Can't trust my budget again! What am I doing wrong?
Month 3 of YNAB and [email protected] still struggling. I've definitely spent less money due to simply scrutinising every penny I budget and spend. however, I can't plan ahead because different parts of YNAB aren't reconciling.
I had problems before largely because I live on the credit card float, so my 'to be budgeted' (TBB) money never equaled my account balance. So toda, on the 1st of the month I started from scratch and made a fresh start. And low and behold I'm in the same position again!
I've budgeted for everything I want to budget for this month so far. And I want to allocate the remaining money. I have some future transactions set up, which I have budgeted for. However, my account has £1200 in it, the TBB amount equals £2422, but the right hand column of YNAB says that I have £1212 available!! WTF!
Seriously getting annoyed with YNAB, as every month I have this problem where the three totals do not marry up.
there are plenty of free applications that let me record my expenditure, which is all I'm able to do here. Once I've budgeted for the 'immediate obligations' I can't trust any of the amounts left on screen to give me a sense of how much money I have left to allocate.
I'll be asking for my money back at this rate!
Hey Silver Lion , I'm really glad you wrote in. Let's dig in so you can move forward with your Fresh Start :)
Here’s a little way you can verify every dollar in your bank account(s) is reflected in your budget – and not a dollar more. A few quick calculations will help us see where things are at right now.
1. Advance to next month's budget. (The math is easier there, because all overspending is covered.)
2. In the right sidebar, when no categories are selected, you’ll see your Total Available amount, which is the sum of the Available column.
3. Add that to the amount you have left To be Budgeted and any amount Budgeted in Future, if applicable.
Let’s stop here for a minute, just in case your To be Budgeted was negative. If it is, you would need to subtract it from Total Available, because that means you’ve given jobs to dollars you don’t yet have. Preferably though, you would go back to this month’s budget and budget less in a few categories until To be Budgeted is back in the green at $0.
4. Now, add up the cash in your budget. That includes checking, savings, and cash accounts, plus any positive balances on credit cards if applicable.
5. Your totals in step 3 and 4 should match, to the penny.
Let me know how it goes and we'll go from there!
Definitely follow Janelle's advice as a starting point, but just as one quick aside, really the only time your TBB and your account balance would match up is if you only have one checking or savings account and if you haven't budgeted any money yet, or if you just get really lucky and the numbers randomly aligned.
Your TBB is simply a reflection of all the money in your accounts that hasn't been budgeted yet. It isn't intended to constantly match up with your account balance, and in fact if you're following YNAB's advice about "giving every dollar a job" most of the time it should be zero.
Ben (furiousfalcon) , that's a great point about To be Budgeted!
There are also some things that may cause Total Available in your budget to differ from the summary of your budget account balances.
These can cause your Total Available to appear smaller than the summary of your budget account balances:
– Money budgeted in the future will not appear in Total Available until the month in which you budgeted.
– Overspending on a credit card removes money from your Total Available (because the category is negative) but not your accounts (no cash has actually left your accounts).
These can cause your Total Available to appear larger than the summary of your budget account balances:
– The summary of Budget Accounts on the left-hand side is the total of your cash accounts minus any debt accounts. It's like a net worth of your Budget Accounts. Debt balances, however, are not subtracted in the budget. Total Available is all the money in your cash accounts.
– Overbudgeting adds money to your Available that isn't in your accounts. If your To be Budgeted number is red, this is at play in your budget.
There are a few technical terms that may be tripping you up as well.
In YNAB "budget" means to put money into the virtual envelope. The Budgeted column shows what you've put into the envelope this month. The Activity column shows what you've spent out of the envelope this month. The Available column is what's still in the envelope, available to spend.
Available money is sitting in envelopes ready to spend. To Be Budgeted hasn't been put in envelopes yet. They will never match, they aren't the same money.
Also, Available Payment for a credit card is not necessarily equal to your payment; it's the amount earmarked for paying that card, either this month or next month. It can be too low if you overspent category, or if you didn't budget for the starting balance.
I thought when you use a CC that YNAB automatically moves $ into that account. <- Is this a misunderstanding?
Perhaps a misunderstanding in terminology. If the purchase is against a category with Available funds AND you take on debt (i.e., the CC account is negative), then money moves from the spending category to the CC Payment category (not account). Your payment (and the transfer transaction in YNAB) move funds between the checking and CC accounts.