Available after upcoming transactions
Hey all! I just started using YNAB and I'm really enjoying it so far. One issue I'm trying to get my head around is the difference between the "available" column and the "Available After Upcoming" row in the inspector. I'd really like to make the "Available After Upcoming" point more visible because that's the most important for some categories. I'll give an example.
I have a category for "gifts" that is used for things like birthday gifts, christmas gifts, wedding gifts, baby showers, etc. There's always something. I currently have it set to an annual target of $600 because it is not evenly distributed across months.
Here's the problem: I'm splitting the cost of a gift with a friend (my half is $100) and it will be a couple months in the future. I obviously don't want to forget about this so I created a scheduled transaction for it. I currently have $300 available in "Gifts" but only $200 available if I consider upcoming transactions. Worse, the "upcoming transction" is only considered in the month the transaction is in, so I would have to look ahead two months to see this number. This seems like an easy way to accidentally overspend.
An alternative, I suppose, is to create a Category Group for gifts with this as a specific sub-item, alongside other more general items. That feels really klunky to me, though, and could lead to over-spending in the overall "Gifts" Category.
How would you handle this kind of situation?
I would use a temporary category for something like this. There's nothing specific to the way it is set up in YNAB that makes it temporary, just how I handle it.
In this case I would set up a category Gift for XXX, move the $100 to it and place the category under my regular gift category in the budget tab. I use an emoji to clearly indicate to me that the category is temporary.
When it comes to actually spending the money in a few months time I would record the spending against my gift category, move the budgeted money back to the gift category to cover the spending and delete the Gift for XXX category.
I use this approach all the time if there's something specific I want to keep money aside for and if you search for wish farm in the support material, you'll see a similar approach although with a slightly different aim. Folks often also create separate category goals for individual vacations but then move all transactions and money to a generic Vacations category once it is completed. In this instance, when the temporary category covers multiple months, you may record the transactions in the temporary category initially. This used to be a bit of a pain to put right once you deleted the temporary category but recent improvements to YNAB mean you can do this easily by following a prompt when you hit Delete on the category.
Thanks, that's helpful. A bit awkard, but doable.
This would obviously be a huge ask, but it seems like "sub-budgets" would be quite helpful. Each "category" would effectively become a sub-budget that you could drill into and add categories or more sub-budgets. For example, my wife and I could each have a "sub-budget" for our respective "fun budgets". We would assign $x from the top-level "household" budget to each of our "fun" sub-budgets, which could then be used for different items within the sub-budget.
I see other similar requests for sub-categories and nest categories that would probably accomplish the same thing.
I'm honestly not sure what the issue is. I have a birthdays category (definitely not spread evenly over the year) - I put in 100NIS/month. Spend as needed. No goal or target, just 100NIS/month. The money's there when I need it. I don't put in a scheduled transaction for February/May/June/June/October for my kids' birthdays or November/December for Chanukah...I just spend what's needed out of whatever's available at the time. Wedding/baby gifts come out of a different category ("Circle of Life") which is funded separately and spent out of much less frequently.