Credit Card Payment Amount Goes Negative
I have a recurring issue in YNAB with my Credit Card payment amount showing as negative right after the bill is paid, and I can't figure out why. That line should purely be for tracking - every transaction on that card should accrue money toward the payment, and then flow out to pay the bill, and all along accruing each transaction.
We carry no balance on any credit card, and pay in full every month. It's just a payment mechanism, all transactions are synched to the appropriate budget category with every purchase. So why would there ever be a negative payment amount available??
Within a week or two, the balance goes green again as transactions accrue. I have been trying unsuccessfully to figure this out for a while, but had decided to let it go. However, now I'm getting ready to close that credit card to move to a better mileage rewards card - so I can't have a negative balance hanging around when I stop using the card.
When you started YNAB, did you have a balance on the card? If so, did you budget to the Credit card payment category to tell YNAB you intended to use that amount of cash to pay your debt on your card? Since that spending was before YNAB, it was not budgeted from the point of view of YNAB and you need to reserve the money to pay for it.
If you don't care about finding the why (and it's not the reason above), the solution to the issue (no matter where the issue comes from) is to directly budget to the credit card payment category to bring it inline with the credit card account balance. The payment category, in your case, should be equal but opposite sign to the credit card account balance. Move money within your budget until you can get there. It's fine to do so in the current month, it doesn't matter in what month the problem started to occur. Then you can pay off the balance and close the account.
If the available column on the credit card budget line does not equal the balance of the credit card all the time then you either have too much or too little budgeted for the credit card payment. Like Ceeses says, fix this discrepancy now, ignore the past, and it won't happen again.
Caveat to it not happening again. there are plenty of reasons for it to happen, cashback, refunds etc. but the one you are experiencing is from underbudgeting, probably a long time ago.
When I converted to this version of YNAB in 2018 (moved from YNAB4 desktop version), we did have a balance, and I did put it in there - after much pain to get the number right. We've been on YNAB since 2014, and credit card payments were not in the prior version, so we always immediately counted each transaction to ensure we were on a "cash basis" even when using the credit card as a payment mechanism.
The issue is that everything else in our budget is correct, so I don't have a place that I can re-budget money from without throwing off something like our emergency fund - which I don't want to do either.
I don't budget money for a credit card payment because we don't have an outstanding balance to pay off - only current transaction volume, so if all the transactions are recorded, I should never have to budget actual funds for a credit card payment - it should balance out. SOOOOO frustrating!!!
we did have a balance, and I did put it in there - after much pain to get the number right.
Did you budget to the credit card payment category to pay off that balance? If not, then your budget has been inflated by that amount ever since. You may think everything else is where it should be but it isn't. I'm sorry for the bad news.
Do you pay your card balance to zero? Or just pay the monthly statement balance?
If you pay for zero and it is dated for the same day as a transaction that is included in the amount you pay off, this can cause the problem to because YNAB order of operations applies the payment before handling the charge so it takes the card balance positive and thinks you are overpaying. The overpaid amount goes to TBB and needs to be budgeted back to the payment category.