My Amex gave me cash back in the form of a statement credit. How do I log this in ynab?

I asked this question in Reddit and the answers were helpful, but I am still a newbie with ynab and understand their wording, so I figured I'd get a few more opinions here. 

I have an American Express credit card and it gave me a statement credit of about $40. Yesterday, I spent about $10 on the card. I'm pretty confused about how I should be logging this transaction though. For my other cards, they give me a direct deposit to my checking account for my cash back rewards, so I log those transactions as "TBB" and have a Payee named "Credit Card Cashback" for my records.  I did something similar here. I logged the $40 statement credit as Credit Card Cashback, then put the $40 to TBB and allocated that money to my Credit Card. Is that the right way to do it? 

If not, how would I log statement credits and this $10 transaction? I'm confused! Thanks in advance. 

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  • Inflow: To Be Budgeted in your account CC account. If you are a Pay In Full user, you can pull the money out of the CC payment category to use elsewhere in your budget because it will be higher than your card balance.

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      • jacoby
      • JACOBY
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule So log the credit as a transaction into my TBB, then allocate that money into my Amex category? That's what I did, but someone told me that isn't the way to do it. 

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      • nolesrule
      • Been waiting 5 years for the Stealing From the Future fix...
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      jacoby no. It won't show up in your TBB. Your cc balance will lower but your cc payment amount won't change, so you will manually move the money out of the payment category. 

      The reason you categorize it to TBB is to keep the reporting accurate. Inflows to spending categories should be reserved for refunds and reimbursements. 

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  • People trip over this because the desired result for someone who pays the card in full is that a cash back credit reduces the card balance, reduces the card payment category, and increases TBB.  There is no way to accomplish this with a deposit to a YNAB credit card account that is not a transfer from an on budget account.

    If it helps with clarity, you could set up a category called "Cash Back."  When you take cash back as a statement credit, record and inflow to the Cash Back category.  This will reduce the card balance, reduce the card payment category, and increase the Cash Back category.  Then you can move the money in the Cash Back category to TBB.

    Technically, you don't need a Cash Back category at all; you could simply move the excess money in the card payment category to TBB.  I suggest a separate category solely for the clarity that it provides in the face of the fact that YNAB requires a budget page adjustment for a cash back credit to the card to be reflected properly in categories.

    On the other hand, if you are carrying a balance or living on the float (i.e., your card payment category is not sufficient to pay the full working balance of the card), the standard YNAB treatment of doing absolutely nothing to any category when you record a cash back statement credit works fine.  It just reduces your debt or the amount of your float, assuming that the debt/float is greater than the amount of cash back.  This behavior leads me to believe that YNAB is built on the assumption that the typical user will always be carrying credit card debt.  I guess YNAB knows their user base better than I do.

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  • I'm also working with Amex statement credit rewards. In my case, the rewards were for using Amex (paid-in-full card, no float) to pay cell phone and cable bills. For some reason Amex gave the statement credits payee names that included "Verizon" and "Optimum," respectively, and YNAB automatically assigned them to my Cell Phone and Cable categories. I tried re-categorizing them as Inflow:To be budgeted, which caused my Amex payment category to turn red and say it was underfunded. So I undid that and just moved money from the Cell Phone and Cable categories to TBB. My Cable category is fine with this - the bubble turned gray - but the cell phone category is now orange and urging me to budget more money to reach my goal, which I guess I'll just have to ignore for the rest of the month...Sigh

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  • Hi jacoby  & Olive Branch !

    Certain inflows to credit cards (like cash back rewards and statement credits) can seem confusing, but we recommend you categorize them to your credit card as Inflow: To be Budgeted. Let's look briefly at why:

    When you categorize an inflow to a credit card as Inflow: To be Budgeted that inflow will only reduce the balance of the credit card. This accurately reflects what happens in your account as well. The credit is applied, and your account balance is reduced.

    Once your account balance is reduced, be sure to double check the Credit Card Payment category for that particular account. You might find that you now have more money than you need in the Payment column. If you find this is the case, you can safely move money from that category to any other category!

    I hope that helps! Let me know if you still have questions. I’m happy to help!

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