Move funds without going orange
If I have a monthly goal of adding 50 to a category a month and one month we move funds from that category to another, can you stop it from going orange? The goal was to save 50 which we did. We are now moving the funds for other uses. If I split the transaction then i am good. If i move all the funds to one category so we dont need to split the transaction then several categories go orange. Is there a way around that?
I would like to disassociate the act of saving the funds every month from choosing what to do with the funds after that point (within the same month).
Hi RIP_MSMoney !
The monthly funding goal is based on the Budgeted amount. If the goal is to budget $50 each month, having $50 in the Budgeted column is what completes that goal. If you move funds out of that category, it changes the Budgeted amount which causes the category to go orange.
If you spend the money from that category (without moving it), then the category won't turn orange - this is because spending funds in a category affects the Activity and Available columns but not the Budgeted amount. Outside of spending funds from the category directly, you'd need to change the goal type or remove the goal to prevent it from turning orange.
The budget $50 per month goal is a simple minded idiot. Put in $50, it's happy. Spend $40 of that $50, it's happy. Move $40 on the budget page, it's angry orange and wants its $40 back. This is designed for people who are broke and can't fully fund categories, but it's rather annoying for people who want to use the goals as a budget template then move funds around based on reality.
You can eliminate the orange this month, one category at a time, by going into next month and editing the goal. Click on the category, click "Edit" by the goal in the inspector, then click "OK". The goal now starts next month, and this month won't turn orange.
Should there be a way to tell YNAB, "I've met my monthly goals. Now I want to move money around and the goals can stop yelling at me." Yes, there should. Responses from support will tell you to submit a Feature Request, which will go into a black hole and accomplish nothing. Three years of people asking for more flexible goals has produced a lot of advice to submit Feature Requests, and not much of anything else.
Should there be a way to tell YNAB, "I've met my monthly goals. Now I want to move money around and the goals can stop yelling at me." Yes, there should.
Yeah, like we have one account that has multiple categories. I have one category called Buffer which gets $20 a month. If for any reason another category goes over some, I can take from Buffer to ensure other categories don't go over. After that Buffer gets $20, that month has been met. I could split transactions: $200 from Car Maintenance and $5.14 from Buffer but sometimes it felt easier to move funds from Buffer into Car Maintenance (like some support videos show!) and then just record the transaction as Car Maintenance. It just keeps catching me off guard when it goes orange.
Hmm, I guess that kind of depends on how you name your dollars. lol. Like if the category has $3000 in it, has a goal of $50 added a month, and I reallocate $40 this month. That can all happen in my mind. Now if the category has $0 in it and I add $50 and then reallocate $40, I could see an argument that I didn't reach the goal this month as the account is less than $50 (maybe?). But when it is over $50, one could argue that the $40 I moved was not THIS month's contribution but rather part of the $50 from 14 months back. AKA, lets say I literally name the $50 dollar bill Charlie... Charlie is still in the account because I moved some of Brad instead. lol. Right?
If you don't care about messing up reporting you can use a split transaction to move funds between categores. This does 2 things, It maintains your original budget amount in each category and it retains your goal status. It also gives you a way to see where you've decided to make changes. What it messes up is the spending by category numbers.
Yes. Saving is just deferred spending. You save money by adding it to the category. You unsave it by removing it from the category for use elsewhere. Spending is a separate act from saving.
I agree with this but maybe my view of spending is more loose. I would view spending as an outbound usage of that category. Be it, spending at target or reallocating.
To this point I would also argue that this only qualifies for "Add every month" goal. If you did "Need X by N Date" or one of those then you have an amount and time constraint. Any usage prior to that point could cause you to fall behind so Orange would probably need to be used as indicators of falling behind.
This makes sense but the problem is that I really like the Quick Budget
Using Goals as a primitive implementation of a budget template has its limitations (see @patzer 's post somewhere in this thread for similar thoughts).
Personally, I keep my template in next month's area right in the budget column ready to go when next month arrives. At that point, two-clicks to copy all budget values forward into the new next month (aka the template).
Yes, next month's TBB is negative indicating those values are useless for spending guidance. Conveniently, I'm looking at the current month for spending guidance, so that's hardly an issue. The free-flow of money between months would be a problem, but the Income Next Month holding category I use for various reasons also prevents those future budget entries from sucking up anything released in the current month. (It effectively deactivates the free-flow of money in or out of the current month, which is invaluable when you want each month to stand on its own two feet.)
Anyway, all this works extremely well if you are an entire month ahead (i.e., can budget all income received in April into May's area). If you're at that point, do consider it -- it's extremely efficient and avoids all the nagging inherent to the Goal-based template approach. If you're not yet there, Goals are perhaps better than nothing, especially if you turn off the nagging by re-establishing the goal in next month's area.
I just sent this to the black hole AKA Feature Requests:
What's your feature request?
Please describe your feature request in as much detail as possible. How would this change the way you use YNAB? How would that feature help you? What are you currently not able to accomplish?
Monthly Template Goal. This goal would be very similar to the Monthly Funding Goal other than the fact that after you fund it once reaching your goal, if you move money out of the category, the color doesn't change to warn you. I currently use the Monthly Funding Goal for monthly template amounts for many of my categories. These are usually cases where I don't want to get warned if I subsequently move money out of the category.
For example, I have a Food master category. Under that, I have Groceries and Restaurant sub categories. If I fund both with $300 and later decide that month that I'm going to spend $400 on groceries but only $200 on eating out, I don't want to be warned that I no longer budgeted $300 to my Restaurant category.
So my wife and I just had this exact conversation which I knew was coming. I really don't care for the options I have available for moving funds without being "penalized". :(
Our son has tons of money in his clothing account and our second child is needing more. We wanted to move $100 from my son's account to hers to allow clothing to be purchased. We have not met our inbound goal yet for this month (which is $42).
If we transfer via split transaction then income/expense reports get skewed. If we reallocate funds in those buckets then it says we need to repay my son's account. This seems counter to "my power" as the budgetter to reallocate funds. If we did the split, then my wife was mentally thrown off since it was not clothing for our son.
Again, my goal is to put $42 of my income from this month into that category. Moving funds that are already in that category should not (in this case) be viewed as a penalty. :(
What were the other options?
- Remove goal, transfer, and reapply goal?
- Go to previous month and move there. This makes that month go orange but I no longer care since my transfers are already complete so "underfunded" links are okay to be "wrong".
- Stop using goals and use "Do same from last month". Which seems error prone for my uses.
- Anything else?
YNAB, what I desire is a Template Goal which basically takes "allocations" into consideration to ensure I have added "X" from my TBB into this account category. If I reallocate funds from that account, it should not affect the budget column. No different than "Remove goal, reallocate, reapply goal".