How to pay next months bills with this months money AND keep goals on track?

Today is March 26th and I've had the money to pay the April mortgage (due April 1st) for about a week. I added that money to the April budget and both March and April look nice and pretty because I've met my monthly spending goals. However, I can't figure out how to actually pay April's mortgage in March without moving the budget money into March, and subsequently causing April to appear as if I did not meet the goal.

Am I missing something or is this just the way it is? I want to be able to pay next month's expenses and have the goals met.

13replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
    • nolesrule
    • Been waiting 5 years for the Stealing From the Future fix...
    • nolesrule
    • 2 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Your budgeting and your goals should be based on when you will actually pay the bills (the actual outflow date that you will record in YNAB) and not when it's due.

    Like
      • Breanne
      • breanne
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule That makes sense, but I think the goal of "Every month by the 1st" is in line with that. Sometimes that means I'll have the money in the prior month, sometimes it means I'll have it on the 1st. Either way I've met the goal, and I want a way to record that the goal has been met even if I met it early in the month ahead.  

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • Been waiting 5 years for the Stealing From the Future fix...
      • nolesrule
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Breanne If you pay the bill in March, the money must be in the category in March. otherwise the category will show as overspent. In this scenario, the money will then still be in the category in April, and the overspending will be handled per the overspending month rollover rules. Cash-based overspends that go uncovered reduce TBB in the following month. Credit-based overspends means you don't have the money reserved in the CC payment category to pay it back.

      In your scenario you describe not having the overspending is the overriding factor. It really doesn't matter what the goal setup is, because goals don't change how YNAB treats overspending. So when you set a goal, you need to target it for the month you actually plan to spend the money and not the month after you actually spend the money.

      Like
      • Bruce
      • Software Engineer
      • Bruce
      • 2 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Breanne Perhaps you should have your goal for the End of every month.  That way, it's covered whether you make the payment early, or on the 1st.

      Like 2
      • Breanne
      • breanne
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Bruce Thanks, this is the solution I ended up going with. 

      I understand everything you're saying,  nolesrule , but I guess I don't really understand the point of having goals set for each month if they need to be in line with the actual spending month, which may vary. That's what the budget column and transaction tracking is for.

      I guess I need to reimagine  what YNAB goals are meant to do, because I am trying to treat it as a feature to track actual due dates and monthly/yearly goals, and "cross them off", so to speak, for each month as I pay them. That would allow me to go into future months and see how far ahead I am. For yearly goals like Christmas savings, or Veterinary emergency fund, this works just fine. I wish there was a better way to track bills, though!

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • Been waiting 5 years for the Stealing From the Future fix...
      • nolesrule
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Breanne 

      Breanne said:
      but I guess I don't really understand the point of having goals set for each month if they need to be in line with the actual spending month,

       You don't need goals at all . they are just reminders to fund the category. So if you are going to use one, you want to set it for when you plan to have the category funded in order to execute the spending when you plan to.

      Like 1
  • Do you normally pay your mortgage before the first of the month?  I do - my rent is due the first, and I usually pay it sometime in the week before to make sure it gets there.

    That means the money I budget for rent in March is really for April, the money in April is really for May, etc. I've not yet had a month roll over using YNAB, so I don't know how they handle it, but if I'm ever late, I just end up with two rent charges in one month - but the money is there to cover it, because I budgeted the month before for the charge at the beginning of the month and this month for the one at the end.

    If that's how you regularly pay your mortgage, then moving the money from April into March to pay the bill should work out fine - when you get May's money, put that in the April bucket for the mortgage and you'll have it for the May payment when it comes out.

    I think this is the historical Rule 4 YNABers talk about - paying this month using last month's money, or some similar phrasing. While that's often mentioned in connection with aging your money, it applies in this situation without the consideration for age of money.

    So much of using YNAB has to do with re-framing how you're thinking about payments. If that's not how you normally frame thing, it can be really confusing and/or annoying, and the way avid YNABers insist that the *only* way to think about things when using the app is really annoying (and in my opinion, wrong). But it might help, in this case.

    Like 2
      • Louise
      • Beige_Case.14
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Fuzzball Meows I have already received a pension check for April, so budgeted it and hope I did it right!  My stimulus check I budgeted for what it was for and for the extra I created a category so I could keep an eye on it.  I will receive another pension check on the 30th or 31st.  After reading these posts, I think I will budget my mortgage payment due April 1, in March as I always pay it before end of month.  I am not quite sure on this now.  I may have to read up on the close out again!  For me, I have to take off my “accountant” cap and just do what is in front of me.

      Like
    • Louise I never did well at the accounting portion of my schooling, but from what others have said, the YNAB method of only budgeting the money in front of you doesn't fit well with accounting thinking. 

      As you go through paying out and getting money coming in, it should hopefully make more sense and get easier.

      Like 1
      • Louise
      • Beige_Case.14
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Fuzzball Meows I think so, too.  Thanks!!

      Like
  • I do normally pay it in the month ahead, but there are times the paycheck it's coming out of lands right on the 1st, so I was trying to make the goal fit both scenarios. But I agree, I definitely need to re-frame how I'm thinking about it all. As the next few months pass, I'm sure it will start to "click" for me and I'll better understand it all! Thank you!

    Like 1
      • MadDog
      • Navy_Blue_Pegasus.2
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Breanne because I am trying to treat it as a feature to track actual due dates and monthly/yearly goals, and "cross them off",

      You may want to look at scheduled transactions instead or as part of your goals. I have a monthly funding amount for my mortgage. Because I pay the mortgage biweekly, I add a little bit extra every month so that on the month that I have the third payment, I have enough to pay it. I don't want to scramble to pay it - I just don't like feeling. Then I have my mortgage payments as scheduled transactions which show me what I am paying that month. Those are my actual due dates.

      This concept works really well in a category like subscriptions where you can fund multiple subscriptions with one goal but have different scheduled transactions for the individual items. I do this for my Netflix, Crave and cable subscription. 

      The other example for a quarterly payment is that you have a goal to fund $X per month and then a scheduled transaction for the actual payment that will come out. When it comes to the month that the payment will come out, if I have not got enough available, I will get a warning.

      Like 1
  • Fuzzball Meows said:
    the way avid YNABers insist that the *only* way to think about things when using the app is really annoying (and in my opinion, wrong)

    In my experience, it's not that it is the *only* way to think about it, it is because that is the way that YNAB has been designed and users are trying to make it do something it is not designed to do. It is designed for a specific philosophy which is different than what most people have thought of. You wouldn't expect a Smart Car to haul a large trailer but a truck can. Both are vehicles, both can get you places and have similar functionalities but one has specific functionality that the other does not. You can certainly try to haul a trailer but the car will break because it is not designed to do that. Same thing with YNAB. 

    IMHO

    Like 4
Like Follow
  • 2 mths agoLast active
  • 13Replies
  • 187Views
  • 6 Following