Moving from Mvelopes ...

Greetings,

 

I am in the process of evaluating YNAB as long time Mvelopes user..

I am in good talks with support but can anyone else who has made this transition share their experience?

I would say that I like the Mvelopes approach but I am finding that my old habits are quite entrenched. 

I can see that I may have to give up a few things that I am used to. I am willing to change may ways but since my current system is quite entrenched the transition is bigger than I thought.  Here are few comments:

1) I live on last months pay. All my current pay goes into the "Income Cash Pool".  Each month I "fund" my envelopes using a saved funding plan. The ICP is now zero until my next paycheque.  I think that I see the same functionality in YNAB.

2) I have a funding plan for the next 12 months.  Mvelopes allows me to essentially have a 12 month budget. This is very handy as I can allocate special months where my income is higher like on those 3 paycheque months.  I like the 12 month view as well along with yearly totals.

In YNAB I see "budget templates" and  assume they are  similar to a funding plan in Mvelopes  for for only a single month.

Also with the YNAB is there feature roadmap that is published that as future subscriber I get a a sense of some of the functionality that might be added?

Any help would be appreciated..

Thanks

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    • Ben
    • Toolkit for YNAB Designer & Developer
    • furiousfalcon
    • 1 mth ago
    • 2
    • Reported - view

    Welcome! I'm not an Mvelopes user, but:

    1) I image that this should work pretty similarly to Mvelopes. All income is categorized as "Inflow: To Be Budgeted", then budgeted out to your categories until the TBB is zero. You can use goals or the quick budget buttons to create a budget template and speed up the budgeting process: https://www.youneedabudget.com/how-to-create-a-budget-template/

    2) YNAB only has the single month view (you won't be able to see all 12 months on one screen), but you can budget out as far ahead as you need to.

    Two things to note, though:

    -- You can budget ahead as far as you like, but you need to have something budgeted in the previous month (just a single cent, for example) before the next month becomes available for budgeting. If you want to budget for Feb 2019, you have to have something budgeted in Jan first. I believe this is to prevent you "losing" money by budgeting it out to a super-far month and then forgetting about it.

    -- YNAB is focused on the money you have in your possession right now, and generally asks that you don't budget out future money that you expect but don't have yet. Basically, it doesn't want you to make questionable current financial decisions based on a potentially incorrect or an overly positive financial picture. If you want to budget for December 2019 and have that money available, great! But YNAB won't allow you (at least, not without a big negative To Be Budgeted number and a much murkier understanding of your current financial picture) to forecast that month's budget with money you don't have in your possession. When you budget money in YNAB, it's with the understanding that the money in your budget is available in your accounts right now.

    3) YNAB has a somewhat irregularly updated roadmap that lists some of the things they are tackling in the near future. In general, YNAB has been hesitant to provide a more complex roadmap because development timelines or priorities may change and they don't want to underpromise / overdeliver. https://www.youneedabudget.com/up-next/

    Reply Like 2
      • Ben
      • Toolkit for YNAB Designer & Developer
      • furiousfalcon
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Ben - Oops, meant "overpromise / underdeliver" in #3.

      Reply Like
  • Beige, I am doing the same thing, trying this out compared to Mvelopes. I am  also a long time user, probably 12 years or more, but they are so slow to make changes.I do exactly the same thing with Mvelopes, I am basically a month ahead, I let all my paychecks accrue in the ICP and then Fund the next months envelopes with a saved funding plan. YNAB is not making total sense to me either. With Mvelopes you can budget money in envelopes each month for quarterly bills, but in ynab when I go to change the money available for a particular budgeted item, it changes the budgeted amount for the month also. I am trying this out along side using my mvlelopes, not sure I am going to be able to figure it out though. Definitely noticed ynab is not clunky like Mvelopes ( the current version). The beta 5 feels Mvelopes seems much smoother, but they have been working on that over a year and it's still in beta. They said hopefully this February it would finally launch, but we will have to wait and see.

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    • Hi Turquoise Mask !

      The Budgeted column shows how much you've set aside for a particular category in the current month. When you increase the Budgeted amount, the Available amount goes up as well. There isn't a way to add funds to the Budgeted column without increasing the Available amount because that would mean the math in your budget is incorrect.

      Is there a certain reason you're looking for that option? There may be a better way to accomplish what you're aiming for here. :)

      Reply Like
    • Faness with Mvelopes, say you have $30, for gas, left over in your envelope, from December. When I fund January's envelope with $130 I would have a total of $160 to spend. Maybe that's how YNAB will work after I use it more than one month. I suppose just starting out this month in YNAB I would fund the gas budget with $160, correct?

      Reply Like 1
    • Turquoise Mask 

      Hi , I have only been using it for a bit more than 2 weeks, but for example in my fuel category I had $5 left not spent in December and when I added $25 to start January it said my available was $30 so I think it's working the way you would like.  

      Reply Like 1
    • Turquoise Mask That's exactly right and exactly how it works! If you have $30 left over at the end of the month, then you'll only need to budget $130 to bring it back up to $160. Once the month rolls over, you should see things start to fall in place. :)

      Reply Like
      • Rita W.
      • ritapavlovna
      • 7 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Turquoise Mask  I am in the same boat. I've been using mvelopes for a little over a year. It has helped me a ton with managing my money, I was awful about it before. But you are so right, the website is so clunky. The interface could be improved drastically and I feel like it sticks a lot. My biggest issue right now is my checking account has not been linked for over a week. I submitted a ticket, followed by an email and finally a phone call, where I ended up leaving a message. No one has contacted me to fix it! So here I am with every thing fully linked to ynab but its challenging to switch to the ynab method. I really liked the funding plan concept but I find I am not making as much progress as I'd like. We will see what happens after 34 days on ynab I guess! Hope you are successful.

      Reply Like
      • Ben K.
      • links to ynab book topics covered online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 7 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Banjo please sign up for the classes. I skipped those,  tried to teach myself, but understanding the thinking behind the 4 rules is important. 

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      • Rita W.
      • ritapavlovna
      • 7 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Ben K. Thanks. I definitely would like to do that. Hopefully the classes are a little more straight forward. I found some of the youtube videos to be more confusing because of the long winded analogies. If you have any courses you recommend let me know!

      Reply Like
      • Ben K.
      • links to ynab book topics covered online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 7 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Banjo I've taken like 8 of them. The best part is you get to ask questions, ask early so your not at the end of the list. I don't think there's a best one.  The major hurdle, I was close to a mvelopes user long story, was the change in thinking. Good luck! 

      Reply Like 1
  • I'm too am a current (almost former) Mvelopes user looking for a new budget home. My wife and I get paid semi-monthly (1st and 15th) . Switching from an envelopes based program to a first come first serve program (at least that is how I perceive it) is giving me great anxiety, not sure why. Any words of advice are appreciated. 

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Ozarkham each category in YNAB is an envelope. It is your job to figure out how to distribute your income into your various envelopes. But you can only distribute the money you actually have. It is like the original envelope system when people would cash their paychecks and sit down with a pile of envelopes and divvy it all out until there was no more money on the table. 

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      • Superbone
      • Programmer
      • Superbone
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

        Ozarkham , your perception is off. YNAB is a zero sum based envelope budgeting system. First come, first served? No, you decide what your priorities are and how to divide up your income into categories (envelopes). And if you don’t get it quite right on your first try? Move funds from one category to another. (Rule 3, Roll with the Punches.) Relax and give it some time. You will learn to love it. There is no better way to maximize your income.

      Reply Like
  • Same here - Mvelopes user since 2011 (and Microsoft Money before that until they shut it down).  Seriously evaluating YNAB after seeing the disaster that v5 was last week.  I'm thankfully rolled back to v4 so I can figure out a better system.

    I think we are looking for a funding plan, which is what Mvelopes has.  I take my monthly spending plan (aka budget in my world) at the beginning of the month and determine how to allocate each paycheck over the month, depending on when certain bills are due.  How does YNAB help with that planning approach?

    I do see that I can set up scheduled transactions, which is really helpful.  Do those then move into budget categories (to be funded) on those dates?  How do they match with actual transactions when they come in?  

    I also see the concept of setting up goals.  This makes perfect sense for those expenditures that aren't monthly.  How does setting goals work on for monthly expenses?  Do you reset the same goal each month?  How is that tracked when the month rolls to the next one?  It seems like this goal concept would also help with those erratic spending months by making me think about them ahead of time and plan for them.  

    There are many features that I see so far that I think will be better than Mvelopes, so I'm looking forward to digging in and learning about YNAB.  

    Reply Like
      • Ozarkham
      • Coral_Deer.2
      • 2 wk ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Just Joan  since my last post I’ve become a real YNAB fan, especially their mobile app which is awesome. I will tell you I had to rearrange my thinking. My wife and I get paid twice a month. With Mvelopes I divided every bill in half and funded the envelopes accordingly. I kept on trying to force YNAB to do this and finally came to the conclusion it doesn’t do it that way. I then laid out my bills by date due. Putting that date in the category name really helps. I then fund only the bills due in that pay cycle. Money left over goes into the categories in the next cycle. That’s about as far as I’ve gotten.

      Changing my budgeting approach gave me a lot of anxiety at first.  The term “budgeted” kept on tripping me up. I see it more of an allocation as it deals with present and not really the future. The goals section really helps seeing where you’re headed and is the real compass to the program.  but YNAB method so far has given me more control over my immediate money and where i want to be in the future which is a good feeling. 

      Reply Like 4
      • Just Joan
      • just_joan
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Ozarkham  that’s a great idea!  I saw a different category name hack to add your monthly planned to the name so you can see if you end up moving money because you spent more.   

      I’ve got the app too, and like it so far.  I’m looking forward to when I can spend a few hours on this later in the week. 

      Reply Like
      • Just Joan
      • just_joan
      • 2 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Ozarkham I just listened to the Budgeting workshop on YouTube and that answered a lot of questions. I saw that date-in-the-category idea in action!  

      I’m definitely switching.  I can see how user friendly this is (and which other workshops I need to listen to). Just need to sort out getting my data from Mvelopes. 

      Reply Like 1
    • Hi Just Joan  — you said you‘re used to taking your monthly spending plan (i.e. budget) and planning that out...  Me too!  I’ve been using YNAB effectively  just a few months now...  But as others have said, YNAB is about cash in hand...  I was struggling with this concept and found a tip somewhere on the forum that i started using...  One of YNAB‘s strengths seems to be flexibility in making the process our own.

      I get paid bi-weekly so the dates never align with the month. Here‘s how I‘m getting my full monthly income into YNAB, even before I‘m paid, to budget the full months expenses:

           - I setup a new budget category:  Paychecks Expected

          - on the 1st of the month, I add up my paychecks coming in and enter that as a negative amount...  Warning: This budget category will always be red / over-budget to the extent of future income and so I always have the message, 1 category over-budget. 

          - this drives my TBB (to be budgeted) up to cover all income for the month

          - i budget until TBB is zero and my month‘s spending is covered.   (Income Expected remains red/over-budget at the total amount of all my paychecks in the coming month)

        - when i get paid, the income goes to the Income Expected category rather than TBB.  So after the last paycheck, Income Expected is now also at zero. 

      I found i had to take this super slow to get my head around this, but now that it‘s in place I‘m comfortable with knowing i have the month covered. For sure this is a process - I‘m thinking that at some point in the future (a year out?) my finances will be such that I don‘t need to do this...  but for now, this is where I‘m at...  

      Good luck! :-)

      Reply Like 1
      • satcook
      • satcook
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Alice Blue Sidewinder this suggestion means you can never trust your category balance in YNAB as they are backed by money you don’t have so you run the risk of overdrafting. It also means all of your reports are incorrect as you are inflowing money straight to a category and not TBB. 

      Reply Like
    • satcook  you‘re right -  I do have to purposefully spend only what‘s in my Accounts, not my Budget.  It also means I can‘t budget months ahead — but I need to learn patience, go slowly, budget a month and let it happen for now anyways...  my money aging is in days during these baby-step budgeting days. 

       As for the reporting - there‘s no spend reporting in the app anyways. So that option’s not available to me...  (I don‘t have a PC and only work on the app — I‘ve entered feature requests for the app to reconcile and provide spend reporting. I truly don‘t get why they think people have to be dependent on a PC in this day and age.  And I’m not about to go spend money on a laptop just so i can budget. The browser on iPad forces you into the app - sigh of disappointment)

      I do think that in the future I‘ll be transitioning away from this, but this is what i need for now...  It made me waaaaaay too nervous to not be able to plan the month...  So when i saw someone else doing this, it made sense for me. For the first time, I feel like I have control over my money...  The priority for me in these baby-step budgeting days is to plan the month out.  I suspect that once my debt is paid off and my money starts aging, I‘ll be able to let this go. For now, this is what I need...  

      Thanks for the callouts...  

      Reply Like
      • WordTenor
      • Your lieutenant, when there's reckoning to be reckoned.
      • WordTenor
      • 2 wk ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Alice Blue Sidewinder  I might suggest having two budgets if you feel the need to hold on to fake income to see the whole month. That way you can use the YNAB method in one budget, and harness the power of using your categories to guide your spending, but still see your whole plan laid out in another budget that you can switch to with just a click or two. 

      The category spending is why YNAB is so killer. Dragging out the expected income/slap myself for being bad kind of budget just delays your ability to experience the level of success you’ll have using the method. 

      Reply Like 4
  • Another question:  can I backdate when my transactions are pulling from my accounts so I can start from Jan 1st?  Or is my only option to manually enter those transactions so I have a complete year for 2019?

    Reply Like
      • TheTabby
      • Just a common cat trying to budget uncommonly well.
      • TheTabby
      • 2 wk ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Just Joan Now that you've been importing, I'm not sure.  If you open a new account and set the "opening balance" date to 12/31/18, it'll import everything since then.  You'll have to go through and re-categorize everything though.

      Reply Like 2
    • Hi Just Joan !

      We don't suggest going too far into the past, but you can import those past transactions.

      After linking an account, if you decide to import past transactions (since the first of the month, for example) you can change the date of the starting balance transaction. You will also need to adjust the amount of the starting balance.

      Let me know if you have any other questions, I'm happy to help! :)

      Reply Like
      • Just Joan
      • just_joan
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness  and  TheTabby thank you for your input on this.  I wouldn't mind doing this because it would give me a complete calendar year for 2019.  I'm relieved to know it's possible! 

      Reply Like
  • We used Mvelopes for about 10 years before switching to YNAB. We love how smooth YNAB is and how quickly needed updates happen. But, there is some functionality we greatly miss from Mvelopes, to the point where I am holding out hope they fix the V5 bugs so we can go back (we're Mvelopes lifetime members). For example, I loved having our budget built in Mvelopes and being able to track when an envelope was funded or see the trail of moving money between envelopes. With YNAB, we have to keep a separate budget spreadsheet and track how much of it we have funded during the month. It's just more work.

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