Using budget goals with bi-monthly paychecks
I get paid twice a month. The ynab budget is, it seems, structured around the calendar month. So each month, on my first paycheck, I can't using the quick budget buttons and the "available" column goal colors to guide my budgeting. I don't know what I'm doing wrong.
A simple contrived example: let's say my rent goal is to budget $100/month and on the day I get my 1st paycheck the amount budgeted is $0 hence the "available" color is orange and the "Goal Target" button says $100. The way things go is I need to put $50 from each paycheck into the category. But I have to manually calculate the $50 on the first paycheck. I have to manually look at the goal to see that it's $100, divide by 2, and budget that amount. And when I do so the color, by design it seems, remains orange.
At the very least, what I would like to see is a "Goal Target" button that says $50 on my 1st paycheck so that I don't have to do any math in my head and that the "available" color would turn green. I get it: it seems what I'm asking for is for the goals to be structured on my twice-monthly paycheck cycle not monthly. Without out that, it seems, my budget buttons and colors are only really useful on the second paycheck.
Is there a way around this ynabers? I feel like I'm missing something obvious.
Yes, you've got it right, if categories are partially funded from each check then you'll have to manually type in the budget entry from the first check. (The second can obviously use the Underfunded Quick Budget.)
Consequently, some people arrange to fully fund a check-specific subset of categories each time. A "Check 1" and "Check 2" group makes this trivial, though with drawbacks to be sure.
The ultimate solution is to be in a situation where your checks are not needed in the current month at all. You can then queue them up in a holding category and budget all of next month's area when you have all of them with a single click. It may take some time to get to this point, however.
Without out that, it seems, my budget buttons and colors are only really useful on the second paycheck.
Worse is the same color is used to indicate credit-based overspending, which is then easy to miss in a sea of underfunded goals. I suggest to install the Toolkit Extension which changes goals to blue, although it's only for the website (not the mobile app).
I have to manually look at the goal to see that it's $100, divide by 2, and budget that amount.
There is an open request for the YNAB Toolkit. Other people have the same "problem" and put in a request for a "50% of Goal" button!
I get paid twice a month also. Every other Friday. What I did when I wasn't fully buffered for the month was to arrange all my expenses in chronological order in the category groups. And I put the amount and the date the payment was due in the description. So, for example, my Rent category looks like this: RENT $2,500/1st. When I got my first paycheck of the month, I would go through all the bills that are due before the 2nd paycheck of the month, and budget those completely. That avoids having to do any math later on. If you don't have enough money to meet the monthly obligation with the first check, at least you have the total monthly amount due right in front of your eyes when you go back to add more to the budgeted amount. Still some math but you don't have to look up the goal.