What is true amount spent on a Budget Category?

I have a budget category, Clothing, that I'm attempting to determine the true amount spent on every month. The issue is some of the payments into this category come from non budget accounts (not going to get into detail here).

When this occurs it skews how much was spent in the month on the category as it subtracts what was paid from non budget accounts. Is there a way to see how much was spent on a category without having to add it up manually?

9replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • Payments directly into a category should only be for returns/refunds or reimbursements, so that the reported amount is your real net spending. Amounts coming from outside accounts should only be an inflow into the category if it's a reimbursement so that it offsets money you spent on behalf of someone else. If you are just paying yourself back from your own outside account, this would be income and then budgeted to the category, not a reimbursement.

    Like 3
  • So it sounds like the solutions is to apply outside payments into the "To be budgeted" category instead.

    Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      boatclink Yes, if those outside payments aren't someone else paying you back for something you bought on their behalf.

      Like
  • I'm not sure if you're referring to money coming INTO the category or being spent FROM the category.  If it's FROM, then the other accounts should be on budget, but you already know that.  So the alternative is, if you are buying clothes on a CC that is off-budget, and paying the balance from an on-budget cash account, then categorize the transfer to that off budget tracking account.  That's what I do with an off-budget CC that is used *mostly* for business expenses, but occasionally for a personal expense.  I just split the payment transaction.

    If that setup doesn't apply to you, and it's all cash-based spending, then yeah, what nolesrule said.

    Like
  • When it comes to clothing, I find that past purchasing is not a good indicator of future spending or future needs.  A couple of times a year I will assess my clothing needs to make a list of what I need/want to replace/add.  

    Winter outerwear is a survival necessity and it can be pricey, but I don't need to replace it every year.  Where you work and what you do for a living is another consideration. A person might need safety clothing like steel-toed boots or coveralls insulated to allow for working outside in -30 weather.  I work in a business-formal office; professional appearance and classic attire is non-negotiable for me. This clothing can be very costly, but I buy well-made items in classic styles, so the items I buy last me years if well cared for.

    After I assess what I want to buy and/or need to buy, I then go down the list and assign my best estimate of cost to each, based on past purchasing experience. That gives me a  ballpark total for the category for the year if I don't already have the funds built up. I then wait for sales before buying what's on my list, buying what I want off-season to get as big a discount as I can.

    I have allocated $1,500 in my clothing category for 2020 because I've decided that my winter outerwear needs replacing this year, my underwear drawer is an embarrassment, and and my whole wardrobe is in desperate need of a transfusion. My spending average for the last three years was less than $750/year, an amount which didn't influence how much I have allocated for 2020.

    Like
  • Appreciate everyone's input.

    What I'm trying to gauge is historical spending on this category (as well as others). However, since sometimes I or my wife use the on-budget CC, but pay with our personal funds (off budget) directly back into that category it throws off how much we actually spent on that category for the month.

    Thanks nolesrule for confirming what I suspected after your first reply. When these situations occur we'll pay it into the "To be budgeted" category and add a Memo for what it was for specifically for tracking purposes.

    Like 2
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      boatclink here's what I recommend.  Create a clothing category GROUP. Under that group, create a clothing purchase category AND a personal reimbursements category. When you spend, spend from the purchase category. When you reimburse, put it to the reimbursements category. Then at end of the month, WAM (move) available funds from the reimbursement to the purchase category.

      Like
  • Not how I would do it, but you said you didn't want to get into it. But this is one of the issues with having accounts outside the budget that hold money you will spend in your budget.

    Like 2
  • As I understand things, this is a personal purchase that wouldn't ordinarily be tracked in YNAB. The ONLY reason you're having to deal with it is because there's an outflow (and inflow) in your on-budget CC account. This is a simple reimbursement scenario with the "personal" entity owing the "budget" entity. It really has nothing to do with what was bought as far as the budget is concerned; it's a personal purchase, which you're intentionally NOT tracking beyond that.

    That means that personal purchases that are put on the budget CC should be categorized as something like "Personal Reimbursement" (or perhaps His Personal or Her Personal). The inflow is similarly categorized.

    I don't see how you can get what you want, because don't you use the personal account directly for some of the clothing purchases? OTOH, if you put all these clothing purchases on the CC, then aren't these purchases part of the budgeted spending -- backed by on-budget money -- and therefore should not be paid from the personal account?

    It seems to me that while you've chosen to separate personal spending away from the budget, you're trying to pull it back in, but in a really awkward fashion. (Why even have a clothing category if clothes are bought from personal funds?)

    Like 2
Like Follow
  • 8 mths agoLast active
  • 9Replies
  • 212Views
  • 6 Following