Available in checking
I've searched, but can't find the right terms to yield the right results.
I understand the budget treats checking and savings accounts the same ... a pool of money from which debit transactions are made.
I get that.
What I don't get is this:
Let's say I budget $5000 for a vacation. Doesn't matter if it is in checking, savings, or a combination of both as far as the budget is concerned. The money is available, so the category is green.
I get a lot better interest in savings than checking, so I move all $5000 to savings.
Again .. nothing changes from the budget perspective.
Time comes, and I want to pay for airfare. Budget category shows plenty of available, so I send in the check ... and it bounces because all the money is in savings, not checking.
How do I account for this?
Do I need to check YNAB budget category to make sure the money is available in the budget, THEN check my checking account to make sure the money is there, too?
It seems like this is the right answer. But, am I missing something?
If that's the answer, then how do I determine my expected monthly outflow from checking and ensure I have that amount (plus a buffer) in checking at the start of the month (moving everything above that to savings)?
What you are asking is about cash flow of accounts. You should always check that the account you are planning to spend money from has enough money in it, particularly when you are making an uncommon purchase. if there's not enough, you need to move some from another account.
it's also recommended to pay attention to what other spending might come out of that account in the short term prior to more income arriving.
Turning on the running balance and using scheduled transactions as much as possible can help visualize future account balances.
As a follow up to nolesrule 's answer, your required cashflow might not be a number that you can easily lay your hands on if you are just getting started. You'll need to get a sense of how much money moves out of your checking account over time.
I've been YNAB'ing since summer of '14, so I know that I need generally $X in my checking account on the first of the month. This will cover the higher end of the average of my monthly credit card bills, 2 mortgage payments, 2 condo association payments, 2 HOA payments, my monthly taxable investing, plus a buffer of about $1000. Therefore, when I get paid on the 7th and 22nd, I know how much I can transfer to a savings account to be ready on the 1st. Now, if I put a large charge on my credit card, I have a minimum of 3 weeks and possibly even up to 6 weeks before I'll have to pay the credit card bill (I autopay the statement balances 2-3 days before the due date), so there is plenty of time to either a) refrain from transferring money to my savings account on the 7th or 22nd (preferable) or b) transfer money from savings account to checking account (less preferable).