Splitting Transaction

Hi all,

I have YNAB 4.  How can I split transaction between multiple people?  I know there's the split transaction button, but it doesn't quite do what I'd like it to.  For example, my sister went with me to the grocery store.  She wanted to buy soda because it was on sale for 5 dollars per pack or something like that, but it was only valid if you have $20 or more in other groceries.  So we put it on my bill and will pay me back.  That's fine, but how do I handle it in YNAB so reports properly reflect where the money is going?  My total bill was $52, including $16 for her soda.  The way I'm doing it now, is to create a transaction for $52 in the groceries category going to the grocery store as the payee, and then add a 2nd transaction for $16 as income later in the groceries category, when she pays me back.  This will make everything balance out, but the reports will show that my sister has given me $16, instead of being even.  I don't care about $16 so much, especially not with my sister, but there are other scenarios similar to this that I would like the keep a close eye on.   Any suggestions?

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  • I think you just need to budget the 16 back into Groceries directly on the transaction back from your sister.  If you budget it to 'Income for X' then yes, the reports will be off.   You don't need to split the original transaction (unless you bought other stuff that doesn't go in the Grocery category). 

    For me personally with YNAB 4, I always just record everything exactly as it happened.  You personally spent 52 from groceries,  doesn't matter what portion was for soda or reimbursements or not.  When you get the 16 back, just put it right back in groceries, because thats where you took the money from to buy the soda.

    If you want to get detailed... you could split the original transaction into two Grocery lines, one for 16 and one for 36 just so you remember how much you spent and how much should be coming back to you later.  Or if you have a reimbursement category you could split it with the 32 to Groceries and the 16 to the Reimbursement category.  The reimbursement category then goes -16 and you know someone owes you 16.  When you get it back, just put it right into the category directly.

    Like 1
  • I have a reimbursements category so I would have done a split transaction with payee grocery store and split 1 to groceries for $36 and split 2 reimbursements for $16. Reimbursements would now have a balance of -$16. When my sister paid me back I would directly categorize it to Reimbursements rather than Income for X Month and that would bring the category balance back to 0.

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  • If you want to be anal about it, you could create a "reimbursements" category.  When you buy the groceries, you can split the bill into $16 from Reimbursements and $36 from Groceries.  Then when your sister gives you the $16, you record it as an inflow to Reimbursements.

    If you don't care about tracking reimbursements and being sure they net to zero, just record $52 spent on Groceries and $16 received as an inflow to Groceries. 

    How much work you do depends to a large extent on how picky you are about what your reports look like.

    Like 2
  • Edited to add:  I use the exact same method in YNAB4 and nYNAB.

    I do a split transaction: in this case that would be $36 to groceries and $16 transferred to a tracking account named for the family member (assuming I do a lot of errands for them), categorized to reimbursable in my budget.


    I keep around $100 in my reimbursable category to run errands as favours for my family members.  I maintain a few different tracking accounts:  Next Expense Claim (office), Errands for Mom (used in the example above), and Sister's Loan.  When I'm repaid, I record it as a transfer from the tracking account to the appropriate on-budget account, and I usually categorize it straight back to reimbursables category (rather than as inflow: to be budgeted). I can then exclude the reimbursables category from my reports and leave out all the to-and-fro of funds for errands. 

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  • For people that regularly borrow/loan me money, like friends, I create a Line Of Credit account in YNAB. The account name is the person's name.

    In your situation, I'd split the transaction and transfer $16 to the "Sister" account. Then I can see that account's balance being $16 -- that's how much she owes me. When she pays me back someday, I add another transaction that transfers $16 into that account, bringing its balance to $0.

    The downside is that you may end up with many such LOC accounts, which begins to look cluttered. So I also have a "TEMP" LOC account. I use it the same way as person-specific accounts, except its balance doesn't immediately tell me who owes me what. I have to look at its recent transactions.

      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Philip  makes a good point about the proliferation of LOC/Reimbursable accounts.

      Instead, I use a single account and put the person's name in the memo. A quick search for a given name gives me the total when needed.

      Another tip is to clear a group of related transactions in the LOC account when things are "settled" and Reconcile to a $0 balance. Normally the view filter is set to hide all these, showing only the Pending reimbursements.

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