YNAB doesn't carry forward negative balances and this screws up everything

I've been using YNAB since their version 4 Desktop App days, and quite frankly the Desktop App is still my favorite. I have an almost constant problem with the web app version because it will not carry forward negative balances, and this screws up all my tracking.

Yes, yes, I'm well aware of YNABs rules and why they think this is a "feature" but it's not. It's a limitation that doesn't allow one to properly account for reality.

Just about every month, at the end of the month, various bills are due, and when those bills are deducted from the account can vary by a few days, and I don't have any control over this.

Sometimes a bill will be deducted on the 31st but then the next month, it might happen on the 1st. My lease payment is particularly fickle in this regard, but without going into all my personal finances, suffice to say I have a handful of bills for which it is normal for the bill to be withdrawn by autopay either on the last day of the month or the first day of the next.

The problem arises when a bill is taken on the 1st day of the month but then again on last day of the same month. That causes the budget in question to be overdrawn, with a negative balance.

If I don't catch this, YNAB rolls over to the next month, and suddenly none of my numbers make sense. The money listed as available is less than it should be, and....well I this plagued me for months until I realized what was going on, and now I know that after the first of the month I have to go back and change the dates of a hand full of transactions to make this work. This is very frustrating.

There are other realities of life that cause negative balances to occur as well, such as needing food for the weekend, but the months budget is spent, but the weekend is next month, but you have to buy the food today. Again the budget gets into a negative and I have to go manual edit the date to fudge things to balance out.

THIS SHOULD NOT BE NECESSARY. Simply rolling over the negative balance into the balance of the budget in the new month should be normal behavior. This is why we are all a month ahead in our budgets. It allows things to be seamlessly transition from month to month. The desktop app did this correctly. The web app does not and so causes the end of each month to be a constant hassle instead of a seamless transition.

I'm posting here because I have reported this issue multiple times via YNAB support and have been politely ignored by support telling me this lack of functionality is a deliberate feature.

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  • Having a negative in a category makes the money in your other categories unreliable, because the sum of the positive category balances does not equal the sum of your cash-based accounts.  it is a violation of YNAB rule 3.

    The problem is that in YNAB4 people were abusing the red arrow. Instead of paying themselves back as soon as possible in the category to eliminate the overspending, they were carrying the negatives from month to month, which means they were lying to themselves about how much money they really had.

     

    Silver Inspector said:
    There are other realities of life that cause negative balances to occur

     Yes, these are realities. So why do you not want your budget to reflect reality? The reality is that YNAB is an allocation budgeting system based on the envelope budgeting method. When was the last time you went to the grocery store with an envelope of $50 cash, and were able to spend $100 from that envelope?

    The money's gotta come from somewhere.

    Like 10
      • Brandon
      • theBrandler
      • 1 yr ago
      • 13
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule It does not reflect reality. The reality is if we are following YNAB rules we are at least one month ahead. There isn't $50 in that envelope, there is $100, because there are two months worth in there.

      The reality is the money is spent, that budget is a negative, and YNAB right now, completely hides that from you. How is that better? It just lets you completely ignore all your negative balances from the previous month and carry on. No warning, no indication anything is wrong. How is that better? This is why it took me months to figure out what was going on. YNAB rolls over to the new month, fills in all the budgets with the normal amounts and gives no indication that last month is in an overspent state.

      It's far better to see your budgets be reduced by the previous months over draw, as that is what has actually happened. Requiring a transfer from another budget shouldn't be required until you have actually overdrawn the budget.

      Like 13
      • Brandon
      • theBrandler
      • 1 yr ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule And again, to your own point, if you can't spend more than is in the envelope, why does YNAB allow this? Right now it's the worst possible behavior. It lets you spend more than is shown, displays a negative, and doesn't make you do anything about it, and doesn't penalize you in the next month other than your balances not making any sense, which we human beings won't notice right away until the difference is stark.

      Like 5
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Brandon 

      Brandon said:
      It does not reflect reality. The reality is if we are following YNAB rules we are at least one month ahead. There isn't $50 in that envelope, there is $100, because there are two months worth in there.

       No, that second $50 isn't there until the next month starts. With YNAB's envelope-based system, it means you have separate sets of envelopes in each month. Any money left in an envelope at the end of the month gets moved to next month's envelope.

      If you want next month's $50 in this month's envelope, you're going to have to move it.

      Like 2
      • Brandon
      • theBrandler
      • 1 yr ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule Then why are negative balances allowed to simply sit in the previous month without any notification? This also violates the rules. You should, at the very least, be notified, and also notified that you need to pay back the other budgets the money came out of. Why must this all be manually tracked? This is what software is for!

      Like 5
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Brandon YNAB will correct any overspending you left in the previous month for you if you don't fix it, by removing it from the money you can budget going forward. This is no different from YNAB4 behavior when not using the red arrow. It's in the header in the subtotal number Overspent in Previous Month

       

      Note that overspending with a credit card as the payment instrument is treated differently. YNAB  does not increase the amount of money toward your future credit card payments if you leave it overspent.... because in this case you are telling YNAB that you made a purchase, but you had no money reserved to back up the purchase, so you have no money to pay back the CC for the purchase.

      Like
      • Brandon
      • theBrandler
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule The over spent indicator is always Zero when a month rolls over - always. So this is no help. As I pointed out in another comment on this thread, those indicators don't work if one is ahead by more than exactly one month. My age of money is 60 days and I'm usually more than a month ahead, so I don't get any indication of over spending unless it's so gross as to be more than the amount I am ahead, which has never happened.

      Like 2
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Brandon Is your overspending on a credit card?

      Overspent in the previous month is the sum of all cash-based overspending. It ignores overspending when the purchases were on a credit card, because you told YNAB you were buying something on credit without backing it by cash.

      Like 1
      • Brandon
      • theBrandler
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule sometimes, but very rarely. It's usually the result of bills being billed twice in the same month, or food needing to be bought before the month rolls over. Very rarely is over spending on the credit card.

      Like 1
      • TheMadTurtle
      • Cornflower_Blue_Harp.3
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      @nolesrul Brandon I'm glad I searched for this subject before my free trial ends.  I'm going to have to go with Brandon here.  I have funds for things like unexpected medical bills.  My wife and I also have "slush funds" - basically, our "fun money" we can spend on whatever we want.  These will sometimes go negative until replenished.  In the case of medical bills, usually once per year, after filing our taxes, we true these types of things back up to zero and start over.  With our slush funds, though, we carry the negative balance until the monthly replenishment gets us positive again.  We don't simply keep going negative.  We hold ourselves accountable to paying ourselves back.  Currently, I use Mvelopes and this works well.  The interfaces is dated, though and the transfer from the old MV4 to MV5 is not going smoothly, so I thought I'd look at YNAB again to see if things had improved.

       

      nolesrule  What do you mean by "YNAB will correct any overspending you left in the previous month if you don't fix it, by removing it from the money you can budget going forward."  So, if I input a starting balance in a fund of say -$25, I see that it doesn't carry over, so I net it with the $15 / month I put into the envelope and input -$10 the following month.  By the third month, has YNAB now taken $35 out of my available cash?  If so, that isn't correct, either...

      Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 3 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      TheMadTurtle You are fudging the numbers when you negative budget in a category.

      YNAB is a cash allocation budget. The money in your categories equals the amount of cash you have. However, it's also based on the envelope budgeting system, which is where you divide up the money you have, put it in envelopes (categories), and spend from the nevelopes on their specific purpose.

      Now, if your envelope doesn't have enough money in it in a cash-based envelope system, how do you make a cash purchase in the needed amount? The correct answer is that  you either 1) don't make the purchase, or 2) you take money out of one of your other envelopes so you have enough to pay for it. What is impossible is to have a cash envelope have negative money in it.

      These are the constraints that YNAB has put on their software, because YNAB is first and formost a program designed to support their budget system. It is not generic budgeting software. When you have negative numbers in your budget, it means that not all of your positive numbers are truly backed by cash, and that can get people into trouble. So YNAB no longer allows that in their software (past the turn of the month).

      Like 2
      • TheMadTurtle
      • Cornflower_Blue_Harp.3
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule Yeah, I get that (ad naseum).  However, in reality, you take the cash from another envelope, or, as in the case where you have a general savings balance, you take the cash from there.  Maintaining the negative balance in say my 'slush fund' is actually holding me accountable to paying that back.  If I simply take cash from my savings and apply it to that envelope, I could just forget about it and start fresh next month.  In my case, I'm holding myself more accountable by tracking it and getting that envelope back to zero.

      I understand the support you and NYAB are using to hold up your point of view, though.  I just thought that maybe in the years since I last looked at the software, it might have changed.  Too bad for me.  No worries.  Not trying to get into a fight or anything, just trying to support my point of view.

      Like 1
    • TheMadTurtle This is exactly the point I've been trying to make and no one is listening.  The "correct" way of doing things leaves you unaccountable.  The  money transfers that month and you'll have to track how much you took  out of each category on what excel?...terrible.  I'd rather see the red and know exactly how much I loaned myself from other categories.

      Like 4
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 3 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Green Piranha 

      Green Piranha said:
      you'll have to track how much you took  out of each category

      I strive to reallocate from somewhere LESS important BEFORE overspending. Less important means I don't need to explicitly pay it back.

      If I were better at predicting the future, it would not have been in that other category *in the first place*. 😉 

      Like 4
    • dakinemaui I understand that and that's how I function for my daily "life" budget.  I just happen to have a side career that is very unpredictable as I stated elsewhere, motorcycle racing. For my life budget I use the YNAB rules just fine, I take vacations when I've planned for them and if something happens, like the hotel prices go up, or some unexpected thing I handle it then.

      I just function in my racing life more like a company. I can borrow money from another "department" of the race company and have one department owe another. In fact I planned on using a YNAB budget for my newly founded race team corporation, where this feature would be definitely helpful.  Racing is very hard to plan and big monetary figures appear out of nowhere regularly, while  still needing to track savings for reoccurring expenditures.  The red carry forward just makes life easier when planning that way.   You can see what you were supposed to have planned for let's say "tires category", while seeing what you loaned to "crash category", all while still seeing "how much cash do I have on hand", from the summation of the cash in the right column (of ynab4).

      It's quite normal for a company to  operate in the red in these instances (at least local to a certain budget category), and that's how I use it.

      Like 1
      • TheMadTurtle
      • Cornflower_Blue_Harp.3
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Green Piranha Yup.  That seems to be precisely what I'll do.  :( I have a fund "rainy day" that I'll take this money from and keep track in Excel of which envelopes took money from there.  At this point I'm probably going to suck it up just because Mvelopes 4 is sooooo old and the transition to MV5 is terrible - so bad that I'm not sure they'll ever get it right. 

      Like
    • TheMadTurtle Not to butt in to a 9mo conversation - but can’t the payback function be alternatively done by setting a goal for that category at a certain point every year (or some other milestone)? If you suck out more money in one month it will reduce the goal amount and tell you to allocate more to catch back up. I realize not a solution for the original problem - but might help in the “borrowing from 1 envelope to pay another” problem.

      Like 1
    • nolesrule 

      Ok, I can see the e-mail I just sent asking about this as well as putting in my paystubs at the beginning of the month to sort out and budget is not going to give me the answer I was hoping for.  

      I ask this question, YNAB4 did wonders for me, taking a system I used to do exactly on paper into this system that kept track electronically, it let me do some "fudging" in a way that really worked for me, like it did Brandon.  

      Now the YNAB team has come up with a very good budgeting philosphy and rather than letting people work with it in a way that helps them (you could easily create a setting that allows us to work with it the way Brandon described above), you're forcing us into your philosphy.  I can see where your team has concerns, "well gee, do they realize if they did this negative thing in every category they'd overdraft their bank accounts?  Then they'd call us and want a refund for overdraft fees?"    I have an app for my banks that lets me see this, and awesomely your app now uploads this and I can see it right there in case I need to go negative in a category.  

      I really like YNAB, I just invested a bunch of time converting from YNAB 4 because of the 64-bit issue, I'm even willing to convert from having no subscription fees in my budget because of my purchase of YNAB 4 to your new never ending payout.  We're making you much more money, why not give us what some of us want with a simple ability to change a setting.

      I feel like this is turned more into a Dave Ramsey system rather than a budgeting app tool that I can use in a way that best serves me.

      I now dread what is going to happen to me February first, it's going to be a nightmare.  Rather than taking two month to get a category out of the hole, I've got a feeling YNAB is going to get me totally out of the hole in one month and funds are going to somehow get "randomly??" taken out of categories that I was so excited that I got built up.

      February 1st when I sit down to do the month's budget knowing I'll make a set wage (which now puts me in the red because I don't have the funds yet).  I'll lose that weighted feeling of tightening up like I used to seeing that big red number.  

      I can see the YNAB team's work around.  It works I'm sure of it, however, to say your way is the only way or even the better way is false.  People's minds work differently in the way we see and process things. 

      Forcing me into only your way of thinking is forcing me out of YNAB, I just don't want to have to go out and do a bunch of trials each requiring a lot of work to get set up to find out it won't work, when YNAB potentially can with just a stupid little software setting, heck when going to change the setting your could put up 10 different "are you sure you want to go against YNAB's rules?" with a tiny itty bitty yes and a huge giant NO just to make ya'all feel better that you're coercing us to do it your way.  

      ha ha after I clicked to post this I saw I was given the name Lavender Piranha funny  ha ha

      Like
      • WordTenor
      • I'm the oldest and the wittiest.
      • WordTenor
      • 2 mths ago
      • 7
      • Reported - view

      Lavender Piranha YNAB 4 was also meant to be used in the way the web app is programmed. If you weren't already using it that way, that is your misunderstanding of the instructions on how to use the software. 

      Your post actually demonstrates exactly why they changed it. The things they had in the software which were leftovers from the software being more of a spreadsheet and/or about debt management enabled people to dive in without ever touching the YNAB method. Someone who had a written, traditional style budget of "This is how much I'll make" and "This is how much I hope to spend" could easily mirror that in YNAB 4, entirely sidestepping the method's principal foundation on not budgeting more money than you have on hand. It sounds like you did just that. 

      YNAB wants to build YNAB software, not generic software (plus there's a lot of generic software out there). So in the new version, the default is that you have to follow the method. You can still sidestep the method, but it requires more work, like making negative categories or entering income with transactions dated today. And despite some people's dislike of being forced to follow the method by default,  so far,  the market for YNAB 4 style budgeting with more flexibility hasn't been large enough to sustain the work involved in developing a competing product. 

      That being said, there's a link floating around which has a tool for running YNAB 4 on OSX Catalina (I think this is it, but I don't have this problem so I might be wrong https://gitlab.com/bradleymiller/Y64) . That might be the best solution for preserving your preferred workflow. 

      Like 7
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 2 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      As much as I find a lot of things about YNAB super duper annoying, I agree with WordTenor that no one should be surprised that YNAB is building a software that is modeled on the YNAB methodology.

      Do I wish that they would throw a bone to the users who are in financially secure positions and are looking to optimize spending rather than get out debt? Yes. Do I think despite the promises of continuous new features that the new SaaS model would provide, their track record on releasing actual new features since the soft launch in late 2015 is laughably ridiculous? Double yes. Do I think expecting people using YNAB software to actually follow the YNAB method is weird? Nope.

      Like 5
    • WordTenor Thanks for the link at the end!  It looks like a bit of a headache to use, if there's an update to catalina in the future will it crash and I have to go find another patch...  I think my solution here is to find another software.  

       

      I have to admit I like how the new YNAB pulls data from my banks frequently automatically now, I find myself using it more because of it, as it's current as sometimes I'll have a bunch of receipts that I have sit and enter, now it's just sit and categorize them :)   

       

      I think it's time for me to end my 8 year run with YNAB.  I didn't get into their program to do what they do, but to use their tool in a way that worked for me.  I'm trying mvelope, but I've heard there's similar issues, goodbudget I'll try it too and keep looking for others, I'm not looking forward to all the work with these trials and experimenting.  I'm glad YNAB methodology is helping people get out of debt, my method did the same for myself and the software and myself had a good "compromisable marriage."  Now that compromise has ended, I guess it's time for a divorce.  I just feel pained doing so.

      Like 2
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Lavender Piranha Maybe try EveryDollar. From what I've read, it's a basic budget similar to your method. Put in your expected income each month and then categorize it. Good luck!

      Like 2
    • TheMadTurtle This is absolutely and exactly why this "feature" is very annoying for me too. I hope this carrying over a negative becomes an option.

      I am a user for 2 months now. And I got confused beacuse all the unused money does get carried over to the next month's same "envelope" and not the TBB. Why is it different for the negative then? Makes no sense to me.

      Like
      • iwaddo
      • iwaddo77
      • 2 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Beige Saxophone It makes perfect sense, it is not possible to have a negative amount of cash in a physical envelope whereas it is perfectly feasible to have a surplus.

      You need to think like you are using actual envelopes. You cannot spend from an envelope that does not have any money in it, first you have to take money from another envelope and if you had put more money into an envelope than you spend how will it get removed from the envelope unless you move it?

      Like 4
  • Brandon said:
    when those bills are deducted from the account can vary by a few days, and I don't have any control over this

    One solution is to budget for them assuming they will occur at the end of the month. Funds will carryover to the new month if unused.

    A second solution is just date things for the 1st and call it good. It's not like you're using these categories for "spending guidance", so any implicit error due to this timing simply doesn't matter.

    Like 5
      • Brandon
      • theBrandler
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Well that is what I said I do. Every month now I have to go through and change the date on a handful of item - when I shouldn't have to do this. The system should be able to handle it seamlessly.

      And why should I allocate MORE money to a budget item simply because the software doesn't handle this correctly? That's actually taking money away from me, because of a software limitation - Yikes!

      Like 1
      • Brandon
      • theBrandler
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui My bigger concern, though the inconvenience of manually performing what should be automatic is a concern, is that currently YNAB allows for negative balances to persist in a month, with no warning, or indication of any kind - yet rolling that negative over into the next month is considered a violation of the rules. What sense does that make?

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Brandon You can fix the lack of notification by filtering money you are pushing into future months through a Buffer-type category. Then you'll be able to see the overspending notification in the current month.

      Yes, the lack of notification in the current month is a known bug. But it doesn't mean you should be leaving overspending sitting around. YNAB will correct it for you at the end of the month if you leave it overspent by not allowing you to be able to budget that overspending in the next month.

      Like
      • Brandon
      • theBrandler
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule Can you elaborate? I don't quite follow...

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Brandon YNAB4 has an income category called Income for <next month> which allowed you to push money into the next month, effectively walling it off.  nYNAB doesn't have that feature, which allows for fluidity between months. The way to prevent the fluidity is to pass the money between this month and next using a holding category.

      If you want to send money to the next month, budget the money to a Buffer category in the current month, and then unbudget it in the next month.

      Like
      • Brandon
      • theBrandler
      • 1 yr ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule Ah ok. I see what you are saying, but again, I'm bringing these issues up because they should be automated, and not something users have to track manually.

      Like 4
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Brandon YNAB does automate it if you don't fix it yourself. You just don't agree with the way they automate it.

      It would be nice if they brought back Income for <Next Month functionality. You, like many others before you, should put in a feature request. Who knows, maybe after 3.5 years they may finally listen to the users who keep requesting it.

      Like 5
      • Brandon
      • theBrandler
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule I've tried. They just ignore me now. I'm actively looking for an alternative - but so far YNAB is the least worst option available to me. I have contemplated seeing if I kept my desktop exe anywhere. I've also contemplated making my own script to handle this, but I haven't wanted to dedicate the time.

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Brandon I still use YNAB4. You can still download the application here: https://classic.youneedabudget.com/ but you'll still need your registration key to use it.

      Like
      • Brandon
      • theBrandler
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule Oh boy, I'll have to see if I even have that key anymore - thank you though!

      Like
    • Brandon The program does give a warning: a dot in front of the account I believe? To signal there's something to have a look at.

      I understand people hate the workflow they're used to being upturned, but do understand why YNAB changed it: if one would carry a negative balance forward on every category, big problems would arise in how to pay for the last ones!

      Like
      • Habanero Salsa
      • Second generation user
      • Aquamarine_Pony.8
      • 4 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Pony "...if one would carry a negative balance forward on every category, big problems would arise...

      YNAB doesn't, and can't, prevent the spending that would cause that to be the case, whether negative balances are carried forward or not.

      For someone who knows what she's doing -- and I grant that not every YNAB user does -- this just creates busywork, not awareness or accountability. But that horse has been beaten into quarks by now.

      Like 2
    • Habanero Salsa Yes, you're right about YNAB not being able to prevent the spending. I'd almost think it could. But would't it help (indeed, for the nearly-know-what-she's-doing person) to at least be able to trust what is in one category? 

      Though I wasn't part of earlier discussions I suppose you're right about the quark-bits. And whatever is the conclusion here, it's not going to change anything.

      I always thought I was one of those I-know-what-I'm-doing types. But the "strict" ways of YNAB did teach me to build in some more security (including for the early bills), before using it all to pay extra on the mortgage. (Of course compared to other debt a real luxery to learn lessons about and it makes me gratefull again and again for my fortunate situation)

      Like
    • nolesrule I'm curious as to how YNAB automates this? So far I haven't seen this at all. Right now I have large purchases that are financed and I have to go back to the original month of the purchase to be able to make adjustments to the debt owed. Nothing gets carried over and on the current month it shows that I owe nothing on those purchases. 

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Green Major 

      Green Major said:
      I'm curious as to how YNAB automates this?

       I'm not quite sure what "this" refers to or which version of YNAB you are asking about.

      Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Green Major 

      Green Major said:
      I have to go back to the original month of the purchase to be able to make adjustments to the debt owed

       The debt owed is captured in the CC account balance the moment you swipe the card.

      I can't tell quite what you mean, but you should not be going back to edit that transaction. Nor should you go to past months in the budget. If you want to reduce debt, you need to make a larger payment. To enable a larger payment, you simply budget to the CC Payment category.

      Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 3 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui I like to say that the decision to make a purchase on a credit card and the decision to make a credit card payment are two independent acts and should be viewed as such when reviewing the budget.

      Like 2
      • iwaddo
      • iwaddo77
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Green Major  

      Green Major said:
      I have large purchases that are financed

       What do you mean by this? How are these large purchases financed? If you can provide more detail we might be able to help. 

      Like
  • Brandon said:
    if you can't spend more than is in the envelope, why does YNAB allow this?

     YNAB can't possibly know the other envelope you implicitly stole from, and therefore leaves it up to you to correct. If you don't, it does take it out of next month in a natural fashion, since you will budget less (assuming you stop when TBB is $0).

    I always notice any cash-based overspending (the type you're describing), because it's right at the top of the screen (next to TBB).

    Like 1
      • Brandon
      • theBrandler
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui There is another thing I've noticed, those numbers don't appear to work correctly. For instance, right now I'm waiting for a refund, so one budget item is negative. This will be rectified in a couple days. If I roll forward, to next month, April, it doesn't say I've over spent, it says "-$0 Over Spent in Mar" So that gives me no indication. My age of money is 60 days, I'm so far ahead, that small over spending in budgets don't show up in any of the indicators.

      Like 2
  • Brandon said:
    YNAB allows for negative balances to persist in a month, with no warning, or indication of any kind - yet rolling that negative over into the next month is considered a violation of the rules

    The red category is the indication there's an issue. It's not the rolling over into next month that's considered a violation, it's not correcting the overspending immediately that's a violation. YNAB gives you until the end of the month to fix it -- again, because it can't possibly know where that "extra" money came from. If you violate Rule 3 and don't fix it, YNAB says, enough is enough and forces the correction.

    Like 3
  • Threads like these are exactly the reason why YNAB got rid of the red arrow.

    Like 3
      • Brandon
      • theBrandler
      • 1 yr ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule But the replacement is arguably worse than the red arrows. Once can blissfully go about the next month and budget away. If you are more than a month ahead by more than what was over spent, you won't notice for a couple of months that categories were over spent. How is that better?

      Like 4
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Brandon The bug is not in the functionality. The bug is in the lack of notification. As I said, Stealing From The Future is a known bug, and I'm probably the most vocal person on here about the need to fix it. However it's an informational awareness bug. But that doesn't change the fact that leaving overspending in a category is doing it wrong.

      Like 3
    • nolesrule I don't think SFTF is the issue here. OP is simply not as far ahead as they would like, and YNAB is just telling them that. They are simply not in a position to handle these expenses at the end of this month with last month's money. In short, they are only partially buffered.

      Personally, I would reallocate funds from emergency-like categories to become fully buffered, since it solves all the problems. If there were an emergency, they could always reallocate back, but in the meantime, it's nice not to worry about the timing.

      Like 4
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui I agree, but SFTF may be hiding that a bit based on some of the things the OP has said. Or I could have mis-interpreted.

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Yeah, I mean, when I get hit with my internet bill twice in a month because of weird timing issues on their part, I cover the "overspending" and move on with my life, knowing that the timing will shake out eventually. If I pretend that it was paid out of next month's money, I don't get to tell them next month when the bill's due "sorry, I already paid you this month's money".  The money's got to come from somewhere.

      If it sometimes comes out on the 31st and sometimes comes out on the 1st, you budget as if it's coming out on the 31st and then if reality is that it comes out on the 1st, yay you, you got to keep your money an extra day!

      Like 3
    • bevocat Yeah, but you have to feel for the OP -- those potential late-month expenses are likely far more substantial than an internet bill. Then again, if income and expense arrival times conspire against you, that's just the way the ball bounces. At least OP is better off than a person paid at the beginning of the month, which requires saving an entire month's income to be fully buffered.

      Realistically, OP can either become fully buffered -- including those potential late-month expenses -- or occasionally fudge the transaction dates into next month to enable being "buffered" with a less savings. I really don't see any realistic choices.

      Yes, YNAB4 could effectively fudge the dates automatically. (More accurately, extend the influence of the budget entries to include the actual dates, but that's hardly a material distinction.) Unfortunately, there are many things that are easy/automatic in YNAB4 that are simply not in nYNAB. You get used to it or find a workaround (or a competing product, I suppose).

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Perhaps that's why I renamed my "Stuff I Forgot to Budget For" category "Sucks to Be You."

      Like 3
    • bevocat Nothing like embracing reality! Love it!

      Like 3
      • PeterR
      • Alice_Blue_Android.3
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule Ideological replies like this are exactly the reason why I'm getting rid of YNAB.

      Like 1
  • Brandon said:
    Well that is what I said I do. Every month now I have to go through and change the date on a handful of item - when I shouldn't have to do this.

    I offered two solutions, so I'm not sure which it is that you're saying that you do. 

    If you want to use the actual dates -- which could be at the end of the month -- then you need to have the money in the category at the end of that month. The "double-budget" appearance is only present in the single month in which you switch to this practice.

    Yes, this has a large impact on "being ahead" / "living on last month's income". It's precisely because of this that I just leave the transactions dated for the 1st. (These are entered by the scheduler.)

    Like
  • Brandon said:
    nolesrule Ah ok. I see what you are saying, but again, I'm bringing these issues up because they should be automated, and not something users have to track manually.

     How would YNAB know that the payment date is going to vary? If your payment dates aren't automated, how can the software automate it? If it randomly withdraws the funds earlier and even you didn't know it was going to do that so you could plan ahead by ensuring funds were there at the right time, then how should a software which is literally just a computer program?

    The reality is you have to have some manual control of your budget. If you know this month your rent is coming out on the 1st AND the 29th, then you have to make sure you have enough money budgeted to cover the spending on the 29th in THIS month. If you don't budget both payments in the month they are coming out of, then it will be overspent and YNAB will automatically reduce your amount you are able to budget next month. So you just don't budget your rent payment next month.

    If you want to fudge reality, then you need to do what's suggested: change the dates on the entries to coincide with when you want to budget the amounts. Otherwise, if you want your budget to reflect reality, the reality is that you paid rent twice this month and won't pay it next.

    Like 2
  • Brandon said:
    My bigger concern, though the inconvenience of manually performing what should be automatic is a concern, is that currently YNAB allows for negative balances to persist in a month, with no warning, or indication of any kind

     I use the toolkit, so I don't know if this is what shows in toolkit or YNAB without it, BUT when I went in and added a second rent payment it immediately showed me that I am overspent in rent by making the category red. It also turned my "budgeted in future" red showing that it has removed the $1350 from April. Doesn't your YNAB do either of those things?

    Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Tif_Ann That header with the Negative Budgeted in Future for April is from the Toolkit.

      Like 1
      • Bruce
      • Software Engineer
      • Bruce
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Tif_Ann Oh that's awesome! The toolkit shows the goal to the left of Budgeted?  I need to install that and see what other cool features it has.  I keep hearing about it but haven't gotten around to it yet.

      Like 1
      • Vibrant
      • No more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars
      • vibrant
      • 1 yr ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

       Bruce and if you use scheduled transactions, it will show the upcoming transaction(s) total to the left of the Activity column. The Toolkit is seriously the icing on the YNAB cake.

      Like 4
      • Tif_Ann
      • Tif_Ann
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Bruce Yes! The goal next to the budgeted is one of my favorite toolkit features

      Like 3
  • Brandon said:
    For instance, right now I'm waiting for a refund, so one budget item is negative. This will be rectified in a couple days. If I roll forward, to next month, April, it doesn't say I've over spent, it says "-$0 Over Spent in Mar" So that gives me no indication.

     Are you 100% sure you are spending on CASH accounts and not credit accounts of some kind. When I put in my fake overspending in my checking account, everything goes red. If I put it on a credit card or line of credit, then the category goes red but there's no indication in the header or next month because YNAB treats it as credit spending that I didn't mean to cover.

    Like 1
  • I agree with needing the ability to carry forward an over spent category. But I got the same response when I brought it up.
    I don't agree with the fact that if you over spend on a credit card, the negative category balance just disappears, and so your credit card amount just goes up. I would rather see it roll forward in some instances, so I would rather be able to switch this feature on and off.

    I understand the reasoning, but when you're close to the red line, sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Not being able to see the negative balance makes it trickier when figuring out how things will flow. YNAB doesn't trust that I can handle the issues that arise if I am working with an over spent category. Sometimes payments for products I have ordered for other people leave me over spent across a month. Then when I finally get paid, I have to remember to put the money somewhere else instead of back into the correct category. It should be MY problem to work out what to do if the money doesn't come in for what I over spent on, not YNAB to assume what to do with it.

    Like 3
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual 

      farfromtheusual said:
      I don't agree with the fact that if you over spend on a credit card, the negative category balance just disappears, and so your credit card amount just goes up. I would rather see it roll forward in some instances, so I would rather be able to switch this feature on and off.

       By leaving purchases made with a credit card overspent, you're telling YNAB you don't have a plan to reserve money to pay back the credit card.

       

      farfromtheusual said:
      Then when I finally get paid, I have to remember to put the money somewhere else instead of back into the correct category. It should be MY problem to work out what to do if the money doesn't come in for what I over spent on, not YNAB to assume what to do with it.

       YNAB does leave it up to you within the context of their budgetting system as long as it's within the current month. If you don't correct it at the end of the month, well, YNAB forces you to realize the money's gotta come from somewhere. If you leave a category overspent month to month to month, where's the money coming from to fund your other categories or to make the credit card payment?

      Like
    • nolesrule It's the "within the current month" part that I take issue with. My credit card due dates aren't set to the first, so I can have things that lapse over the course of a month if someone pays me for something I ordered before my due date.
      It's just awkward. I make it work, sure, but I would prefer it to be another way because it would make it hella easier on me in *my* situation.
      I'm only asking for the program to give me flexibility, which is one of the features that they tout, i.e. roll with the punches. Flexibility in how I manage the funds I have and the occasional need to see over spending cross the end of month date barrier is one of the ways I roll with the punches.

      nolesrule said:
      By leaving purchases made with a credit card overspent, you're telling YNAB you don't have a plan to reserve money to pay back the credit card.

       While, yes, this is true, that doesn't meant that next week I won't have it. Sometimes funds are like that. If I waited to purchase things until they were fully funded when I know there are funds coming in it would make my life harder. I'm aware it's the float, blah blah blah.

      I prefer flexibility and the ability to decide what is best for me and my situation, not the assumption that I can't handle it. That sort of makes the assumption I can't be trusted to be a responsible adult...

      Like 1
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual I just can't understand this argument. You can be trusted to be a responsible adult. Because a responsible adult owns the reality that the money's gotta come from somewhere and adjusts their category budgets to reflect that so that their categories' available amounts are trustworthy.

      It's like people are saying "I know I'm a responsible adult, and I want YNAB to acknowledge that I'm a responsible adult, but I don't want to do the work that it takes to be a responsible adult." Sometimes being a responsible adult generates busywork.

      Like 5
    • bevocat responsible adults are also trusted to make the decision that is best for THEM. And that's where I take issue. 

      I want to choose how to handle these situations when they happen. Frankly, the most ideal thing for the way *I* personally would love this to work is when I open the budget, say March 1, a message comes up that says "You over spent on X category in February. How would you like this handled?" Then himself to choose "zero category" or "roll over spending into this month"

      There are times when something happens and I know I won't be able to play it back right away, like the unexpected car repair last month. I don't want to stare at that over spending. But when purchases and income cross the 31st/1st barrier, I'd like to roll them over. 

      Flexibility to do what's best for me is what I want. 

      Like 2
    • Agent99
    • Working to Get Smart at budgeting, finances and life
    • Agent99.1
    • 1 yr ago
    • 8
    • Reported - view

    OP is talking about timing issues.  I still use YNAB4 for this very reason. I admit I'm a devotee of the red arrow.  I have a number of items that come out at the first of the month and depending on what day that may fall, the payment may come out at the end of the month.   Therefore, Personal Training may have a transaction on the first and on the 29th or 30th. So I flip the category t  I'm buffered so when I go to work on the next month's budget, I flip the indicator to carry over to next month's category balance and it's zeroed out.    My next use case is airfare.  I fly several times a year to see family.  I try to stuff my airline category but sometimes when a good airfare comes up, I may be a couple of hundred dollars short.  So I will red arrow that difference and make it up within the next month or two.

    My final use case is reimbursements.  The red arrow is a stern reminder for me to get that expense report submitted in a timely manner.

    I know the "good girl" approach should be to take money from my Income Replacement fund or other funds to cover that instead of red arrowing. But I don't WANT TO DO THAT.  I'm a grown up.  I am buffered, I have an income replacement fund.  If things got ugly I could easily cover the red items in my budget.  

    I highly disagree with nYNAB parental approach.  I get some people are not responsible, but I'm being punished because nYNAB doesn't want to have grown-ups manage their money.

    Ok, rant over!

    Like 8
    • Agent99 this is exactly what I'm referring to,  thank you! 

      Like 2
    • Agent99 That's exactly how I feel.   My ~main~ use case is that I race motorcycles and I can never budget enough to account for a crash.  It could be anywhere between $1 and the cost of the whole motorcycle.  Sometimes I just have to carry that negative balance and  under-budget  several categories for a few months  to catch up.  I would rather do that, than all of a sudden remove all my money from all my other  categories to cover a crash, which then makes it look like I have little money to do anything, which I already know is the case. I don't like having to rebuild budget categories and micromanage those values because of some unexpected thing I can  handle myself,  like an adult.

      Having that giant red value every month helps keep me in check.  Rather than the case with nYNAB  where everything looks A-okay,  just with lower budgeting values in  some categories.

      I'm usually stocked up in my categories to cover 2 or more months worth of life (when combined), but a single category can easily go unexpectedly out of control when racing.

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 3 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Green Piranha It seems that these expenses are expected but with an unknown time frame. You need to build up a bigger reserve of funds in order to self-insure.

      Like 3
    • No, you don't get the reality of the  situation if that's your advice.  Thanks anyway though.

      {I decided to delete my original comment because it's a waste discussing here.}

      Like
  • I really see this as a perception issue and dragging along a different budgeting methodology into YNAB.  When I dove into YNAB I made a concerted effort to embrace the entire methodology.  I soon found that dealing with overspends in this month meant reorganizing my money across categories in the same time period rather than containing the overspend within a category but going way out into the future and penalizing my future spending in that category, which somehow never happened because I kept kicking the can further into the future.

    After the initial pangs of discomfort and reluctance, not to mention annoyance, I found the results very effective.  I used to be a nickel-and-dime overspender, going over each category in inconsequential small amounts which added up to bigger amounts.  Forcing me to confront the reality that every extra $5 has to come from another category in this same month is what finally cured my wishy-washy spending decisions.  I am incredibly decisive now.  My results with YNAB have far outstripped all other budgeting methods. As a consequence, I tend to be hardcore on implementing the zero-tolerance for any red in my budget.

    Like 6
    • HappyDance This only works if you like to see no "red/orange" at the end of the month, and don't follow the ostrich mentality of ignoring the fact that your actual CC balance goes up but your over spending disappears on the first. If you're content with ignoring the total CC balance, then you simply wait until the first, and ta-da, empty categories to fund all over again!

      That is the part about this conversation that bothers me the most. It's JUST as easy to ride the CC float by removing the over spent categories as it is if they stayed there.

      Like 2
  • I don't like how the overspending isn't obvious once the month  changes. One the things I like better about the mobile app is that it shows you right away how each transaction affects the category balance, and how many categories are overspent. I have to search for the overspent categories on the web app. If the web app had that (& prompted you to cover them with existing funds), and a display saying "you overspent n categories by $x in cash/checking, and m categories by $y in credit last month" it would at least make people aware of what was happening.

    Like 8
  • adriana01 said:
    I don't like how the overspending isn't obvious once the month  changes.

    It's worse than "not obvious" -- it's flat out misleading.  "Overspent in Feb" shouldn't say $0.00 if you did, in fact, overspend. One of the many reasons I despise the new credit card mechanics in YNAB.

    Like 5
  • HappyDance said:
    I soon found that dealing with overspends in this month meant reorganizing my money across categories in the same time period rather than containing the overspend within a category but going way out into the future and penalizing my future spending in that category

    Generally speaking,  I'd say that containing the overspending in a category is exactly the wrong thing to do. That's sacrificing something that clearly has a high priority -- important enough to overspend, at least -- rather than something with a low priority. I think handling overspending by shifting within the same month better aligns the budget with priorities.

    However, in this case, the OP is talking about timing-induced overspending, so the relevance of that "cover from lower priority categories" view would seem to be greatly reduced.

    Like 2
  • farfromtheusual said:
    It's JUST as easy to ride the CC float by removing the over spent categories as it is if they stayed there.

     If you cover overspent categories from other categories -- excluding the CC Payment category, of course -- then that's not riding the float. Those purchases are backed by cash, albeit after the fact.

    Like 3
    • dakinemaui totally aware of this, and that means it's not credit card float, it's just rolling with the punches. 

      But if you leave a category over spent at the end of the month, and it shows up as over spent on day 1 of the following month OR returns to zero as an unfunded category then that's float. It's just as easy to do either one and ignore the fact that you're floating. 

      This is totally a matter of perception, which is what frustrates me so much. YNAB has decided that one version is more responsible than another when either option is just as easy to play ostrich with. 

      Like 1
    • farfromtheusual In the case of cash overspending, the red signifies missing money, rendering categories overstated (relative to the cash on-hand). Thus, forcing a correction by covering the overspending from next month's TBB only lets this overstated condition last so long.

      Being consistent with this for credit-based overspending make a lot of sense. As you say, it's more or less equivalent, so I think they simply chose the consistency route to make it easier to understand.

      My viewpoint about that CC overspending is a little different than either of the interpretations you mentioned. My view is that every CC purchase is immediately debt, and the yellow overspent category is merely a warning that I have no plan in place to pay that debt off. YNAB turns off the warning at the end of the month.

      Like 4
    • dakinemaui this makes total sense. If it's cash, then it has to be covered.  I've oopsed a few times in that regard and it hurts. 

      But credit cards are different, and it would be shopp helpful to have some flexibility with this. 

      Some day I'll have so much cash I won't ever need to go yellow or red in any category! Until then, I have to be creative. 

      Like
  • farfromtheusual said:
    But if you leave a category over spent at the end of the month, and it shows up as over spent on day 1 of the following month OR returns to zero as an unfunded category then that's float

    Actually, that's an increase in the amount being floated. One can ride the CC float without any overspending at all.

    Like 1
    • dakinemaui understood

      Like
    • farfromtheusual I guess I'm having trouble understanding why uncovered credit-based overspending is a regular thing (outside of reimbursements). If it's a matter of timing, then a one-time debt/float increase would take care of it (assuming it's within your ability to float, which is certainly limited by your consistent CC usage).

      Let me ask two concrete questions:

      1. Do you only pay the statement balance AND pay on/near the due date?

      2. Does your CC Payment category drop to nearly $0 immediately following your payment?

      The reason I ask this is that often people riding the CC float attempt to reduce it before they can really afford to do so. They pay the CC more than needed and/or have too much cash tied up in the Payment category -- the very cash they need to avoid overspending. For such users, the overspending is caused by not keeping enough cash on hand, and it happens every month like clockwork.

      Bottom line: if you answered No to either question above, then there are some changes you could make to better align YNAB with the reality of your situation. This would result in less (possibly no) timing-induced credit overspending.

      I realize you were probably venting/commiserating and that I may be butting in where I'm not wanted, so I won't press the issue any further unless you wish more details. The answers to those two questions would reveal if anything I have to say can help.

      Like 1
    • I don't mind elaborating a bit here for exploration's sake (though I suppose this does sort of hijack the OP's original thread...)

      dakinemaui said:
      1. Do you only pay the statement balance AND pay on/near the due date?

       I always pay on the due date, meticulously. I pay as close to the statement balance as possible. Most months that is usually possible.

       

      dakinemaui said:
      2. Does your CC Payment category drop to nearly $0 immediately following your payment?

       For the most part, yes.

      SO what is happening for me in this situation (this is obviously a different situation entirely apart from reimbursements) is that I am simply not making enough to cover all my expenses. It's lovely to say that you just don't spend money that you don't have, but reality is that sometimes pure needs exceed the income. I work a part time job* and get paid on the 15th and last day of the month. So sometimes the number of hours in any given paycheck vary, and then if I need to drop a day due to my schedule for some reason it shortens up my pay even more. This income covers all my basic necessities, and any "fun money" that I might have (which is almost never). What was often happening was that I was entering my final pay check of the month, covering all the over spent categories, and then attempting to fund my categories for the next month, but it often left me short, which put me into over spending for the next month, and then again, the final pay check of the month would cover the categories and I'd start all over again. I was almost out of that cycle and then got hit with the car repair last month (on a short month to boot, plus I knew I'd be missing a day of work). This is just what it is at the moment.

      Back to the original point - I would prefer the ability to CHOOSE when I roll an over spent category over into the next month or not. My car repair, I wouldn't. It just stayed over spent and that was that. But some months, with certain payments, I would prefer to see that it is over spent into the next month so I can cover that over spending when the next round of income arrives. I want the flexibility to decide for myself what is appropriate and what isn't.

      *before anyone mentions "going to get another job" please recognize that my part time job pays my personal expenses. I'm launching a business, which covers OTHER expenses that I have, and I am generally "working" an average of 7.5 hours EVERY day, with almost no days off. My actual hours vary, but it works out to an average of 7.5 hours daily. Believe me, I'm working as fast and as hard as I can to increase my income. So while my situation is ridiculously TIGHT right now, it won't be this way forever. It's taking me longer to change it than I'd like, but it will change for the better in the future.

      Like 1
    • farfromtheusual Since you're not paying more than the statement balance amount and you're paying on the due date (rather than earlier) and your CC Payment category is pretty empty, there's no room to increase the float within the budget under your current spending patterns. (I know, probably not a surprise to you.)

      There is one other factor that significantly impacts riding the float: are you trying to use the CC as much as possible for budgeted purchases or are you trying to minimize your CC usage?

      When riding the float, continued use of the CC is crucial, because that's the primary way to increase the CC Payment category in time for the payment. This is another commonly misunderstood factor, especially with all the financial gurus saying, "cut up the card, it's the best way to get out of debt." Since that approach incurs interest, the characterization of "best" is debatable.

      Like 4
    • dakinemaui You make good points.

      I do actually use the cards as much as possible, partly for the rewards points, partly for the security of not having my bank account drained if the data gets compromised, and partly because of the float issue. Currently I'm not paying interest on the one card I'm floating. My bigger priority is the card that I AM paying interest on, the balance is much higher, and I do have to pay interest every month. I may have some extra cash if I can get a crazy good deal on a new laptop, which will all be dumped on that card. I'd love to get rid of the float because I LOVE to see the card paid to zero every month, but I'd rather not pay interest on the other one! Money is totally a complete strategy! LOL

      Like
    • farfromtheusual I'm out of ideas, then... except for, have you thought about a new job?  🙂 Just kidding, I saw your earlier note. I do wish you the best of luck.

      Like 1
    • dakinemaui Thanks! I knew building a business wouldn't be easy, but dang, it's not easy!!

      (And, PS, I do have a raise in the works at the part time job.... have to accomplish some "goals" first <insert eye roll here> but yeah, that should be coming, and every little bit helps!)

      Like 1
  • farfromtheusual said:
    I know I won't be able to play it back right away, like the unexpected car repair last month. I don't want to stare at that over spending

    I would simply cover it from the CC Payment category. I don't need to be nagged for the rest of the month for choosing to finance something.

    Like
    • dakinemaui true, I usually ignore it though, lol. I don't mind looking at it for the month, partly because I get paid at the end of ther month, which hits right before the first, so I can often catch up my over spending at that point. My checks vary, so some months that's possible. 

      Like
  • farfromtheusual said:
    Sometimes payments for products I have ordered for other people leave me over spent across a month. Then when I finally get paid, I have to remember to put the money somewhere else instead of back into the correct category.

    There are approaches that make this fairly obvious -- a green category, for instance, means you have to move money. Not a lot of "remembering" involved.

    Like
    • dakinemaui Maybe that didn't make sense.

      So here's the scenario:

      I order a large order of horse feed, which I order for a group so that we can save money.

      The category shows orange because I put it on my credit card and haven't collected payment for it yet.
      Order arrives in the middle of the month.

      I begin getting the orders to the folks to wanted them, and collecting money. Each time I collect money, I add the transaction and apply it to the feed category, which reduces the over spending.

      If I don't get everyone's checks before the end of the month, that over spent balance disappears completely.

      Now when I collect the money, I have to remember how much I need to put onto the credit card balance, instead of in the category where the total was.

      I WANT To be able to see that over spending in the next month.
      Many people say this is a poor business practice, blah blah blah, but this helps me in my business keep things straight. It's very frustrating to have that balance disappear and have a blank zero at the start of the new month.

      This is the same argument that I've seen so many people make. They WANT to know what the over spending was the next month. It's so much easier to track things that way when you need to be paid back by others.

      Is it a risk? Yes. Of course it is. But I am aware of that, and if I don't get paid, I have 2 choices - cover it with my money, or it's debt on my credit card.

      I just want the option for how to handle it myself. I don't want YNAB deciding that it doesn't think it's a "good practice" and zero out the category so that the over spending just disappears into the ether. Yes I know it shows up under the balance under the accounts, but that doesn't help my ability to track it appropriately for my business.

      Like 5
    • farfromtheusual In your example, I would use a dedicated Feed Reimbursement category so that money doesn't interfere with whatever you're budgeting for the next purchase of your own animal's feed (perhaps treating this as a true expense to minimize the hit per month).

      The main addition, though, is a tracking account called Pending Reimbursements (or similar) so as not to lose the remaining balance of what's owed. Record the original purchase as a split between your portion (to Feed or whatever) and the remainder as an outgoing transfer to the Pending Reimbursements account categorized as Feed Reimbursement. Look to this tracking account balance for what's owed rather than the category.

      Payments are now inflow transfers from the Pending Reimbursement account categorized to Feed Reimbursement. In the same month as the purchase, this reduces overspending as you'd expect. 

      If the month has rolled over, Feed Reimbursement category resets to $0, so a payment (inflow transfer from Pending Reimbursement account categorized to Feed Reimbursement) results in a green category. Simply move the entirety of that category to the appropriate CC Payment category.

      I won't disagree that reimbursements are significantly more painful with nYNAB. We both know they aren't going to change anytime soon, so it's either adapt on our part or use a competitor. Oh, and send in feature requests for a better reimbursement tracking feature that helps put money back to the CC regardless of when it comes in.

      Like 4
    • dakinemaui that's another way to handle it for sure. If I had more of them it would be a bigger issue and I'd probably use that method, thankfully this only pops up once in a while.

      I know this feature has been requested countless time (just like ye old 'red arrow') and it would be so helpful if they could add these features back in, but I feel like it's been ignored :(

      I think one of the issues is that YNAB is caught between people who are brand new, and people who use the system to the maximum of it's capabilities, which every new user should progress to eventually.  So how does one create the features for advanced users and still keep new users from ending up with their head in the sand?
      It's a tricky question, but one that YNAB should consider since it's been around long enough that many users are pushing 5+ years with the system, if not more.

      Like 4
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual Optional advanced features?

      Like 3
    • bevocat I love that idea.

      I have no idea how it would work, but I think it makes sense, like I said, even if they have to put a big 'ol warning on it and make you actively choose to do it every time, I don't care. Just being able to use the feature once in a while would be helpful.

      Like 1
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual Don't hold your breath. I'm just agreeing with you and giving the logical way they could organize it.

      Like 1
    • bevocat Ha, don't worry, I won't!

      Like
    • dakinemaui hope you’re still around to explain what you mean by a tracking account? I HAVE to find a way to deal with the reimbursement issues , without letting things reset to zero. That is crazy! I need to remember who owes me what. (Imagine 10 kids contributing to a cabin). Help! I’ve asked YNAB and I just get “cover from your emergency fund till they pay. But that doesn’t let me know exactly what I have left to collect! I used mint (many weaknesses...but this issue was not one of them). . .PS. I did the envelope system on paper for 15 years back in the 80’s!  Thanks for any help. 

      Like 3
      • mamster
      • mamster
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Steel Blue Cleric If you're splitting expenses with a bunch of people like that, have you given Splitwise a try? It's purpose-built for this exact thing, which YNAB isn't, and works really well for keeping track of who owes you what. Then, when you get paid, you can enter the transactions in YNAB.

      Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      mamster I find Splitwise invaluable when both parties are making charges. It's essentially a communication mechanism. Otherwise, I don't think it has any advantage over YNAB, and is actually more work to use them both in conjunction.

      Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 9 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Steel Blue Cleric A Tracking account is one of the two classes of accounts in YNAB. Create a new account with the type "Other Asset", and use this account to hold the persistent record of what's owed. Create a Reimbursable category as well to capture the change in what's owed each month. (As you've seen, a negative category resets, so don't fight it.)

      Record a reimbursable purchase as a transfer from whatever account you used to pay to the Reimbursable (tracking) account categorized to the Reimbursable category.

      If you have one real-world outflow (e.g., a cabin fee), record a split transaction with each kid's name on the memo line with a categorized outflow transfer on each split line. When you are paid back, record the inflow also as a transfer from the Reimbursable account, categorized to the Reimbursable category.

      Once someone has paid up, go into the Reimbursable account, mark the offsetting transactions (both inflow(s) and outflow(s) for that particular person) as Cleared and then Reconcile to a $0 balance. This allows you to only show the pending reimbursements in the register.

      You can also search for someone's name in that account to easily bring up their particular pending total.

      So that's the transaction viewpoint. How does all this work within the budget?

      If you use credit to pay for something, the Reimbursable category will turn yellow. You can ignore it or move money from the CC Payment category to turn off the yellow warning. If the category ever turns green, you should move the balance to the CC Payment category. (This might happen if you are paid back in a different month, but don't worry about the particulars in timing. They can be complicated. Green means move.)

      If you use cash to pay for something, the Reimbursable category will turn red. I suggest you also cover this from your CC Payment category. This effectively uses the cash you were going to send to the CC to cover other purchases (e.g., groceries) to pay yourself back immediately for the reimbursement. Then you simply pay the CC back when the other person pays you back (and the category turns green).

      Like 3
    • dakinemaui wow that’s a lot of moving around but i can “sort of “ follow it. I’ve got a simpler reimbursable transaction going on now (only a couple of kids LOL) and I’ll give this a try. 

      Like 1
      • Tomato Colt
      • Tomato_Colt.3
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Steel Blue Cleric I know this is an old thread but this is exactly the reason I found this! I see the workaround below and it's SO complicated, while carrying over a negative balance would be so simple! I hate when softwares think they know better than we do and try to "protect" us by taking away features. Let us decide!

      Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Colt what is complicated? (I assume you're talking about reimbursements ) You have to record transactions regardless, leaving what happens in the budget as the only consideration. Pick one of the two standard approaches:

      * Offset the category - you're done. The CC Payment category takes care if itself.

      * Temporary debt - move funds to the CC Payment category when the Reimbursement category turns green.

      The temporary debt works great for large work expenses and the offset category works for smaller amounts, say between friends. (The astute reader may even see a unified approach to move money when it exceeds the offset.)

      When one of those involves zero work and the other might involve zero work, I'm hard pressed to see the complication in ongoing usage.

      Like 1
      • Tomato Colt
      • Tomato_Colt.3
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Yes, I'm talking about reimbursements. I'm just not really following how the offset account will work. I've only been using YNAB 6 months or so, and sometimes I still struggle to understand the methodology. I'm not sure what you are saying about the offset account. I'll just have to try it. The negative balance intuitively makes sense to me and I just wish I could do what makes sense. And I'm generally only talking about small amounts. Right now I have -$16 in my "girl scout expenses" category because I need to get reimbursed by the troop I lead. The red negative balance is a reminder to request reimbursement and follow up until I get it. I'll reread this thread and try to understand what you are saying but I don't know how it can be as easy as simply putting something in the right category and seeing red until it's settled!

      Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Colt It's an offset Category. Instead of running between $0 and -$X, it runs between +$X and $0. Budget $X to the category as a one-time setup (establishing the offset). If the category is lower than $X, you are owed money.

      Like
      • Annieland
      • YNABbing every day since 2009!
      • Annieland
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Sorry to interject, but I'm just curious...My husband has regular business travel expenses and can often rack up thousands in a single month.  I handle this by having him put it all on a single card I keep as tracking and categorize the payment at least a month later (and scream at him every couple of days to submit his s#&!).

      If I did an offset instead, would I just tie up $3,000-$5,000 indefinitely??  For my reimbursables which are of the girl scout type variety it would be no biggie.

      Like 1
    • dakinemaui Ok that makes sense! Thanks!

      Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view
      Annieland said:
      If I did an offset instead, would I just tie up $3,000-$5,000 indefinitely??

      Yes. I'd suggest taking it out of an emergency fund, with the understanding that in a severe enough emergency you could pull it back. It's simply more useful as a bookkeeping aid in the meantime. (The advantage is you don't have to muck with the CC Payment category.)

      On a different note, you don't need the tracking account if you find the lack of a payee field objectionable.

      Like 1
  • farfromtheusual said:
    I just want the option for how to handle it myself. I don't want YNAB deciding that it doesn't think it's a "good practice" and zero out the category so that the over spending just disappears into the ether.

     YNAB wasn't built for you. It was built for people who are so on the edge and require an accurate budget that  lying to themselves in this manner would be hugely detrimental. Their research based on YNAB4 found that people were lying to themselves all the time using the red arrow, but didn't really know what that meant in the big picture. As a result, it was eliminated. They aren't going to add options that would potentially allow that, because it would hurt the very people who really do need a budget.

    Like 5
    • nolesrule again, what seems to be missed is that it's JUST as easy to "lie" to yourself by using the red arrow as it is to lie to yourself by ignoring the increasing balance that is only visible under the account list on the left hand side in small font. Increasing debt is increasing debt whether it's a red arrow or a number that's going up on the left hand side of the screen. I can just as easily ignore one as the other.

      This boils down to perception of a problem, the fact that different people think through this and manage it differently.  YNAB touts itself to be a flexible product that gives a clear picture. To some of us "clear" involves SEEING the rolled over debt in a category next month. To others that involves SEEING it in the account balance. It's two different sides to the same coin. YNAB has made the assumption that one way is the only best way, but there are quite a number of people on here that are saying that it isn't the best way for them (this is the third or fourth mention of this I've seen in the past month... and I know searching for the topic shows it's come up again and again). I think all any of us are asking for is the flexibility to choose which way we'd like to work with our money. I don't even care if it gives me a big ol annoying pop up warning every single time I do it, just to remind me and keep me grounded in the fact that I'm stretching my budget in ways that mean I'm wrangling debt instead of cash. I'd just be really happy to have the option to work with it either way.

      Like 4
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual One of them is lying to yourself.

      The other one is an awareness issue with the UI that I agree should be rectified. I'm not arguing that point. I agree there are some use cases where the UI could use some improvement, like being able to see that you've added to the credit card debt.

      But just because there are some UI issues in some cases that still need to be fixed doesn't justify doing it intentionally.

      Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual And for the record, anyone who understands the mechanics of this version of YNAB would understand how to go about manually simulating the red arrow if it's that important.

      Like 4
    • nolesrule Apparently a lot of people don't because there's an awful lot of noise about it....

      Like 3
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual Which just means they really *don't* understand the mechanics of YNAB, or it's not that important, or both.

      Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual The red arrow was originally introduced as a way to manage credit card debt, but they allowed it on every category and even pushed it as a reimbursements solution, which is supposed to be a temporary state. Essentially, what the folks at YNAB learned from their surveys of YNAB4 users was that they were just letting the categories go red, stay red and not fixing them. That's a harmful situation, but again, it's only obvious if you know what you are doing.

      If the red arrow usage represents a tiny amount relative to your budget, no harm. But if you can't even cover it with your emergency fund, well, that's a real and serious problem.

      The result was getting rid of the red arrow, and introducing the credit card payment category.

      Like 4
    • nolesrule I like the way the credit card payments category works, though it can be confusing to some new users. I just wish it could be both :)

      Like
    • bevocat said:

      Which just means they really *don't* understand the mechanics of YNAB, or it's not that important, or both.

       Honestly, I've also seen people confused by the mechanics of the credit card payments.... so there's that, too.

      Like 1
      • lindsay_g
      • Beige_Banjo.3
      • 9 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual 

      Everything confuses some people, and some people are confused by everything. Believe me, I’m a teacher and I think that ‘being confused ‘ is actually a lifestyle choice for a lot of folks.

      Basically, if ‘some people are confused ‘(or let’s be honest, it’s the internet, *say* they are confused) is your trigger for changing functionality which most are happy with, you need a new metric!

      Like 5
    • lindsay_g as long as that reasoning isn't used to excuse chronic issues with something, I have no problem with it. But the problems being discussed here come up repeatedly, from many different people. Where's the tipping point?

      Like 2
      • Agent99
      • Working to Get Smart at budgeting, finances and life
      • Agent99.1
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual  Exactly.  There is no good reason why there isn't a suitable way to handle reimbursements.  dakinemaui  has come up with a good solution that has worked for him and others but not the way I would prefer to handle my situation.  

      Like 2
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 9 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Agent99 FWIW, I think YNAB's issue with reimbursements stem from an inability to guarantee it's being floated by credit.

      In the case of cash spending, they would rather see you reallocate to reflect that cash is missing -- all in the interest of an "honest" budget (as they put it). I don't see that changing in order to save people a bit of effort. (Just going by the myriad of other workflows that could be altered to save effort.)

      It is beyond me why they won't convert unbudgeted cash spending to credit if a Payment category has money available. After all, they do so within a given category. (I'm not saying that would be a good idea, only that I don't understand their inconsistency.)

      Like 3
      • lindsay_g
      • Beige_Banjo.3
      • 9 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual I've read lots of posts from people struggling with credit card payments. As far as I can tell, they are mostly new users who haven't understood how to use different accounts as sources of payments yet. Once they are directed to the relevant teaching resource they seem to sort it out. And although the numbers may appear high because each post makes the front page and becomes a thread of advice, if you consider that there are thousands of users of YNAB, actually the percentage is very, very low.

      (When an issue affected lots of people the thread went wild and YNAB reacted, so the system does work when the numbers are 'chronic'.)

      There are also some threads about issues on reimbursements, but again, if you look at the numbers, many of these posts are from the same people who always comment on those issues. Most regular posters don't join in, suggesting that almost all users are either happy with the system, or running a workaround that suits them.

      I spend money for work and have to wait to get it back. It isn't a problem for me. I have a category called 'Work - to be repaid' which I fund on budget. I'm sure there's a long complicated reason that won't work for you, but nothing is perfect for everyone.

      Another example; the 'SFTF / next month workaround'. Well, as a relatively recent user, who never had YNAB4, I don't see having a 'Next month' category as a workaround. It's just a tip I picked up and like to use.

      Whenever software changes there are some people that miss it and a lot of people who complain, but it settles down. (Think about Windows upgrades)

      In fact, I don't find myself agreeing with any of the 'chronic issues' you and others mention.  And on other long-running threads (Savings, Debts, Wins, Improve your Finances) you will find scads of posters extolling the virtues of the method, so it is working - very well - for a lot of people.

      YNAB seems to me to be a highly successful philosophy packaged in a highly successful piece of software. The business is certainly doing well enough to be sending its people on retreats every year, so they can't be struggling. The bottom line is, it's their product and its your money. The relationship is an entirely voluntary one and there are competitors.

      Please don't think I'm telling you or anyone else not to air your views or your complaints, please do go ahead. But since you've asked me, I'm replying.

      Like 3
    • lindsay_g I appreciate your reply. I'm sure there are thousands of YNAB users (which is a good thing) but I also have a hunch that a lot of them aren't on the forum, so if they do have complaints or are struggling they probably aren't voicing it. Or they're just not using the program to it's maximum capacity, which is very likely as well.

      Part of the trouble with the reimbursements issue is that YNAB has said they'd fix it, and offer a solution, but it hasn't happened yet (3+ years later), so the people that could really use it are still having to come up with creative work arounds for something that's a pretty common money tool between employers, medical reimbursements, and just selling things.
      Part of why that won't work for me is I walk the razor's edge with my budget. There just aren't funds to cover purchases made which I need to be repaid for OTHER than using my credit card. But then the over spent category disappears, and it's tough to juggle everything and remember how to repay myself correctly. I'm sure there are plenty of others that have that challenge, too, especially when first starting out with YNAB.
      As far as 'settling down' I'm not sure it will.... we're going on 3 years of people STILL asking for the same adjustments so that they can roll with the punches easier and more naturally.

      Like 2
      • WordTenor
      • I'm the oldest and the wittiest.
      • WordTenor
      • 9 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual hang on...so the issue here is not that you’re being forced to be overly honest even though you have plenty of money in your budget, but that you actually fall into the demographic for whom the “cover it all” programming is intended?

      If you have to float your reimbursements on your credit card, float them on the credit card. It will save you having to reallocate funds all the time. It sounds like that would be much simpler and a better reflection of your actual capacity.

      Like 6
    • WordTenor No, the issue is that it's easy to be dishonest with the way the current system works.

      At the end of the month, any over spending (i.e. things I'm waiting on getting reimbursed for) disappear off the budget, and each category resets to zero. If I'm not SUPER careful when I get paid for those things, it is very easy for me to just drop that money into a category that I need to fund, forgetting that I should put that directly onto my credit card.

      To try to spell this out a little simpler here's what happens:

      Make purchase on CC, which shows up over spent in category.

      Wait for payment.

      1st of the month passes.

      Now over spent category is currently at zero again, but total amount of debt has increased on card, which only shows up on the left side of the screen in small numbers (and when you have anything more than zero there, it's easy to forget exactly how much the amount was).

      When I finally do receive funds, particularly if it comes in with a couple other payments at the same time, it is very easy to forget that money needs to be paid directly to the CC as an "extra payment" because there is no budget category that is reminding me that it needs to go there.

      So if there's no reminder, I can easily ignore the fact that my balance went up, and just put those funds into another category that needs attention right then and there.
       

      So it's JUST as EASY to "cheat" this system this way as it is to ignore the red arrow or carried forward over spent categories. This is the problem that I have with YNAB's philosophy. They are right that you CAN ignore the over spent or red arrow. But you can just as easily ignore the fact that your CC balance is going up on the left hand side of the screen and be happy that your categories are all at zero again. I actually felt this way for a short time- it was a relief to hit the beginning of the month and see all the budget categories at zero instead of full of orange bubbles of over spent amounts. I'm pretty sure that's NOT what the developers intended, right? 

      So my (admittedly long winded) point is that it is helpful to make sure that there are different ways of working with things if they really want to support people to be more aware. Their way probably works for some people, but I am not one of those people. Yes, I work around it, and try my best to remember to pay my CC instead of putting the money elsewhere when I'm reimbursed for a purchase I made, but it isn't easy for me and I have to be really, really careful.

      Like 3
      • WordTenor
      • I'm the oldest and the wittiest.
      • WordTenor
      • 9 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual  I agree that the indication that the card is floating could be clearer and am annoyed that the one fast indication was removed from the web app. 

      That being said, the process is quite straightforward.

      1. You overspend your reimbursable category.  The rest of your budget you deal with, because you're a good budgeter and you follow rule 3. So the to-be-reimbursed amount should be the only thing carried on the card. 

      2. You receive the reimbursement and flow it back to the category. This will create a positive in that category. 

      3. You use that positive money to true up the card. 

      If you are not doing step 3, that's unfortunately on you. When my work gives me $1,000 to pay me back for a conference, yes, it'd be great to just budget that $1,000 to home decor. But it already has a job that I decided on when I chose to leave my credit card floating. 

      Like 3
    • WordTenor Very much agreed! I'm a big fan of having multiple ways to cross check things. This is actually what I do in my job. Checks and balances are so important.

       

      WordTenor said:
      So the to-be-reimbursed amount should be the only thing carried on the card.

       Key word - should. I wouldn't be using YNAB if my cards were zeroed every month. And I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of YNAB's customers are in the same boat. So the multiple cross checks is REALLY helpful to those of us floating around in the chop.

       

      WordTenor said:
      2. You receive the reimbursement and flow it back to the category. This will create a positive in that category. 

       I guess I should be putting the funds into a category and not into the TBB, which is how I currently do it, which means I have to go back to the budget screen and then move them into a category. Of course that only works if you want all of the funds in one category, I guess.

      Like
      • WordTenor
      • I'm the oldest and the wittiest.
      • WordTenor
      • 9 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

       farfromtheusual 

      Then you need to focus on getting your card off the float. Stop blaming YNAB for showing you that your finances are precarious. Get them to not be precarious.

      Yes, you should be inflowing reimbursements  directly to the category. But it sounds like you aren't doing reimbursements. It sounds to me from your other posts that you have variable income and are spending beyond your means in some months, and trying to make up for it in months when you have more money, but you're not getting ahead because you're trying to run it all piecemeal, one category at a time.

      Do you understand how to use YNAB to track and eliminate credit card float? 

      Like 6
    • WordTenor I understand quite a bit... but there are many (most) months that my income exceeds my required expenses. When you're starting up a small business it's a common problem.

      I had been putting any income into TBB prior to now, but I will change that with reimbursements in the future.

      And yes, I understand tracking and eliminating credit card float. Again, when income does not meet expenses there's not a lot you can do to tackle credit card float. You can only take on so much at one time.

      Like
    • @WordTenor  and no, I'm not blaming YNAB for showing my that my finances are precarious. I'm asking YNAB to help me make sure I don't slip up when I'm in a precarious position even more.

      Like 1
      • WordTenor
      • I'm the oldest and the wittiest.
      • WordTenor
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual YNAB is telling you to cover your categories. If you ignore that your card balance is going up and up, and keep overspending and not correcting it, at some point, you have to take responsibility for doing that. That’s what I mean by blaming YNAB.

      It sounds from the various posts in this thread, and the fact that you’re still having the same issues three months on,  that your new business isn’t tenable for you. Maybe it will be in the future, but right now you don’t have enough capital to be running it. YNAB is showing you that in all its orange overspending glory. 

      Like 2
      • WordTenor
      • I'm the oldest and the wittiest.
      • WordTenor
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual And that’s not said to shame you, btw. I actually think if you have a chance at making this work, YNAB is that chance. But being dead set that it needs to handle your overspending the way you want to handle it is working against the very thing that will help you get on top of all of this.

      Like 1
    • WordTenor if you think businesses start turning a buck in 3 months to cover the bills you've obviously never started a business from the ground up!  I don't say that to be mean, but being an entrepreneur is one of the hardest things to undertake.  So please be kind to any that you meet, support them, and think before calling them out on their struggle because I can guarantee you they've lost sleep over it for many nights already. 

      I'm not trying to force YNAB into anything, only trying to point out a way that the program could better support someone who is struggling a bit more to keep a better handle the finances. I appreciate all the support here, but no one else is in my shoes, so the advice only goes so far. What I'm asking for would help me, and all I've wanted to do was explain my situation and why it would be useful to have another way of looking at things. 

      Like 2
      • WordTenor
      • I'm the oldest and the wittiest.
      • WordTenor
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual There’s a difference between a business having adequate capital and being cash flow positive, and if you don’t know that, maybe you shouldn’t be lecturing me on the travails of entreprenurship. 

      Good luck untangling things.

      Like
    • WordTenor yup, there is. When you offer services, and still have some over head to deal with it gets sticky. 

      Thanks. 

      Like
  • I have a handful of bills for which it is normal for the bill to be withdrawn by autopay either on the last day of the month or the first day of the next.

    The problem arises when a bill is taken on the 1st day of the month but then again on last day of the same month. 

    I have several bills like this also. If a payment straddles the border between two months, I enter it as a scheduled recurring payment that -- as far as YNAB is concerned -- always occurs at the end of the earlier month and is budgeted for in that month. So my cell phone bill that can autopay any time between the 28th and the 2nd, is set up as a scheduled payment that shows up in my register and is accounted for in my budget on the 28th of every month.  Then whenever the autopay actually occurs, it gets imported and the transaction is matched in the software. It doesn't matter to my budget that the autopay happens a few days after the scheduled payment.

    I use the memo field of my scheduled transactions to note information about the bill, including the true due date (which is usually a couple days later than the date in the "Date" field), the amount of the next bill, the closing date, and whether it is manual or autopay. For my cell phone bill that I used as an example above, scheduled in my YNAB register for March 28th, the memo looks like this: 4/01| |Autopay|102.33|Closes 8th (budget in previous month)

    If you've been including such bills in the later month's budget (for example you have a lease payment that is due on April 1st,  and you would normally use funds from your April budget to cover it), you'll initially have to come up with enough funds to get ahead of the bill so you can budget it in the earlier month. It's absolutely worth it though for the convenience.

    As it see it, the reality is that if a bill sometimes comes out at the end of the month and you have no control over this, then it makes sense to budget as if it is always going to come out at the end of the month.

    Like 9
  • What I don't get is that the YNAB budget should be a hard copy of all your finances in your life and real finances don't go red unless you spend on credit and then the credit goes up next month and everything returns to '0' in your real life accounts. I'm therefore confused about the argument, can you explain how you manage to pay for these things if you can't cover it from any other budget line?

    Like
    • Elle Jay I can't speak for the OP, but for me, some months my budget is over. There's no way around it when your income is lower than your actual expenses. But nothing returns to zero... there's debt. And it's THERE. This is a perspective thing, the way YNAB does it now, it is easier for me to ignore the mounting debt than if the over spent categories stayed over spent.

      It's a personal preference and the way my brain likes to work with and be aware of where my money is going/has gone.

      Like 1
      • Elle Jay
      • Ellejay
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual Where is that debt though? Is it an overdrawn account?

      Like
    • Elle Jay for me, and what I expect for most, is that it's on a credit card.

      Like
      • Elle Jay
      • Ellejay
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual Ah okay. Then it would just add to the balance of the card. I see what your saying though. I think it's just how people think about budgets. I think the 'catching up' approach isn't healthy so I like to start each month with a 'new month new budget' feel and look at card balances as not 'catching up'.

      Like 2
    • Elle Jay I appreciate that a lot, too! The only thing about the zeroing out at the beginning of the month is that it effectively wipes out any over spending I had. It just disappears off the budget completely. While I understand the dependence on the red arrow isn't a good thing, either, I think it might make my debt a little more urgent if it didn't just disappear into the mesh of other numbers. When are unable to pay the card off due to debt, but still need to use the card, it's VERY easy to hide behind the rolling debt, and not notice that you added to it during a month. I wish that YNAB could differentiate between true over spending of cash vs over spending on a credit card. I think that's partly what most of us are asking for. Just a little more awareness.

      Like 2
      • Agent99
      • Working to Get Smart at budgeting, finances and life
      • Agent99.1
      • 9 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual WIth the Red Arrow, you have a strong visual indicator of the overspend or expected reimbursement.  There's no ignoring it.  It pushes me to take action instead of hemming and hawing about follow-ups for money (especially from my spouse).  

      Like 4
    • Agent99 I agree!

      Like
  • Another perfect example of this is medical reimbursements. Many times they take a while to come back if your employer requires you to submit medical expenses to get reimbursed from a HSA or flex spending account. It's gotten much faster than it used to be, but it can still take a little while. For many of us we put that onto a credit card, rather than spend our own personal cash. It would be nice to be able to roll those balances into the next month as over spending to know that you're still waiting on that money to come back to you.
    Just another example of why it would be helpful to have the flexibility of choice in this situation.

    Like 1
  • It occurs to me this seems the opposite of what ynab claims they are doing in the new online version of removing walls from months.  Whereas if you float a purchase at the grocery store made on say the 10th of the month until you get paid again on the 12th ynab has no problem just complaining of the overspending, but from the 30th to the 1st it handles it differently which is essentially a walled off month.

    Now I am not saying using floats like this is a good idea, though I think if we are all honest we have at some point done this very thing, probably even after we started using ynab.

    I am not sure what the "fix" would be. I don't know that ynab really wants to not reset overspending though I would say for consistency it should just carry over the overspending like it would between days in the middle of the month.  Or perhaps it resets daily not letting you carry over at all?  I don't know that there is a good answer but the current system is not consistent in how it handle this across months. Maybe the fix is to allow overspending to be carried over for x days then reset whether if it is across months or within the same month. But then there will be disagreement as far as how long ynab should let you be able to carry over overspending. I would argue that it should be use configurable defaulting to something short like 3 days. But we all know how the powers that be feel about user choice.

    Like 2
      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Slate Blue Sander 

      Slate Blue Sander said:
      Whereas if you float a purchase at the grocery store made on say the 10th of the month until you get paid again on the 12th ynab has no problem just complaining of the overspending, but from the 30th to the 1st it handles it differently which is essentially a walled off month.

       Actually, that's not walled months; that's an inconsistency between the program and Rule 3.

      In prior versions, Rule 3 was called Roll with the Punches, but it meant that you covered overspending when the month rolled over.  The former Rule 4 (originally Rule 1, way back when) called for Living on Last Month's Income, and waiting till next month to budget the income you receive this month was conceived as a financial buffer.  (Discussion of issues with this approach omitted.)  In broad theory, the system considered overspending now to be borrowing this month's income that properly should be budgeted in next month.  The program retains the prior method of clearing overspending at month rollover, which was consistent with the prior conception of Rule 3 and Rule 4.

      Now, Rule 3 is still called Roll with the Punches; but now it means moving money from categories that have it to the overspent category in order to zero it out.  The user is supposed to do this as soon as he/she sees the overspend.  That had been my practice even when it wasn't technically the rule, so I initially missed the importance of changing the rule this way; but it breaks the explanation of why overspending is cleared at month rollover instead of daily or instantly.  Rationally, a program implementation of cash overspending with fluid months might never move the category below zero, just take it out of TBB this month.  But that would have its own set of implementation and training difficulties.

      Like 2
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Slate Blue Sander 

      Slate Blue Sander said:
      Whereas if you float a purchase at the grocery store made on say the 10th of the month until you get paid again on the 12th ynab has no problem just complaining of the overspending, but from the 30th to the 1st it handles it differently which is essentially a walled off month.

       Not exactly. YNAB wants/expects the user to deal with this as it happens and not just leave it (Rule 3 and all that), but will fix it for you as a last resort if you don't deal with it yourself. It's a backup plan to keep you following the Rules. Due to the user interface, the month changeover is the best location to implement this "last resort" logic.

      Like 1
    • nolesrule All I am saying is in the current implimentation A user could overspend on the 1st of the month and choose to ignore it, and ynab will allow them to carry that all month long.  Conversely A user could overspend on the last day of the month again choose not to fix it right away but instead planning on fixing it in a few days when they get paid again but ynab forcefully fixes it for them at month roll over, this creates an inconsistency, and I would argue the first situation is more of an issue than the second even though I am guilty of intentionally using overspending to float out expenses to a future paycheck. I KNOW that's not ynab's rules but I don't personally get so caught up on those. But in the same token I'm careful not to make my budget useless.

      Case and point this past Wednesday I was working late, and had to come back in early Thursday morning. Hungry with no time to go home and cook before having to go to bed to wake up early the next morning I decided to get some fast food, even though my dining out category was completely empty.  But the next morning (Thursday) I was getting the direct deposit for my next paycheck.  So I overspent dining out and fixed it the next day after recording my income.  Now if I were a strict adherent to rule 3 I would have moved money from another category, a true expense if I really had to, then replenish it the next day when I got my paycheck but why go though that extra work.  I mean yes I am aware that technically it could be possible that I didn't get my direct deposit due to a technical glitch but then if that happened then I could just move move over from another category but given that that was unlikely (and didn't happen) I took the easy way.  My point is ynab allowed me to do that even though it violated its precious rules.  But if it were the end of the month, even waiting one day (really only about 12hrs) wold hae cause ynab for forcefully fix it for me. All I am suggesting is a consistent waiting period regardless of when in the month the overspend occurs to wait to see if the user fixes it before forcefully fixing it.

      Now see by sharing that I'm sure I will get everyone saying how horrible I am for allowing that.

      And technically my suggestion cold be viewed as a violation of the rules, but I think if then it is less so than the current implementation because it at least won't allow a user who doesn't know any better from carrying overspending for a full month in some situations.  And yes it would allow those of us who do float out overspending to have a consistent time frame to do it in instead of arbitrarily allowing it at anytime unless its the end of the month, which serves no real purpose it was just an easy way to time the forceful correction. for the developers I'm certain.

      Like 2
    • Patzer I don't even think its that as much as like nolesrule said its the program waiting for the user to fix it like they should under rule 3 but then forcing a fix if that doesn't happen. The problem lies with that (out of convenience for the developers I'm sure) this corrective action is programmed to happen at the monthly rollover which prevents allowing overspending to flow between months (thus is a sort of walled off month) even if the overspend literally just happened on the last day of the previous month which can cause problems mainly I would say for those with rent/mortgage (or any other bill for that matter) which is due on the 1st coming out a day or two early, which happens sometimes. It happens quite frequently with my rent which is on autopay. (Eventually I plan on getting an extra month ahead on my rent so I am actually budgeting July's rent this month (which once I get a full month ahead otherwise would have been earned in May). But until someone gets to that point floating overspend is easier and can work if they have enough stashed in "true expenses" categories and/or an emergency fund they can just "borrow" against that to not overdraft the only difference is they are not bothering to explicitly record this because of such a short time frame, that's what happened to me this last week. I could have moved funds from another category to cover overspending but I was getting paid the next day and was going to cover it then so why bother with the extra step (unless you are very dogmatic about the ynab rules, which I am not)

      But I doubt allowing users to float overspending like this is something the devs would bother to make a change to allow. But as I pointed out the biggest problem IMO my suggestion of using a rolling period from when the overspend occurred to forcefully fix it is to protect new users who don;t know better an overspend without fixing it and do so early on in the month.  I think though of from this perspective might convince the powers that be to reconsider doing a forceful fix of overspending at month rollover isn't the best option...IMHO.

       

      EDIT: After thinking on this more I have submitted a formal feature request for this, citing the first example where a new user who is not aware of the dangers of allowing overspending to remain in their budget could (if the overspending occurs at or near the beginning of the month and does nothing about it) is stuck in that situation for nearly a whole month.

      I also suggested that allowing the time frame to be customized by power users could be a middle ground between full re-implementation of the red arrow and (as is currently the case) doing nothing to handle reimbursements.

      Though I am less sure this last part would be implemented I am kinda holding out hope for the first part of the forceful fix being based on a rolling time frame from when the overspend occurs, rather than just simply at the end of the month.  We shall see.

      Like 1
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Slate Blue Sander Nobody thinks you are horrible for that.

      I will say that there has to be an arbitrary line, and that line is the month boundary.

      And I will say that you've come to the wrong shop if you're looking for consistency with the developers.

      I'm not making prescriptive or normative statements. I'm not even going to go there about how the world ought to be; I'm just describing how the world is.

      Like 2
    • bevocat I understand, and like I said I am sure they chose the monthly rollover at least in part because if was an easy trigger for timing when this forced fix of overspending would occur, And if the goal was simply to allow overspending to be carried, I would be certain it would go nowhere. But I see a bigger issue in that a new user who is not aware of what is really going on when they overspend may rely on untrustworthy numbers to make decisions and possible even overdraw their account, so I think from the standpoint of a forced fix shouldn't be a month out when the overspending occurs at or near the beginning of the month is problematic.  As yes it does have the side affect of allowing short-term overspending across the monthly line which I think probably comes up a lot for rent/mortgage payments that are often due on the first but may come out a day or two early, but the user may not actually have those budgeted until the month it is due in.  All I can do is submit the request and let the powers that be decide.

      FWIW I think rule 1 and 2 are more strict, But I personally am not so strict with rue 3 that I think it needs to be fixed immediately as long as I still have a sense for what is going on, if I know in my mind I am "borrowing" from my "true expenses" until I get paid next, And that is in short order I don;t mine leaving overspending. But then again I am also one of these people who think rule 4 is essentially useless so...Personally I kinda like the concept of the old rule 4 and I think the new rule 4 is a useless placeholder so it still has 4 rules.  Not that the idea of ageing your money is bad, but as implemented ynab's AOM metric is somewhat meaningless, and the idea of ageing your money anyway, in my mind, is more of a result of budgeting than an specific rule that needs to be followed.  But I digress.

      The feature request has been submitted, along with an unrelated one I have been thinking about to provide a replacement for income for next month and fix SFTF all in one, and that's all I can do.  The cynical part of me (wait...idk if I have a non-cynical part anymore) doesn't expect anything to come from either of these requests though but I though it was worth sharing.

      Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 9 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view
      Slate Blue Sander said:
      All I am suggesting is a consistent waiting period regardless of when in the month the overspend occurs to wait to see if the user fixes it before forcefully fixing it

      How exactly are you suggesting to "forcefully fix" it? At present, it's fixed immediately -- you have merely to look at the next screen to see there is no "waiting". OTOH, if you're talking about taking it out of the current month's TBB (when your rolling period ends in this month) and next month's TBB (when your rolling period ends in next month) -- I believe far more users will be confused by that inconsistency than they are at present.

      Furthermore, a fundamental principle is that the total in the budget must match total cash. If you reduce the current month's TBB, you'd have to increase the category to maintain that agreement. Now you've broken the easily understood logic that a category balance is what you used to have (last month) plus what you've put in (budgeted) minus what you've spent (activity). So you'd have to fabricate additional -- non-transactional -- "activity" for the overspending correction?

      There will always be the case where the rolling period is set too short (e.g., I was on vacation). Only now all the overspending has disappeared. Part of Rule 3 is use of relative priorities to guide reallocations -- if you wipe out the overspending, you no longer have insight into the priority of the overspent category. Perhaps this is solved with yet another color? No thanks.

      Now compound the above behavior with the inconsistencies with credit-based overspending, which is NOT taken out of TBB.

      I think if you fully consider the ramifications of a rolling correction period, you'll quickly find it's really not an improvement. There are far easier ways to float beyond the month boundary -- your primary motivation, after all.

      Like 4
    • Slate Blue Sander If the rolling boundary is not at the month to forcefully fix the overspending, it would be difficult to go back and fix it the way I want. Right now, all I have to do is flip to the previous month and I can make the numbers work, WAMming as I see fit. 

      This is useful, especially if you've gotten busy over the last days of the month or on vacation, like dakinemaui said. With a rolling fix, there would be no time period to go back to. 

      I don't see a reason to mess up the logic for the rest of the month just because a new user may not understand the method and its implications. Making a float stop at the month makes more global sense than any other arbitrary line, and the infrastructure is already set up to allow me to go back and fix if I wish. For any bills that come out in the first 5 days of the month, I budget at the end and let it roll over, because I can't do the rest of the month until my next paycheck.

      Like 1
      • Agent99
      • Working to Get Smart at budgeting, finances and life
      • Agent99.1
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Slate Blue Sander If I have any category overspends, I do not address them until I do my end of month review and before I allocate the next months budget.  That way I can make the best decision about where to take the overage (No, I don't red arrow all the time, y'all).    For me, it's important that I review all my categories and decide which one(s) can take the hit and still support what I need the following month.  That is Rule 3 in essence IMHO. 

      Like 1
  • lindsay_g said:
    Everything confuses some people, and some people are confused by everything.

     Isn't this the same thing, just said two different ways? Are you confused? 😈

    Like
      • WordTenor
      • I'm the oldest and the wittiest.
      • WordTenor
      • 9 mths ago
      • 10
      • Reported - view

      JoeDid  Nope.

      statement A is, “For each thing in the set of all things, some people in the set of all people will be confused by it.”

      statement B is, “Some people in the set of all people will be confused by all things in the set of all things.”

      I realize you were probably joking back, but I don’t get to do predicate logic very often anymore and I like it. :) I don’t have the symbols on my iPad or else I’d draw the equation like a big nerd.

      Like 10
      • lindsay_g
      • Beige_Banjo.3
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      JoeDid No, it's really not.

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor "All X are not Y" in place of "Not all X are Y" drives me absolutely bananas!

      Like
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