Are My Goals Encouraging Overspending?

When I go over budget, say in my Groceries category, I cover that overspending from a lower-priority category, Dining Out. My Dining Out category, which has a monthly goal, then shows that I have not budgeted enough this month to fully fund my goal. If I take money from my next paycheck and fulfill my Dining Out goal (because YNAB is telling me my goal is underfunded), that allows me to eat out with my full Dining Out goal, despite the fact that I chose to initially sacrifice some of that money to buy groceries. My spending would be

(Groceries + Overspending) + Dining Out

instead of

 (Groceries + Overspending) + (Dining Out - Overspending)

It almost feels as if YNAB is encouraging me to overspend by telling me to fund my goal after I take some money from it to cover overspending elsewhere. Should I leave it underfunded despite the warning messages? Maybe I'm thinking about it wrong?

PS. I'm not saying I will use all my Dining Out money just because it's available but it IS there if I wanted to use it.

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  • Then don't put a goal on your dining out (I don't use goals for any of my categories, so take that into account). Or just ignore the goal nag. You didn't meet you goal in July for dining out. So what?

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  • You might consider just turning off the warning in cases like this by re-establishing the goal in next month's area. Literally, edit the goal then immediately hit OK.

    I personally don't use Goals at all for precisely this reason. I've lobbied YNAB for a real "template" capability that will fill in values once but not nag for reallocations; you might make a feature request for the same. Alternatively, a "deactivate warning" would also work. (Both would be useful.)

    I am NOT a fan of leaving warnings visible from a desensitization standpoint. Remember the story, "The Boy Who Cried Wolf?" 😉

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