Ynab for predicting my month expense, before getting the money.

 I have a variable income, so Id like to know how much money I´ll need for all my expenses so I can put a goal for myself and sell more or give discounts to my products in order to reach my butget. Is there a way? I know, for example that you can do that in everydollar. Where you put how much money you think will have this month and then budget and adjust. But I do not see this function in wnab, what do I do?

15replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • YNAB doesn't want people to predict. YNAB is based on your current, based on what money you have available to you right now, not money you might or might not earn in the future. Basically, YNAB doesn't want to encourage you to make bad financial decisions based on incorrect or potentially overly-optimistic data ("Oh, I can spent $x and I'll just earn a little more this month").

    YNAB absolutely can be used by those with variable income -- I'm self employed, my income is somewhat inconsistent, and I use it successfully. Over time, you get a pretty good feel for the amount of money you need to be earning regularly in order to meet your financial goals. The thing is, though, I'm making my financial goals based on the actual money I have in the bank, not money I hope (but may not?) earn.

    YNAB has an 8 part blog series that might be helpful: https://www.youneedabudget.com/say-goodbye-to-crazytown-mastering-your-variable-income/ (part 1). Also, YNAB has a "You can budget with any pay cycle" class and others that may help you get started (https://www.youneedabudget.com/classes/).

    Ultimately, YNAB isn't built to do exactly what you want. Either that means you need to embrace YNAB's approach, or a separate tool that you use along with YNAB to figure out your business' potential cashflow, or you need to use some other financial tool instead of YNAB that prioritizes guessing what your income may be.

    Reply Like 4
  • Mike Hike Like Ben says below, with YNAB you budget the money you actually have.  I also have need to have budget numbers to work to.  To get around this in YNAB, I just add dollar amounts next to the category names, and total that amount in the category group name.  When I budget for the month (i.e. budget with money I already have, and made last month) the budgeted amount will add up to those numbers.  Take a look at the picture below.  It works for me.  Hope that helps.

    Reply Like
  • You can set funding goals for categories and idk about the web app but i know pn mobile if i goto a new month and cluck quickbudget ynab will tell me how much i need to fully fund my goals "underfunded". The quick budget screen also has options for amount budgeted and amount spent last month and on average.  That I think should meet your need.

    Reply Like
  • Ok, the only thing I really like to know if: How much is the total of all my goals so I can know in advance, before I get the money (I run a music school and we charge by automatic payments in credit cards) so I know for sure when and how much I´ll have. I really just want to know how all my expenses are before the deposit. Is there a way, I do not found it.

    Reply Like 1
      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Mike Hike YNAB may not be the best tool for what you want to do.

      Reply Like
      • Ben
      • Toolkit for YNAB Designer & Developer
      • furiousfalcon
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Mike Hike I don't believe that's part of the functionality of YNAB itself. That said, if you primarily use Chrome to access YNAB, the Toolkit for YNAB browser extension (http://toolkitforynab.com/) does have that functionality (turn it on in the options: Budget > Display Total Monthly Goals). With that feature on, the total goals number will appear in the inspector (far right column) when you're viewing the budget and have no categories selected. The Toolkit is a free browser extension primarily for Chrome, build by me and other YNAB users which adds tweaks and additional features for a more customizable experience. I don't usually recommend it to brand new users, since I'd rather new users get comfortable with YNAB before they start adding to it, but it's an option if you absolutely need it.

      That said... really, the best way to figure out your budget is the old fashioned way -- with pen and paper and a calculator, perhaps going back over the last few months of your bank records. Your budget doesn't have to be perfect initially, and honestly won't be perfect. You'll likely spend the first couple months using YNAB figuring out what you spend money on, where you have under or over estimated, and adjusting your budget so it's a good fit.

      Some users, like JollyBudgeteer and myself, like to include the amount we expect to budget in the category title as a quick reminder.

      Reply Like 1
      • Laura Coursen
      • Technical Writer
      • lecoursen
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ben Do you need the total of your goals, or do you need the total of your goals not already met? I look at the Underfunded amount under Quick Budget to do what I think you're trying to do... figure out how much *more* you need this month to cover everything that's coming up. Underfunded includes both goals and scheduled transactions.

      Reply Like
      • Mike Hike
      • Cornflower_Blue_Wildcat.2
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ben Awesome feature but for some reason I do not see all my goals. I have like 50000 for goals and only shows some about 5000 .  Im I doing something wrong?  I want to see all the goals and not only the monthly funding. 

      Reply Like
      • Mike Hike
      • Cornflower_Blue_Wildcat.2
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Laura Coursen both would be fine to have.

      Reply Like
      • Laura Coursen
      • Technical Writer
      • lecoursen
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Mike Hike What kind of goals are they? They would have to be category balance by date or monthly funding, not category balance.

      Reply Like
      • Ben
      • Toolkit for YNAB Designer & Developer
      • furiousfalcon
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Mike Hike Ah. Correct, that number represents the total amount of goals for the month (how much you are expected to budget in order to be on track for your goals), not the total of all goals entirely. You may need a calculator for what you want to do.

      Reply Like
      • Mike Hike
      • Cornflower_Blue_Wildcat.2
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Ben  Ok I figure ir out. I just put every expense as a monthly goal and then with the extension I see the total of the goals. Thanks so much the extension is amazing. 

      Reply Like 2
  • I also have variable income, and I use a spread sheet for predictions. The left side has this month's predicted expenses, the right side has the previous month's income. I forecast into the future up to three months (e.g. I have a sheet for March with March's expenses on one side and February's predicted expenses on the other). I can play around with either side - I know this month will be especially light for income, so I'm looking at either decreasing my expenses in February or taking $200 out of my income replacement fund.

    Predictions are fallible, as I've learned time and time again. Fortunately, I tend to grossly over predict my income, but there have been a few times I under predicted. YNAB keeps me on track during those times. The spreadsheet mostly exists to indulge my anxiety about the future. YNAB is still the tool I use on a daily basis to ensure that I'm sticking to the plan.

    Reply Like 1
  • I actually just emailed YNAB support with a similar question and suggested that functionality. It may not be something they want to do, given that it is so focused on budgeting the cash in hand, but I do think some sort of planning tool would be helpful before the money actually arrives. For me this helps me to know whether or not my category funding goals are realistic. 

    I use an Excel spreadsheet to do this, and it has each of my YNAB categories in it so that I can do some quick and easy scenario modeling of what my monthly expenses and goals are. I attached a blank template version here in case you'd like to check it out!

    Reply Like 1
      • Mike Hike
      • Cornflower_Blue_Wildcat.2
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Hey Tan Dragon , awesome. If I do not found a way in the software I´ll use your method for sure.

      Reply Like
Like Follow
  • 5 mths agoLast active
  • 15Replies
  • 263Views
  • 9 Following