Multiple goals (known future expenses) for a category?
I'm new to YNAB, and loving it so far. One thing I just stumbled on is planning for multiple known future expenses in a single category. I think it's great that YNAB created a Software Subscriptions category and a goal to support paying for my YNAB subscription. Now I'm looking to also use that category to handle another software subscription (1Password) that I pay for annually (this one in November). So my question is what the best way is to handle that (short of creating a category for each subscription software product). Once things reach steady state (amortizing the cost of each subscription across 12 months), it makes sense to use a monthly funding goal. But since I'm currently budgeting for all of YNAB across three months (started very late in Feb, will be due in early April), and for 1Password across 8 months, what is the best way to have YNAB automate (or at least help with) that? The obvious one right now would be to set up a monthly funding goal now and then adjust it down after each payment (or up if I buy another subscription), but since YNAB is so smart about helping with things like this, I'm hoping there's something easier (i.e., not requiring future adjustments that I know now I'll have to make) that I'm just not seeing.
The simplest solution is to use multiple categories, one for each subscription. That way you know you have the right amount for each subscription. It's really not as bad as it seems, and it creates more awareness for how each individual subscription affects your budget.
This is true for small subscriptions. For larger ones it requires more funds, and so is somewhat problematic. It's also true that there's no reason that the goals functionality couldn't be made to handle this. It would be a very useful thing.
Hi FenianEMT !
I just wanted to chime in to let you know I'm passing this along to our development team as a feature request! :)
For now, the options are to separate those expenses into individual categories or set a monthly funding goal and then adjust it once you make the initial payments. I actually gave an example of this in another forum thread, just in case you want to take a look!
This forum link helped me realize how to set a monthly funding goal that is clear to its purpose of covering multiple future transactions. https://www.reddit.com/r/ynab/comments/5dye60/nynab_our_monthly_auto_maintenance_fund/
I also submitted a feature request to support multiple goals per category a while ago.
But there's something deeper that lurks under this, and that is that future dated transactions and goals seem to me to be surface representations of "the same thing" underneath.
We already have future dated transactions, so why should one need to in one step load future dated transactions for your YNAB subscription and 1Password subscription, and then in a separate step go and set up goals to fund those transactions?
If I tell YNAB that I am going to spend X money on the 17th of August, the default behaviour should be that YNAB assumes my goal in life is to be able to afford to spend X by that date. Future transactions should, by default, be goals - which argues that YNAB should support multiple goals per category.
I just submitted a feature request form, but thought I'd add to the conversation here as well. I like what others have already said here about multiple goals and funding the goal that is due soonest, first. The one things missing is some way to visually distinguish between having your soonest-due goal on-track and having all goals in a category on-track, and a way to quick-budget either for all goals in a category or for only the soonest due.
The other thing I put in the feature request is related to what Pieter Nagel said above, about having to first enter a scheduled transaction and then separately enter a goal. I think when entering a future transaction, there should be a checkbox to create a "Linked Goal." If you change the amount or date of the transaction, the linked goal would automatically update to reflect the changes. Also, if the transaction is recurring, the goal would automatically reset once the transaction actually occurs, to start budgeting for the next instance.
In the meantime, I may do what others have suggested and create a separate category for each recurring subscription. I generally like to have fewer, broader categories than more and narrower categories, which is why I support both the multiple goals and linked goals ideas.