Goal type for the unknown hits?

I have a fairly good handle on goals for things like insurance payments, or yearly subscriptions, where I use the target savings balance goal (so that if I pull from it for another reason, it forces me to catch up quick), or a year based NFS goal. It doesn't matter too much.

I was wondering though, for the surprise expenses like needing a new car, or auto maintenance, or medical expenses, what type of goal do you all use? I was thinking about a monthly savings builder, so I just would contribute the same amount every month, but I wanted to get some feedback here first and hear how other people do it.

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  • For the new car, it is rarely a surprise and more often a planned decision. I estimate when I will want to change car, how much I want to put in the next car and set up a target by date. So like annual stuff but with a much longer time window. I do the same for bikes and electronic replacement. The same for holidays to France to see my family. Anything I can have a good guess of when the next occurrence will be, I use the same method.

    For other stuff, It's a guess at the start and then I use the data in YNAB. On auto maintenance, it's a guess at the start and then I use the Spending report to see what is the monthly spend over the long term and just assign this. Same for medical. I review every year or so.

      • WordTenor
      • Can we agree that goals are dumb and immature? Sure.
      • WordTenor
      • 4 wk ago
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      Ceeses You have clearly never been in a car totaling accident. 😉

      • Ceeses
      • Ceeses
      • 3 wk ago
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      WordTenor we've got the car totalled last year, by a hail storm. With the insurance money, we could upgrade the car and only pay $3,000 out of pocket (nothing here for a 7 seater).

      I don't use the saving by date because I know for sure when we will change the car. But I have my preferred time window, and my preferred price for our next car. I can put them in YNAB and it calculates if I'm being realistic. It also update the goal if I miss funding a goal. So I can quickly reassess within YNAB if my goal is still realistic at any point. 

      I know the math isn't complicated to do but why bother if YNAB does it for me.

      And then the goal keeps the info of what we thought we would do. So if one of us says we want to change the car, or the computer etc., if it's earlier than planned we know we should discuss if it's really necessary.

  • I use the Monthly Savings Builder. I have no idea when I’ll replace my car. Same thing for auto maintenance although there you might have a little more idea how much you might spend each year on maintenance and tires based on historical info. But the great thing about YNAB is that you can move it around especially among categories like these. For the car amount, I just use what I think a decent car payment would be each month.

  • +1 for Monthly Savings Builder! If I need to move money from it, it isn't one that I feel like I need to catch up with quickly - instead I just am building that funding habig into my budget.

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  • I have tried a couple of different methods to fund goals. Overall though, most of mine are now set as monthly savings. I find it gives me consistent funding. I do use the Needed for spending goal on groceries, eating out and alcohol as I don't want to build up excess in those categories but do want to rollover any unspent funds. 

    The big thing I find is that I cannot stress about having non-green amounts in the Available column. I see alot of people getting really stressed about not meeting the goals and feel that YNAB is "yelling" at them when it is not green. To me, it is simply part of the rolling with the punches. I do keep an eye on categories to make sure that we are not falling behind on anything major. I think it helps with finding out which categories are important to you. Or where you steal from so maybe you are allocating too much there but it can still be a needed thing. So, if I look back two or three months and find I am always taking money from one category, I can re-evaluate and maybe change it to a lower amount that frees up money for those other things.

    •   MadDog I like to think of those yellows as post-it notes (which don't yell). 😉

  • I simply use categories with goals to fund specific purchases.  For unexpected events, I fund one called "contingency fund".  Or you can use Wish Farms.



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