Budget to include budgeted spending for the current month

I think I am starting to get the hang of YNAB, but I am confused by how credit card spending that is budgeted works in YNAB.

I currently have a goal for paying off my card by a certain date, but I am pretty sure I am riding the credit card float. I think I can still reach my goal with control though. I am just not sure how much to pay now to cover the current month's spending and the goal. 

Is there a way I can move the 43.13 to become part of the budgeted amount? So that when I make a payment, the available will be zero since I know how much to pay other than the goal amount? 

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  • There's no need to move the $43.13, because it doesn't matter how money gets into the category (budget entry vs. budgeted purchase). Just pay the LESSER of the Statement Balance and the CC Payment category Available amount.

    When your Payment category covers the entire account balance, you will have reached paid-in-full status. (The only way to make progress in this regard is to budget to the category.) Most PIF users only send the amount the CC has requested (i.e., the statement balance), which will leave funds in the category for the following month's payment.

    • dakinemaui I don't think that's really my goal. I would like to pay off as much as possible (without making negative TBB) and still be on track to reach my goal in a few months to have the card paid off. 

      I think I see what you are saying though, the 43.13 is still in the category. 

    • Slate Blue Pilot (2903ac015cdb) 

      If you have a large balance, you will wind up paying everything in the category. It is only once you are riding the CC float -- without interest -- that you would not pay the full amount you have reserved.

      When you are that close to PIF, paying the statement balance is advantageous for several reasons: it can be automated (less chance of error), you earn interest on the CC's money that they have yet to request, and there is less chance of a credit balance. (Most people are confused by how YNAB handles a positive account balance.)

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    • Slate Blue Pilot (2903ac015cdb) If your statement balance is higher than what's available in the category, then pay what's available. That's the highest amount you can send within your budget. 

      Once your statement balance is less than the available to pay in YNAB, then congratulations, you're not paying interest - you're on the float (like you said you are)!

      The difference between a PIF card and being on the float doesn't change how much money you send to pay the card. Instead, it comes with how much money is in your bank account reserved specifically to pay the card. You know you're off the float when your YNAB CC available is the absolute value (positive equivalent) of your CC balance. 

      If you try to pay your CC down to 0, there are a host of issues you'll likely navigate with returns and credits and timing in YNAB. So, it's easier to just pay the statement balance and earn interest on the money you haven't paid yet.

      I learned the above from the YNAB forum. Thanks!

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  • Hi Slate Blue Pilot (2903ac015cdb) !

    That screenshot is showing $284.02 budgeted towards your credit card category, plus $43.13 in budgeted spending on that card (so it took place in one of your spending categories, but it was budgeted for, so YNAB moved that money to the credit card category).

    There's $327.15 Available to pay towards your credit card, if you pay that amount you're covering the new purchases plus the goal you have in place. The goal is based on the Available amount and the card balance, so if there are purchases that weren't budgeted for, the goal will adjust when the month rolls over to keep you on target.

    • Faness Yes but that's the thing, what if I want to include that payment as part of my budget goal, and not wait till next month (or after I make the payment)?

    • Slate Blue Pilot (2903ac015cdb) The goal is separate from any new spending initially. Let's say you owe $1,000 on the credit card and the goal is for $100/month for 10 months. In January, YNAB will tell you to budget $100. If you spend $25 on the credit card, then you'll need to make a total payment of $125 - $100 to meet your goal and $25 to cover the new spending. Then, in February, you'll be asked to budget another $100. 

      That $25 in spending, should have been budgeted for in the category where you spent it. For instance, if that $25 was for Groceries, you'll need to make sure you had $25 budgeted towards your Groceries category.

      If you don't budget for that $25 in the Groceries category, then you'll only have $100 to pay towards the card (and your Groceries category will show as overspent). In February your new balance will be $925 (instead of $900) and YNAB will recalculate the goal to pay off the $925 balance in the remaining 9 months.

      Based on the screenshot, your $43.13 was budgeted for, so there's nothing else you need to do. The $327.15 includes your goal amount plus the new spending.

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    • Slate Blue Pilot (2903ac015cdb) All that cash in the Available column can be sent whenever you like, including in installments if that is your wish. I would note, though, that not sending the entire amount in the category when you do not have a grace period in effect will unnecessary increase the interest you incur.

    • Faness that answers my question. So just pay the available amount, not the budgeted amount to reach my goal and cover what was spent in that month. 

      Is this amount in the TBB though, I added up my bu budgeted column and I dont think it is

    • Slate Blue Pilot (2903ac015cdb) Anything budgeted to your categories is not in the To Be Budgeted, because the TBB is the number that is still left to budget with. 

      You want to always make the TBB = 0, because then you have given every dollar a job (rule #1)

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    • Slate Blue Pilot (2903ac015cdb) Oh I see...it adds the budgeted amount that's in the credit card category as budgeted on the category the credit card spending was in.  Faness I see what you are saying now.

    • Move Light Sound Life I see what you are saying now. The budgeted spending on the credit card, is in the budgeted column on the category. So YNAB does include it in the to be budgeted amount in a way (funds - budgeted column)

    • Slate Blue Pilot (2903ac015cdb) Budgeted spending with a CC is in the Activity column of the CC Payment category (as a positive number) as well as the spending category Activity (as a negative number). The amount of cash you have hasn't changed, which is why these offset each other.

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