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going into all my personal finances, suffice to say I have a handful of bills for which it is normal for the bill to be withdrawn by autopay either on the last day of the month or the first day of the next.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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  • dakinemaui said:
    if you wipe out the overspending, you no longer have insight into the priority of the overspent category.

     And thus we've made it full circle. :)

    THAT is the problem I am struggling the most with.

    Like 2
    • eloquentz
    • Numbers Wizard (Accountant), Acoustic Artist (Musician) and Jill of all Trades (Wife & Mother)
    • eloquentz
    • 1 yr ago
    • 1
    • Reported - view

    I generally flip forward to the next month a few times just to make sure I don't have any overspending that I missed for some reason (I usually don't because of the colour indications). Unless I have to, I don't like seeing something in the "overspent from previous month" on the budget.

    Like 1
  • farfromtheusual said:
    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.

     But your credit card payment category will not be green so it should stand out as a category that requires attention.

    Like
    • jenmas yes, it is green, because it only shows over spending for the current month, not a past month. Once the month crosses, all of the over spending warnings clear out, and the debt only shows up in the total balance on the card, which is listed next to the category on the left side of the screen.

      Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual I just made a fake transaction on May 31 for $5K in a category that had $0 budgeted to it and in June my credit card payment category is not green. Also, the available balance for the category does not match the account balance on the left of my screen which is a screaming warning that I have debt on my card.

      Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      jenmas farfromtheusual - follow up. I just turned off the toolkit and it is now green. However, it does not match the account balance on the left and any time it does not match I know I have credit card debt.

      Like 2
    • jenmas the tool kit gives you a work around I guess.
      No, it does not match, but when you're dealing with prior outstanding debt it gets tough to track the subtle changes of a few dollars extra and so it just creeps up.

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

      farfromtheusual So maybe that's an indication that you need a business credit card and need to stop commingling your business expenditures with your personal expenditures. 

      Like 3
    • bevocat what makes you think I'm not doing that already? I run 3 budgets - my personal, my boyfriend's personal, and my business. All of my credit cards are very carefully kept separate so that no charges get made on a "business" card that aren't business and vice versa. Trust me, I'm about as anal with tracking as it comes. I have debt in my business from trying to get everything started. I also have debt on the personal side from not making enough in my part time job to cover everything. There's only so many hours in a day, and my business will take off eventually, at which time much of this won't be an issue anymore! 🙂

      Like
  • farfromtheusual said:
    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.

    Why not? When I started YNAB many years ago, I used YNAB to help me get out of debt. After getting out of debt, I used YNAB to build a full emergency fund and maximize my other savings.  I continue to use YNAB to optimize my funds. 

    Like 8
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      Superbone yes, indeedy. I used to be on the credit card float because I didn't know it existed. But I had it in my head that every month $X has to go into my savings account which meant I had to carefully time sending out credit card payments around my paychecks. Then I started using YNAB, learned about the float, and promptly got myself off. That being said, my credit card balances are never zero because I don't pay the bills until they're due in order to maximize the time my cash gets to spend in interest bearing accounts. But the amount available for credit card payment always matches the account balance.

      Like 6
      • Moohouse
      • Software developer
      • Moohouse
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Superbone I didn't start YNAB to get out of debt at all. I did have some low interest debt when starting out, but I would have paid it down quickly anyway.

      I started using YNAB because I started earning about twice as much as I used to, and I didn't want to waste the additional income. I also wanted more clarity, but I was never a big spender. 🙂

      Like 3
    • Superbone My point is that if I didn't have a problem then I wouldn't have sought out YNAB in the first place. If you don't have a problem, you don't buy a product. As you pointed out you began YNAB when you had a problem, but continue to use it because now you see the value in it after it helped you solve the problem.

      Like 2
    • jenmas Yup, that's the goal! I'll get there eventually, it's just taking much longer than I'd like.

      Like
      • PatM
      • PatM
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas "But the amount available for credit card payment always matches the account balance." Mine have been like that for years and it's a beautiful thing!

      Like
  • YNAB4 user here, I came over here to see if it's finally time to move to the web app.

    I am astonished that the company is still holding on to the toxic combination of a price increase (yearly subscription etc) and loss of functionality that is important to me, ie, negative rollover -- apparently for ideological reasons. They choose to spend hours and hours in discussions with their customers rather  than implement a simple preference switch? (Covered in all manner of warnings that it would "violate rule 3", if you will...) I really don't get it.

    Like 5
    • PeterR Amen!!!! YNAB4 user here as well.  Just barely switching over and trying to find a better option.  YNAB, don't treat us like children!  GIVE US THE FUNCTIONALITY WE ARE ASKING FOR!!!!!!!!!!!  

      Like 3
  • nice post

    Like
  • PeterR said:
    They choose to spend hours and hours in discussions with their customers rather  than implement a simple preference switch?

    I suspect this is because they believe they would spend even MORE hours if they did. Don't forget they have all the support records from YNAB4 which did have such a switch, and I know for a fact that people getting into trouble with Monopoly money in their categories was a VERY common support issue.

    Like 5
      • PeterR
      • Alice_Blue_Android.3
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui  Yes, I suppose you may be right. I can only speak for myself, and I want my tools sharp. I hate the Apple culture where obviously missing features are sold as a benefit. Sadly, I can't avoid Apple. I *can* avoid YNAB. I felt real loyalty based on YNAB4, but it is time to move on. I've been looking around today and clearly there are more options now than two or three years ago.

      Like 1
    • PeterR I'm in favor of sharp tools as well. While there are more options of late, I don't think any are better than YNAB, which itself is not as good as YNAB4 (for those users with that option).

      I assume you have a Mac, which is prompting the timing of your search. If I were you, a virtual machine running YNAB4 is a pretty easy route for the foreseeable future.

      Like 5
  • Brandon ... if you'd like a pretty easy way to manually emulate turning the red arrow right on a category (as in YNAB 4) for those occasions when you need to,  read this post on Reddit by the user Trepanated. Cheers!

    Like
    • Like
    • kodriscoll , thanks for the suggestion.  I think this is something I can make work.  However, I still think YNAB should just allow the function of carrying forward a negative category balance.  There are obviously a lot of people that can responsibly use the feature without abusing it.  As soon as I can find a way to track my money as well as YNAB does (or create it myself) I will be cutting this cord. The additional cost (vs. YNAB4) and the lack of functionality are making me hope I can find an alternative soon.

      Like 2
    • JKW
    • Small Business Owner
    • Creation_hatchery
    • 1 yr ago
    • 4
    • Reported - view

    I have been a YNAB4 user for several years.  Because I am a Mac user, I am being "forced" to switch to the online version of YNAB.  The lack of the "red arrow" is the biggest drawback, and I will be looking for another alternative.  I would love to hear from others about other options.  I loved YNAB4, and I use the red arrow for reimbursements (medical flex reimbursements, etc.).  I am debt-free.  I am not trying to ignore overspending.  I have the funds to cover all of my categories that may have a red balance.  But I need to know what that red balance is so that I can accurately allocate funds to the correct budget category once I am reimbursed.  Once the calendar flips to a new month, I'm lost.  SO frustrating!  Again, I love YNAB4!  I do not want to switch to something else, but unless I can figure out a smooth work-around, I will need to.  If anyone knows of other solutions, I would appreciate hearing from you.  Also, how do I go about formally registering my request for "red arrow" functionality?  I know others have requested without success, but I figure adding one more voice to the request can't hurt...  Thanks!

    Like 4
    • JKW said:
      I need to know what that red balance is so that I can accurately allocate funds to the correct budget category once I am reimbursed.

      Have you considered using a dedicated category for reimbursements, even in YNAB4? It's self-allocating when you are reimbursed because it's an inflow to that dedicated category. It seems like it might simplify things for you. As far as switching to YNAB... Given that you have the funds, you can therefore afford to be explicit about what other category is short while a reimbursement is pending.

      I'm certain there's no straw that will break that anti-red-arrow camel's back. Don't waste your time.

      Furthermore, no one is forcing you to switch. It's your choice to upgrade to Catalina. You can even run your current OS version in a virtual machine solely to continue using YNAB4. You're one of the few with access to YNAB4, so if you think it's better for your needs, then use it.

      Like 1
      • iwaddo
      • iwaddo77
      • 11 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      JKW I went from YNAB4 to nYNAB and found that I did not miss the red arrow for reimbursements.

      I managed reimbursements using a budget account. I know this is not strictly in the rules but it works for me.

      Rather than spend from a Category for anything that is to be reimbursed I transfer it to another  budget account. This causes the budget account to have a positive balance, after all it is still my asset. When I am reimbursed I transfer it back from the budget account into the account that received the funds.  Transferring between two budget accounts does not impact the budget.

      For example, if I buy  a £20 theatre ticket for a friend on my credit card, I add the transaction to YNAB as a transfer to by Reimbursements Budget Account.  The credit card account is happy and the money I am owed is sat as an asset in my Reimbursements Budget Account. This serves as a record that I'm owed money. When I see my friend they give me £20 in cash so I transfer £20 from my Reimbursements Budget Account to my Cash Spending Account.

      Caution: This approach only works if you have sufficient money to not notice that YNAB thinks you have more cash than is actually there. In the above example there is a risk I could spend the £20 again.

      I have one of these 'asset' budget accounts for each of my Children and one for Work Expenses.

       

      I also use a similar technique to 'level' annual payments but that really is cheating the YNAB rules 😉

      Not sure if this helps at all but happy to elaborate if required.

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

      iwaddo I second the caution -- that pending amount (the account balance) needs to be negligible compared to the Total Available. Realistically, you want to make the same spending decisions as you would if you went to the effort of making categories strictly accurate.

      It's also a bit of a faff to record since the Payee field is occupied with the Transfer instructions. However, this is the approach I personally use as well. My spouse, OTOH, prefers the category approach for more "traditional" transaction entry.

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

      dakinemaui The other advantage of my approach is that Income v Expense report accurately reports the money I have spent in the month and does not include the money I have 'lent' to others' and the Net Worth report also remains accurate.

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

      iwaddo My position is accounts fundamentally represent locations. This particular location is my friend's pocket.

      Like 3
      • Annieland
      • YNABbing every day since 2009!
      • Annieland
      • 11 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      iwaddo I do this too.  It's always negligible.  Right now my kids' school owes me about $129 for supplies I bought for the halloween carnival.  And my friend owes me $300 for an iphone we bought with our family discount.  Since it crossed months I did have to cover it in october and pay myself back in november (I like to at least keep the month current, if possible), but the funny money is still sitting there.  But yes, all cautions are totally correct regarding this method.  I just wish people would chill about the red arrow loss.  There are so many ways to work around it, legitimately or not.

      Like 1
  • Using the red arrow in YNAB4 was fundamental to how my finances worked- and I didn't get in a mess.  I understand why YNAB is trying to protect people in general, by stopping someone 'accidentally' getting into trouble by fooling themselves that they have more money than they really have.  However there are clearly a cohort of users who were fully aware of the risks and yet it worked well for them.  Why can't YNAB allow it as an advanced setting?  You can put all the warnings you like before it is activated. It seems we are to be treated like financial children- with all risks removed, not financial adults- capable of deciding what works best for us.

    For me nYNAB is an absolute no-go until they stop being so dictatorial and bring this functionality back.  Until then, I'll run YNAB4 on Parallels with macOS Mojave, whilst the rest of my Macbook can upgrade to Catalina. Is seems Parallels will get my annual subscription, not YNAB, such a pity....

    Like 9
      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 11 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Cornflower Blue Stallion Well, rightly or wrongly, they would argue that it wasn't an advanced setting at all. The software is designed to support the methodology not to be a general budgeting tool and the methodology wants everything to be backed by cash.

      Like 1
  • Same for me. The lack of negative carry-forward is killer. We use it for a few reasons

    - Tracking debts, in YNAB 4 we have a Debt parent category with 15+ children to track things people owe us.

    - Year level budgeting with huge variability in when the money gets spent.

    - Tracking when we do over-spend in a category the negative carry forward helps us remember to keep spending in that category low until it gets back positive.

     

    I guess a lot of this boils down to using YNAB4 more as a monthly budget category tracking tool than a pure envelope budgeting system. 

    I'm sort of amazed that this isn't just a budget level option people can turn on.

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

    All I'm gonna say... So nice to know I'm not alone.... Red arrow fan for life!  Got my Virtual Machine on my Mac and a Windows desktop.. YNAB4 all the way!

    Like 2
  • Yes, I also prefer the red arrow.  I should be able to have categories where YNAB allows for carry over so that spending on reimbursible work expenses do not affect the budget in real time. 

    I much prefer the old YNAB 4 and regret switching. I find the way this web app operates to be too confusing. 

    I think one part of the problem is that YNAB is really meant to help folks plan to get out of debt or manage money when they are operating on the margin.  If you are someone far enough ahead that you are willing to carry a negative balance on some budgetary items and are confident you can do so without undermining your debt situation, then the old YNAB 4 is superior. 

    Incidentally, for such folks "living off last month's income" is far superior than this "Age of money" metric. Once your "age of money" is up over 100 days, what value does it possibly serve? Now all income is budgeted to "to be budgeted" when I much prefered budgeting to "income for next month".  

    Like 1
    • Tronbone If you've got plenty of money in your budget (awesome, by the way), it's easy to pre-fund your reimbursable category, which makes reimbursements very simple. Here's how you'd do that:

      1. Budget enough money to the Reimbursable category to generously cover any reimbursable expenses you expect to incur before your next reimbursement check.
      2. Set a Target Category Balance on the category for the same amount you pre-funded it (or just put that amount in the name of the category). Any time the category Available amount is lower than the goal amount, that means your employer owes you money.
      3. When you get reimbursed, inflow the money directly into the Reimbursable category.

      That's all there is to it! You can make those reimbursable expenses with credit, debit, or cash and it will work fine, and there's nothing to worry about when the month rolls over.

      Like 3
      • Habanero Salsa
      • Second generation user
      • Aquamarine_Pony.8
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Matthew Doesn’t work very for scenarios which aren’t reimbursements, though, I think. If I overspend on some particular categories, I want that overspending to be absorbed by that category and no others. Say I budget $100 for X but spend $105. I want only $95 available the next month. The arrow did that automatically. It needs to be done manually now. I can’t think of a way to make goals help with that on an ongoing basis, but I may be missing something.

      Like
    • Habanero Salsa If I remember correctly, there was recently a thread all about the pros and cons of that approach to covering overspending, right? I think the YNAB Method-ish answer would be, "The fact that you overspent the category last month isn't a good reason to budget less this month. It might even be an indication that you need to budget more to that category."

      I know you've probably heard that before. But to be explicit about it: the reason there isn't a good way to do what you're talking about is because we don't encourage budgeting that way! "I feel like we spent too much on dining out last month" isn't a good basis for budgeting less on dining out this month. It's punitive in a way that's hard to sustain—and it runs right into Rule 3, which says that if you run out of money in the Dining Out category, find a lower-priority category and move money.

      I totally get that a budgeting system could include the concept of "paying back" an overspent category, but YNAB very deliberately doesn't work that way. I know that it was easy to do that in YNAB 4, and we shouldn't have built it that way—it was contrary to our own method, and that's why we changed it. I know that decision may feel paternalistic, but the goal was to shore up what makes the YNAB Method work.

      Like 7
      • Habanero Salsa
      • Second generation user
      • Aquamarine_Pony.8
      • 11 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Matthew "I feel like we spent too much on dining out last month" isn't a good basis for budgeting less on dining out this month. 

       

      So you say. I disagree. And it isn’t hard to sustain. I’ve done it since I was 12. 

       

      Yes, it’s paternalistic and yes it creates busy work for me, as does the lack of a coherent reimbursement system — repeatedly updating goals in a roommate situation is potentially error prone and a bit of drudgery— but it’s not my call to make. 
       

      Still, it appears YNAB is the least bad of the YNAB4 alternatives. I spent this month doing double data entry in YNAB4 and YNAB to test out whether I can bend YNAB to my will enough to use it going forward. Who do I talk to about possibly extending my trial so I can fly YNAB solo now that YNAB4 isn’t an option at the moment?

      Like 3
      • Herman
      • herman
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Habanero Salsa why isn't ynab 4 Ann option at the moment?

      Like
      • Habanero Salsa
      • Second generation user
      • Aquamarine_Pony.8
      • 11 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Herman Because my only computer is a MacBook, I put off upgrading the OS as long as I was comfortable, and my drive is too full for another partition. I’m working on that, but there’s nothing I’m comfortable doing at the moment, especially with Christmas on the horizon. 

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

      Habanero Salsa You actually can, with the new goal types.  It's the Spending by Date goal.  I've been using it to smooth out some annual and semi-annual expenses and it's working quite well.  If you say, budget to spend $1200 in a category for the next 12 months, the goal has you budget $100 this month.  And if you spend $105, your goal is $95 for the next month.  

      Only difference is you have to actually cover the extra $5 somehow, even with debt, because that is the reality.  You spent $5 more than the category held.

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

      Annieland I think I looked at that, but it was too clunky in that it was close-ended and kind of complicated things for categories I bumped up as I get raises. For something relatively steady state, groceries comes to mind, it does seem like an acceptable solution, for sure. 

      Like
      • Annieland
      • YNABbing every day since 2009!
      • Annieland
      • 11 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Habanero Salsa I think it was originally designed for stuff like an upcoming vacation or holiday gifts, where the old goal would start nagging you once you started spending before the target date.  But I'm using it in some creative ways for necessary but often variable expenses, like utilities, car repairs, vet expenses, insurance, and even fuel.  

      Like 3
    • Habanero Salsa 

      "I feel like we spent too much on dining out last month" is a good basis for trying to cut spending on Dining Out - maybe focusing more on packing lunches or meal planning - but budgeting less doesn't always correlate to spending less and that's what we want to drive home. If a certain schedule or situation makes Dining Out a priority, we want to budget to realistically prepare for that, not cut ourselves short so we feel like we failed at reaching a goal that wasn't suited for our lifestyle.

      We know that reimbursement handling in YNAB could use a bit of improvement - it's on our radar, but it will take some time for us to address this area. If you have any specific ideas on how you'd like to see reimbursements handled, please submit a Feature Request to let our Product Team know!

      In the meantime, you can reach out to support directly through the YNAB app to request a trial extension. :)

      Like
    • Faness The red arrow is the tool that I used to come to these conclusions.  And getting rid of it doesn't make it easier for me to recognize this.  It makes it more difficult for me to know that this is a category that I am habitually underfunding.  

      I have an idea on how to address reimbursement ... BRING BACK THE RED ARROW.  By getting rid of it, you make it very difficult for those of us who keep a significant balance in our budget in categories of savings/spending that can easily absorb it because they have large enough balances and won't need to be used for several months/years but I don't want to have to remove the money from those categories and remember weeks or months later where to put it back.  If you're concerned about its overuse then make it an option that someone has to request in order to use it so that those of us who have relied on it as a money management tool (not a tool to create more debt) can use it. 

      Like
  • After a few months of using YNAB, and coming from mint. This was a big surprise. 

    The issue for me here is that it wasn't clear enough that this was going on. And it was only once I had a couple thousand dollar reimbursable expense for my work, AND was late doing my November final budget check until this week in December, that I noticed this behaviour. 

    Red categories for expense report items were things I were ignoring, because I knew they would be paid out in the next week or two. I'm also using my income this month for budget further out than next month.

    Now that I've read this thread, I've got it sorted, but I would really have liked better notification that this would happen to the red categories.

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

      Sea Green Boat The reimbursement documentation is pretty clear to use a credit card if you're not going to fund the category.

      YNAB tells you in no uncertain terms that you cannot trust your budget when red overspending is present and to cover it as soon as possible.

      If it's not possible to pay with a CC, you can effectively convert red/cash overspending to CC debt by reallocating from the CC Payment category. You may then properly use the unfunded category reimbursement approach.

      Like 2
    • dakinemaui These instructions seem to overly complicate what is, to many of us, a simple accounting tool.  Before I had YNAB 4, I used a digital "envelope method" by having individual savings accounts for each category within my budget.  It was frustrating and clunky because I if I went over in one account I had to take from another and later move it back.  When I finally got YNAB, it took me a bit to understand that I didn't need to have an individual account for each budget item.  The budget tracked my balances for each category and the overall money could be spread into just a few accounts.  I no longer had to go through the work of moving money within accounts and it made it possible for me to see overspending within categories so I could know how to either 1) better fund a category in the future or 2) alter my spending habits.  The red arrow was the tool I used to understand how to better manage my money and without all of these "workarounds" that many of you are mentioning.  And I did all of this without having to use a credit card to do it because the budget side of YNAB4 was the part I used to organize money and the account side was where I tracked the actual movement of the money into and out of accounts.  Even if I went over in a category, it was okay because I had enough money overall in my accounts that it was a drop in the bucket compared to my overall budget AND with the red arrow I knew exactly which areas of my budget were giving me problems and I could easily track them by the red balances instead of losing them at the end of each month.  

      I've heard some on here mention that if we can't understand why YNAB got rid of the red arrow or if our way of handling money is different than the way YNAB wants us to then "YNAB isn't for us." Well, YNAB4 was for me and I loved it.  I never moved to Mint because I don't like having all of my accounts automatically linked in one location.  The security of it makes me very nervous.  I manually enter my information and would do so even with YNABn. I was willing to give YNABn a chance even with the annual subscription but the red arrow is a deal breaker for me.  I'm not going to pay for an annual fee for something that doesn't even meet my needs.  For now I am keeping YNAB 4 and not upgrading my operating system.  I'll do this until I can learn enough to create my own YNAB-like program in google sheets with a google form as the input device from my phone.  

      By its rigidity and not listening to its customers they've lost me (and I'm sure many others) who utilized a tool (the red arrow) that they could easily add as an option that can be switched on or off.  If they monitor these message boards and decide to add this functionality, I might consider coming back but without it I won't be a YNABn customer ...

      Like 1
      • Habanero Salsa
      • Second generation user
      • Aquamarine_Pony.8
      • 10 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Green Wizard I could have written most of this post.

      "OK, yes, YNAB, I can't fully trust my Emergency Fund category because some of it is implicitly -- but knowingly -- covering for the overspending in my Clothing category. Leave me alone, please."

      If I need to use my Emergency Fund down to the last penny, all of my categories are going to be getting some very focused attention. I understand why they did what they did, unlike a lot of stuff they've done, but I'm not a fan.

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

      Green Wizard We'd have to agree to disagree then on "complicated", especially in this case of red/cash overspending. Pretending you have money when you don't seems far more complicated to me. Clearly, you're relying on "something" to take up the slack until you receive more money, and YNAB would simply have you be explicit about that intention.

      You just have to understand that you are not the target market. The chosen implementation is far more appropriate for someone on the edge. Is it any surprise that a workflow optimized for them is less than optimal for you? I get that it's another 5 seconds to move funds (assuming you have them). This theme pervades YNAB because there are far more "on the edge" users (and potential users) than any other type. I sympathize and don't disagree the red arrow was convenient.

      Not to be completely obtuse to your needs, I also tried to point you to a drop-dead simple method of reimbursement handling that does not result in overstated categories. If 5 extra seconds to reallocate funds or heck, even reinstate the negative category is a deal breaker for you, then so be it.

      Edit: since you still can use YNAB4, I think you're right in that it's a better fit to your needs/desires, and it's certainly cheaper.

      Like 2
    • dakinemaui you could be right about the target market except that it would make good business sense to reach a larger market, especially those that were previously part of your market that used YNAB4, to add a small tool like this and make it required to opt-in.  Yes, this is a deal breaker for me to have to pay more and do more work when they previously had a product that met all of my needs.  

      Additionally, YNAB (@faness_ynab) has already stated that without the red arrow managing reimbursements is more difficult and they are asking for suggestions on how they can address this in a better way.  There is a better way that many of us have been using for years ... THE RED ARROW.  I've already wasted too much time commenting on this thread today.  Goodbye, YNAB ...

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

      Offset category group.

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

      To elaborate, the idea is to keep the group balance positive, while allowing individual categories to go negative. This ensures categories outside this group -- presumably normal spending categories -- are accurate. In YNAB4, it looked like this, with the expectation your emergency fund (or whatever category(ies)) could take the place of the Reserve category:

       

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

      dakinemaui What's the downside -- apart from dev effort -- of implanting a special kind of group in YNAB (Credit Cards are a special kind of group, aren't they?) to encapsulate this functionality such that the fact that Roommate X owes you $25 can roll over and not require some other tracking mechanism?

      Doesn't it cover the "shoot yourself in the foot" users (other than people who purposefully aim at their feet, which nothing is going to stop) while also helping everyone else with problems of this type?

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

      Habanero Salsa I think it does cover all reasonable cases, which is why I suggested it to them 4 years ago. 🙄

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

      dakinemaui Yeah, I'd group the categories necessary to make this work. This would resolve a lot of the reservations I have about YNAB right now.

      Maybe they're just doing some intensive testing. 

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

      Habanero Salsa Rolling out any day, now... 

      Like 1
    • YNAB tells you in no uncertain terms that you cannot trust your budget when red overspending is present and to cover it as soon as possible.

       

      dakinemaui it only tells you this if you view the details of a budget category. And it does not yell you why you cannot trust your budget or inform you how to deal with it. Despite having red categories, this is the first month that I have noticed the message.

       

       The reimbursement documentation is pretty clear to use a credit card if you're not going to fund the category.

       

      I wasn't aware there were any docs. There doesn't appear to be any reference to them from the ynab app?  Unless you know exactly what to search for in the topic search? In this case I didn't know I wanted to know about reimbursements until reading this forum post. What I was searching for was what was happening with rolling negative balances.

      Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Boat the support documentation is right there on the website. If you click on the ? in the web app there is a search box where you can just type in the word reimbursement and it will take you to the reimbursement documentation. In the mobile app you can just click help in the bottom right and it will give you links to all the help documentation.

      Like
    • jenmas that's what I'm saying. Only if you already know what you want to search for. Until you search for something, there is no indication that there is documentation there. None of the default resources  shown before searching point to the docs.  

      Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Boat I'm very confused. You said you didn't know you wanted to know about reimbursements. If you were having an issue with managing reimbursements in your budget, how could you not know that you needed to search for documentation on reimbursements? If your problem is something other than how to handle reimbursements, then the reimbursement documentation isn't going to help you. And if you were unsure where to look, why didn't you email YNAB support?

      Like
  • I've been trying to follow this thread and I was wondering if there is a useful comparison of the two sides of this discussion written down in one place. It has been so long since I switched from YNAB4 to YNAB I cannot really remember what I am missing.  

    Green Wizard said:
    Even if I went over in a category, it was okay because I had enough money overall in my accounts that it was a drop in the bucket compared to my overall budget AND with the red arrow I knew exactly which areas of my budget were giving me problems and I could easily track them by the red balances instead of losing them at the end of each month.

    Surely the idea is not to go over with any bucket at anytime, YNAB is not about having a month-end process and relying on the red-arrows, but it is a lifestyle choice. The inference of having a single red arrow is that you do not have enough money in other envelopes to spend on everything you had planned for the month. This feels more like playing month-end wack-a-mole plan accurate and honest budgetting. The problem is you have too much money and therefore do not really need a budgetting tool like YNAB, there is no consequence to overspending. There are many YNAB users living hand-to-mouth and one single red-arrow would mean having to make very conscious decisions about how to cut back in other areas.

    Like
      • Habanero Salsa
      • Second generation user
      • Aquamarine_Pony.8
      • 10 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view
      • iwaddo
      • iwaddo77
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Habanero Salsa You could try.... I'd like to hear what they are, what is it I am missing not having the red-arrows?

      Like
    • iwaddo I don't think there is ever a problem of having too much money ... and YNAB is a budgeting tool.  It's meant to provide someone a way to view their money in a way that changes habits.  Some need to see it one way and others another way.  Just as those who are living "hand-to-mouth" I need to be able to see my money in a way that affects my habits positively.  If I didn't have that then I would very soon be living "hand-to-mouth".  What many of us are saying is that the "red arrow" was a tool we used in a positive way.  It is partially because of the red arrow that I no longer have to live "hand-to-mouth".  Add to that the fact that it makes it possible for us to easily manage reimbursements, which I do regularly for extended family excursions, reimbursements from my husband's work & our health expenses as well as managing money for my children that are "off budget" for me and I think many of us make a good case to bring it back.  

      Like
      • Habanero Salsa
      • Second generation user
      • Aquamarine_Pony.8
      • 10 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      iwaddo Sure, I'll try. I don't have "too much money." I have enough to pay my bills and to put some toward future expenses and an emergency fund. I need a budgeting tool like YNAB, or at least YNAB4, because that's part of what has me in the position of building my categories and my account balances. There are consequences for overspending: I need to spend less on that category next month and, less tangibly, my Emergency Fund isn't quite a full as it looks to be. That's a risk, but it's a known risk.

      Without the red arrow, I'm in the position of implementing it manually, which is more likely to lead to errors. Further, not having it complicates reimbursements with my roommates.

      No one was forced to use the red arrow. It wasn't the default. I completely understand that it's never coming back, but YNAB is a less useful product for me without it, or at least without some coherent replacement functionality.

      Like 3
  • iwaddo said:
    the two sides of this discussion

    As I see it, it boils down to those with "enough" money dislike the inconvenience of reallocating funds to explicitly cover a shortage until more money arrives. YNAB's stance is it's contrary to their methodology of accurate category balances, which is crucial to success for anyone not in the first class of users. The YNAB bean-counters have decided there are more of the second class than the first, and thus we are where we are today.

    YNAB has already had the "opt-in" approach in the previous product, and they had to deal with the support costs from that second group who were burned by opting in when they shouldn't have. No doubt this figured into YNAB's decision to nix it completely.

    My personal feeling is YNAB should have simply done a better job of educating people as to the ramifications and left the opt-in capability. If someone wants to shoot themselves in the foot, that's their business. I also recognize it's easy to be ideological when I don't have to foot the bill -- support costs or negative fallout when someone invariably does shoot themselves in the foot. YNAB doesn't have that luxury and I believe has decided it's safer to write off the smaller market segment.

    Like 3
  • Habanero Salsa said:
    Without the red arrow, I'm in the position of implementing it manually, which is more likely to lead to errors. Further, not having it complicates reimbursements with my roommates.

    Could I please ask you to explain what 'it' is? What is 'it' that you are in a position of implementing manually?

    I understand that the red-arrow can make managing reimbursements easier but for me it distorted my Income vs Outgoings so I much prefer to transfer the debt into an on-budget asset and keep it away from categories altogether - I never used red-arrows when they existed - a personal choice I know.

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

      iwaddo "It" is the red arrow functionality of automatically carrying negative balances into next month's balances.

      If you don't like the red arrow, for whatever reason, there's no compulsion to use it. It was, in fact, not the default and YNAB4's default behavior had to be changed in order to use it.

      Like
      • iwaddo
      • iwaddo77
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Habanero Salsa Thank you.  So if you have one or more categories with a negative balance because you have overspent and chosen to not fund them from the emergency fund this month how do you know your true position in the current month? How can you confidently carry on spending in other areas when the red-arrows are telling you that you have already overspent?

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

      iwaddo As I wrote before, I know that my Emergency Fund isn't quite as full as it appears. However. if I get to the point of draining my Emergency Fund such that this is an issue, all of my categories will be under additional scrutiny.

      I can confidently carry on spending because I have enough in my Emergency Fund to cover the overage. The difference now is that I must go through the busywork of moving the money this month then moving it back next month. That busywork doesn't change the financial reality of how much money I have available, or don't, it simply forces me to acknowledge to YNAB what I already know, to no advantage to me.

      Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 10 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      iwaddo if my overspend is less than half of one percent of my total budget, it doesn't really matter and the convenience of the red arrow is of higher priority than the accuracy of reallocating from a different category. Especially if it's a case of ordering 6 pairs of black shoes from Zappos to figure out which one fits and then sending 5 (heck even 6) pairs back for a full refund (yes I once ordered over $1000 worth of black sandals and returned all but 1 pair at $59.99 because I have hard to fit feet).

      Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 10 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view
      Habanero Salsa said:
      That busywork doesn't change the financial reality of how much money I have available, or don't

      I think most importantly, your spending decisions elsewhere in the budget are identical regardless of whether EF funds are reallocated or not. That's why it's legitimately considered "busywork" by the users who want this.

      Like 1
      • Habanero Salsa
      • Second generation user
      • Aquamarine_Pony.8
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Exactly right. This is form over substance bit-pushing which isn't helpful and may be detrimental if I make a typo while trying to address it.

      Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 10 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Habanero Salsa Playing devil's advocate, I think YNAB is thinking about new users who don't have an emergency fund or maybe even Rule 2 funds and use the feature anyway to their detriment. They are forcing awareness to where these funds are coming from.

      Like 1
      • iwaddo
      • iwaddo77
      • 10 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      jenmas Hi, sorry to hear about your feet 😉. The online industry is really encouraging people to conveniently over order and try on at home, I do it myself. I know people that over order to avoid the delivery charge then send back the items they never ever intended to keep. Not sure how this is helping our planet, but hey ho :-)

      I do understand your point but the question I have for you and Habanero Salsa  is how do you see the wood from the trees. How do you know which red-arrow is less than half of one percent so you can ignore it or which ones are a serious problem that have to be dealt with.

      For me the overspending indicator (yes, the YNAB web app desperately needs the same indicators as the mobile apps) are a sign something is wrong, it might only be a few pounds but by correcting it I know I am on-top and in-control.  Habanero Salsa  this is not busy work, especially on the mobile app as I have my emergency find pinned to the top, this is work required to ensure I do not spend beyond my reach.

      It is like having hundreds of unread emails in your inbox. How do you know when the one that has just arrived is an important one, in fact with that many how do you know that one has even arrived. This is how I see having loads of red arrows but I accept it is a personal choice.

      Like 1
      • Habanero Salsa
      • Second generation user
      • Aquamarine_Pony.8
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Superbone Which is fine. Those users don’t have to handle things the way other users do, do they?

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

      iwaddo I know how much income I have. I know how much is in my categories. I know how much is in my emergency fund. I know how much my expenses, and my share of the collective expenses, are. Again, whether I leave a category in the red and let it roll over to next month or cover it this month and make adjustments next month, I’m still in the exact same financial condition. 
       

      It’s busywork for me. If you want to handle it differently, I’m certainly not going to try to stop you. For me, moving $30 from my emergency fund to clothing in December, just to go into January and enter a -$30 in clothing and a +$30 in emergency fund is busywork. 
       

      The “loads of red arrows” is mostly a strawman, but no one is advocating that you have even a single red arrow. Or that anyone else have even one red arrow. 

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

      Habanero Salsa They do not. But they will and they have.

      Which is fine. Those users don’t have to handle things the way other users do, do they?

      YNAB doesn't want these users running around with scissors.

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

      Superbone Which is obviously their choice, but a world without scissors because some people hurt themselves is a net negative. And probably goes a long way toward explaining why they have no coherent system-supported reimbursement process. 
       

      Nothing they’ve done prevents the underlying issue, though. 

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

      Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, the nYNAB philosophy has been to cater to the lowest common denominator. Us expert users are forced to use the toolkit and adapt using workarounds. At least they have agreed that reimbursements is an issue to be addressed.

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

      Habanero Salsa You're preaching to the choir. Unfortunately, the pastor doesn't agree and is a bit pig-headed! Her suggestion box frustrates me as well.

      Like
      • Habanero Salsa
      • Second generation user
      • Aquamarine_Pony.8
      • 10 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Superbone Yes, I get their apparent target market (which, perhaps paradoxically, is the market probably least likely to be able to afford the ongoing subscription) and that change is apparently actively resisted. I was just trying to answer questions about what I think I’m missing out on by manually emulating the red arrow. 

      Like 3
  • iwaddo said:
    How do you know which red-arrow is less than half of one percent so you can ignore it or which ones are a serious problem that have to be dealt with.

    Because I know that my total budget contains $X. It's right there at the top of my list of accounts and takes into account the balances on my credit cards. I know how much I've overspent because it's right there in red. I can tell at a glance the magnitude of the issue and I don't need pinpoint math accuracy to know that an overspend of $Y is no big deal in my budget because my Loss of Income category balance is literally 1000*$Y.

    Also, to be quite frank, I don't overspend my categories because I make it a point to live well below my means. I let my clothing category get overspent because I do over order because stores in my area don't carry my shoe size and it's a convenience. And I overspend my reimbursable category because I don't budget to it; I file my work expense reports every 2 weeks and get reimbursed within 5 days. Yes that system could break down, but at that point in time, I would in fact take funds from another category.

    Like 3
  • Habanero Salsa said:
    The “loads of red arrows” is mostly a strawman

    None of us end-users know how common "red arrow abuse" really was in YNAB 4. I have my doubts whether the company even knows -- I doubt they collected any reliable analytic data around this. Reading between the lines, they seem to base a lot of design decisions around anecdotal feedback received in training sessions and customer support interactions.

    I do remember reading red-arrow horror stories on the old forum -- well-intentioned users whose budgets were lit up in red, seeking help and wondering why their finances weren't improving despite months of dedicated budgeting. It's easy to mock and dismiss those users -- "they should have known better", "they did it to themselves", etc. -- but evidently this happened often enough that the company felt it warranted a change in the software design. C'est la vie.

    Like 1
      • Habanero Salsa
      • Second generation user
      • Aquamarine_Pony.8
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      bret No one here is advocating “loads of red arrows.” No one from YNAB ever did, either, as I understand it. The examples here are of spending that could be covered but for which doing so is purely administrative folderol.
       

      People can abuse just about any software, even when the bits they abuse aren’t the default behavior. “I made the text in my Word document white, why isn’t it printing? Your software sucks!” I’m sure YNAB didn’t get a lot of support interactions like, “Just checking in to let you know I’m using the red arrow responsibly.” 
       

      But, for the bajillionth time, I get why YNAB did what they did and that the arrow isn’t coming back. And, yes, it’s easy to for me to dismiss people who do things they don’t understand and only ask about it later, particularly when their ignorance drags down other users, but I’m not the one trying to make a living catering to that market. 

      Like
      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 10 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Habanero Salsa They’re making a damn good living catering to that market. The only time I got numbers (before they started this forum, and I still talked to higher ups because the support staff here hadn’t ticked me off yet), nYNAB subscriptions outnumbered YNAB 4 purchases by almost 100 to 1. I can only assume it’s gotten even bigger in the last four years.

      Let’s face it. Most YNAB users now can barely figure out cleared balances, much less how to balance their budget with carried overspending. We all have to live with being outnumbered. 

      Like 2
      • Habanero Salsa
      • Second generation user
      • Aquamarine_Pony.8
      • 10 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor Oh, I’m sure they are. There’s no point selling out if you can’t sell. 

      Like 1
  • Such drama 

    Like 3
  • Just to simplify this.  Let's use the simple case of work expenses on my credit card which, in my case, fluctuate wildly, but average $2000/month on my own card. 

    Under the old YNAB4, the key underlying philosophy was "live off last month's income".  Since I got myself on track and ahead years ago, I'm filling out my January budget with my December income. I know that if I process my expenses on time, I'll get the $2000 back in the next month. I do not want those expenses to come out of my budget. I use the red arrow to pull those expenses out of the budget, which I know will be covered by the reimbursement cheque in the next month. I can continue to "live off last month's income while carrying an expenses "debt" because I trust the reimbursement is coming.  I'm carrying it forward and pulling the expenses out of budget. Essentially treating it like an offsetting "debt" and "asset" off of household finances.

    Under the new YNAB, the expectation is that I "fund" the expense category first with $2000.  So I have to move the money there first.  The philosophy now is not "live off last month's income" but "age your money". I get this. But if you are in a position where you are comfortable considering some of your spending as off the Income/Expense statement in accounting speak, then it really is a pain and it's messier in terms of understanding where my budget is at.

    The new YNAB really is patronizing in this sense and does remove some control features from the user. Although I do agree that buying 6 pairs of shoes to return 5 later probably should not be seen as an expense to carry over off budget from month to month, it is personal preference if one wants to.  dakinemaui speaks of the underlying principles of YNAB, but these are actually NEW principles with the web version and I wonder if they are based in web coding convenience rather than best practice.  

    Like
  • Tronbone said:
    Under the new YNAB, the expectation is that I "fund" the expense category first with $2000. 

    That is hardly mandatory, and probably the lesser used option. I mean, most people simply cannot carve off thousands of dollars for large work expenses in the first place. The expense is covered by debt until the payment comes in.

    Like
  • If you are a month ahead and your categories sometimes go negative because of the dates...I get this.

    You budgeted $500 for rent in Nov and when Dec's rent comes out on Nov 30th instead of Dec 1st you have a negative balance. To fix this just have two months budgeted. 

    For example: Let's say you have $1000 budgeted for rent in Nov. When Nov rent comes out, you still have a $500 available balance to cover for Dec. So if it comes out on Nov 30, you have a $0 available balance. Then in Dec you budget $500 which gives you a $500 available balance so that if Jan rent comes out Dec 31st, then available balance is $0. 

    Does that make sense?

    Like
  • Green Piranha said:
    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. 

     This really gets to the heart of the matter.

    If it "looks like" you don't have money to cover a potential crash -- and you "know" you don't -- then why do you want YNAB to lie to you about it? Sometimes the truth is unpleasant, but hiding from it won't help.

    I'm sympathetic to the argument that, sometimes, it's just a matter of convenience. You're willing to (temporarily!) sacrifice some accuracy in your budget to avoid the busy-work of adjusting multiple categories, especially if you expect to undo those adjustments a few days/weeks later.

    But when there's no clear timeline for resolving the shortfall -- just a vague commitment to "spend a few months catching up" -- that's a pretty clear violation of Rule-3. The money has to come from somewhere. YNAB wants you to grapple with that fact, not hide from it.

    Like 11
    • bret I think you're missing the point I was making.  It looks like I have little money to do anything *in that  category*.  I can cover the crash because I have things stocked up in other categories, and a months worth (and more) of savings outside in my "to be budgeted".  I just want the money I saved for tires, oil, etc to stay in those categories and allow my future crash budget to  take a hit.  Rather than shuffling and removing all my to be budgeted to cover it, since I have so much saved elsewhere I can do that.

      I'm not running my accounts to zero and going into debt with this method. It's really just a visual (and annoyance) preference and let's me keep my budget in my head better than having to shuffle all the time.  I honestly consider it a loan to myself.  So imagine if a mortgage from the bank meant YNAB forced you to all of a sudden allocate $300k to the loan category at the end of the month, that's how I feel.

      The fact that we've picked the arbitrary month to argue about is dumb to me.  Why not a week, or two months, or 3 months.  Imagine if you had to cover negative budget balances on a weekly basis, it would be out of control, and that's how i feel with the month. The fact that an unexpected thing happening on the 31st will cause me to update a bunch of categories only to put the money back on the 1st is ridiculous not to mention the very specific thing I want to do.

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

    I feel like some folks just don’t see the ongoing practical use case for the red arrow.  Examples from my budget:

    I get my haircut every 6 months.  I have $300 in my Hair Care category.  The actual cost ends up being $325.  So HairCare is $-25.  I let that ride with the red arrow.  The following month, I allocate $125 to the category, balance is now $100 and I will fund accordingly so in 6 months I have $350. 
     

    I pay $70 for take out dinner on my Credit Card but husband should be paying so my Dining Out category *may* be over by $70 at the end of the month.  The red arrow reminds me to follow up with husband re: reimbursement.  This is a Rihanna situation so I need a visual reminder to get the funds back.

    I’ve mentioned the airline situation before. I try to put a hefty amount in this category but when Google Flights tells me that the airfare is good, I’m buying and I’m usually no more than $200-250 short.  I let that negative ride and it’s covered within two months because the red indicator shows me the funding priority.  
     

    This how I’ve run my budget for last five since becoming debt free and buffered.  It works well for me. Can’t speak for anyone else. 

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

      Agent99 I think most, if not all of us totally understand the practicality.  That encompasses the "good use" of the red arrow.  It's just the fact that you're in essence loaning yourself money, in that category at least.  Since you have the "collateral" in other categories and can pay yourself back in 1-2 months, it works.  It's when you THINK you can pay yourself back and turn the arrow around, and oops, you can't.  And then you find you did it in a few too many categories.  And then a reimbursement doesn't come through before you have to pay the bill, and so on.

      Personally for me, I used the red arrow a lot. And it was in ways I should have, and probably shouldn't have.  But the entire time I understood what I was doing, so it was in nowhere near the "Call tech support! I'm broke!" level.  I never WAMed, as I felt like that was cheating, and just kept kicking the can or reducing my available funds for the next month until sometimes there was barely anything left. 

      In switching 4 years ago I adjusted to the idea of WAMming not being cheating, but changing priorities.  I don't miss the red arrow because I've found simple ways around it.  I smooth out recurring expenses with some of the new goals.  I've also just WAMmed a $25 overspend like your example, and then reduced next month's contribution by $25.  Reimbursements I track in an accounts receivable account that contains funny money, which is essentially what the red arrow represents.

      It's a workflow that is a little more interactive than clicking an arrow, but it does make me feel more secure and accountable, even if I have a funny money account that glares at me as much as a red number would.  I'm not arguing for or against, because I see and have been on both sides of it.  I just made the choice to go with the flow and adapt.

      Like 2
    • Annieland I think funny money is far worse than the red arrow. It achieves the same thing while completely masking what you are doing.  It's like the worst of both arguments for those for and against the red arrow no?

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

      Green Piranha Maybe it is.  I only mention it in threads like these, not ever as a general recommendation.  Just as the red-arrow users here know how to use it responsibly, I know my receivables account is only for temporary tracking and is to be used very sparingly.  It is empty at least 80% of the time.  That's like the occasional red arrow, for me. But I don't do it with spending categories.

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

      Green Piranha Oh, and it doesn't mask anything.  I look at my accounts regularly.  And just seeing a balance in there means someone still owes me money, or I still have to file for a reimbursement.  It's just in the accounts side and not a funky color.

      Like
    • Annieland Doesn't mess up the income reports?

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

      Green Piranha Not really.  It's usually money budgeted directly to a category, so it almost makes the report more accurate as it doesn't show excessive spending on a reimbursable expense.  But again, this money is in there 1-2 weeks at most, and it's like, 1-3 transactions at a given time, but usually 0.  Otherwise, I just exclude it if I'm checking on a report and need an up-to-the-minute snapshot.

      Like
      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Annieland I finally decided to check out this never-ending thread and I learned about this trick of using a reimbursement account that I'm going to start using, so thanks for sharing!  I have been using a reimbursements group with various categories with my fiance, using split transactions and most of our spending on a shared CC, but I have been budgeting money to those categories because I don't want them to be red, even if it's CC spending.  I don't like seeing red in my budget!  But that means I have to have a bunch of my money that is categorized into stuff it doesn't actually need to be categorized into, just holding the place to keep my budget pretty and thus make me happy, basically. 

      I've learned so many cool tricks from this forum, thanks!  Glad I braved this thread, that seems like there is a lot of shall we say, strongly held opinions, so I had been avoiding it because I honestly don't have a problem with there being no red arrow in nYNAB, even though I actually was a YNAB3 user and I remember the red arrow, or having to chose if the arrow should go down or go to the right.  I WAM my red categories ASAP because I don't want those red arrows, but with reimbursements, it's always bothered me that my money is tied up basically just keeping my budget from going red while I wait for reimbursement.  Since I do most of my spending on CCs and have plenty of money in various other TE's and my E-fund, at this point I'm not worried about becoming behind because of my reimbursements, thanks to using YNAB religiously for the past year.  I started on the CC float and now I have $20k cash in my various cash accounts, which is the first time in my life I've had that much money, and I'm debt free except the mortgage, although I cheated by rolling my last $9k of HEL into my refinance last month! 

      Anyways, thanks Annieland, and the other folks above who have mentioned the on budget reimbursements account option.  Great idea!

      Like
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