Understanding Wishfarming

I am a long time YNAB user. I read the Wishfarm article and half-heartedly implemented this a year ago but ended up mixing up true expenses with my wish farm and budgeting straight into it... No prioritising happening, just recording costs.

So Wishfarm 2 time. I read the article a bit more closely and feel pretty clear. However I am struggling with what to do when the wishfarm cost is not precise.

For example, it works well for eg a new lampshade, cost $100. Prioritise lampshade, move to wish farm, save $100, buy lampshade and allocate cost to household, delete wish farm item 'lampshade'.

However, I recently had a weekend away budget of $300 - mostly the cost of eating out. I saved $300, I moved the money from Wishfarm to my holidays category. Then we ended up not eating out and spent just $52. I've now got an excess of $248 in my holidays category.

Do I keep the $248 in holidays? But the whole thing about breaking down all trips away into wish farm items is to prioritise them - something that wasn't happening before. Previously I was guessing and just dumping money into 'holidays' with no plan about how this impacted anything else. Or do I take the $248 out and put it somewhere else?

I know there is no 'right answer' but I would love to hear thoughts on this.  I think I'm overthinking this.

7replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • I would move the $248 to the highest priority in the budget that needs money or that you would like to accelerate. If that's something in the wish farm, so be it; however, just because that money was originally in the wish farm doesn't mean anything special. (After all, priorities change!)

    Incidentally, I do this with ANY category that has leftovers after being "used", including various monthly discretionary categories.

    Like 4
  • I just see the wish farm as a way to specifically budget for a particular item that doesn't warrant a full-time category of it's own. Other than that it's no different to any other underspending, just allocate it to your next highest priority. 

    Like
    • TechieM2
    • IT Professional and General Geek
    • techiem2
    • 8 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    I handle my wish farm a bit differently, but agree with both of the above.

    I have my Wish List, which is all the things that come to mind to get eventually that probably don't fit in another category, then my Wish Farm, which is the current priority items (usually 3-5 items of varying expense levels).  I also have a Wish Buffer in the Wish Farm category for funds that I plan to use for something there, but haven't decided what yet.

    After I fully fund and purchase something from the Wish Farm, I hide that item's category.  Any extra money above the actual cost either goes back to TBB for general use, into another Wish Farm item, or into Wish Buffer.

    Like
      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      TechieM2 I also have 2 separate lists - mine are a wish farm and "The Home of Unfunded Dreams" but essentially they are the wish farm and a wish list in standard forum terminology. I don't use a wish buffer because the wish farm is funded goals and THUD is things that don't have any funds allocated yet. If I had any spare money, they'd move into the wish farm or a wish farm item would get purchased.

      I'm curious that you have things that don't fit into another category. That seems odd and suggests you need a few other categories. I don't have separate categories for every little bit of personal fun money spending but I have a 'guilt- free' category which captures lots of these things. Others call it fun money. Other than that my items will always fit in another category, it's more that I want to separately ring fence money for them.

      Are you saying that you record the spending in the wish farm category before you hide it? If it works for you, great but it's not optimal because hidden categories  are not included in reports. They're also a common cause of problems. With that in mind, I have done 2 things. Firstly, I have a category graveyard group at the bottom of my list and rather than hiding any categories I no longer need, I just move them into this group. It keeps my list clean. Secondly, I record all spending on wish farm etc items in a permanent category and delete the category once that's been done. YNAB has a warning if there are any transactions.

      Like
      • TechieM2
      • IT Professional and General Geek
      • techiem2
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      monkeyhanger Well most I probably could fit in other categories if I wanted, but they are more one off items and things I don't want to use the normal budgeted category funds for, if that makes sense.  It just works with my way of thinking I guess.  Sometimes I'll start out with something as a wish farm item then later decide to use a normal category instead, but that's fairly rare.

      And yeah, I fund it and buy it and wait for all transactions to clear then I hide the category.  A graveyard category is a good idea though..that might be a bit cleaner, and as you said, make the reports a bit better than just reporting "hidden categories".  I think I'll give that method a try.

      Like
      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      TechieM2 Whatever works for you. You're savvy enough to look in hidden categories if you had an issue.

      Like
  • Thanks everyone for the comments. I love hearing your thoughts as it helps me figure out how I want to approach the wish farm and remain accountable. I tend to dump money into categories (true expenses) but then on leaner months I take them out again - which is of course the beauty of Ynab - but I feel I do it without thought. This is all about being more focused on every dollar has a job. 

    With that in mind - I did take the $248 out to a new wishlist item. As that is consciously giving those dollars a job, rather than making a vague 'holiday' buffer with no thought to which holiday the money would be spent. 

    I'm also fine tuning my wish farm. This is what I love about ynab - new ways to focus on your spending and allocate it, helps me stay in tune with my actual goals rather than momentary wants. (I've driven past 3 garage sales without stopping!!!!)

    Like 4
Like Follow
  • 8 mths agoLast active
  • 7Replies
  • 306Views
  • 4 Following