"overspending" (not really) on Nov. 30; how to move to December?

Hi YNABERs! So, last night I picked up my pooch at the dog boarding place. I owed $150. Cool--I'd budgeted for that. But then I had an opportunity to fold it in to the purchase of $250 worth of boarding for just $230. Great deal, and enabled me to get a head start on December. The problem? YNAB is now showing that I overdrew on my "Pets" category by $80. This is my first month on YNAB, so I guess I misunderstood, but I had thought that -$80 would just roll over to the new month.

My logic is that I'd made a purchase spanning the two months, and that I would assign a portion of it to each month. It was, after all, just hours away from December. And I wasn't even cheating a little, since I received my new paycheck November 30. In short, the money was and IS there, straddling two months, yet it is showing me as overdrawn in November when I want that portion to come out of December budget. Is there a way to get the system to understand this? Hope I'm explaining this well enough.

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  • There are lots of ways to handle this and discussions often get heated , especially amongst long term users 😊

    What I would do is assign some money from your december portion to this bill to make sure it is covered in november and then budget less or no money to the pets category; you don’t need as much, as you’ve already taken care of the costs.

    The column on the right will give you what you spent on average over the months, so if you’d want to know that, it’s easy to find.

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  • Slate Blue Lion said:
    My logic is that I'd made a purchase spanning the two months

    You’re right, but you could only make use of the deal because you already had some funds on hand. Also YNAB has no way of telling how long you are ging to use the purchase. But even if it could it is irrelevant really; it can only tell you if you have enough funds for it at the moment you pay.

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  • I would just date the transaction for Dec 1.  The December category will already have the funds for Nov & Dec.

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  • The reason these debates get heated is because for YNAB, there really is only one right answer. There are ways to do helpful things that YNAB doesn’t endorse, and often, “Yeah that’s not what YNAB intends for you to do” gets interpreted as “You’re stupid” and then we’re off to the races. 

    From YNAB’s perspective, either the money was there with that job on the date you made the purchase, or it wasn’t, and if it wasn’t, you have to get money there with that job on that date. If the money wasn’t there because you’ve already budgeted December, you remove the entry in December, and budget it in November. If that was because you have enough in your other categories for it not to be a big deal that you overspent in this one, you move the money from the other categories.

    Yes, that’s not always the most expedient thing to do. Yes, it ignores that many people are perfectly capable of handling overspends in other ways. But that’s what YNAB would have you do.

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  • I'd also just date it for 12/1 and avoid YNAB's view of the mission critical necessity of covering it from somewhere else for a few hours to just uncover it when the date rolls over.

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  • Thanks for all these perspectives! Dating it for 12/1 seems like the simplest solution. The money was there on both sides of the clock chiming, regardless! Really appreciate you helping me think through this.

      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 1 yr ago
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      • Reported - view

      Slate Blue Lion As you get comfortable with the software and its little idiosyncrasies you'll find ways to tweak it to suit your personal workflow.  There's no perfect solution to managing finances - knowledge and confidence is how you get the most out of any tool, in my experience.  Stick with YNAB, it does work and your successful use of it will evolve over time.

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    • Annieland Thank you! The learning curve is extremely steep--I sometimes feel like using the YNAB software is like flying a jet airplane to get across the street. On the positive side, it has saved me a tremendous amount of money and completely rewired my thinking in just a few weeks!

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