Why is Ynab categorizing an expense as cash spent when it was a Credit Card expense

And I did enter this CITICARD as a Credit Card account. Thanks!

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  • Is the CITICARD account set up as a credit card?

    This is January 2020 and you have no money budgeted to categories in your screengrab. Are you adding very old transactions?

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    • nolesrule Just added a screenshot showing with budget against it. Budget is not the issue. It is definitely categorized wrong and I am at loss as to why.

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  • Yes, Citicard is set up as a credit card account. And I am redoing all my budget since I started in January 2020 and noticed this discrepancy. I am at loss!

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      • Vibrant
      • No more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars
      • vibrant
      • 3 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Blue Wildcat is the Citi card *account* balance in YNAB (in the left sidebar) positive or negative?

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    • Vibrant No idea. The example I showed was from back in January 2020 and I have since entered 1.5 years of data. So the balance on the left sidebar would no longer be informative relative to January 2020, right?

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    • Vibrant And I actually just switched the credit card account into a checking account so no idea what the left sidebar showed prior to making the change.

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  • Thanks for the updated information. I'm at a loss.

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    • nolesrule Darn. Was hoping you would know!

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    • nolesrule If you see this type of thing come up again, it's almost always caused by a positive balance on the card. Not that the card couldn't be classified as a checking account, but that's vastly less common than a false positive balance.

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    • Matthew I am actually thinking of changing my credit card accounts into bank accounts. It drives me bananas that even though I have every category well budgeted, my credit card amount (on the right side) commonly shows as red which implies that I did not not have enough budget for some categories that I use the credit card for, which is not the case.

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    • Blue Wildcat While we don't recommend that approach, I know some people swear by it, and as long as you know what you're doing and aren't on the credit card float, it can work fine.

      In this case, however, having the credit card account set up as a checking account might have made it harder to spot the incorrect-balance problem, since all of the spending on the account would have been cash spending.

      Of course, it's always important to reconcile your accounts regularly, so that's a pretty minor objection.

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      • nolesrule
      • Been waiting 5 years for the Stealing From the Future fix...
      • nolesrule
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Matthew good point. I was trying to answer before the morning coffee kicked in. 

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      • SgtBatten
      • "YNAB broke" since 2013
      • SgtBatten
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Blue Wildcat I've got over 8 years of transactions in YNAB now (around 15000 entries) and have never had this issue. If the credit card purchases are properly budgeted for then it will never not be green. 

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  • Another example.  In this category, I had spent only $225 from a checking acount. The other expenses were all credit card. Meanwhile, the amounts shown as spend in cash and credit card are totally random.

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  • I figured it out. It has to do with the starting balance (January 2020) which I had entered as zero. However, the first payment of the CC shown on January 9th was for expenses from January 1st to the 9th, but also for a bunch of transactions in late December 2019. Since I started my Ynab January 1st 2020, I had not entered any December 2019 transactions. So it was not recognizing any of the January 2020 transactions paid on that first payment as a credit card expense. Once I added a starting balance on January 1st (December transactions that the January payment was paying for), everything was back to showing properly, as credit card spending and not cash spending. I have spent 2 days on this issue...Yikes.

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  • NEVERMIND. I claimed victory too fast. It fixed the inaccuracies from January. But February is now showing similar issues. GRRR....

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    • Blue Wildcat I'm the kind of person that goes back into YNAB history to make it right; however, I draw the line at fixing the credit card/budget relationship of the past.

      That is because the rule to make your credit card with properly in YNAB (assuming you've got PIF status) is to make the CC payment category available amount the positive equivalent of your working balance *at that time.* I suppose you could look at the CC's running balance for the last transaction of each month and ensure that the budget page for that month shows the correct available number...

      Or, you could just ignore that budgetary history (as long as the accounts are properly reconciled, you're good to go) and fix the current budget. Use the same CC PIF rule and allocate as needed.

      It's not like the budget has anything to do with reports, which pull data only from transactions. 

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    • Move Light Sound Life I do pay in full every month and I always budget enough money for ALL categories, yet somehow, the amount available to pay the credit card is often red...

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    • Blue Wildcat If you pay the balance of the card all the way down to $0, especially if you have returns, refunds, rewards, credits, or are simply including pending transactions in your payment amount, then the possiblity that your card went positive is highly likely. 

      A positive credit card acts like cash spending because you don't need to pay it back. However, a positive credit card that happens in tandem with a payment is often coupled with paying more than is available in the cc payment category, which means the category turns red. At that point, you would need to move the part of the payment that had been out in TBB back to the CC category to bring it back to $0.

      Being PIF means you have the entire balance of the card sitting in your bank accounts, ready to pay; however, many people only pay the statement balance and save the rest in their own accounts.

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  • Blue Wildcat said:
    NEVERMIND. I claimed victory too fast. It fixed the inaccuracies from January. But February is now showing similar issues. GRRR....

     Naw, you had victory. It's just that there will be a cascading effect until you both fix the historical budgetary implications of the positive credit card and also only have months with completely budgeted credit spending.  Not worth it for me. Is it worth it for you?

    I'd just suck it up and fix it now (May 2021), but I also have floated reimbursements on credit, so I would have no way of knowing what the correct historical CC should have been at any time.

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    • Move Light Sound Life I do have a completed budgeted credit spending, no issue there. How do I fix the historical budgetary implications of the positive credit card? I actually thought of treating my credit card as a bank account instead of a credit card.

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 3 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Blue Wildcat If you are a PIF user and you'll never accrue debt on your card, I highly recommend converting it to a checking account. I did that years ago and never looked back. It cuts out the middleman. 

      Maybe if it always stayed in sync without user intervention, I would have continued to use it but as soon as it got off a few times, I converted and the rest is history.

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    • Superbone I was thinking I had found the solution but now this account shows a positive balance. How could that be since I have charged many things to the credit card since last payment?

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    • Blue Wildcat Have you ever reconciled? Always reconcile before doing things in the budget. 

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    • Move Light Sound Life Do I really need to when I see that everything matches up between my ynab and my CC statement?

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 3 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Blue Wildcat If your account balance is off, it makes no difference if it's a CC or checking account. You have to reconcile your account's cleared balance to match your bank's balance online.

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    • plus I am a manual import person. Not automatic.

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  • Blue Wildcat said:
    How do I fix the historical budgetary implications of the positive credit card?

     If you've been using YNAB for 1.5 years without reconciling or understanding how credit cards work, don't try to fix the past now. Learn how it does work, and then go back and fix it once you know the mechanics. 

    Or side-step the issue and turn it into a checking account.  But reconcile. Always reconcile. Never touch the budget without reconciling. You should never be surprised at the balance in your account register. 

    🙂

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  • Blue Wildcat said:
    Do I really need to when I see that everything matches up between my ynab and my CC statement?

    Of course. You should reconcile often and keep them in sync. We're talking about cleared balances here.

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  • Blue Wildcat said:
    Do I really need to when I see that everything matches up between my ynab and my CC statement?

     That *is* reconciling. But if you're surprised that the account is positive in YNAB, that makes me thinks they don't match up. 

    If you've been reconciling frequently, then YNAB locks the transactions that are for sure correct, and it's easier to find the discrepancy. 

    Like 1
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