Credit Card Starting Balance Not Applied to First Month

I started using YNAB 1/1/19.   I have checking account and credit card linked.  The starting balance on the CC was 2844.95.

In January, I charged 1274.12.

I budgeted 1670.26.

I paid 3371.58 in January.

YNAB applied this payment to the 1274.12 and gave me a surplus of 396.14.  It completely ignored the 12/31/18 starting amount of 2844.95.  There is no carryover balance into February.  I’ve tried changing the starting balance date to 1/1/19 but it doesn’t help.  I’ve tried several other recommendations I’ve seen on the forum with no help.  Maybe since the transactions are already reconciled it is locked?

Also - the starting balance is categorized as “inflow to be budgeted”, not sure if that matters.

Can I delete the account, set it up again and redo all the transactions to see if it work?

Thanks in advance


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  • When you start YNAB, you need to explicitly budget for your starting credit card balance if you intend to pay it. This is noted in the onboarding procedures, as it asks if you intend to pay the current balance on the card, and if so, how to deal with it. YNAB doesn't know if you intend to pay the starting balance  or carry it as debt if you ignore the question and then do not deal with it correctly yourself.

    For new purchases, YNAB (mostly) self-manages keeping your payment available in sync with your purchases, as long as those purchases were budgeted for in their categories.

    So you will fix this by budgeting more money to your payment category so that the Available is enough to cover your entire credit card balance. This will require unbudgeting funds from other categories. If you are unable to do this, then it's a sign that you are riding the credit card float.

    Reply Like 1
    • nolesrule thanks for the reply.  I’m sure I’m not the first to start using YNAB without completely understanding how it handles credit cards.  I did select “pay off balance each month” and I did pay off my full balance on my bill which ends a cycle on the 2nd of the month.

      Your suggestion to budget more money does not work.  I already show a surplus and adding more to the budget simply adds more surplus when I need it to show a negative balance coming into January since I didn’t pay the full balance plus the float so after the January payment I will still have a negative balance moving forward.  

      I still need suggestions to fix this.

      Reply Like
      • mamster
      • mamster
      • 6 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Cadet Blue Cartridge Did you add money until the available amount (under the "Payment" column of your card payment category) equals the card balance (the negative amount in the left-hand sidebar under "BUDGET")? Those two numbers always need to be equal if you're a paid-in-full credit card user.

      Reply Like 1
  • I changed the "Budget" amount until the "Payment" equaled what I actually paid for January.

    When I check February, the "Payment" it shows due (balance forward plus new charges) equals the current balance of my CC.

    Success!  Thanks for the additional help.

    I still don't understand where the beginning balance was applied but it doesn't really matter at this point.  I'm back in business for now.

    Background - I've been budgeting for 20 or so years.  First with Microsoft Money and when that went away I just used spreadsheets.  YNAB works differently and it is hard to change 20 years of habits :)  I love how easy YNAB is and eventually I think it will be much better.

    Reply Like
  • Cadet Blue Cartridge said:
    When I check February, the "Payment" it shows due

     The Available column of the CC Payment category is NOT what's due. It's simply what is reserved for your next payment. It's on you to make sure the category matches what you owe -- i.e., the account balance -- if you consider this card to be a "paid-in-full" card.

    Reply Like 3
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