Negative TBB?

How can a TBB amount come up in the red (negative) when the full amount of in and out in that month equals zero across the board?

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  • And to further this question... if there was X leftover from the month prior to the month in red, why am I not able to apply it to the immediate next month instead of the current "next" month?

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  • I'm so confused.  It's like some months the leftover TBB stays put, and other months it jumps to a random future month.

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  • I would recommend you not have leftover TBB. When you leave it unbudgeted it can move around between months based on your budget.

    A negative TBB can be caused by overbudgeting (budgeting more money than you have) or by overspending (spending more money than is contained in a category).

    In addition of you budget current money into a future month and then increase a budgeted amount in the current month, it will pull the money back from the future month causing it to be overbudgeted and go negative.

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      • Ramsey
      • rodeoramsey
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule I agree - I want to budget to 0 - but the problem is I don't know where the money is going, so I don't know where I can pull it from to cover any overspending.  I also don't know HOW there is overspending - if the Spent and Budgeted amounts are ALL equal to the same thing, leaving the Available columns at ZERO.

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Ramsey 

      Ramsey said:
      but the problem is I don't know where the money is going, so I don't know where I can pull it from to cover any overspending.

       I don't understand what this means.

      1) Budget all your money to categories

      2) If you spend more than you have in a category, you move money from another category in order to cover the overspending.

      It sounds to me like you are waiting for the spending to occur before you add money to the category?

      Like 1
      • Ramsey
      • rodeoramsey
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule I was trying to budget everything to Zero for the past year's expenses, so that I could understand what was spent, where, and when, so I could better plan for future expenses.  The whole "break large expenses up to smaller sizes" principle.  I got everything imported, all my accounts correctly lined up with the online version, and then set every expense to the proper category.  The Accounts side looks great.  I moved over to the Budget side and knowing that there's not much I can do looking back, I just wanted to balance everything out to zero.  I've got months where there's both negative and positive in the TBB yet there's no real way for me to know where that's going or where it came from, so I really don't know how to apply it to my future budget.  For an example, let's say I have $100 leftover in the TBB in August.  Ideally, I'd like to apply that to my Car Insurance category, or even split it into a couple different large annual expenses.  But if I apply that $100, it makes other categories in September go out of whack.  So, my thought was to just balance everything out to zero so that I could start over in the current month but that doesn't seem to work either, because now my current (Feb) TBB doesn't add up to the actual money I have on hand.

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      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Ramsey I think your confusion is in trying to deal with the past. If you are going to start using nYNAB, I suggest you either migrate your YNAB4 budget and just worry about making February match, or start using nYNAB with a Fresh start from today.

      Trying to "fix" past months can make a mess of things.

      Like 4
  • nolesrule said:
    budget current money into a future month

     And how do I tell the money I am budgeting what month to go to?

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      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Ramsey 

      Ramsey said:
      And how do I tell the money I am budgeting what month to go to?

       By looking at the month you have the budget screen set to when you are budgeting. It tell you right on the top what month you are in.

       

      Have you watched any of the getting started videos, read the documentation or taken any of the online classes? Or are you just trying to guess your way into using the application correctly?

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      • Ramsey
      • rodeoramsey
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule I have used YNAB for about 5 years.  I am really trying to make an effort to switch to nYNAB because I know at some point they will issue an end-of-life for the YNAB4 software.  I can't seem to wrap my head around why it's so different.  It was much simpler to see where my money was going in YNAB4.

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      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Ramsey YNAB4 is  already end of life and has been for over a year. But I don't see why you should stop using it. The mobile version is more likely to break than the desktop version, particularly if you are using Windows, where it should run for a very long time... Microsoft excels at maintaining backward compatibility for software.

      I plan on sticking with YNAB4 for a very long time, as I do not like the new version at all.

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      • Gold Tiger
      • Gold_Tiger
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule Not me, I left it immediately.  Much more efficient with this new version.  I just think you fear change. LOL 

      Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Gold Tiger I don't fear change. I tried the soft launch for a month and found it to be less efficient for budgeting (lack of Income for Next Month) and more difficult to manage account cash flow (lack of future dated transactions in the register and no running balance). And I abhor Stealing From the Future, which is a major implementation failure that still has yet to be corrected.

      It was designed with the new on-the-edge budgeter in mind with no consideration to the functional needs of the budgeter who is in a good place with their budget (the developers think they made those considerations, but the reality is they ignored their needs).

      Heck, they still haven't added a calculator for account transactions and splits, a basic feature they should have launched with. And I still think their sorry excuse for a calculator on the budget screen is, well, a sorry excuse for a calculator, when there are dozens of real calculators publicly available that could be quickly dropped into place and would be easier to use.

      And the Move Money tool isn't useful for moving money between multiple categories in a pass.

      I haven't seen any improvements in the last 2 years to change my mind. YMMV.

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  • nolesrule said:
     By looking at the month you have the budget screen set to when you are budgeting.

     Also I don't believe you understood my question.  I know that if I look at the budget at the top it will tell me what month I am looking at.  I am saying if I am on say DECEMBER, and I budget money, why doesn't it simply go to the next month as it has always done in the past?  It's like some is being sent to the current month, some to a future month next to the current month, who knows where.  I can't see where it's going so I don't know how to tell it to go to X month.  If I have leftover funds for DEC, I want them to go to JAN so I can properly allocate them.

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      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Ramsey Leftover funds in a month are available in the next month. In fact, in nYNAB, any money not budgeted in the current month is then available to budget in any future month.

      However there are ways in which the money can flow back and forth between months unintentionally. This can be caused by a phenomenon we call Stealing From the Future. This happens when you budget money to a future month and then increase a budgeted amount in the present month. The software will silently pull the money back from that future month in order to cover your increased budgeted amount.

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      • Gold Tiger
      • Gold_Tiger
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule 

      nolesrule said:
      However there are ways in which the money can flow back and forth between months unintentionally. This can be caused by a phenomenon we call Stealing From the Future. This happens when you budget money to a future month and then increase a budgeted amount in the present month. The software will silently pull the money back from that future month in order to cover your increased budgeted amount.

       This isn't a flaw. I'm sure it's done by design. 

      You have to realize that YNAB doesn't want you spending money you don't have.  So if something goes short, which is what would happen if you change your category amount, it's going to use the money that's available to make up the balance. 

      So, using your example let me try to clear it up;

      You have 50 cash in your hand.  You place it in an envelope for Medical category next month...Great, you now have $50 budgeted for next month.

      Now, we look at this month's envelope.  In there is $50.  Except,  the bill you receive this month is $70...Unexpected.  So, you take $20 from next month's medical to pay this debt.  You're calling this "Stealing from the Future" when what has really happened is you've underbudgeted this month. That money shouldn't have even been assigned to next month yet.  You're trying to pay bills that you haven't secured the income for yet.  Basically, using traditional budgeting techniques within the YNAB system. 

      If you know a bill is coming due, simply either enter a future transaction or even better a goal.  Then it won't affect your budget and it will notify you of where you stand towards paying that transaction.   Then you can use all the money you have properly for the current cycle you're in. 

      This will also eliminate your "sealing from the future". BTW, that's called debt spending.  Welcome to the governments of the world LOL.

      Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Gold Tiger Stealing from the future is a bit more subtle than that. You make the assumption that the money should not have been budgeted to the future month in the first place. The problem with that is it obfuscates the ability to make a change in the present month while keeping it neutral, and also makes changes to the budget prone to error. 

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  • Ramsey said:
    I am saying if I am on say DECEMBER, and I budget money, why doesn't it simply go to the next month as it has always done in the past? It's like some is being sent to the current month, some to a future month next to the current month, who knows where. I can't see where it's going so I don't know how to tell it to go to X month. If I have leftover funds for DEC, I want them to go to JAN so I can properly allocate them.

     The problem here is you are looking back on December and January and we're almost into March. It's a little late for your question because what is done is done. That money is now also mixed in with February, so just looking at those months in isolation is not helpful.

    You should be looking at the February/March switchover since that is where we are at now. If you have some money in TBB now in February, take a look at March to see how it works.

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  • nolesrule said:
    However there are ways in which the money can flow back and forth between months unintentionally. This can be caused by a phenomenon we call Stealing From the Future. This happens when you budget money to a future month and then increase a budgeted amount in the present month. The software will silently pull the money back from that future month in order to cover your increased budgeted amount.

     This must be what is going on, because I went back and recategorized some things due to trying to get to a better place to move forward.  The budget was a mess with categories everywhere and money everywhere.  I wonder if I did a fresh start, and then imported the same bank statements again, would it be applied differently.

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      • Gold Tiger
      • Gold_Tiger
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Ramsey 

      Ramsey said:
      I wonder if I did a fresh start, and then imported the same bank statements again, would it be applied differently.

       After reading through all of this, it would seem to me that this might be your best option.  I was going to suggest you simply create a fresh clean budget.  Your old budget will still be saved if you need to refer to it again.  Your old accounts will also still be imported. You simply have to connect them to your new budget.  Obviously, you can guess, I've had to do this myself. 

      BEFORE you do this though, I would HIGHLY recommend you sign up and attend as many of these free classes they offer.  They are so invaluable I can't even begin to put it into words.  Even if you've been using YNAB for decades.  These remain current and update you on the latest methods and steps to keeping your finance in order. 

      Start with them as if you are a first time user and go up from there.  You will not be disappointed. 

      Like 3
      • Ramsey
      • rodeoramsey
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Gold Tiger Thank you!  I may spend a little time today and try this.

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      • Gold Tiger
      • Gold_Tiger
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Ramsey You will not regret it.  I've actually found myself binge learning LOL.  Taking one class after another.  Mostly because they're short and I really love that they walk you through it by actually DOING the things on screen and open up to questions.

      Like 2
  • nolesrule said:
    You should be looking at the February/March switchover since that is where we are at now. If you have some money in TBB now in February, take a look at March to see how it works.

     I do have some, altho I honestly don't have any idea how it got there, where it came from, what month, what inflow, and I honestly find that to be problematic.  Maybe I need to have a paradigm shift in my thinking on my money.  I have always thought it important to understand what was spent in the past and where my money has come from and has gone, in order to better plan for the future.   This way of thinking makes me feel like "let me just throw all my money into a hat and hope it covers what it's supposed to".  Feeling very frustrated with nYNAB right now. :(

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  • nolesrule said:
    (lack of Income for Next Month) and more difficult to manage account cash flow (lack of future dated transactions in the register and no running balance). And I abhor Stealing From the Future, which is a major implementation failure that still has yet to be corrected.

     My questions is, why are you trying to use old techniques with YNAB?  You should not be budgeting into the future.  Unlike traditional budgeting, YNAB's core strategy revolves around budgeting ONLY money that you actually have.  You're not supposed to be budgeting future income you may never receive.   That is what gets many of us into trouble in the first place. 

    YNAB - You get income - You divide it among your categories (virtual envelopes).  When "to be budgeted" = 0, you're done. Now spend your money to your category's desire. 

    I'm confused as to what you mean that you can't track future transactions. I can and do use future transactions as well as budgets.  I have a medical bill that I've already budgeted for next month as well as my mortgage and auto loan.  

    Maybe you could elaborate because none of what you've mentioned seems to be an actual issue with the "system" but more of a personal preference. I'm curious to see what you're seeing.


     

    Like
      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Gold Tiger What, based on what I wrote, makes you think I'm budgeting money I don' have? 

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      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Gold Tiger I put future dated spending transactions for committed spending in my register because that affects both the category balance and the account balance. The effect on category balance shows me my true category balance for spending decisions. On the account balance side it makes it easy to determine if the right account will have the right amount of money in it when needed. 

      This has nothing to do with future income not yet received. 

      Like 1
    • nolesrule You've mentioned a few things such as budgeting into the future and Stealing from the Future.  I did post another reply that should clear up what I meant.  YNAB is not for forecasting expenses or income it's for a spending plan for the money you have in hand. 

      In other words, I know I have a $1200 mortgage next month. If I have $800 this week,  I don't budget $1200.  I create a target goal and budget a different amount...Say, $500. Then the other $300 gets divided up into other categories starting from "immediate obligations" and working down.

      Hope that clears what I meant up a little better.  

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Gold Tiger this makes little sense. If YNAB didn't want to allow you to budget money you have into a future month then the software wouldn't allow it. 

       

      I always budget my current month using income received in the previous month. Or to put another way, I budget next month with current month money.  I don't want YNAB changing that on me, particularly with no indication. I have money in the current month that I can take from other categories. 

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Gold Tiger Stealing from the Future has been a much discussed issue here and on the old YNAB forums for over two years now. It was even acknowledged by YNAB with a promised fix over a year ago, although we are all still waiting.

      It's an issue that comes about because there is a lack of awareness for the changes made to your budget in future months when you make a change in the current visible month that has an effect on the overall budgeted amount. This includes data entry errors while making adjustments to your budget throughout the month in order to cover overspending or just changing budgeted amounts due to new information.

       

      If you have $200 budgeted to march and $10 in your TBB in February (and march), if you budget that $10 to a category your TBB in February will go to zero. If you're not paying attention and accidentally type in $100 instead of $10, your TBB in February still goes to zero. But there's no indication that your TBB in March is now -$100. And if you didn't notice the typo, there's no reason for you to go take a look at March. After all your focus is on the current month.

      Like 1
      • Gold Tiger
      • Gold_Tiger
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule 

      nolesrule said:
      If you have $200 budgeted to march and $10 in your TBB in February (and march), if you budget that $10 to a category your TBB in February will go to zero. If you're not paying attention and accidentally type in $100 instead of $10, your TBB in February still goes to zero. But there's no indication that your TBB in March is now -$100. And if you didn't notice the typo, there's no reason for you to go take a look at March. After all your focus is on the current month.

       Okay, I had to read this like 10 times to understand it. LOL. No wonder I don't get what you're talking about. 

      I think my confusion with the situation you're explaining is because I don't leave anything in my TBB - ever.  I also don't budget into the future. I'm not saying I don't plan a transaction or goal into the future,  but I don't set a budget amount in the future.  Doing that WILL throw off your TBB and category amounts. 


      I follow the steps as written. Money comes in, assign every dollar a category. When TBB is 0 I'm done with TBB until I get paid again. 

      Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Gold Tiger There are advantages to be able to use all of your income from one month to budget following month, and in fact it used to be YNAB's rule 4 and had functionality in YNAB4 to support it. You can see a bigger picture when you can budget a full month in a single pass rather than always having to budget income as it comes in and trying to determine the best priority in the moment.

      Even the new YNAB software allows you to budget into future months, so just saying 'don't budget in future months" isn't really a satisfactory answer. YNAB teaches you that one method of getting ahead when your current month has enough money in it is to start budgeting toward next month.

      That in itself is a good idea. If your month has enough money in it, use it to get ahead in the future rather than putting it in the budget in the current month where it's not needed and then spending it in the current month.

      However there are also limits to how far ahead is a good thing. And we've had large philosophical discussions about budgeting technique over the years. Check out the old forum for some intelligent and inspiring takes on the subject.

      Like 1
  • I think I may have stumbled on to one of my issues with things not matching up correctly.  After some simple subtractions and searches for the various differences, I actually found a transaction in one of my Accounts that is an error.  It was supposed to be part of a split inflow (money coming in to cover part of a payment in another account) and there's something wrong with it.  It's almost like it's only half of the transaction.  I can't delete it, edit it, or move it.  I tried to recreate the other payment to see if it would sync up and nope.  So essentially I have X more in my budget available due to this same X amount in my account, and I can't remove it.  SO that makes me wonder... how many more of these issues are around?

    Like
    • Ramsey I really suggest you start a new budget from scratch.  Then budget out the money you actually have. It sounds like transactions have been confused and looking for the problem is more trouble than it's worth when you can simply start everything clean.  

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      • Ramsey
      • rodeoramsey
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Gold Tiger I know but I have already spent HOURS setting up this budget.  Hate to lose all that time and have to go back and do everything over again. 

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      • Ramsey
      • rodeoramsey
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Not to mention I'm concerned if there is one erroneous application error, how many more there could be.

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    • Ramsey Hours?  That might be part of your problem LOL. YNAB's great because it literally takes a few moments to set up a budget.  Wow...What in the world are you tracking?  I even have investment accounts and asset accounts and more and it took me ten min to set up a new budget. 

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      • Ramsey
      • rodeoramsey
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Gold Tiger A couple years worth of transactions in multiple accounts.

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Ramsey I would just start from scratch. I wouldn't bother with past years at all. It'll only make it difficult to impossible to get started.

      Like 2
  • Gold Tiger said:
    Now, we look at this month's envelope. In there is $50. Except, the bill you receive this month is $70...Unexpected. So, you take $20 from next month's medical to pay this debt. You're calling this "Stealing from the Future" when what has really happened is you've underbudgeted this month.

     This is not Stealing From the Future. I'm the one who coined the phrase when the Stealing from the Future issue was first publicly discovered.

    This is intentionally pulling back money from a future month to cover an expense in the current month. i have no problem with someone intentionally making that decision.

    My problem is YNAB choosing on my behalf to overbudget the future without giving me any indication in the current month if I make a change in the current month when my intention was to offset the change with other money from the current month... and the double wammy here is that there is no true ZERO baseline (as in "budget to zero") for the budget in any month when you've budgeted money into future months, which is detrimental to making adjustments to the budget.

    Like 4
    • I know this has been an ongoing discussion, but wanted to weigh in really quickly. Gold Tiger you're absolutely right - this was done by design to prevent overspending from being present when in reality there were funds to cover the spending, it was just allocated to the wrong month - essentially underbudgeting in the current month because of attention in a future month. However, as nolesrule mentioned, a number of users have an issue with this because of the lack of warning and notification.

      Following the quoted example, that $20 is Automatically taken from the future without a user choosing or selecting to do so - which was by design, but admittedly a design that users have been very expressively against in the forums. :)

      Not budgeting towards the future before the current month is completely covered, or checking future months after any changes to the current month, can catch Stealing From the Future, but I've been made very aware that more of a warning is of high importance to some users. 

      Like 1
      • Gold Tiger
      • Gold_Tiger
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness at YNAB I figured it was by design. I guess legacy users have more of a problem with it than someone like me who is only known to this current version of YNAB. 

      Like 1
  • Hi Ramsey !

    I second Gold Tiger and Nolesrule - a new budget would be easier to set up. If you don't want to create a new budget because you want to keep your transactions history, try a mini-fresh start. You can reconcile your accounts so that you're sure the balances are correct, then use the Quick Budget option to Set Available Amounts to $0.00. You can then budget in the current month like it's a new month. :)

    The issue with trying to fix the past, is that funds carry forward. For instance, let's say you received $50 in December that you didn't spend, and you left it in your To Be Budgeted all of January, but budgeted it towards Dining Out in February. If you go back and budget that $50 in December, then it has to pull back the $50 you budgeted in February - essentially changing the past and thus the present.

    Like
  • Faness at YNAB said:
    more of a warning is of high importance to some all users including the ones that otherwise really champion and like this software because right now we've made it impossible to see in the current month if you did this without intending to, and we promised a fix a year ago that we haven't delivered on yet with no explanation as to why we haven't.  

     Fixed it for ya. 

    Like 2
  • I just got burned by this as well. I track my cash, but apparently not very well. I reconciled my "account" (probably forgot to track a few sodas at the office) and am now $7 short next month. What sense does that make? 

    If I have $1000, my monthly budget is $1000, and I budget 2 months out, I've budgeted twice what I have. YNAB will tell me that I'm square this month and $1000 in the hole next month. That's crazy! It knows right now that I've budgeted more than I have. If I had the $2000 at the start, it would reduce my TBB to $0 correctly; it does the right thing until you go negative. Why? I need to know right now if my budget isn't going to work.

    There is a lot I love about YNAB. I recently deleted my Mint account (after a decade of Mint!) and switched over to YNAB. I find it much easier to manage my spending and achieve my goals, but this bug really shakes my confidence in my own budget. (It may work as designed, but it's designed wrong. It's a product bug, not a technical one.)

    Like 1
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