Why do bank and YNAB balances get out of whack?

How does it end up that YNAB and my bank account end up not matching?  I feel like my transactions have been accurately linked, and still after a month the account is off by plus or minus $100.  It's weird.  I'm just curious what the general cause is.  It's not caused any major problems but I don't get why it happens.

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  • Are you entering your spending as it happens?  Do you reconcile often?  If so, this does not happen.  I have been using YNAB for 5 years and bank and YNAB are always perfectly matched.

    Reply Like 2
      • Julie
      • sandhills_rider
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      MsTJ  For the most part, yes,  but I obviously need to pay closer attention.

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  • Hi

    Are you comparing your working balance to your checking account or your cleared balance?

    Reply Like 2
      • Julie
      • sandhills_rider
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Grizzly Cleared balance.  I wait until there are no pending transactions at the bank.  I will have to pay closer attention.  It would be nice if YNAB flagged the difference, but it’s already a great app so can’t have everything. 

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  • Hi Julie !

    The key here is to reconcile often. Direct import is not perfect and a number of issues can pop up. Sometimes transactions are missed, imported incorrectly, or otherwise - I once had a transaction import for the cashback amount I received without including the cost of the initial purchase (so $20 cashback without the $60 I spent on groceries). 

    When you reconcile often it's easier to pinpoint exactly what caused the discrepancy and if something is wrong with how transactions are importing, we can investigate! :)

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      • Julie
      • sandhills_rider
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness Interesting.  I will definitely pay closer attention.  I really like the reconcile feature as I can almost never find the error.

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  • Because there is information in your YNAB register that is incorrect. 

    That is really what it boils down to. There are several reasons why the YNAB register might not be correct: you didn't enter something correctly; something you thought was going to match didn't; you didn't account for something; all the way down to you don't know what the cleared balance actually is and you're looking at the wrong set of two numbers (this happens way more often than people think it does.) 

    The cleared balance in YNAB should match the cleared balance at the bank. An attitude has proliferated here and in other user communities that it's okay if they don't match as long as nothing bad is happening, or as long as the mismatch is small. Not so. They should always match. If they don't, find the error, and correct it. 

    Reply Like 4
      • Julie
      • sandhills_rider
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor Copy that.  I like things to match exactly.  It is weird how numbers are so slippery.  I had some odd situations too, where I was closing out a Qapital account and I’m still not totally dialed in on how the credit cards work, so those are probably areas where mistakes have been made.  

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      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 5 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Julie The credit card handling has no effect on the register. You might end up with  overspending in the budget that seems strange, or a TBB that doesn't make sense at first glance (I mostly find the CC handling fine, but acknowledge that there are some serious mistakes in how it was coded), but the credit card register will match if it is correctly reconciled to the credit card's account at the bank. The credit card handling will never be the cause for the register having a mistake. 

      Reply Like 4
      • Julie
      • sandhills_rider
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor That makes sense once you caused me to think about it.  

      Reply Like
  • There's also always user error. 😲

    I had a fun one. Lost my car key in my purse (yes, really...hazard of being out of my usual element) so took an Uber to work. Ride was $19.72 and I tipped $3.00...but not immediately as I got there and we were busy so I just dove right in. Remembered to tip 6 hours later and logged the transaction as $22.72, which is typically how they reflect...except I guess it was late enough that PayPal had to pay the tip as a separate transaction. As I was approving and okaying and clearing, I cleared both the 19.72/3.00 and the 22.72 transactions thinking, oh, yeah, that's the Uber...

    FFWD 24 hours...WHY DOES THIS NOT RECONCILE??? BANGS HEAD AGAINST SCREEN REPEATEDLY. Sleep on the problem.  STILL NO MATCH. WHAT HAVE I DONE?  Okay, I used a LOT of PayPal which takes longer to clear and then there was the holiday, give it one more day. AAAAAAAAHHH.

    Lesson learned, don't just do the 19.72 + 3.00 math in my head. If my bank processes it that way, adjust my register.

    Reply Like
      • Julie
      • sandhills_rider
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Voracious Reader LOL, yes, I resemble this comment.

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