problem with the NEW monthly goal feature

Has anyones accounts been refreshed with the new goal types yet?

I thought I was finally getting what I needed with the new "Monthly" goal. But apparently I'm not understanding it correctly?

I have certain categories that I want building up over time, and I have certain categories that I don't need building up. For example, Groceries. I put $400 a month in Groceries, but don't need more than that. If I only spend $330 a month, I don't want to end up with $470. I just want to top it off and have $400. I thought I understood correctly that this was exactly what the new "Monthly" goal was supposed to be. A cap of sorts. $400 should be my cap. If I only spend $330, it should only put $330 back next month since I'm capped at $400 monthly.

To test it, I went and changed my Eating Out category to the NEW "Monthly" goal. I've already spent $45 this month, and have $30 left in there. I flip over to the next month, and it still says I'm underfunded by $75, instead of $45. Has anyone got it to actually work? What am I missing?

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  • Are you sure you have been updated to the new six goal types? I was under the impression they would be coming later, and not everyone would have them at the same time. When I look at goals, I see just the original three types.

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    • JoeDid Yes, I'm sure. I was under the same impression, but then I was on the app on my iPhone and got the popup explaining the new goal types. Went on my computer and the goals settings window is definitely different. It's probably a rollout process going to a few people at a time.

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    • JoeDid 

      Like 1
      • JoeDid
      • Remember: It is To Laugh
      • Purple_rain
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Maroon Memory Got it. I still see only the three original goals.

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  • My reading of the article suggests the Monthly Planning goal is what you want. Disappointing if the implementation does not match the description.

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  • From what I understand as a beta tester, the new Monthly goal will work the way you want. However, it only does that when the month rolls over. So when you actually reach the 1st of the following month, $70 or whatever's left from the previous month will count towards your $400 Groceries cap. If you flip over to next month before the current month rolls over, it will show you as underfunded in that month by $400 as you may still spend the $70 before you reach the end of the current month.

    If you did budget $400 in next month's Groceries before the month rolls over (and you have $70 left in Groceries from the current month), when you reach 1st, you would then have $470 in that category. So you could either budget $330 in next month's Groceries instead and it will automatically add in your $70 from the previous month at month roll over, or adjust the budgeted amount on 1st using Quick Budget: Goal Target to get back to $400. That would then send $70 back to To Be Budgeted.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      timbo1973 Are you saying the functionality is tied to the calendar date rather than doing the match on the present balance?

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      • timbo1973
      • timbo1973
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule It's tied to month rollover.

      Like 1
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 5 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      timbo1973 That is not good. I will budget for October on September 22 when I receive my final paycheck for the month (all September paychecks fund October) so having to wait an additional 9 days to actually finalize my budget is less than satisfactory.

      Like 5
      • Herman
      • herman
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas but if you don't wait those days the numbers could/would most likely change as you spend money during the final we eek of the month.  Seems either scenario would require a re-evaluation when the month rolls over. 

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 5 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Herman The re-evaluation should happen in real time anytime there is a change to the category, whether budget or transaction. Not just when the clock strikes midnight at the end of the month. Strikes me as lazy programming.

      Like 3
      • Herman
      • herman
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule ok, I would never use that goal type but seems it would be a moving target whichever way you do it so I disagree that continual updating would be a better experience, lazy or not. 

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Herman Just like the toolkit with the PIF credit card setting, you give some kind of warning if it's above target. Using the goal quick budget function should be able to adjust the budgeted lower to meet the cap.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 5 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      😲 Wow. Just wow.

      Tying it to passage of time in the real world was why the SFTF (supposed) "fix" was a fail.

      Why can't they let the budget be the line in the sand and not play these, "you might do this or that" games. If, in fact, I decide to do something, then I will darn well change the plan at that point.

      Like 3
      • Alan Dennis
      • YNAB Product Design Manager
      • alan_dennis
      • 5 mths ago
      • 11
      • Reported - view

      Hi there nolesrule ,

      I just wanted to share a bit of background behind why we decided to ship the goal working this way. We actually had this new goal in beta for a couple months and it used to work exactly as you’re describing. As soon as you spent money in your current month, the goal in future months would become underfunded. Beta participants who budgeted into the future found this to be rather difficult to keep up with—especially with categories like Transportation or Groceries, which may have transactions multiple times per week. They would have to record a transaction, jump into the future and adjust their budget in the next month, over and over... Not ideal, especially if you had already budgeted to zero—that’s a LOT of clicking or tapping around.

      Or, an example that’s less about clicking and tapping but also about future planning … imagine a person who budgets a full month ahead or even two. At the beginning of September, you’re budgeting for October. Must of your categories in September are full … so your October goals basically ask for nothing. Which isn’t realistic at all.

      With the goal only using leftovers to fund future months when the month rolls over, however, you avoid this second situation entirely. And for the first situation, there’s just a couple clicks/taps to resolve it. Say you have a Monthly goal of $500 in Groceries. Last month, you spent $400, so you end up having $100 left over. You already budgeted $500 to this new month, though, so you end up with $600. You have a surplus of $100. To resolve this, you can use the Quick Budget: Goal Target button to quickly adjust your category balance and send that $100 back to To be Budgeted. A couple clicks at the beginning of the month and you’re good to go, rather than a bunch of clicks every time you record a transaction.

      This was one of those difficult moments where we could decide to do it one way and not meet expectations for one subset of YNABers, or do it the other way and not meet expectations for another subset. But even that isn’t the end of the story—we’re continuing to work with the goals feature, and as a part expect to make this workflow even more effective. But we can only do that if the goal was setup the way it is now. So, we have more options to create an even better workflow in the future, with the goal working as it does—and we didn’t want to wait months before releasing this new goal, since the feedback we got from our months in beta testing is that it’s valuable and useful now, even without the future improvements.

      I hope this helps!

      Like 11
      • briefcase
      • A rack of ties, a travel mug, telephone, briefcase filled with papers
      • briefcase
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Alan Dennis Both scenarios in this post are exactly what jumped to mind.  I budget a month ahead, manually with each paycheck, and I don't want the goal amount to automatically update with each transaction.  I want to adjust the budget once and be on my merry way.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 5 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Alan Dennis Yeah, I just don't see the issue with keeping it in the present. People need to learn to rely on the budget as it stands in the immediate present and make adjustments as the information changes.

      The real problem isn't actually the goal, it's Stealing From the Future, a 4.5 year old bug that still hasn't been fixed.

      Like 3
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Alan Dennis So what happens to the goal if after the month change-over, you have transactions added to the previous month that would result in a goal change? Does the goal adjust in real time at that point?

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      • Alan Dennis
      • YNAB Product Design Manager
      • alan_dennis
      • 4 mths ago
      • 7
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule Yes, that's correct. Let's break it down, for extra clarity:

      • In August, I had $500 in Groceries and spent $300 of it, leaving $200 left in the category.
      • It's now September and the $200 from August is used to fund my goal in September. I budget $300 to my Groceries category and now have $500. My goal is met and everything is green.
      • One day later, I import a transaction that was on August 31st. It was a $100 transaction, categorized to groceries. Now my spending in August was $400, leaving $100 left at the end of August.
      • In September, I now only have $100 from August funding my goal, so the goal displays that it's short $100. So I budget another $100 to my goal and now everything is all set again.

      So yes, the goal adjusts in real-time in this scenario.

      Like 7
  • Alan Dennis 

    Hi, really happy that ynab incorporated this new type of goal.

    It's great that leftover amounts go into the next months, but I would hope that any automatic overbudgeting would be solved automatically (by sending it to be budgeted (for example) or at least the same way a special alert is created from overspending and one click solution (ignore or send money to...)
    On that note, it is still strange to me that ynab allows overspending in the past without a special alert - for example if I record a transaction for a previous month.

    Like 3
    • Hi Cornflower Blue Elk !

      If you select a category that has more money in it than you need for the goal, you can use the Quick Budget  "Goal Target" to change the amount to be only what the goal requires. Extra funds in a category is how you save up towards an expense, so leaving more in that category now means needing less there in the future. 

      As for overspending, the header at the top of your budget will list any amount of cash overspending for the previous month. If you enter a transaction for last month in a cash account, that figure will update, but there's no other alert since it's addressed by being subtracted from your To Be Budgeted amount.

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      • Ceeses
      • Ceeses
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Cornflower Blue Elk I definitely wouldn't want the category to automatically prevent me to budget more than a goal. Say I have a Groceries category and I have a goal on it. But I know I like to budget more for Christmas groceries. If the reallocation of budgeted money were automatic, it would force users to have 2 categories in that case. I much prefer the "Goal Targer" quick budget option, then it is left to the user to check their budget and decide if they like it or not.

      Like 1
  • It doesn't seem to work for me. I have a category for which I went back to December and set a spending goal of $250. I had about $100 leftover at the end of the month, but Quick Budget (and also the goal itself) wants me to budget an additional $250, as if there wasn't already $100 rolled over.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Don Denton There may be some weirdness caused by the fact this goal requires the month to change in the real world before it does anything combined with you creating this goal in January. (This  is in spite of the fact it was entered in the Dec. budget area.)

      Hopefully Support will weigh in on how your entry timing may influence things. It sounds like a bug to me.

      Like 1
    • Hi Don Denton !

      When did you enter that goal? I just tried going back to December and setting a monthly spending goal. When I moved back to January, it calculated correctly and only asked me to budget enough to reach that set goal (I had $100 Available and I needed to budget $50 more to reach $150). 

      Did you have any other goals in that category previously? If you try deleting and then re-entering the goal are you seeing the same results?

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      • Don Denton
      • Alice_Blue_Drill.10
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness I tried that several times last night. However, when I visited the app just now, it all is behaving as expected. Even on the initial page load, the goal which was displayed as underfunded last night is now fully funded. So perhaps a bug fix went out or I was somehow running a partially updated app last night? In any case, now I am seeing exactly what I would expect from the new goals.

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      • Don Denton
      • Alice_Blue_Drill.10
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness If there were no bug fixes to address such an issue, I would guess that there is possibly a bug lurking somewhere in the dreaded date math logic used for those goals. In my case, I was seeing the behavior I described above at approximately 11:30pm, Central Time, January 1. Wish I had taken screenshots as now I cannot reproduce the issue. I could always try again next year!

      Like 1
    • Don Denton That's quite a long time to wait for a repeat! We did have trouble with the web app yesterday, but I'm not seeing any reports of this in particular. If that gives you anymore trouble (maybe on the 1st of next month, instead of the 1st of next year) please don't hesitate to submit a Bug Report so our Bug Team can take a closer look! :)

      Like
  • This has been happening to me as well. I tested it moving from December to January and it didn't take into account what I had leftover from December for groceries. I will test again going into February and submit a bug report if it happens again.

    Like
    • Hi Salmon Falafel !

      The goal won't take the carried over amount into consideration until after the month rolls over. If we get to February and those amounts still aren't updating to include the amount carried over to February please don't hesitate to let us know!

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