A small annoyance: "Fix This"

 I budget on the first of the month based on the total of two checks with set amounts: one arrives on the first of the month and a second arrives about 2 weeks in. 

I'm REALLY tired of looking at the big red message "You assigned more than you have...Fix This" for 2 weeks until the second check arrives.

Because it's so dramatically styled, this message reads like a command  ("FIX THIS!") , rather than an invitation ("Fix this?").

I realize that YNAB doesn't want me to allocate funds I don't yet have, but could you please revert to a less distracting, commanding message? 

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  • It's commanding you to follow Rule 1. YNAB the software is designed to implement YNAB the budget method. People who use it in ways other than how it's designed should expect a little hand slapping.

    Like 6
  • Learn the Buffered workflow. Then, you'll get to budget your whole month at a time while also only using money you have, allowing you to trust all your categories at all times.

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    • Move Light Sound Life The 2 checks I receive are a pension and a social security check.  Adjustments to the amounts are made only once a year, and I have at least 2 months notice.  I can depend on the amounts I budget arriving every month. 

      As long as the amount in "You've assigned more than you have" doesn't exceed the amount of my social security check which arrives mid-month, I know I'm good, and within budget.  I keep my emergency fund at the same bank as my checking account, so if needed I can pull money from there.  (I literally can't remember the last time I needed to do this.)

      This approach has worked for me for over 4 years in YNAB.  I'm not objecting to YNAB alerting me that I've budgeted money I don't yet have, I'm just asking if they can do it more quietly.  Do I really have to look at this for 2 weeks out of every month: 

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    • Sea Green Sun (ccf0a561a083) If you don't want to reallocate from your emergency fund category (it is on budget, right) to facilitate the Buffered workflow, there are other techniques you can use to get rid of the red. The problem with those is that they just move the red to another place in the budget, which means your budget is inflated outside of reality for two weeks every month, presumably by $2282.50. That seems like a lot, to me.

      Like
    • Move Light Sound Life Thanks.  But having used YNAB for several years, I've learned the value of budgeting monthly for future major expenses (the roof I may need in 4 years, my next laptop, replacement appliances).  As a result, over 40% of my monthly budget is allocated to categories where nothing will actually be paid out during the current month.   If I do need $ before that 2nd check comes in (which almost never happens!) I transfer the $ from my Emergency funds in savings to checking, make a note, and then transfer the $ back to savings when that 2nd check comes it. 

      Works for me.  The trick is just to make sure that the amount I've over-budgeted in those first 2 weeks of the month never goes over the amount of the mid-month check I'll be receiving.

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      • Vibrant
      • No more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars
      • vibrant
      • 3 mths ago
      • 8
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Sun (ccf0a561a083)but  why not follow the method, just take that money out of the emergency fund once, and never have to think about it again? 

      Like 8
  • I get that.  I don't mind a little hand slapping.  I do mind a big, red, distracting command.

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      • Cirrus
      • Living mobile and solo
      • miriamnz
      • 3 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Sun (ccf0a561a083) Good that you dont like it! If you dont want to do ynab the ynab way, then why complain? Either be patient until you actually have the money, use some set aside dollars to give you the two week buffer, or don't follow the ynab method but accept the red messages that remind you that you are not doing it.

      Your budget is inaccurate for two out of every 4 weeks. You can't trust your category balances, as they are wrong 2 weeks out of 4. Are you doing the rule about checking balances before spending? That rule depends on your categories being accurate.

      There are 4 rules in the ynab method; you've discarded 1,  can't really use the second (as categories aren't accurate half the time).

      I guess  rules 3 and 4 will work, but no, how can you WAM if your balances are out? They might look green when they aren't as they have dollars assigned that have not yet arrived, so you wont know you need to WAM. And if you do know you need to WAM, how can you choose categories to WAM from when the balances are not accurate? So rule 3 is knocked out, practically speaking.

      .Rule 4, ageing money -- well, when money is 'aged' it gets to be relatively easy to get the one month buffer that lets you budget a full month in one go on the 1st. So maybe that rule isn't working for you either.

      Following the 4 rules is the ynab method. It is the process that brings the  mindset change that really gets you in charge of your dollars. You can't think, decide or logically change your mindset, as mindset is embedded in the way we use money. But following the 4 rules does it, and is truly liberating. It starts with considering the money you have, (not what you expect). Using the software doesn't do it. Following the rules does it (with or without the software; the software just makes it easier).

      .Oh well. The software is doing what you want except for the red reminders. Maybe the toolkit can change the colour for you. But really, truly, give the 4 rules a go for 6 months!

      Like 2
  • Sea Green Sun (ccf0a561a083) said:
    If I do need $ before that 2nd check comes in (which almost never happens!) I transfer the $ from my Emergency funds in savings to checking, make a note, and then transfer the $ back to savings when that 2nd check comes it. 

     Just reflect this within your budget and the nagging goes away.  

    When doing monthly allocations at beginning of month:  Assigned -2282.50 from emergency fund.  When second check comes in allocate to emergency fund.  That is what you are doing anyway, why not reflect it? (only works if emergency fund is on budget) Of course it could also be done by just one time taking the 2282.50 from the emergency fund and shifting your budgeting to truly one month ahead.  

    I doubt ynab is going to change this but who knows, they have changed other things i never thought they would. 

    Like 3
  • No. YNAB is going to enforce Rule #1 and in a big way. Also, so easily fixed if you have at least one month's savings of emergency funds.

    Like 6
  • I'm with you. I realise the main goal and fully understand rule 1. but not everyone is one of these "Ive been on YNAB for 3 months and already saved 3,000 and budgeted a month in advance" people - for some of us it'll take years to budget that much in advance - and until then, for a year at least I will not be able to assign money to the full months bills because I rely on a mid month pay date to do most of the second half. the big red obnoxious fix this is annoying. if memory serves it never used to be that "in your face" 

    Like 1
  • Cornflower Blue Mixer said:
    and until then, for a year at least I will not be able to assign money to the full months bills because I rely on a mid month pay date to do most of the second half.

     Yes, that's how it is supposed to work.

     

    Cornflower Blue Mixer said:
    the big red obnoxious fix this is annoying. if memory serves it never used to be that "in your face" 

     Perhaps they decided to make it more "in your face" because people were using YNAB incorrectly. And using it incorrectly means you can't actually rely on it to tell you what you want it to tell you. You cannot make a plan for the money you have if it includes money you do not have.

    Like 4
    • nolesrule but I think the point is - for those that don't use it correctly. its a great reminder to "fix" it. but there are plenty of us that do things correctly that would like the option to acknowledge that we're aware BUT it won't change anytime soon - so could the big red banner go away. And im aware of how its supposed to work...but i'm saying, that's a year or so with big red "you're doing something wrong"  banners in your face. 

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    • nolesrule To add - doing it the way many do is not "planning with money you don't have" - its saying I have a £50 bill on the 12th of the month, but I'll get paid again on the 11th so for now - until I build up the buffer, I won't allocate money for that bill until the 11th. 

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      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 3 mths ago
      • 7
      • Reported - view

      Cornflower Blue Mixer 

      Cornflower Blue Mixer said:
      its saying I have a £50 bill on the 12th of the month, but I'll get paid again on the 11th so for now - until I build up the buffer, I won't allocate money for that bill until the 11th.

       That is not planning with money you don't have, and YNAB won't yell at you to fix something if you do it that way.

      The problem is when you don't have the money until the 11th but you put it in the category now anyway.

      If you have any negative red in your budget, whether from overspending or overassigned, it means your categories have more money in them than you actually possess. That means you need to fix it because you cannot rely on your category balances.

      If you have the money and you just don't want to move it around in the budget, well, that's on you for not facing up to the reality your budget is telling you. You don't really have all the money in the emergency fund or whatever category, because you've double booked it. So instead of double booking it, just move it and reduce the emergency fund. Build it up as you can.

      The first thing I did when I started YNAB 7 years was raid my emergency fund to live on last months income and get off the credit card float. Did I dislike chopping down my emergency fund by several thousand? Yes. But at least my budget was now accurate and I got over it rather quickly.

      Like 7
    • nolesrule nope. you're not getting it.

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      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 3 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Cornflower Blue Mixer I'm getting it just fine. From your response to Bruce it's you who does not understand how YNAB is supposed to work.

      Cornflower Blue Mixer said:
      i've used ynab Since the very first iteration - nobody is double booking money. I know that money is coming in that month

      And each iteration has been modified to become more in line with the actual YNAB method and the YNAB rules.

      If you have negative red in the budget, you are double booking money. That's what the red means. Relying on future income is something that is outside the YNAB method. It is planning with money you do not have yet.

      Rule 1 is Give every dollar a job. This also means don't give dollars more than one job. Negative red in the budget means dollars have more than one job.

      Like 4
  • Cornflower Blue Mixer said:
    there are plenty of us that do things correctly that would like the option to acknowledge that we're aware BUT it won't change anytime soon - so could the big red banner go away.

     If the big red banner is there, you're not "doing it correctly".  Doing it correctly is saying, "Ok, I have $x on the 1st.  What do those $s need to do until I'm paid next?"  Then you fund those categories, and wait until the next check comes and fund the rest with that check.  At no time during this process did any of your categories turn red (unless you overspent, then you need to cover that by rolling with the punches).

    If you don't feel like moving money from EF (or you don't have enough money in EF to move over) to create a proper 1 month buffer, which will allow you to budget the entire previous month's income in one "budgeting session" then do it as the money comes in.  That's the only way you can trust that the money in any given category is actually available.  And if it takes more than a year, you'll be assigning money multiple times a month until that buffer is available.

    Otherwise your money is double booked, and that's not sustainable.

    Like 4
    • Bruce hey whatever. you don't get it. i've used ynab Since the very first iteration - nobody is double booking money. I know that money is coming in that month - and instead of letting ynab be all orange in its category and yelling at me because its "underfunded" I choose to preallocate. just like the OP.

      what does my money need to until im paid next? precisely what I tell it to. I allocate every single penny - and use it accordingly. I just chose to pre allocate to one bill I know is automatically going out the day I get paid next. My choice. But it clearly wouldn't work with your system and life - and that's cool. I can assure I require zero education on YNAB - I know and use it well enough to have my own intricacies. and because of that - I'd like to get rid of one massive warning. apologies if that upsets you and whoever else replied with an essay above. 

      Like 1
    • Cornflower Blue Mixer said:
      I know and use it well enough to have my own intricacies. and because of that - I'd like to get rid of one massive warning.

      Having your own intricacies which result in that warning means you are not using YNAB as intended with the current set of rules. Period. You can keep using whatever method makes you happy; no one is forcing you to do otherwise. But you have two choices: you can 1) follow the actual current YNAB method which means not budgeting dollars you anticipate coming in and not have to deal with the fix this warning, or 2) budget anticipated dollars/not cover overspending/whatever your "intricacies" are and deal with the fix this warning.

      It doesn't upset any of the people who replied above. They're just trying to correct your mis-perception about how the method and app work - that pre-allocating dollars is not using the method correctly.

      Also - orange underfunded is not yelling at you. It's alerting you. The red, prominent "Fix this"? That's basically yelling at you.

      Like 2
      • Bruce
      • Software Engineer
      • Bruce
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
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      Cornflower Blue Mixer Ok.  

      Cornflower Blue Mixer said:
      what does my money need to until im paid next? precisely what I tell it to.

       right.  But it can't do that if you don't have enough money to cover your "commitments"  beyond this paycheck.  

      Like 1
    • Cornflower Blue Mixer  Thank you, Cornflower.  I'm surprised by how many folks have offered suggestions on how to "fix" a budgeting problem that isn't a problem for me.  I know that as long as the "assigned more than you have" number doesn't exceed the amount of the 2nd check I receive, I'm good. THAT's how I know I haven't overspent.  No need for budgeting only half the month, recategorizing things, or moving extra money into checking, etc.  I've used YNAB for over 4 years, and while I appreciate the time people have taken here to suggest alternatives, my current process works for me.  My ONLY request here is to dim the "FIX THIS" from a shout to a suggestion.

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    • Sea Green Sun (ccf0a561a083) So the thing people are pointing out here is that "FIX THIS" is intentionally a shout, so it's not going to get changed. You can keep budgeting your way, but that's not how the method works, and the app supports the method. People have offered suggestions of ways for you to address that so the shout doesn't bother you any more. If you don't want to do it, that's your choice. But then you're stuck with the shout.

      Like 7
  • There are two ways I know of to solve this:

     

    1.  Build up a cushion such that you are spending money from the prior paycheck.  This is in the YNAB philosophy and solves the issue, plus gives you some peace of mind.  Now, this might not be an immediate option, but it makes a great goal.

    2.  You can trick the system and forecast instead of budget by adding a negative amount for Ready to Assign and make it in effect a reversed debit that is treated as an inflow of money.  This completely messes up the Age of Money calculation (may or may not matter to you).  However, it will allow you to forecast future funds.  I do not recommend this, as it violates the spirit and rules of YNAB.

     

    YMMV.  Budgeting instead of forecasting is what saved me from years of prior failure.  If you really want to forecast, use an app that has a forward looking calendar to supplement your YNAB.  Several exist in varying goodness.  Or just do so in Excel.  

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  • Follow the YNAB rules or don't. But don't complain when the software enforces them. There's a very good reason for them.

    Like 5
      • DosBoss57
      • Sales Manager
      • Sky_Blue_Drum.14
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
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      Superbone I agree...and don't give the software a bad review because you aren't using it properly....just my 2 cents

      Like 1
  • Cornflower Blue Mixer said:
    I realise the main goal and fully understand rule 1. but not everyone is one of these "Ive been on YNAB for 3 months and already saved 3,000 and budgeted a month in advance" people - for some of us it'll take years to budget that much in advance - and until then...

    I really don't think you do. Your comment here shows that. I didn't start out that way either however I still followed Rule #1, Give Every Dollar a Job. This is a zero based budgeting system. You give every dollar a job and no more. You are budgeting every dollar but you don't stop. You continue to budget dollars you don't have. That's not the system no matter where you are in your journey.

    Like 3
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 3 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Superbone Just wanted to add that it took me two years before I got out of debt and saved up a month's worth of salary so that I could budget next month with this month's salary. So don't tell me the software can't be used correctly until then.

      Like 4
  • Guys - I literally do not care. It’s a system I use every quarter for one bill that I know is covered 14 days later. It doesn’t affect anyone outside of…me! I choose annoying red banner over orange tab. Sue me.

    Also, do you think I’m so dense that I make up money to do it? Or do you think perhaps I budget it all out to 0 and then slightly overfund that one category? So it’s pretty black and white? My choice. Doesn’t affect you. I don’t have hoards of money coming in and out. It’s the simplest budget with max 20 transactions a month - I think I can cope. 

     

    Give up.

     

    I don’t care. 

    Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 3 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      Cornflower Blue Mixer no one is telling you not to do it. You're right, it's your budget. All they (we) are saying is that if you are going to knowingly ignore the methodology, complaining about the software working as intended to reinforce the methodology isn't going to gain you much sympathy.

      Like 6
    • Cornflower Blue Mixer So, when you decide you do care... There is actually a way to do what you want. 

      What you're saying now is that keeping your savings categories at their current level is a higher priority than getting rid of the red. 

      It's obviously your call. 

      Like 3
  • YNAB quickly pointed out that I was living paycheck-to-paycheck and riding the credit card float despite forecasting entire month's of income for years using other software.  I had to take nearly all of my "savings" and give it a different job.  It was jarring.  I didn't like it.  I had saved for YEARS.  Given the choice, I would not go back in time and choose a different software that let me live in my comfortable forecasted budget bubble.  My finances are crystal clear now using the YNAB method.  I don't ever have to do any mental math to know what I can spend or if I'm over budget.

    Like 9
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