Finding and fixing negative balance categories

I've been reviewing my budget, and as I go through previous months, I've found occasional negative categories. We typically reconcile / balance our budgets monthly, so my guess is that these are charges that came in late after we'd already balanced the budget for a given month.

A few of these charges are way back in time.

First, my "School Trip" category was negative $200 (cash overspending) in June 2019. In July 2019, YNAB reports subtracting $200 from "ready to assign" to cover the overage. 

Flashforward to January 2020, and I've got Dining: Family that's negative $10.99 (credit overspending). Because it is credit overspending, YNAB did nothing; "ready to assign" didn't get anything subtracted from it to cover the shortfall. 

I'm guessing that long-term, these kinds of credit-based transactions are contributing to my ongoing credit card balance mismatch woes. 

If I understand correctly, these are the long-term effects of these kinds of overspending:

  • CASH OVERSPENDING: I've got a negative category, but YNAB covered the overspending by taking $200 away from the available cash in the following month. This isn't ideal, but it seems like it healed itself (as it prevented me from spending that money, even the overage isn't assigned to a particular category). My "School Trip" historical budget numbers aren't quite right, but I don't have less money than I think I have.
  • CREDIT OVERSPENDING: This is more problematic. That particular credit card balance was paid long ago, and I've got $10.99 less than I think I have. Based on my reading in the forums and the documentation, these unfunded charges are likely what's throwing off my credit card categories (which don't quite match my credit card account working balances).

Assuming I'm correct, then fixing the credit overspending is the priority (though fixing the cash overspending would be good too, since it would bring everything into alignment with reality)

So to fix this ... I have two questions:

1. Is there a report or view that will show me all of my overspent categories?

I haven't found one. Worse comes to worst, I can page through each month's budget and visually verify that things are ok, but a report would sure be handy.

2. How do I fix the credit overspending in the past without creating a butterfly effect that disrupts today's budget?

  • Normally, I'd transfer funds from a green category to cover it, but these categories are so far in the past that I can't be certain the move won't cause a shortage in a subsequent month. I don't want to inadvertently kick off a game of temporal whack-a-mole as I try and fix these issues.
  • "Ready to assign" doesn't help, because all the money in a past month was already given a job.

I think the best option is to ignore those previous overspent categories (I'm cringing a bit as I write that) and address it by using funds from today (September 2021) to cover the credit card budget category shortfalls. That way, the money is at least accounted for, even if those long-ago budget categories are still overspent.

For the cash overspending ... well, I guess I just leave that be because YNAB already addressed it internally, so that money is accounted for.

Does that sound right?

As always, thanks for the help.
 

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