Coupons - Where do they go?

When I end up having a coupon or a promo (like in Amazon) I put that coupon in as an income in a split category. But I think that is messing up my Income to be budgeted number. I know I could subtract the amounts from specific items (ex: $1.00 off milk) but what do I do with coupons like "Save 20% on your purchase of $50 or more"? Do I just take that 20% off of one category? 

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  • Hi Monica, I wouldn't bother with that- it just confuses things going into that level of detail. 

    To make things simpler, only register the amount you pay in the transaction.  Don't record these types of coupons in YNAB.  So for example, if you used a $.25 or 25% off voucher for $1 milk, you are only putting in $0.75 into the register if that makes sense?

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  • Coupons aren't income, they are reductions in spending. As such, you just lower the amount being spent from a category.

    If it's a purchase with multiple categories in a split, you can try to do the math to lower the amount in each category according to the discounts (pro-rated), or just pick one of the categories to take the discount from.

    For example, you bought $100 worth of stuff, but had a coupon for 20% off $100.

    If the entire purchase is groceries, it's just $80 from groceries.

    But let's say it was $80 was groceries and $20 was OTC healthcare.  So you have an $80 transaction with splits of $80 and $20 and a $20 discount. You could either prorate it by making groceries $64 and healthcare $16 or split the discount across all categories any way you choose.

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  • If you like tracking the impact of your couponing, you could add a memo to the transaction ("saved $4.50 with coupons"), but just put in the net amount that you actually spent.

    If you are doing something like saving all your couponing money towards a specific category - for example, a vacation, you could put in your grocery transaction (with or without the memo above), then move the money you "saved" via couponing from the grocery line to the vacation line.

    I agree that trying to do a split transaction each time will make it difficult.

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  • So many great insights here. nolesrule I especially appreciate the instructions on splits! 

    Monica L I'm going to go ahead and mark your question as answered, but feel free to tag anyone here if you have any questions or other comments! 

  • You guys are awesome! I think I may have been overthinking it a little.  Big help! Thanks so much! 

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