Workaround for lack of "Income for Next Month" in YNAB

Why is this gone?!?! 

I have a one month buffer. In other words, all of the money I am spending this February, I actually earned in January.  But with the latest version of YNAB, I have found it is very easy to budget (and then spend) funds in the same month I receive them. 

For example, this month I realized my power bill was higher than I thought, but when I upped the budget, it appeared as though I had plenty of cash to cover it (which I do, but I would prefer to use those funds in March, and simply reduce another category in February to cover it). 

My personal workaround has been to take all the income I receive in the current month and budget it toward the top category for the next month. 

In my case, that is mortgage. Then, when the new month rolls around I disperse those funds throughout the budget how I really want to spend them. 

It works, but just seems kind of silly to have to do this. 

 

Any better ideas out there? 

 

PS - Developers, why take this useful function away?

33replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • Please see a rather comprehensive discussion on the topic here:

    https://support.youneedabudget.com/t/63pgpp

    Reply Like 1
      • Matt Tanner
      • Khaki_Sidewinder
      • 1 yr ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule Wow, okay had not found that yet. At least I now know I wasn't going crazy or "missing something". 

      Would love to see this fixed someday but not holding my breath. 

      Thanks for sharing (although it was kind of depressing to read). 

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

      Matt Tanner Feel free to add to the discussion. There are a lot of us that feel the way you do.

      Reply Like 4
  • I don't expect this to be fixed any time soon.  What I do is record all inflows to a category I call "Buffer," then schedule a split transaction with net zero, outflow from Buffer, inflow to TBB, for the first of next month.  Amount of the outflow/inflow is the amount of income I want to budget next month.  Any excess in Buffer can be kicked further into the future, used to fund an investment category, or (in my case as a retiree) used to reduce the amount of budget income I need to draw from investments next month.

    Others have argued that I am making my reports inaccurate; but I don't rely on YNAB reports so that doesn't bother me.   In any event, any distortion would be to income (which I am deliberately managing) or Buffer (which I would know to ignore in the reports.)  I am also apparently changing my Age of Money, but I can't make AoM any less meaningful than it was already.

    Reply Like 3
  • I've used YNAB4 for 8-9 years,  and I can't believe that nYNAB doesn't allow "Income for next month".  This has effectively broken YNAB for me, and many many of us think this way.  Please can this be reinstated?  Has anyone come up with a satisfactory work around?  Some kind of "holding category" simply causes additional hassle and serves the sole purpose of compensating for what is clearly a retrograde step in the software.  Jesse, what is the rationale for making users fiddle to get around removal of a central feature in YNAB?  It simply does not work properly now.  And nothing is gained by not allowing users to "wall-off" income to next month.  Sorry for the obvious frustration here- I think the web app does show some promise and some improvements.  Thanks

    Reply Like 3
    • Hi Wayne_V !

      Welcome to the online version of YNAB!

       While YNAB 4 gave you the option to assign income to This Month or Next Month, we believe your funds should be budgeted where you need them. In YNAB, you can now assign your dollars in whatever month works best for you in your budget.

      If you're worried about the ability to budget for the whole month at once or a group of paychecks at once, you can still do that. A "holding category" in a future month would work in a similar manner.

      1. When you receive a check that you aren't ready to budget, but want to send to the next month, simply go to the next month and budget it to a deferred income category you have created.

      2. When you are ready to budget, move everything in that category to To be Budgeted. Then budget to zero and give those dollars jobs!

      I understand this seems like an extra step, but where YNAB 4 limited you to budgeting in this month or next month, YNAB lets you budget as far ahead as you'd like.

      Reply Like 2
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 4 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness Is there any advantage or reason for that method versus budgeting it to a deferred income category this month and then when ready to budget, releasing the funds to TBB and budgeting next month to zero? I like that I can set up my recurring paychecks to automatically go to my deferred income category which I couldn’t do with your method.

      Reply Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 4 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Superbone Yeah, why exactly do it in the next month? Generally you're in the present month. Extra clicks.

      Reply Like 1
    • Superbone The results are the same, the process of "releasing the funds to TBB" is the difference. In the approach I mentioned above, the funds are already categorized as Inflow: To Be Budgeted and the Budgeted amount just needs to be deleted for the funds to appear once you reach the new month.

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

      Faness I think you missed the point of the question. The question is not about whether  to categorize an inflow transaction to a "funds for next month" category vs Inflow: TBB, it's about in which budget month to move the money from TBB to the "holding category."  

      Your steps above suggest 1) receive money in October, categorize as Inflow:TBB; 2) click forward to November; 3) move money from TBB to [income holding category]; 

      The more logical workflow is 1) receive money in October, categorize as Inflow:TBB; 2) move money from TBB to [holding category] while still in the October budget page. 

      Reply Like 1
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 4 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Vibrant I even cut out the middle man when I receive my paychecks and categorize them as Income for Next Month directly.  So, it's only one step instead of two:

      1) Receive money in October, categorize as Income for Next Month.

      I do this using recurring transactions for my paychecks.

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

      Superbone  but then you must recategorize them as Inflow: TBB when the month rolls over? 

      Reply Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 4 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Vibrant You don't have too, but if you want accurate reporting, then yes.

      Reply Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 3 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Vibrant Yes. I actually do it before the month rolls over. Usually after my last check of the month hits. I then re-categorize to TBB and then budget next month.

      Reply Like
    • Vibrant The way I suggested puts those funds in the month you intend to use them, that way you don't have to budget a negative amount to move those funds to a different category - you also don't have to re-categorize them like in the method Superbone uses. It's more of a mirror of the Income for Next Month option since you're physically sending those funds to next month.

      The results are all similar, this is just the workflow support came up with when asked about the feature.

      Reply Like 1
  • Faness said:
    A "holding category" in a future month would work in a similar manner

     Thank you Faness.  I do understand that this is the standard YNAB answer but I do think it is inaccurate. A holding category, deferred income (however one says it) does not work in a similar manner to "Income next month".  The reason is that YNAB still allows you to categorize and spend those funds this month, and unless you go to next month's budget, you would never know you are spending funds that need to be reserved..  So the "holding category" requires you to always budget to zero all months all the time.  I want to budget next month when I'm ready.  In YNAB4 there was a simple elegant solution: "Income next month". nYNAB could just add "Income Nov", " Income Dec" etc, if more months are needed to budget ahead.  For me, I've used YNAB4 continuously since 2012 and never felt the need to assign income more than one month ahead.

    Reply Like 3
  • nolesrule said:
    You don't have too, but if you want accurate reporting, then yes.

     I'm just getting started again with nynab and was planning on stashing the buffer in it's own category. I've seen this reporting comment a few times. Can you describe what methods lead to what inaccuracy's? 

    Reply Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 3 days ago
      • Reported - view

      timgabrhel Categorizing the inflow directly to your Income Next Month holding category, which requires the least amount of effort when stashing the income over the course of the month, will show up as a "negative" expense in reports instead of income. To fix this, the income transactions need to be recategorized at some point.

      If you manually budget the income from TBB to the holding category, it's not an issue, but then you have to manually budget the income.

      Reply Like
      • Ceeses
      • Ceeses
      • 3 days ago
      • Reported - view

      timgabrhel If you categorise to Income Next Month directly and just move the money to TBB before budgeting it, the income part of the Income vs. Expenses report will appear blank. All your income will appear as 1 number on the Income Next Month category line, so you can't quickly tally your income per source. But the overall balance (income - expense) will still be correct. So if it doesn't bother you to see your income as 1 total number and entered negative, then it doesn't necessarily matter.

      Reply Like
  • I just put all my "extra" funds from paychecks for next month into a category I call "money for next month" and then when the month rolls over, I move it to TBB and budget from there.  Having used ynab for 9 months or so now, I know what my average monthly expenditure is, so I can eyeball that "money for next month" category and know if I can even wam from it a bit now and then.  

    I have occasionally budgeted that money 3 weeks before the start of the new month for which it is intended, but that makes for a pain if I need to pull any money back into the current month because of an unexpected expense. So I now tend to leave it until the 20th or so.

    This seems to work fine. What am I missing?

    Reply Like
  • I use a category for "income next month".  However, I receive income first into TBB, then move it to my holding category.  When I'm ready to budget for the following month, I move everything in the income holding category to TBB and then allocate in the following month.  It is extra steps, but anything that you want to be counted as "income" in reporting has to go through TBB to show up correctly on the report.  I do use the income vs. expense report extensively so I want the income figures to be correct.

    As I recall, there were some folks who were very vocal about being limited to only 1 month ahead in YNAB4, and I believe that this was the reason for the wide open TBB option in the current version.  Now people complain that they want the "income next month" option back.  There are things that I would like to see improved in YNAB, but I'm sympathetic to Jesse on this one.  It really doesn't cause me any problem.

    Reply Like 1
      • a_different_joel
      • Amused by the incorrigible nYNAB
      • A_different_joel
      • 3 days ago
      • Reported - view

      @bobbucy no one asked for the walled months to get blown away though.  Which is an important component of assigning income to months, I think.

      Reply Like
      • bobbucy
      • Tomato_Snow_237e7f17927
      • 2 days ago
      • Reported - view

      a_different_joel I understand what you're saying.  However, it was a drop down selection in a menu with options for current month or next month.  So if you're going to add more selections, then how many months into the future is enough to satisfy everybody - 3 months?  6 months?  12 months?  The point is that whatever number of months was provided, somebody would have complained that it wasn't enough.  Nothing is perfect, but I understand the reasoning behind the design that was settled upon.

      Reply Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      bobbucy Well, really there's two options here.

      1. One month is enough, regardless of how many users complain. This has been discussed ad nauseum, and even the general advice for people budgeting ahead is only to go one month ahead for many different reasons, but the top ones being practicality and focus.

      2. Let the user pick the number of months they want in a setting rather than hardcode it. The trick here of course is that a user could change the setting at anytime, so it needs to be backward compatible in case they go below some number they've already used.

      This can all still be done while keeping the open flow across months for people who want the open flow.

      Reply Like 1
      • bobbucy
      • Tomato_Snow_237e7f17927
      • 2 days ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule I agree with you completely on the first point, but there were people posting in the forum who wanted to budget like 12 months out.  It didn't make any sense, but they were going to keep complaining no matter what.

      I agree on your 2nd point that there probably is a development solution in there somewhere that would be the best of both worlds.  However, it did take YNAB ~4 years to provide the option to open and close a split transaction.  If I recall, I think that the toolbox team did that in the first month that they started working on it.

      Reply Like 3
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 days ago
      • Reported - view

      bobbucy People will always find something to complain about. 😉

      Reply Like
  • My current approach is to do the following:

    In my budget I have a Master Category called "Buffer" (I may rename this)

    It has 12 subcategories - one for each month.

    • January
    • February
    • March
    • etc.

    All income  gets categorized as Income: To Be Budgeted

    I then immediately budget it to the category for the next calendar month.  In that calendar month budget, I release it back to TBB using a negative budgeted amount.

    For example:

    • I get a paycheck of $1000 on September 5.  It gets categorized as "Income: To Be Budgeted".  I now have $1000 in "To Be Budgeted"
    • In the September 2019 budget, I budget $1000 in the Category "Buffer" - Subcategory "October".  This is because I will budget this money for October.  I now have $0 in "To be Budgeted"
    • This money now sits in that category until the calendar changes to October (or I'm ready to budget October)
    • In the October 2019 budget, I then budget -$1000 in the Category "Buffer" - Subcategory "October". this releases $1000 back into "To be budgeted".  I now allocate those dollars to specific categories.
    • Effectively, I am using the old approach of budget income for next month.

    Note, I used to have only one sub-category but it was too confusing. Then I had month A and month B which was also confusing (one category was positive one month then negative the next and vice-versa).  Eventually, I saw somewhere - either here or on reddit or the old forum about setting about a different sub-category for each month directly.  (I think that post suggested using emoji's with clock faces)

    I also hide each monthly subcategory EXCEPT for the "prior month", "current month" and "next month".  For example as of October 11, I have only three sub-categories not hidden: "September", "October" and "November".
     

    Reply Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 3 days ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      louisw Wow. That would be huge overkill for me. One category called "Income for Next Month" does the trick for me. All other funds are in short/medium/long term categories. For example, I have 6 months of funds in my Emergency Fund category. That's currently my largest category although my Freedom Fund is catching up.

      Reply Like 2
  • What's their argument against making any option to assign income to any month you want? Seems like with that option you could do it the way they want you to do it, or for those that want to assign it to future months there's an option to do that?

    Reply Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • yesterday
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Spring Green Cobra Something about how it forces you to mess with the transaction if you want your money to change months after you assign it.

      I'm of the opinion that money should stay in the month to which it is assigned and it should require a deliberate act by the budgeter to change the month. Right now money can change months accidentally.

      Reply Like 1
  • bobbucy said:
    then how many months into the future is enough to satisfy everybody

    I imagined a Month/Year picker (ugly... perhaps, but functional, likely), and used to want this... but have since been convinced that, as nolesrule states, one month is enough.  I don't think they intentionally honored user requests on this though, rather it fits with their new system is all.

    Reply Like
Like7 Follow
  • 7 Likes
  • 10 hrs agoLast active
  • 33Replies
  • 3657Views
  • 16 Following