequent parking fees, reimbursable expenses, etc.  Found money I usually categorize as income.

      You can also just do a reconciliation in your cash account and let YNAB enter an adjustment.

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  • Okay, it's a little clearer.  Using round numbers, you pulled $100 out of the ATM, spent $80 to purchase something, and $20 missing.  Is that the situation?  If I have this right, here is what I would do.  I would create a category for that $20, something like "unintentional spending."  Then my next job would be to find out what I was spending that money on in the future.  Could I enter spending as it happens?  That would be the ideal situation.  If not, can I get receipts?  Take notes?  Anything to record my spending until I can get to my budget and categorize the spending.  

    p.s If you are checking your category balances before spending, you have your budget with you.  

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      • Brad Hull
      • Since YNAB Pro
      • sinceYNABPRO
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      TryingToGetAhead  Thank You

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    • eloquentz
    • Numbers Wizard (Accountant), Acoustic Artist (Musician) and Jill of all Trades (Wife & Mother)
    • eloquentz
    • 2 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    If I know that $50 is going to a specific purchase and the rest is just because the ATM only spits out $20s, I just put the rest to my misc spending category.

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  • I categorize it as an outflow to TBB (well, I would if I was using nYNAB) and then adjust the budget.

    However, we try very hard to figure it out before we just give up. It's a bad habit to spend money and not remember where you spent it.

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  • Hi BradfordNelsonHull !

    In the past, I had a similar issue with tracking cash. I'd take it out of my account, would hesitate to spend it (so it would float around coat pockets and jean pockets for weeks), and eventually I'd just have change left - what happened? :(

    For that reason, I started counting that spending against my budget as soon as I withdrew it. If I got $20 cashback at the grocery store because I needed $18.25 for an event, I'd categorize the whole $20 towards that event (the $1.75 became collateral, but was usually spent in commotion of said event anyway). If I took out $35 because $20 was for groceries and $15 was for gas, I entered the split immediately. This way, the reasons why I took that money out of my account were covered.

    Unintentional Spending or Lost Money are good safety nets to catch that spending, just in case. :)

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  • 2 yrs agoLast active
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