Having Trouble YNAB budgeting across multiple accounts

Hi all,

Looking for some help/advice/guidance on transferring and YNAB budgeting across multiple accounts. 

Some background. All our pays/cash goes into our everyday account. I have a separate card/account with a diff bank where i transfer fun money into to use. 

So money comes into the everyday account then transferred to my fun money card. Sometimes the money comes back into the everyday from the fun money. 

When i transfer from one account to another the amount doesnt come up as "to be budgeted". Not sure if this is correct or i am doing wrong. And if i dont transfer then I cant keep the amounts correct in the respective accounts. 


If someone could point me to discussion/videos on ynab'ing across multiple accounts. 

Not sure if i have explained myself well. 

(PS, now that I have YNAB i dont believe I will continue to budget this way BUT i would like to know how to do it).


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  • I think you've already started to see the light, based on your comment:

    Jay Melv said:
    (PS, now that I have YNAB i dont believe I will continue to budget this way BUT i would like to know how to do it).

     So, that's good.  A transfer doesn't affect the budget, because no money has entered or left the budget, it's simply moved around.  Transactions affect the budget.  Outgoing transactions affect the category they're pulled from and incoming transactions affect To Be Budgeted (or the category originally used for the payment in the case of "The R's" - Refunds, Returns, Reimbursements.)

    The thing you should realize is that YNAB considers the Categories to be the "holders of intent" or the definition of the job your money has.  So if you want the money to be in "fun money" then you budget it into the fun money category.  At that point, it doesn't matter where you spend the money from, as long as the transaction in your account is categorized to "fun money" then the money that has been designated to that category will be used.

    A common analogy to how YNAB sees accounts is "Moving money from account A to account B is like moving a $5.00 bill from your front pocket to your back pocket."  It doesn't matter where it is, the truth of the matter is, that $5.00 is destined to be spent on coffee.  So if you pull it from your pocket, from your wallet, from your jacket pocket, doesn't matter.  You might even pull out a $10.00 bill and get a $5.00 bill back.  Same thing.  Doesn't matter where it came from, the fact is you had $5 designated to coffee, and as long as you enter the transaction and categorize it to your coffee category, you're good.  That money is spent, and YNAB has accounted for it.

    I'll let somebody else direct you to a link, there are a couple that explain the concept very well, but I don't have ability to search for it right now, however I hope this at least helps to get you started on the path to understanding the different approach that YNAB takes, compared to 'budgeting by account'.

    Like 1
    • nolesrule
    • Been waiting 5 years for the Stealing From the Future fix...
    • nolesrule
    • 1 mth ago
    • 3
    • Reported - view

    You budget the money to your categories when it comes in as income. Full stop. Transfering it to another account is just moving it from one pocket (storage location) to another. You aren't changing the job. If you need to transfer a certain amount that's going to be on you to manage.

    And the link Bruce was referring to is:

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


    Why Doesn't My Category Balance Match My Account Balance? - YNAB Help

    Like 3
  • You should have both accounts as Linked YNAB accounts.  In your YNAB budget, both accounts are added together as being available to budget.  Because you are budgeting from both accounts, moving money from one account to the other doesn't give you any more money to budget.    I also split up my money into two accounts,  it's a lay over from back in the day when you got a notable amount of interest in money market accounts.  And so my paychecks go to my money market, and then I only transfer the amount budgeted for the month to my checking account. 

    Both accounts are budgeted, I have a Christmas budget, a budget for buying patio furnature some day, etc, but I keep that in the money market because I'm not using it in the current month.    When I transfer the money, and the transaction comes in, I change the name to "Transfer To : Checking" .  There isn't any more money available to budget, it's just in a place that is now easier to spend.   

    The only time you get money "to be budgeted" is when you get a paycheck, earn interest, return an item to the store, etc.  Not when you transfer, unless one of the accounts is NOT in YNAB.

    Like 3
    • Jay Melv
    • Welding the best Oranges.
    • Orange_Welder.10
    • 1 mth ago
    • 2
    • Reported - view

    Hey thanks all for your help. I have since posting stopped the other accounts as i could see it was pointless. 

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