Help managing charity goals

I am trying to budget 10% of my total income for charity. I have a "Giving" category in my budget. Under the Giving category, I have two types of giving. I'll call them A and B for now. Every month I want the total of A+B to be 10% of what I earned that month (which stays the same b/c I am on salary). For example, if I earn $1000 each month, I want A and B under "Giving" to equal $100 total. So I set my target goal at $100. BUT, let's say I give $50 one month, I want to make sure to give $150 the following month to stay on track. On the other hand, if I give $200 one month, I want to make sure to give $0 the following month, so I don't spend more than I want to spend for the year (ie. 10% of my annual income). 

Question 1: Is there a way to set a target goal for the Giving category total, rather than separate goals for A and B under Giving? (My specific giving in category A and category B fluctuates, but I want the total to stay consistent.)

Question 2: Is there a way for a category that was overspent one month, to carry that overspending over to the next month and stay red until I fill it? It seems that YNAB automatically deducts the red amount from To Be Budgeted when it rolls over to the next month. I want it to deduct from the amount budgeted in that category instead.

Any help would be so appreciated!

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  • You can use a Spend By Date goal. If you are over, it won't suggest $0, but it will reduce all remaining contributions. Similarly, any shortage is distributed with higher contributions in remaining months rather than nailing you for it all next month.

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  • I'm still figuring out how to do Giving as well.  I just do math every time we get paid.  We have chosen to do 5% to our church and 5% to other giving opportunities, some of which are scheduled transactions, so there are 5 categories total within Giving.  So I scribble some notes and assign the money. 

    I haven't set up a goal for the reason that you are describing.  Some months have more paydays than others so I think it would get too confusing.  And while my husband is salaried, I'm not.  I figure we can reconcile that budget category on a quarterly basis to make sure we are on track, if needed. 

    But ultimately, giving is about the heart, not the number.  馃檪

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  • We also do a specific percentage of income towards giving, but our income varies some month to month (paid hourly, and every week so some months have more checks). 

    At the beginning of each month, I look at the total income for the previous month and Budget that percentage into the category.   So if we made $1000 in January and are giving 10%, I would budget $100 into Giving in the February budget.   You could do the same by splitting the percentage between categories.  This is basically a play on the YNAB buffer principle, giving in February per the income in January.   

    I generally don't give "ahead" but if so I don't let it stay red but make a note and adjust it down in the following month.  The one example of this was the tax law change end of 2017 (if I recall correctly) where the standard deduction was increasing for 2018 and I would no longer come close to being able to itemize my deductions.  So I "pre-gave" late 2017 figuring that I may as well make the most of the tax savings from the giving I was already planning to do early 2018.

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  • I am actually on a %age based budget now and Giving is one of my category groups that I have a set %-age designated for.  I budget at the beginning of the month and send a check to my church for the church category, another category is Causes and that can build up until I decide to send it to a cause that matters, and another is personal gifting and random acts of kindness.  I think the category by date is another way to do it so you can spend out of it and make the goal equal to the total take home pay %age that you want to give over the entire year, but they would all have to be in one category for that to work.  For me, I just set the balances for the category group and each category to match my target % on a monthly basis.  I set up goals to match what I want to give because my paycheck is pretty nearly the same every month unless I change my deductions.

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