Budget Using Only One Month's Income

Having used YNAB 4's "Income for this month" and "Income for next month", I feel like I'm at a loss since moving to nYNAB. 

I get paid on the 15th and 30th so in YNAB 4, I would put both of those paychecks in "Income for next month" then on the 1st, I can use that money to budget everything. Then during the month, if I'm moving money between categories, it was really easy to make sure I'm only spending last month's income by making sure "To Be Budgeted" is zero. If I'm under budget, it'll be positive and if I'm over budget, it'll be negative, all without affecting spending or categories for any other month.

With nYNAB, I find this workflow no longer works. I understand that it's trying to make your money more fluid by removing the monthly walls but I feel like I'm in less control than before.

For example, if I'm budgeting after my mid-month paycheck, "To Be Budgeted" now contains both last month's incoming as well as income which is slated for next month. This means I can't use it as an indicator of whether I'm over or under budget and makes it really easy to use money that's suppose to be for next month. 

In another words, I think of income as buckets. In YNAB 4, each month had its own bucket and that helps your control spending because the software makes it easy to only use a single bucket per month to fill your envelopes. 

In nYNAB, all of the income goes into a single bucket and with that, it makes it hard to only use one month's worth since there's no way to divide it up.

I understand that some people create their own "buffer" category where income goes but I feel like this just adds extra friction and a risk for errors.

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  • I’m new to YNAB and I’m really trying to follow the philosophy. It already is a great help. I rarely subscribe to anything, but I think I will in this case. 

     

    Bit it I came across this problem of budgeting for next month and found this discussion. It’s great to see so many experi need and new people are aware of it. I will be using the work around mentioned for now because I really want to make it work. But please, another vote for some ability to assign a paycheck to future months. Such a simple option. You could even make it a hidden “advanced” option if you don’t want to confuse users. 

    Reply Like 1
  • Faness 

    This is my first time visiting the forums because I've gotten fed up with the way the income system works in YNAB. 

    I am a relatively new YNAB user (August 2017), but I've been very diligent with using it and I'm already over 2 months ahead on my "Age of Money". Before I started YNAB in August 2017, I listened to every single one of the podcasts that had been released up to that point (I had a 1.5hr commute). The one huge piece that I learned from these podcasts is to only spend this month what you earned last month, that way you are not living paycheck to paycheck. However, the current way that income is sent to TBB and is not allowed to be set aside for next month automatically contradicts what all of these podcasts have said and actually doing what Jesse advised is more difficult than it should be. YNAB should make it easier to set aside money for next month whenever I receive income this month. 

    First of all, none of my accounts are linked to YNAB. I like to keep things manual because I find that it gives me more control. I hate budgeting an income of $0.08 for monthly interest so I just roll it into my income. 

    My current "workaround" for budgeting my income is to not budget it at all. Literally. I don't budget my income that comes in at least twice a month until the very last day of the month. The result is that my account never reflects the amount seen in YNAB so I have to constantly double check that the difference is what my income is. This is extremely frustrating. 

    I know that it has been suggested to use a different workaround by using a buffer budget category to hold my current month's income until next month. I am going to try to use that this month, but this just seems ridiculous. 

    Faness please do not tell me to budget for next month every time I get new income. This might be how you like to do it, but this is not what Jesse advised in his podcasts and I find it degrading the way you've purported this method as the way that YNAB is supposed to work. He talked many times about having your "budgeting date" with your significant other at the beginning of the month and being able to "set aside" the income this month until next month. So now I am supposed to do this 4+ times a month every time we receive income? That makes no sense. As somebody else already said... my income's job this month is to not get spent. 

    It's been two months since this was posted and I'm sure there are posts dating much further back. It is time to implement this simple change and give the necessary flexibility back to the users. You can still go on budgeting how you are, but it is not fair that the people who budget differently are having to trick the system to make YNAB work. I have many friends and family members that I want to suggest YNAB to, but I simply cannot do so until the software follows the logical flow that it was founded upon. Otherwise this "simple budgeting tool" is nothing more than a glorified Excel spreadsheet. 

    Reply Like 6
    • R Trip - Very well stated. 💯

      I have been using the "To Budget Next Month" category hack for the past two months. It works better than the default flow, but not by much.

      Faness - There are enough people frustrated by this that it warrants an official statement/blog post from the YNAB team on either: a) why they aren't going to change it, or b) that they realize it's an issue and it's being worked on. If the team doesn't post an official statement, we have to assume this isn't going to change and we should switch to different software.

      Reply Like 1
      • Marla E
      • Marla_e
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      I am in my 4th month of using YNAB now, and never used any of the older versions. I am doing the workaround of categorizing all income directly into an "Income for Next Month" category, and then when the new month begins, I search for all those transactions and re-categorize them as Income:TBB.  

      This allows me to budget a full month at a time, to make better decisions about priorities, and to have more meaningful budgeting sessions with my spouse. It also allows me to be flexible about moving money in the current month without worrying about accidentally pulling budgeted money out of a future month. We are seeing significant improvements in our net worth and spending patterns because living on last month's income changes everything about your relationship to money. It's magical 😍

      I can't give a great testimonial for YNAB because of this,  but I can give a wholehearted testimonial for the workaround! Thank goodness I found it, because I cannot imagine "doing YNAB" any other way (and staying sane). I wish YNAB supported this workflow natively.

      Reply Like 2
      • R Trip
      • Civil Engineer
      • trip_r
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Magenta Network I completely agree. My wife and I have loved using YNAB. She hated the idea of budgeting before we started, but now she loves it because it has given us more freedom to do things we love because we know that we are covered everywhere else. 

      After reading and researching more, the existence of this obvious issue is mind-numbing. This should be priority number 1 for the YNAB team. Doing math is nice and there are plenty of other quality of life improvements that could be made, but nothing compares to this flaw in the methodology of their newest system. 

      I've done programming for time and work management systems in a manufacturing setting and I fully understand how the nYNAB wants you to budget for the next month whenever you get income, but it is a big oversight to force users to do their budgeting this way. I'd be willing to bet that a majority of users would choose to budget in the "workaround" method if both options were explained and available. I know that I cannot recommend this software until I am absolutely positive that it will not lead to possible issues (Stealing from the future) for my friends and family. 

      Faness please don't take offense to what I've written. I doubt you were the one that initiated this change in methodology. I do ask that you continue to put this issue in front of the Overlords. 

      Reply Like
    • Hi R Trip !

      Thank you for taking the time to weigh in here! No need to apologize, I've grown used to the amount of passion that comes with some feedback and it's a great show of how much YNAB truly means to our users. If you have an extra moment, would you mind submitting a feature request with this information? There's an announcement that goes over exactly what happens when you do and MP Goodman was kind enough to post a direct link.

      Our development team analyzes the data we receive in cycles and we don't take your feedback lightly. The decisions made and changes implemented are heavily considered beforehand, so I can't make any promises but I assure you this post has given our development team a lot to think on. :)

      Maroon General Before we make any announcements, we like to have a solid plan in place and usually a feature to show for it. While we want to be transparent, we know that things change and we don't want our words to turn into lies because of something unforeseen. We keep our What’s Up Next page updated for current projects our development team is working on, but you can submit a feature request for the income for next month option - once a new feature is available, we make sure to announce it loud and clear. :)

      Reply Like
  • YNAB implemented a new feature request form that is supposed to go directly to the programming/decision making team. I'd suggest each of you that is frustrated with this and does not feel it is being considered to send in a feature request. I would hope that the more they receive the higher a priority it will get.

    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfNVCZCXFaokj9PjsnKXDau5-F2-cu-rdK9AgrBkdAa_xgjww/viewform

    Reply Like 2
    • MP Goodman Thank you for posting this link! You're absolutely correct - that form goes directly to our development team and it's the best way to make sure your thoughts, feedback and opinions reach them. :)

      Reply Like 1
  • Just adding my voice to the chorus of folks who want "Income for next month".  Been using YNAB4 for years, and I'm on day three of nYNAB.  For me (and many of us), living on the prior month's income was the key insight / feature of YNAB.  I can't believe that it is gone.

    Ironically, when nYNAB was announced I put off trying it because I didn't like the change in how credit card charges are handled.  It's only taken me a few hours to figure it out, and I think I like it now.  But I never would have imagined that YNAB would take away the "income for next month" feature.  It was always the heart of YNAB.

    After reading the forums, seems the best I can do in nYNAB is create my own work-around "Income for Next Month" category.  Ugh.

    And I don't buy the argument that it's a great thing that nYNAB allows you to budget countless months into the future.  I liked the YNAB4 guidelines that you shouldn't bother trying to budget future months, cuz the future is too unpredictable.  That's forecasting, not budgeting.

    Reply Like 5
      • Marla E
      • Marla_e
      • 1 yr ago
      • 9
      • Reported - view

      qtip  I've been doing the workaround since December, and after the first month or two it becomes second nature. I can't fathom how anyone who is at the point where they are living on last month's income would want to budget that income in future months as they receive it. I would be forever adjusting future months and suffering from decision fatigue as I tried to decide which categories to fund in the distant future when I have no idea what my needs and priorities will be then. I know what they will be for next month and that's good enough for me.

      Reply Like 9
  • Well, since this thread is still going I'm going to go ahead and put in yet another vote to reinstate the Income for Next Month feature. It's so frustrating that it is not there as an option. I use the workaround, but creating a Deferred Income category is an expense category, is it not? I can't see how to make a Deferred Income category that is in the "Income" section, so everything of mine essentially shows an expense. I tried to tweak it today to go right to that new category instead of TBB first and then move into that category, and now I've got everything messed up. I, too, looked at the Every Dollar option today as another poster mentioned to see if they are set up to easily let people get a month ahead.  I will send in a feature request, but I'm not trying to request something new - just reinstate what we had, that was the best part about YNAB.

    Reply Like 2
      • NotMyName
      • Notmyname
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Slate Gray Thunder I think you're really overthinking this.  Categories are not "expense categories" by their nature.  For instance, I have an "Emergency Fund" category where I have a lot of money just sitting; I would never consider calling it an expense category.  There's really no such categorization in nYNAB.  Check your reports, I guarantee you that parking money in a category does not make it show up as an expense.  Basically, income comes it, mark it TBB (so that you don't screw up your reports), move it to whatever you've named your "money for next month" category.  On the last day of the month, release the money from the category back to TBB, move over to next month and start budgeting.  It's really quite simple and does not make anything an expense.

      Reply Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      NotMyName Some people will temporarily assign the Income to the category directly (which will show up in reports). However, generally the people who do this will reassign the category to TBB once all their income has come in and they are ready to budget the next month.

      Assigning income to TBB and then budgeting it to the holding category can be a pain for people who tend to split income a bit, particularly for things like payroll transactions where the income and expense occur simultaneously within the income transaction.

      Personally I do not care for any method that has me using a workaround to sequester income, and still haven't switched to nYNAB because of this and a few other reasons. YMMV.

      Reply Like 2
    • NotMyName  Thank you for your response. The second part of your response shows me how to do the workaround. That's great, but in comparison, in the past when I check in January came in I'd press the given button for "Income for February". Done.  Again that was, check comes in, use the pulldown to mark it for next month. Done. One Step. That is the issue.

      Also, if you look at the Income vs. Expense report, there is one for Income and then everything else you create is an Expense category. That's fine, though, I've gotten fairly used to that one.

      Right now I'm a little behind on the budgeting, so I will have to go into my TBB, then make a category for Money for December, then money for January. My fault for getting behind, but I haven't wanted to use it for this issue, and now it will take some time to organize.

      Reply Like
  • Long time YNAB4 user also and decided to try the new YNAB again a couple days ago.  I'm missing the Income for Next Month feature.  It was part of the routine and I'm trying to think of a way to work around it, but it just made so much sense that I'm not sure it's worth it.   Looks like I'll most likely be going back to YNAB4 which is a shame, there are definitely some parts of the new YNAB which are awesome, but missing this foundational component may cancel out those features.  Maybe next time...

    Reply Like 2
  • nolesrule said:
    However, generally the people who do this will reassign the category to TBB once all their income has come in and they are ready to budget the next month.

     This is what I do, but it's far from ideal.  I daren't change my income transactions to "TBB" and start budgeting the new month with that money until I'm absolutely certain all my expenses from the previous month have posted, otherwise I'm susceptible to stealing-from-the-future. 😩

    My workaround is to make a negative budget entry in the new month against my "Income for Next Month" category and use that money to draft my new budget (avoids SFTF risk.)  Once the previous month is finalized -- which probably won't be until September 5th or 6th because of the weekend and Labor Day  -- I undo that budget entry and reassign the income to TBB to make the income/expense reports correct.

    Ugh. Workarounds upon workarounds.

    Reply Like
  • My workaround is to make a negative budget entry in the new month against my "Income for Next Month" category and use that money to draft my new budget

    This is exactly what I do, in conjunction with the method outlined by  nolesrule .

    Right now it is the end of August, and I am getting ready to budget next month. August TBB is zero and Budgeted in Future is zero. I do have a September budget already set up in YNAB with my normal budget amounts (i.e. my base budget, or template). I have a negative number budgeted in September's "Income for Next Month" category, such that September TBB is zero.  The negative number  is equal to minimum expected income.

    In my August budget, I am waiting for the last income event of the month. When it is received, I will do a few operations:

    --Go to October (2 months ahead) and quick-budget based on September's numbers (using the "Budgeted last month" quick-budget option). I do this first, prior to customizing September, so that my October budget contains my base budget figures and I won't lose them. This preserves my budget template.

    --Go to September and delete the negative number from Income for Next Month, causing TBB to temporarily go red.  Then go to All Accounts,  search for Category:Income for Next Month, and recategorize all of my August "Income for Next Month" transactions to TBB. That will cause all of the earned income from August to flow forward into September's budget.

    --In September, budget to zero and make any modifications that are unique to September (remember I already copied my template forward to October, so I can manipulate September without destroying my base budget). All done!

    --As income arrives in September, I'll categorize it directly to Income for Next Month.  At the end of September I'll repeat the steps above.

    I started using YNAB in January of this year (well, technically mid-December of last year) and have been using this method because it is the only one that makes sense to me. I was not having a very good time with YNAB until I learned this method from advanced users in the old forum who were kind enough to coach me and answer my questions.

    This workaround sounds kind of clunky, but I've gotten used to it. However, I dream of the day when YNAB will make it easier for me to live on last month's income and budget a whole month at a time. It is more efficient, allows me to see the big picture better, allows me to make better choices, and facilitates more productive budget meetings with my spouse.

    Reply Like 3
  • Great news! I just got an emailing saying YNAB is working on changes to TBB to prevent confusion with stealing from the future and it's about to go into beta testing. I'm unsure how the changes will work, but the fact that they have acknowledged there's some confusion is great! Here's to hoping things change in a positive way. 🍻

    Reply Like 3
      • bret
      • bret
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Maroon General 

      Yeah, a fix for "stealing from the future" defect is long overdue. I'm happy it's finally getting some attention!

      However, I'm still not sure I'd bother with budgeting in the future. Doing that each time I receive income feels rather like living (or budgeting) paycheck-to-paycheck.  One of the underrated benefits of the old YNAB-4 "Income for Next Month" mechanic is how to allows you to aggregate an entire month of income and budget it all-at-once.

      But maybe it'll make other workflows more viable; instead of categorizing my income in some non-TBB category, I could safely categorize it as TBB and immediately budget it into some temporary "Waiting to be Budgeted" category inside the future month.  (And when the month rolls over, I could redistribute that aggregated money as-needed.)  Probably more work (= clicking) than my current workflow, but it'd be more closely aligned with how YNAB expects users to operate their budgets, and would make values like "Total Activity" and "Total Inflows" more accurate.

      Reply Like
      • qtip
      • qtip.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      bret That workaround is available now, even without walled months.  You make an "income for next month" category.  Then when income comes in it goes into TBB then immediately budget into "Income for Next Month" (in the current month).  Then when month rolls over, you have a month's worth of income in "income for next month", and you move it all to TBB, then budget it.  During the month you replenish "Income for Next Month."

      For me, preventing stealing from the future would not be a big help, because I don't like the idea of budgeting in future months.  All I want is the return of the "Income for next month" option (or maybe "To Be Budgeted Next Month") option when assigning income.  That would save me some clicks.

      Reply Like 3
      • QC
      • HaplessFinanceProfessional
      • Queenofcoin
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      qtip That's how I've started doing it recently.  The budgeting in the future did make me feel like I was living paycheck to paycheck.  Have the Future Month category tends to impress upon me that I am living on last months income moreso than having to budget forward each time money comes in.

      Reply Like
      • a_different_joel
      • Amused by the incorrigible nYNAB
      • A_different_joel
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Just curious if anyone has gotten the beta and is able to (without breaking some NDA or something) share how it is implemented.

      Reply Like
      • Luke
      • luke
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      qtip  I started doing this, but the one thing I don't like is when you do "-$" in your "Income for Next Month" category it subtracts from "Budgeted in [Month]" / "Total Budgeted". In fact I wish it didn't do this on any category - I want it to add up the positive values. It should add negative values to "Funds for Month" or add a separate line for pulling funds from a category.

      Perhaps this could be seen as "stealing from a category" or something, and it's not something you normally would want to do. But for categories such as "Income for Next Month" or "Emergency Fund" - that's what those categories would be for.

      Reply Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      a_different_joel It's being discussed in depth on the old forums.

      Reply Like 1
      • a_different_joel
      • Amused by the incorrigible nYNAB
      • A_different_joel
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule Ah, thanks for the info.  I deleted my old forum account and don't really want to re-sign up as I spent too much time reading over there.  Not an issue with the new forum for me as I find it so much more difficult to read/use that I don't come here as much.

      Hopefully someone will talk about it over here at some point. 

      Reply Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      a_different_joel Let's just say that at the start of the beta they created more problems than they solved, introducing new ways to Steal From the Future. They've made some changes, but because I don't use the new YNAB, I'm not sure how much progress they've made toward getting it to work. What I do know is they've pretty much ignored the spreadsheet that a user developed that showed how to cleanly make it work in favor of a more complicated approach that is troublesome.

      Reply Like 1
      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      a_different_joel “Not an issue with the new forum for me as I find it so much more difficult to read/use that I don't come here as much.”

      Gigglesnort. 

      Reply Like 3
      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      a_different_joel Fixing SFTF is complex.  It appears to be complex because YNAB has added the constraint that the fix for SFTF must not add back in Income for Next Month, any way for a user to intentionally target income to a specific month, any program support for rolling up income to budget a full month at once, or any hint that there is any other way to budget than to allocate each piece of income as it is received. 

      That works well for people who are so close to the edge that they need to wait to spend until the paycheck comes in.  It is cumbersome and removes clarity for people who are truly a month ahead.  Sometimes I think YNAB assumes no one will ever get a full month ahead; the program makes a lot more sense under that assumption.

      The good news is that the SFTF fix (current version, subject to change) does appear to have some minor benefits for some of the workarounds to budget a full month at a time.  The bad news is, workarounds will still be needed.

      Reply Like
  • Wow, I didn't expect such a wide audience from this thread!

    I also received an email about testing a beta fix for Stealing from the Future. 

    I want to thank Faness and the whole YNAB team for listening to our feedback and actually doing something about it! It's impossible to always satisfy every user and every use case but it's actions like this which proves that YNAB still cares about their customers and makes me happy to pay for a subscription. 

    Keep up the great work!!!! 💙

    Reply Like 4
  • I get paid on the 1st and 15th. Every once in a while I get paid on the 28th-31st depending on days of the month and whether the 1st falls on a week end day or not. When this happens that income gets put into the prior month. Having been a YNAB 4 user, this is 1 of 2 frustrations that make this new YNAB a deal breaker for me.

    Reply Like 1
  • Just caught up on this thread. Another vote for Income For Next Month! I refuse to budget any other way. I have broken the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle and I am not going back!

    Reply Like 8
  • I used to be a YNAB 4 user and now I'm liking the new system a lot.

    In fact, when I have a paycheck I just use it for the next month budget. If I'm paid the 1th, 15th or anytime, I budget the money for the next month. And even that, if for the month M+1 I think I'm done, I go on with month M+2...

    Reply Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 8
      • Reported - view

      Hot Pink Trumpet 

      Hot Pink Trumpet said:
      And even that, if for the month M+1 I think I'm done, I go on with month M+2...

       Why would you do that?

      The point of Income for Next Month is that you can budget the next month in a single go. You start to really see your budget differently when you can do that, rather than budgeting at individual income events. This also makes budgeting to M+2 pointless. If you have an emergency fund (income replacement) adequately funded, you then can see what extra funds you have an make an intelligent decision on what to do with them, including decisions made outside your budget, like increasing retirement contributions or investing in a "Freedom Fund" (i.e. investing money you don't need in your budget that can get you to financial independence).

      People get so hung up on giving every dollar a job that often they don't see that the job is that the money needs to be put to work for them outside their budget.

      Reply Like 8
  • Another vote for Income For Next Month.

    Note this is NOT incompatible with budgeting toward the future as far as you wish. It simply sets the start of where those funds can be budgeted.

    Reply Like 8
  • Before nYNAB came on the scene and folks on the other forum would talk about being able to budget beyond next month, I imagined a functional requirement: "The user shall be able to select the month in which to apply inflow type transactions."   The design element I imagined was a drop down where the user could select "Income for November; Income for December; Income for January, etc.) with maybe up to six months as an option.  There were need to be additional requirements and design about how to manage the funds and keep them walled off but I never saw a fluid amoeba of funds. 

    I'm a HUGE vote for Income for Next Month and for a way to allow a configuration option to do a "red arrow" type of function.  

    Reply Like 4
    • Agent99 Yes!! Simple and straightforward.

      Reply Like
  • Here's a crazy idea... have an option a user can toggle on to provide a mechanism to push income forward to be budgeted next month.  I much preferred budgeting once for the whole month than each time I get a paycheck.

    Though really im not even sure a toggle is necessary,  I don't understand the objections to this because if you really want to budget your money right away you could select income for this month.

    As-is im seriously questioning if I'm going to buy the new YNAB at the end of my trial... and leaning towards NOT!

    Reply Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Coral Battery I'm still using YNAB4, and this is one of the reasons. It's been suggested several times to add it as an option, but it keeps falling on deaf ears. Yet people continue to employ manual work-arounds. Even new YNAB users who never saw YNAB4 have started to figure this out.

      Reply Like 2
    • nolesrule I wish I still had my copy of ynan4 lost it when my hard drive died,  the one thing i forgot to backup.  And i no longer have the email address i used to buy it, so I'm kinda stuck. :(

      Reply Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Coral Battery But do you know what the email address was? If so, you should be still be able to use the tool to lookup the license key. The tool will display the license key rather than emailing it to you, which is all you need to reactivate the program once it is downloaded.

      Reply Like
      • Moohouse
      • Software developer
      • Moohouse
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Coral Battery

      Using the Toolkit for YNAB (Chrome/Firefox) I've managed to make new YNAB more usable than the old one ever was for me. It has, among other things, a visible indicator for stealing from the future. Also, when everything is HTML and CSS, I can avoid the display problems I have struggled with since beginning to use YNAB4. The YNAB4 mobile app left a lot to be desired compared to the almost full-featured new app.

      When I get a paycheck (works for one or multiple) I set it as Inflow: to be budgeted, switch to next month and dump everything into Groceries (my top category). Then, at a suitable time around the end of the month, I free up Groceries and make the initial budget.

      Doing it this way, if I budget a cent more to November than my allotted income, it will show a red -0.01 to be budgeted with the toolkit enabled, but unfortunately not in the mobile app, or if I open the budget on some other computer.

      Yes, tracking of reimbursables is more busy work in new YNAB, else I don't really miss anything from YNAB4. I would also toggle walled months on in an instant if the option ever arrived, but I'm not holding my breath.

      Reply Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Moohouse I won't say you are wrong because a lot of people are getting on just fine with it, but rather different people have different definitions of usable. Online YNAB is still not usable to me, Toolkit or no. Not all of us wish to engage in a myriad of workarounds or extra steps to accomplish basic things which were easy in YNAB4 and that we continue to reply upon for making our decisions.

      Reply Like 2
    • nolesrule I just started my first month in nYNAB coming from YNAB4. I have overcome all the obstacles so far (how it handles credit cards, AmEx joint import issues, poor terminology choices, less useful data display, etc).... I think the inability to appropriate income by month may be the deal-breaker for me.  So sad, I was trying to get on board :( 

      I know lots of people like it, but nYNAB its just not there yet for me. Feels like i'm fighting the software, and its not because I need to "get used to it", there are core structure issues for sure.

      Reply Like 2
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 10 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Silver Storm I do the buffer category work-around and it's working for me. I know it's one more thing piling on, but, meh, you get used to it.

      Reply Like 2
  • Wow.  I'm super disappointed to find this design flaw after finally making the jump from YNAB4 and having been an enthusiast and promoter of YNAB for all these years.

    I've spent HOURS importing and re-categorizing all my imported transactions, cleaning up my budget, and then I discover that I can't allocate THIS month's income to NEXT month without a work around?!?!?!

    I've read all the comments and nothing changes the fact that this could be a simple "enable Month ahead mode" so that we can continue to see our planning in action rather than seeing ~2x the amount of money in TBB!

    The two reasons that I am moving is that YNAB4 has just gotten so slow (probably due to the size of my data being 8 years worth) and auto-import transactions.

    I will still be an evangelist for YNAB, but can we at least get a head of Product Management to let us know if this enhancement is on the whiteboard for a future sprint?  Especially if it is a an optional feature that each user can opt in to?

    (I give credit to YNAB for my net worth growth - the discipline of only spending what I made last month is a creed I live by - see screenshot of my net worth chart below)

    Reply Like 2
      • bret
      • bret
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      gte037p 

      I completely agree with your sentiment. The best thing about YNAB has always been the methodology. The different software versions over the years were just vehicles for putting that methodology into practice.

      In my opinion, the methodology itself was degraded when the designers decided to eliminate Rule 4 and replace it with a vague suggestion to "age your money" without any explicit mechanics to accomplish that goal.

      Like you, I'm firmly committed to "Living on Last Month's Income" and have applied it for many years with great results. I'm not interested in changing my budgeting practices to accommodate the limitations of a new version of the app.

      That said, I've grudgingly accepted my category-based workaround in the new nYNAB. It only takes a few clicks each month, so I can put up with it.  My chief complaint is that it can be a little confusing at times. Some prominently displayed numbers in my budget are completely meaningless. E.g. "Funds for <Month>" is always the sum of two months of income (previous month + current month.) Ugh.

      Reply Like 1
      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 9 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      gte037p 

       

      gte037p said:
      I will still be an evangelist for YNAB, but can we at least get a head of Product Management to let us know if this enhancement is on the whiteboard for a future sprint?  Especially if it is a an optional feature that each user can opt in to?

       It goes higher than Product Management, assuming there is such a department in the company.  Jesse has said, in so many words, that Income for Next Month is not coming back.  There is a current beta test attempting to fix the Stealing from the Future problem; it was kind of amusing to watch the design team try to fix that problem while carefully not allowing the user to select which month money should be budgeted in without allowing it to flow freely to prior months.

      After I got over my outrage, disbelief, and disappointment (okay, I'm not yet over the disappointment), I determined that my best course of action was to find the best workaround I could for this critical function.  Bottom line is, I need YNAB to do the grunt work of keeping track of categories and accounts.  Doing it myself in Excel would be enough more effort that it's worth paying the subscription and developing the workarounds for the eventuality of Window and/or iOS breaking YNAB 4 suddenly and catastrophically. 

      (Credit card rant omitted.  I have my workaround for that, too.)

      Reply Like 3
  • Ha! You expect them to actually listen to their loyal paying customers? Never! They know best and are free to change their whole budgeting philosophy and keep you from doing the exact thing they used to espouse as one of the 4 rules.  On the other hand they will go ahead and not fix real bugs because there are some people that are budgeting with money they don't have yet (breaking every rule of budgeting) and the "fix" may be a "big" change for those people.

    Check out this post/thread on the old forums for context: https://forum.youneedabudget.com/discussion/comment/830667#Comment_830667

    Reply Like 1
  • nolesrule and WordTenor  curious if you then use nYANB or YANB4 today?  Meaning is it worth switching back to the prior version to solve these issues?  I've only ever known the current version and luckily am only paid once a month, so it does not seem awful.  I do agree stealing from the future is a defect. 

    Reply Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Saish Dawg I still use YNAB4. nYNAB is better than what's currently available, not because of the software, but because of the budget method. However I don't like that they take so long to fix defects (or ignore them, hard to tell), and there are some key features I rely on in my planning that weren't migrated (namely future dated transactions in the register separate from the scheduler and running balance.... which allow me to project cashflow). But then I'm not the target market, because I'm not living on the edge.

      Reply Like 2
      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Saish Dawg I’m not the target market either, but I use nYNAB and have now passed the mark where I’ve used nYNAB longer than I used YNAB4. In part so that I can help people, I don’t use the toolkit or a credit card hack either. I do most of my budgeting on my iPad now, and I’m willing to pay a small amount for the convenience, noting that right now, legacy users are grandfathered into a much lower price. The full price I find offensive given the lack of feature development. 

      My use of nYNAB happened to perfectly coincide with starting a job that was paid on the last day of the month. If that hadn’t happened, I would use a workaround to budget a month at a time.  I am also currently running a budget which has the SFTF beta fix. Its behavior is monumentally confusing because every dollar is pegged to a point in time, so they disappear as you go backward.

      Reply Like 1
      • Saish Dawg
      • saish_dawg
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule Hmm, might have to take a look at the legacy app then.  I could sync between my home and work PCs via DropBox, which I already do for my password safe.  Though having it on my phone is convenient for manual entry.  That might be the deal breaker for me.

      Reply Like
      • Saish Dawg
      • saish_dawg
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor Long time Quicken user.  If you think yNAB is slow to fix defects, head on over to that monolithic monstrosity.  Cool to hear there is at least a beta fix for SFTF now!  Given the API is now exposed, there may be a few folks working on modifications that would go far beyond even the Toolkit.  Though sad that the core functionality is left broken.

      Reply Like
      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Saish Dawg  You can only get the legacy app if you bought it before 2016. 

      Reply Like 1
      • Saish Dawg
      • saish_dawg
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor Ah well.  Then I won't have to worry about making the right choice.  :^)

      Reply Like
      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Saish Dawg 

      I am doing my primary budgeting in nYNAB, with multiple workarounds.  There are several things I think ought to be part of the base program, but aren't and won't be any time soon.  The biggest impact thing is that there is no way to clone a budget, save a copy, or restore from backup.  That lack has me maintaining a parallel budget in YNAB 4; my recovery plan in the event I mess up my nYNAB budget is to migrate my copy from YNAB 4 again then manually re-create all the extensive notes I have in nYNAB. 

      I like the nYNAB notes feature better than how notes worked in YNAB 4.  The iOS app for nYNAB is better than the legacy YNAB iOS app.  Too bad the core budget functionality was crippled in an attempt to protect clueless newbs from hurting themselves, and that makes veteran users need multiple workarounds just to re-create functionality that was supported in YNAB 4.

      To be clear:  I don't have a problem with YNAB seeking to design a budget program that can be used by someone who is living paycheck to paycheck, carrying credit card debt, and still using the cards that carry a balance.  I have a problem with the solution for that situation being THE ONLY way to use the program, as that creates quite a bit of inconvenience for people who are a month ahead and pay their cards in full each month.  Instead of teaching people who live paycheck to paycheck to get ahead, YNAB now expects people who live on last month's income to budget paycheck to paycheck.  Yuck.

      Reply Like 2
      • Saish Dawg
      • saish_dawg
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Patzer Lacking the ability to clone is definitely a bummer.  However, I bet that would be relatively straightforward to implement using the API (pull everything down, save to some file format, and then re-upload as a clone).  Plus you would get backup that way. 

      The one thing I do miss from Quicken and/or PocketSmith is the calendar view of spending money.  Forward in time it would show predicted balances.  Then again, I am back completely in forecasting realm and no longer budgeting.  But it was a far more convenient view for scheduled transactions than the current All Accounts one.

      Reply Like
    • briefcase
    • A rack of ties, a travel mug, telephone, briefcase filled with papers
    • briefcase
    • 9 mths ago
    • 4
    • Reported - view

    One year on and this thread is still getting responses.  It's time for YNAB to start catching on.

    Reply Like 4
    • briefcase
    • A rack of ties, a travel mug, telephone, briefcase filled with papers
    • briefcase
    • 9 mths ago
    • Reported - view
  • Having just returned to nYNAB after its initial introduction some years back, I just encountered this issue as well.  I can't imagine keeping an extra $12,000 in my checking account for a buffer.  I only like to keep $1,000 to $2,000 extra in a non-interest bearing account.  Reading through just a few a these threads reminded me how much I hate spending time "budgeting".  It should be automatic, simple so that you can get back to the business of enjoying life and working hard.  I had YNAB4 and that was sooo time consuming that I abandoned it altogether after 3 years of use.  Now, my mother has cancer and my father is fixing on retiring, both are in their 70s and my time is even more at a premium.  

    I'm sure the rest on here also have family, kids, businesses, work, and pursuits as well...so we've got to be able to walk away from a system that isn't working for us.  My general impression is that nYNAB can work for me, but I went to budget for next month, which is NEXT WEEK and I have a number of bills due on the first and can't unless I transfer quite a bit of money right now. I do bookkeeping on Fridays so this is going to be a problem.

    I get paid in large windfalls so YNAB may really work for me, but my dad receives 5 pension, retirement and paychecks per month and it's going to be tedious to keep his accounts.  I just need ONE MORE MONTH without a work around. 

    Reply Like
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Back2YNABMichelle I'm a new user, but my old software didn't have the month cut off either. I have categories, I funded them when I was paid, and I spent from them when needed. Maybe, when your a month ahead YNAB is okay and all your income is going into the future, but I'm not there yet but I can definitely understand multiple paychecks in the month make the month cut off very difficult. I read about users empting account to manually carry it over to the next month and didn't understand it until the end of this month. I've also read about users having 4 or 5 accounts for grocery, one for each week. I tried that out, but it's too much time in the app. 

      Reply Like
  • Back2YNABMichelle said:
    I can't imagine keeping an extra $12,000 in my checking account for a buffer.  I only like to keep $1,000 to $2,000 extra in a non-interest bearing account.

    Hi. I've been budgeting in YNAB for 10 years just for reference. You don't have to put any extra funds in your non-interest bearing payment account to use a buffer and be a month ahead. I don't. There's a simple work around to being a month ahead.

    1. Make a category called something like Next Month (I just call mine Buffer).
    2. Set up your income events as Recurring Transactions that are categorized to Next Month.
    3. After all income has been received for this month, release it from your Next Month category.
    4. Budget next month.

    For your non-interest bearing payment account, all you need to do is make sure you have enough funds in there to pay your bills. I average between 1 and 2 paychecks worth of funds in my checking account at all times. I rarely have to transfer in. Mostly out when I have more funds than necessary in there. Like you, I want to be earning the most interest possible on the majority of my funds.

    Good luck and let us know if you have any issues. It is not easy when you have to start managing somebody else's budget as well.

    Reply Like 2
      • Back2YNABMichelle
      • CEO of Food Line, Legal Professional, Japanese Pen Stationery Fangirl
      • Green_Viper.2
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Superbone Excellent ideas all.  Thanks so much for replying.  The software is on my old computer, and while I do like the streamlined nYNAB, it's taking longer to get used to.  I miss the days of pen and paper and no bills. lol

      Thank you, yes, I've been doing my parents "finances" (parentheses because it's been a hot button issue for almost 30 years and it's now an old friend) since I was 12; however, it's only been in the last two years that every budgeting session hasn't ended up in a fight.  When my father has seen the budgeting actually work, how I was able to get them current with everyone, then pay off their credit cards and line of credit, now working on retirement funds (yes, it's never too late to save for retirement! As long as you draw breath, God is so good to provide what we need).  My father knows all too well that he is not in a good financial shape, but because of budgeting, he is on his way to retiring at 80, 85 in another 10 years but he'll never quite working.  I'll put him to work somewhere in my business.

      What causes so much tension and fights is the fear of not knowing where you stand financially.  My parents made good money, but never sat down and did a budget together.  Frankly, they never sat down together as she became a hoarder and took out secret credit cards.  But, and I'm not a big fan of Dave Ramsey, I did hear him talking about how ridiculous it was to make $100,000 and be broke that always resonated with me as my parents lived in such squalor yet they made over $120,000 most years.  Made no sense.  It's too common I suppose.

      Oh, the lessons on money our parents teach us.  It's better to learn from others' mistakes, am I right?  Unfortunately, I grapple with student loan debt and the IRS.  

      Reply Like 2
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 9 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Back2YNABMichelle You are so right. I didn't learn how to budget until I was in my mid-40s after getting divorced. My ex and I made good money combined and yet were living paycheck to paycheck and too often overdrafting with no savings other than our retirement accounts. YNAB allowed me to know exactly where every penny was going and how to save for Rule Two (true) expenses. My financial situation now on my lone salary would have been unimaginable to myself 10 years ago. It hasn't been easy but through consistent work, I've made a massive improvement since discovering YNAB.

      Reply Like 5
  • I'll jump on the bandwagon here as another YNAB 4 user who came back to new YNAB and is still struggling to get used to the new flow...

    My income is very irregular. Much of it comes from bonuses, equity, etc. Much of that is paid on a quarterly basis. Perhaps 50-60% comes from base salary. My monthly spend is around 70% of my total income. The other 30% I use for savings, financial goals, etc. What that means is that part of the "bonus" money I receive in one month may be required in the following two months to cover the difference between by base pay and my monthly expenses. On top of all that, my paychecks come every two weeks, not every month. So some months I get paid earlier in the month, sometimes later. Usually twice a month, sometimes three times a month.

    YNAB has no income forecasting; that seems antithetical to its philosophy. But I also can't easily reserve money I've earned for a future month to differentiate it from extra income that is available to be assigned to goals or savings. Worse yet, if I "overspend" this month, it doesn't just mean that my money won't always be 30 days old and I may need some of next month's income to cover next month's expenses, it means I may not have enough money to cover my normal spending next month or the following because I'm living on just base pay. Or I may have to go pull money out of savings or money out of earmarked categories. Which means I either limit my standard of living to 50-60% of my real income, or I'm constantly in the boom-and-bust 3-month spending cycle, or I have to do all sorts of special gymnastics to try to reserve income I've received for a future month. The result is that it is difficult to budget extra money I make since I can't always tell how much extra money I really have. Managing all this in YNAB is basically chaos. Even if there is money in a category, I don't feel comfortable spending it unless I also have 2-3 months of liquid buffer. Or I can try to budget my money 2-3 months ahead in YNAB so my "To Be Budgeted" number is 0, but then I have to make changes in multiple places if I want to change categories and there's lots of mental effort required to make sure I keep everything in sync.

    I'm actually considering setting up a separate bank account and receiving all my income there and then setting up a monthly transfer to pay myself  a consistent income just to make YNAB easier to use. YNAB would only know about my spending account, and wouldn't try to manage the buffer I use to even out my income. Or more realistically, I'll switch to another budgeting system. If YNAB can't offer a better for solution for irregular income that doesn't fit monthly cycles, I won't be able to continue to use it. 

    Reply Like 2
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 9 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      Cornflower Blue Display One solution to variable income that has worked for many is to target your budget at your average income level. When you get more money than that, put the excess in a Deferred Income (DI) category. When you get less than that, supplement from the DI category to get back to the average income level. If you happen to start in a "low" phase, you must rely on the priority of categories to fund the more important things while the lower priority things simply must wait.

      In essence, you have a consistent monthly "effective" income. Compared to your separate bank account approach, the concept is identical, but I'd say the DI category is easier to use in practice.

      I think much of your difficulty can also be traced to having multiple "classes" of categories. Those funded from "normal" income vs. bonus income. Removing that artificial distinction would also help. Non-monthly expenses are converted to monthly equivalents (Rule 2--True Expenses). Each category has a priority, and the more important ones get the money.

      Lastly, it may be worth reallocating some unused funds (e.g., emergency funds) toward allowing you to budget in month-sized chunks rather than piecemeal with each biweekly check. You could always pull this money back to the EF if it were actually needed, but in the meantime, working with entire months provides clarity and convenience.

      Reply Like 6
  • Great suggestions.  That is essentially what I am doing, but it is frustrating and creates a bit of uncertainty at month end... "Is this income for next month or this month?" "do I already move money over from my emergency fund?"

    All of these are complex workarounds for something that technology should be able to solve.

    I envision a toggle in settings: "Budget income one month ahead" On/Off.

    Or, to your point: "Roll over excess income to future months at $x"

    Reply Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 7 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      gte037p I'd prefer a "toggle" on a transaction by transaction basis. It worked extremely well in the "prototype", a.k.a, YNAB4.

      Reply Like 4
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