# YNAB incorrect math

This is very concerning. I started a brand new budget at the beginning of 2019, after one month I'm finishing all the reconciliations. I have a CC I occasionally use (balance + 6 transactions) and YNAB isn't able to add the numbers correctly. I paid the card off in full, and I noticed that the payment amount at the end of the month is \$27.20, but there is only one charge for \$24.34, a difference of \$2.86. Only because there are so few transactions was I able to pinpoint this problem. As I investigated, I saw the monthly summary in the activity popup shows \$101.14 in spending (correct) and \$360.59 in payments and returns (not correct). There is one payment of \$304.61, and one return for \$58.84 totaling \$363.45, which is a difference of \$2.86.  There was no transaction for that amount or anything similar that could lead to this confusion.

I may be missing something or not understanding what is being calculated here, but this is very concerning if YNAB isn't performing basic math correctly.

21replies Oldest first
• Oldest first
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• I had a return on my cc too and can't figure it out either. I'm hoping it all comes out in the wash on the next payment. Did you categorize your return back to the category the spending came from?

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• Ben K. I categorized the return, but that doesn’t have bearing on the mathematical calculation.

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• Khaki Storm
• YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
• Khaki_Storm.1
• 1 yr ago
• Reported - view

Silver Packet yep, I did with my return also. There seems to be, if not a big, then a very tricky spot with returns to cc.

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• Did that return cause your credit card balance to go positive??

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• satcook No, the balance was not positive.

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• Hi Silver Packet !

That math definitely sounds off! Would you mind if we took a closer look at things? If you’re up for it, go ahead and enable Support Access for your account. Once you’ve done that, let me know—and mention whether you’d like to continue the discussion here or via email instead.

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• Faness I’ve made the access change. Let’s switch to email.

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• Silver Packet It looks like you're right! I just sent you an email so our development team can take a look! :)

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• Hi Silver Packet and others following this one!

We figured out the culprit here–it's a bit of a fringe-y known scenario, and it can cause money to move incorrectly to Credit Card Payment categories when there is overspending in one category on multiple cards and then returns are categorized directly back to that category. Even just typing that out feels like a mouthful!

The examples are very complex, but here's a simple version: You buy a shirt with your Visa, then a pair of pants with your Amex. Different cards, same budget category, and the pants weren’t budgeted for. Then, you return the shirt, but the money stays in your Visa's credit card payment category instead of moving to cover the pants you bought on the Amex.

Only the Credit Card payment categories would have been affected, so nothing would have happened to your budget per se (or any other categories) with the fix. If your current payment amounts are what you need them to be then you're good to go! If they're not, moving money until your Credit Card Payment category amounts look right will do the trick.

Know that we're working on this specific scenario, and we hope to have an update to how the logic works somewhat soon! Keep an eye on our Release Notes for news when we do have more to report there.

-Elena

Like 1
• 1 yr ago
• Reported - view

Elena this is still a bug?

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• Bruce
• Software Engineer
• Bruce
• 1 yr ago
• Reported - view

Elena Ok, that probably happened to mine too, because I tried to reconcile the other night and nothing was adding up.

looking forward to the fix so I can reconcile that account

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• satcook
• satcook
• 1 yr ago
• Reported - view

Bruce this bug shouldn’t be stopping you from reconciling....

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• Bruce
• Software Engineer
• Bruce
• 1 yr ago
• Reported - view

satcook I guess my concern is that it will create a transaction to bring everything to order, but then it it happens again, or the issue gets fixed, another, balancing transaction will have to be made. I'd rather it just be accurate before I try to reconcile.

but I guess if I can know that it will only happen once, and stay accurate after that, I don't mind so much... Maybe

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• monkeyhanger
• No animals were harmed
• monkeyhanger.1
• 1 yr ago
• 1
• Reported - view

Bruce You shouldn't be needing to post reconciling items every time you reconcile. Reconciliation is not using your categories at all. It is simply comparing what YNAB says your transactions were and what the bank/credit card currently have recorded. Ideally this is done on a transaction by transaction basis.

You take your bank's list of transactions since the last date you reconciled and check that the transaction is in YNAB. If it's cleared in your bank mark it as cleared in YNAB. If it's showing in the bank but still pending then enter it in YNAB but leave it uncleared. Then run down your list in YNAB and check whether it's in the bank's records, again leave uncleared anything that hasn't hit the bank yet. Once you've done this the cleared balance on YNAB should equal the cleared balance at the bank and you can hit the reconcile button on YNAB. This locks all the currently cleared transactions (padlock symbol) and gives you a fixed point in time where you know everything was right and makes reconciling easier next time as you're dealing with shorter periods of time and less transactions.

There should never be a need to post a reconciliation adjustment. In the early days, there may be issues with the starting balances particularly if there were lots of transactions pending around that time. After that it really is just a case of ticking transactions off. If you keep posting reconciliation adjustments without reflecting the transactions, they can spawn other reconciliation adjustments and that gets you into a mess.

I'd go so far as saying that for any accounts other than cash you should never need to post a reconciliation adjustment.

NB. The process as described above is what I do using manual entry of transactions. It's also what I did way back when I was an accountant doing bank reconciliations for large businesses using cheques that people took ages to present to the bank and transactions that took days to clear at the bank. If you are purely relying on automatic import then you won't have transactions in YNAB before they hit the bank/card. (The accountant in me is shuddering but I realise I'm a geek).

Like 1
• Bruce
• Software Engineer
• Bruce
• 1 yr ago
• Reported - view

monkeyhanger I understand that (in theory) and I guess I'll do it this once, put in the reconciliation adjustment this once, and see if that fixes it going forward.  I just was concerned if this bug is still in the system, it might end up messing up my balance again, and require a new reconciliation adjustment, which, as you said, can cause problems if that keeps happening.

Anyway, tonight I'll go ahead and reconcile it, post the adjustment, and hope that it was just a fluke.

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• nolesrule
• YNAB4 Evangelist
• nolesrule
• 1 yr ago
• 2
• Reported - view

Bruce Reconciliation only has to do with transactions and account balances. You only need to make adjustments if your transactions are screwed up. But in that case you should be looking to figure out the root cause, rather than making an adjustment.

The issue described above is about how YNAB handles transaction data on the budget screen, which has absolutely nothing to do with how transaction data affects your account balances.

Like 2
• Bruce
• Software Engineer
• Bruce
• 1 yr ago
• Reported - view

nolesrule Weird. Ok, so maybe I just need to adjust my starting balance on the CC account? Maybe something got screwed up on initial import of the card?

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• nolesrule
• YNAB4 Evangelist
• nolesrule
• 1 yr ago
• Reported - view

Bruce Are you talking about a one-time account adjustment or having to make adjustments every single month?

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• Bruce
• Software Engineer
• Bruce
• 1 yr ago
• Reported - view

nolesrule This is my first month, so I don't know. Hopefully just one. At this point I'm not confident that it will "stick", but I guess we'll see.

I'm smart enough to know that I shouldn't adjust the starting balance after I've reconciled the account. So I guess if  there's  an issue with reconciling next time I'll just let the reconcile process do its own adjustments.

let's take it one step at a time. I'll adjust the starting balance and reconcile tonight, and next time I try to reconcile, if all goes according to plan, there won't be any problem.

fingers crossed.

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• 1 yr agoLast active
• 21Replies
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