How to use up my budgeted portion for a savings goal
hi all. I'm still pretty new. so... I've put a savings goal of $x for Car Insurance to be paid in November. So that means I have that a budget of $x/6 per month for Car Insurance.
Is there a way to "lock in" that $x/6 for my Car Insurance savings each month, so that it is no longer available for other parts of my budget? I have this annoyingly tempting money available in my budget, that I'd much rather not see. I'd much rather treat it like a real monthly bill that goes towards the goal and I don't have access to it for anything else.
Welcome. No, there is no "lock in" mechanism for your categories. It's up to you to not raid categories that shouldn't be raided. Maybe keep them at the bottom of your budget so you don't see them as often. Some people use emoticons to label which categories they can move around and which categories shouldn't be reappropriated. For example, a lock icon on categories you can't touch otherwise you'll be unable to pay your bill when the time comes.
You can do it. Best of luck!
In addition to what Superbone wrote, you might find it useful to choose categories that 'can be' raided. I always choose to raid my grocery category, because I know that if it comes down to it I can live on peanut butter. So locking the categories that are not to be touched, and deciding ahead of times which ones are fair game, has been helpful for me.
Just making sure, since you're new...
Even if you have a goal on a category, it's still up to you to put the correct amount in that category. The goal just helps remind you.
To put real money in the category, you have two choices:
1 You can type in the number in the budgeted column.
2. You can click the underfunded button in the inspector panel on the right. This saves typing because you YNAB will type the numbers for you, and you can budget to multiple categories with a few clicks.
As for thinking it's available, well, it's quite literally available for the purpose of paying your insurance and only your insurance. I have all my long term expenses in a category group (that's so far down the list I can't see it without scrolling) that I hardly look at except to say, "Yep, got those covered."
Honestly, this really boils down to discipline. You can cheat on yourself all you want, but you are the only person that it hurts. Being real about your budget, and about where your dollars need to go, takes being honest about all of your spending, and why you are spending what you're spending and on what. It is going to smack you in the face that you spend $500/month eating out for two (*coughpersonalexperiencecough*). It's going to hit you in the gut that you spent $400/month eating at work, on top of the already $500 eating out. It stings. A LOT.
But that's also the only way to know where the money is going so that you can choose to do something differently. It's the only way to look at your budget and choose to reserve money for your car insurance bill so that you can pay it all in one lump sum and save the $50/month that they would charge you to pay it by the month (which I think is gouging, but that's another conversation).
It's all about choice, and being conscious of those choices.
So no, YNAB isn't going to baby you and prevent you from spending your money any way that you want. But if you actually use the program, it will show you what you are doing so that you can decide you want to take full responsibility for your spending and choose to do it differently to make your life better and easier.
Here's to onward and upward.