Tangled mess with my savings account

When I first set up my budget, it had me put my checking and savings down as budget accounts.  No big deal.  I've been transfering money between checking and savings, not letting me put in any category in the transfers.  Now my savings account is at $400 but the savings category in the budget is showing $51.  Any suggestions on how to untangle this mess? 

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  • The other $349 has been allocated to other categories in your budget. YNAB doesn't care where the money is physically located, just that it has a job. If you want the savings category to match the savings account balance (not necessary, but some people like it) you will need to unbudget money from other categories.

    It's also recommended to actually decide what the savings are for. Is it a "oops I forgot to budget" account? Mini Emergency fund? Saving for a down payment? new car? vacation? Those categories are typically more helpful than just "savings" and also help you protect them. It's easier to overspend and take from "Savings" than it is to say a trip to Taco Bell is more important than a vacation to Mexico.

    Like 2
    • nolesrule
    • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
    • nolesrule
    • 12 days ago
    • 2
    • Reported - view

    Moving money between accounts  moves money between accounts. You tell your budget what the money is for when you take the money from Ready to Assign and assign it to categories. This happens when you receive the money, not when you move it to another account.

    The Relationship Between Your Budget & Your Accounts | You Need A Budget

    Like 2
  • RoadRunner1984 You've gotten excellent advice here! Those savings dollars are in your budget, so the next step is moving money to make sure they're doing savings jobs if that is your intention.

    I know this can feel like kind of a maze at first! nolesrule has given you the very best resource for understanding the difference between accounts and categories.

    I also love this budget audit process! It's great for confirming that all of the cash in your accounts is truly at play in your budget - and just understanding what you're seeing on the budget screen overall. Let us know how it's going! 

  • The savings account vs saving category thing causes many people stress at first, especially if you were keeping track of “savings” by putting it into a separate account. There are 2 ways to handle this. Option 1. Keep savings account as budget account and adjust savings category to match the balance. This will cause you to be in the red for ready to assign because those savings dollars were inadvertently allocated to other categories when you set up your budget. Pros of this method - keeps savings as part of your budget which you can then reallocate as you spend the money. Cons - because the money transfer between budget accounts does not require a category, you risk moving money into savings but not earmarking that money for savings. This means that over time your savings account and savings category won’t match. 
    option 2. Change the savings account to a tracking account. If the money is truly long term savings then this is probably the better way to go. It will require you categorize transfers between the accounts. Pros - easy to mentally understand when a new user. Cons - as tif_ann explained, generic savings are not a good idea. By saving for something specific (car, house, income replacement) you can set yourself goals and keep track of the priorities. This is hard to do with a single lump savings account. 

    • MXMOM Option 3: Keep savings accounts on budget, but learn that in YNAB, you look to categories for spending/saving decisions.  Don't worry about syncing categories and accounts.

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  • MXMOM said:
    This will cause you to be in the red for ready to assign

     Which you would immediately fix by moving money from less important categories.

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      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 11 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Move Light Sound Life oops, missed adding the solution 🙃. Good catch!

      Also failed to mention something I just did in my budget to help track longer term savings better. I created a category group for these (car purchase, emergency fund, etc.) which then creates a summary of the amount available. Since I move this money to a higher paying account because I don't need it right away, I needed a way to make sure that I had moved enough but not too much to this (on budget) account.  I don't expect the amounts to match exactly but it helps me manage how much to keep in regular daily transactions chequing account and the longer term savings account.  

      Here I can see the breakdown of long term funds (plus I have my 2020 Germany non trip as hidden which is the $11K). The total of the long term $18,471 and the trip $11,613 is $30,084. So that amount is the minimum I should have parked somewhere earning money. My account for that is the EQ Bank account which has $34,409 in it. The difference is fine because moving the money from EQ to regular bank to pay for something is quick and easy. And because we are a month ahead, we have enough in the chequing account to compensate for any time lag.

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