Negative Budgeted Balance

Good Day,

 

Following an advice I have received here I have created a category called "Income for Next Month", without having goal to it. On January 30st, I had budgeted $585.85, so the available balance what showing me a green value of $585.85$ .... and well to me, this is an "envelope" that I will be able to redistribute the month after.

Well, the month flip, and YNAB have decide to "unbudget" -$585.85 .... To that envelop is now showing 0$ available, I had $585.85 left over from last month, and it says that I budgetted -$585.85

 

I need some help understanding the logic  here, and where is the money left over from last month. Also I have always took for granted that the content of my envelop (aka Category) was show in available .... but rather seems to be a calculation of Budgetted - Available. ...?

 

See screenshots.

Eric   

33replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • YNAB's thinking is baked into the software. I'm going to assume that you are not paid on a regular cycle (maybe seasonal or job by job) and this is your way to spread out your earnings, which is very smart. I was trying to do something very similar, since my old software worked that way. I found a way to do it, however it caused problems on the budget side, not exactly that you ran into, but close enough. Here's what I've ended up at: I set a monthly goal for each category based on my annual budget. Then when I'm paid, I go to the budget and use the first quick budget option called Underfunded. This seems to spread all the money around according to my goals to the point where my budget might go red. Then I have to decide which one of my goals to fund less than planned. Now, if the budget remains positive, then I need to put that money somewhere. It might be in savings or spread out in the categories again. Either way, YNAB, as you've noticed, doesn't want the budget to carry over. That happens in positive or negative budget balances. 

    Like
    • Ben K. said:
      YNAB, as you've noticed, doesn't want the budget to carry over. That happens in positive or negative budget balances

       Bit of a correction. Positive balances carry over just fine and form the basis for Rule 2 (save up over time for non-monthly expenses). It's only the categories with negative balances for which YNAB will force a correction (either by new CC debt or by reducing the amount you'll budget in the future).

      Like 2
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Thank you for the correction. After using words like accounts and budget a certain way for 12 years based on my old software, it's hard to use them differently in YNAB. In this case I should have said YNAB doesn't want the TBB to be carried over.

      Like
    • Ben K. Actually, TBB carries over whether positive or negative. Of course, a negative TBB (and in fact any red in the budget) represents an infeasible plan and should be corrected ASAP. Otherwise, you'd be making spending decisions based on the availability of Monopoly money -- not exactly sound financial practice.

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

      dakinemaui I tried again, you're right. I don't think it was behaving that way for me while playing with monopoly money in a fake budget, but what you described is the behavior. (btw, you can't have more than something like $1000000000000000000000000, the software complains).

      Like
    • Ben K. said:
      you can't have more than something like $1000000000000000000000000

       That's good to know! I shall watch out for that in the future. 😆

      Like 2
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Yeah, once I earn my first multiplujillion I'll have to get a new budgeting system!

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

      bevocat I didn't try sci. notation, maybe it takes 10e50

      Like
  • One thing I've done now a couple of times to create a new budget to play around with the tool without risking messing up my budget. I learn a lot and get to have play money. 

    Like
  • Okay, that's not how I use my category when the month flips over, but you certainly can do it that way. When you negative budget the 585, of course that category goes to zero. You want it to go from being in that category to being in your To Be Budgeted, so you should see it in green at the top of the page, all shiny and ready to be assigned to your rent, groceries, and what-have-you.

    I personally prefer instead to zero out the category on the last day of the month, but it has the exact same result.

    So when you negative-budgeted 585 to that category, did your To Be Budgeted show 585 at the top of the screen in green? If not, do you have money already budgeted in March?

    Like 1
  • Positive budget entries put money in, negative budget entries take it out. 

    The available amount for any category is always computed as:

    • Available = Previous Month's Available + Current Budget (1st column) + Current Activity (2nd column)
    Like 2
  • Negative budgeted amounts are nothing to be concerned about—it simply means you moved money out of the category that you budgeted into it in previous months. Here's a quick video that explains why that happens.

    Like 1
  • Thanks everybody for all the answers. Unfortunately, I'm more confuse then I should be and it doesn't make much sense to me.  But let me answers a few things first

     

    Ben K.  -> Actually, I am paid Bi-Weekly, but I have extra payment coming from time to time.  My main goal is to fine a way to make the rule #1 a bit more flexible.  I want to have some money available to compensate other categories when needed. I thought about letting the money stay in TBB but thought having a category for this instead.

    bevocat -> Well, the thing is that I did not budgeted a -585$... Or if I did, I really don't know how it happened; I may have accidentally moved it to another category.  So when you ask about the status of my TBB when I budgeted the -585$, I really don't know since I do not recall doing this.  

    Nicole at YNAB  -> Thanks for the video Nicole. Unfortunately,  it does not outline the problem I am seeing.

     

    My challenge is this. Thursday, Jan 31st, I had a category named "Income for Next Month" which had 585.85$ budgeted, and 585.85$ "Available". February First, that category is not -585.85$ in budgeted, 0$ in available.  And I don't understand why.

     

    So,  is it me that moved that amount of money myself somehow?  I see nothing in activity showing me what I have done. Which might be normal I guess; Activity seems to shows transaction against categories and not budget manipulation. Considering it happened a few time 

     

    I guess I could also simply re-budget the entire month but I'd like to figure out what I did wrong.  

     

    Fun stuff! :)  

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

      Eric Poulin Eric, I feel where you're coming from, but YNAB thinking is in the tool and it's not too happy with letter money sit in TBB. They really want you to put it somewhere, a category.

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

      Eric Poulin Also, when you enter your future income -this is the way I did it at first- did you happen to put that future income into a category? That really throws the budget category numbers for a loop. That's why I still have future income scheduled to come in (just saves me time) but it's not categorized, just all TBB.

      Like
    • Ben K.  Thanks for all the help Ben. My income are actually scheduled but I have extras coming in from commission payment from time to time. 

       

      What does happen if I leave money in the TBB when the month flip? I actually don't mind having a category for this which is what I have... but does something different happen if it sits there?

      Thanks!

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

      Eric Poulin The earth stops. From what I can tell, it isn't advised to leave TBB anything but zero. Create a category called Decide Later and budget the money into it. That might not be the prevailing opinion on the forum, but it should work. When you decide budget it out and spread it around where you want it. I'm guessing you want the new Harley Electric Bike, but are waiting for it to go into production and just didn't want to say anything yet. 

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

      Ben K. The earth does not stop. If you have money in TBB at the end of January, it will be there in February. Unless of course, you have already budgeted some categories in February. In that case, you have already budgeted it.

      i.e. if at the end of January you had $500 in TBB and $0 in any other category in January or February then when you flip forward to February you will still have $500 in TBB.

      If you have already budgeted to February $300 to groceries $100 to fuel and $100 to clothing then the same budget would still show $500 in TBB in January but when you flip to February it would show $0 as that $500 has already been budgeted in Feb.

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

      monkeyhanger I know. It was a hyperbole. I just noticed many YNAB users on the forum don't like TBB to be anything but zero.

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

      Ben K. I realised that but it also implied that it broke things which it doesn't.

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

      monkeyhanger If you had already budgeted that $500 to February, then TBB in both January and February would be $0....

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

      satcook D’oh! Of course. Must not reply when I have a migraine and am sleep deprived!

      Like
    • monkeyhanger satcook Ben K.

      Thanks for all the input. So to be 200% clear, if I have 200$ in TBB on Jan 31st at 23h59,  I will still have 200$ in TBB on February 1st at 00h01. YNAB will not, by itself, distribute the money to any categories...right?

      Totally get that anything "I" budget (aka: Assigned/More to a category) is not longer in TBB. 

      So.... Assuming this. What would be the Pros and Cons of having a category dedicated to that Honey Pot of money I want to have available to replenish some of my living expenses instead of leaving it in TBB? Other than the fact that Rule #1, Every dollar has a job, and "job" are "Categories".... so it should be there. 

       

      End results is the same right?    

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

      Eric Poulin The rules are built into the software thinking.  I don't think you'll break it, but will you be able to take full advantage of the say goal category amount feature or quick budget features fully, most likely not. Also, even the idea of a category called honey pot or in my case emergency funds, is really not in line with the 4 rules. It's a different way of thinking about savings that's going to take me a while to get used to. 

      Like
  • Ok, so clearly I did move the money and I don't recall doing it... and I know because I have another budget in parallel for my main account where I have the same category (Income for Next Month), and this one push the money to the next month without any problem.

     

    I would love to have a way to see all "activities" we do around "Budgeted", some sort of Audit Trail. What would be great as this is the only conclusion I have now but I can't be sure. :)

     

    User error I guess!   

    Like
    • Hi Eric Poulin !

      Sorry for the confusion! If you use the move money tool, or one of the Quick Budget options to clear out Available amounts, it can cause that negative to be entered automatically. This is YNAB's way of letting you know funds were taken out of that category. So that $585.85 was removed from that category and placed in another category. You can move money around to get those funds exactly where you want them. :)

      Like
  • Eric Poulin said:
    Thanks for all the input. So to be 200% clear, if I have 200$ in TBB on Jan 31st at 23h59,  I will still have 200$ in TBB on February 1st at 00h01. YNAB will not, by itself, distribute the money to any categories...right?

     Depends on if you have any scheduled transactions that hit on February 1st in a cash account and whether or not you have  money available in the category. If you don't, then you'll have overspending, which will come out of march's TBB and suck away that TBB that was still there in jan/Feb.

    Like 1
    • nolesrule haha! :) Ok.... 

      So my understanding is that if I do a transaction, schedule or not, in a category where there is no more money left, that category should show I have overspent ... Which I do see now in my Groceries section.

      Let's use another example:

      Lets say that on February 28th at 23h59:

      • All my categories are either positive or with no money left
      • 1 Category (Groceries) is -96$
      • TBB has 100$ in green

      On March 1st at 00h01, you are suggesting that

      • YNAB will automatically grab 96$ from TBB and bring Groceries at least to 0$ to cover overspending
      • TBB will have 4$ left

      And that without me doing it?   YNAB is so manual around budgeting... if on the 31st, it is telling me that  have overspent and let me choose how to fund it, why does it decides by itself day after? IT should remain negative and let me decide my course of action for awareness. Or no? 

      Thanks   

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

      Eric Poulin Not exactly. Any overspending will pull out of future TBB in real time. But you may have to llok at the next month to see it.

      What I'm talking about is a scheduled transaction that would trigger at midnight at the start of a month in an unfunded category.

      Another possibility would be a transaction gets imported with a past date after the month ends into an underfunded category causing it to go negative.

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Eric Poulin Is it -$96 of all cash spending? Because if any portion of it is credit card spending, that portion just becomes rolled into your credit card debt when the month rolls over and you will have to manually budget that amount directly into the Credit Card Payment category when the month rolls over.

      If it's all cash spending (not credit card), then when the month flips over, that category will be zeroed out if you have money in TBB to cover it. The answer is no, it will not leave the category negative because YNAB does not allow you to do that across month boundaries.

      Like 1
    • bevocat this is great! That -96$ is CC but the question was also around Cash.

      I do get it now. Anything in TBB will be used by YNAB when the month roll over to cover any overspend. Got to be honest, I would love to have a way to see this when it happens but it is easy to work around. Leave no Money in TBB ever, put it in a Category instead (that I called Buffer Money) .

      Thanks also nolesrule and Ben K. for the help figuring this out!

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

      Eric Poulin watch about about bringing up buffer, apparently that means something to the desktop ynab users. :) so many terms.

      Like
    • Ben K. Hahaha ok got it! I guess I'll call it "Pot of Gold".  😄

      Like
Like1 Follow
  • Status Answered
  • 1 Likes
  • 1 yr agoLast active
  • 33Replies
  • 613Views
  • 9 Following