Automatic Budgeting

I get paid once every two weeks. Sometimes that amount changes so I don't want that to be a repeated transaction. However, once the transaction is imported that I have been paid, I want to automatically budget certain things (half of my monthly bills for every paycheck). Right now when my paycheck is imported I manually budget half of my mortgage, half of my expected electric, half of my phone, etc. How can I do this automatically?

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  • YNAB Workshops/Classes (free and offered multiple times a day to work in every time zone)

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    YNAB Videos on YouTube

    Here's a link to a video on a YNAB class entitled Budgeting When You're Broke.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tACY3ge6VdA

    It's about 30 minutes, and you most definitely don't need to be broke to find value in it.  It will walk you through some of the YNAB philosophy while demonstrating how to deal with planning and repetitive elements of your monthly budget, namely setting up recurring scheduled transactions and using goals.

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  • You can use goals or scheduled transactions to budget the second half of various categories with a single click. The first half you'll have to do on your own. This is one reason many people like to get a month ahead -- they can do the entire month in a couple clicks.

    Until then, you might put the per-check amount in the category name or notes for reference and just go down the list. You should be able to allocate an entire check in a couple minutes if you're organized like this.

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  • Hi Gray Piccolo !

    YNAB is a bit different from other budgeting tools you may have used in the past. We don't want you to "Set It and Forget It" - being actively engaged with your budget is a huge part of YNAB. While there are some tools to make handling your budget more convenient, we don't want it to be fully automatic.

    When you have a moment, watch our video on How To Create a Budget Template or take a look at the Set Up Your Budget Workshop. Both will teach you how to use scheduled transactions and goals to outline priorities and plan for those expenses! :)

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  • Thanks for the help everyone!

    Like 3
  • I entered a request to handle this. I get paid twice also. We'll see if it goes anywhere. 

    Like 1
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Ben K. It won't, but good luck.

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

      bevocat I'm getting such a nice feeling about submitting ideas. Certainly any business listens to its customers in order to say in business. 

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

      bevocat It should be easy, just reach out to something with the authority to make the decision. They'll be nice and polite and listen. 

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Ben K. People have been submitting feature requests since late 2015. Guess how many have been implemented. 

      Like 3
      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      jenmas Hey now. There was that one time three years ago when they added the balance after upcoming in the inspector. 

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

      WordTenor well, there you go. Add 1 to the tally. 

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

      jenmas I'd hope a lot. The YNAB origin story sounds like 6+ years of listening to customers. Why stop now.

      Like 1
      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
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      Ben K. 

      Ben K. said:
      The YNAB origin story sounds like 6+ years of listening to customers. Why stop now.

       That's a very good question.  I have no idea why YNAB stopped listening to their long time users with the rollout of web-YNAB, but they certainly did.  The software became optimized for the budget case of living paycheck to paycheck with the occasional need to add debt to make the budget work.  This optimization sometimes gets in the way for people who don't live that close to the edge.  Hence, you will hear about many hacks and workarounds to make life easier for people who are a month ahead, pay their cards in full each month, etc.

      As far as new features . . . since the first time I trialed web-YNAB, they've added the ability to search on flags, they've added the ability to zero out all budget categories in a month, and they have made it crystal clear that Income for Next Month and future committed transactions aren't coming back.  I can restore most of the functionality that was destroyed through workarounds and the use of the 3rd party Toolkit; but I have given up hope that the YNAB organization will actually do anything to improve budgeting for people who aren't living on the edge.  I just hope they don't do anything new to degrade what I have.

      OTOH, Toolkit has rolled out several enhancements that have improved my budgeting experience.  I highly recommend it.

      Disclaimer:  I don't forecast budgets in detail.  I use YNAB as intended, as a balance sheet tracker of how much money I have dedicated to which categories.  This enables me to work with my biggest challenge, determining how much I can spend on big ticket discretionary stuff.

      Like 3
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Patzer thanks for the history 

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  • Ben K. said:
    I entered a request to handle this. I get paid twice also. We'll see if it goes anywhere. 

     To handle what? I've been paid fortnightly my entire life. You want YNAB to auto-budget your paycheck? Seems like a strange request.

    BTW, I just thought of and implemented a cool way to set up my scheduled paychecks so that I can see the next two at all times instead of just my next one. This in conjunction with the toolkit's running balance allows me to get a better look at my cash flow. I set my current scheduled paycheck to repeat every 4 weeks instead of the previous every other week and then set up an additional scheduled transaction 2 weeks later that also repeats every 4 months.

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

      Superbone It;\'s just my old software thinking. It did auto budget the paycheck, then you'd move money between the categories if needed. I'm just getting used to the new way in YNAB.

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

      Superbone I also see an every other week feature. I think that's what I'm using.

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Ben K. Yes, that's what I was using. Just switched it up to two alternating every four week transactions so I can see my next two paychecks rather than just the next one.

      Like 1
      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Ben K. 

      Ben K. said:
      just my old software thinking. It did auto budget the paycheck, then you'd move money between the categories if needed.

       That's actually the way I budget, only once a month.  I use goals of Budget X Each Month as a template, one-click budget the underfunded, then adjust.  Then I go into the next future month and edit all the goals (just edit, click OK), so I won't get the ugly orange screaming that I've under-budgeted categories that didn't need the full amount this month.  Bonus:  It also takes the ugly orange and green ovals off the iPhone app, giving me a green on white text that is easier on my eyes.

      People have asked for a budget template to do this sort of thing since, oh, 2008 or 2009 under YNAB Pro.  It's never happened, and I don't expect it to be implemented any time soon.

      As far as budgeting every 2 weeks instead of every month . . . YNAB has been ignoring Australian and European users who live in a fortnightly financial world for the past decade.  Why should they start paying attention now?

      Caveat:  To do what I do once per month, it is necessary to roll income up into month-sized chunks.  I do this with a workaround that re-creates something similar to the old Income for Next Month function that was destroyed with the rollout of web-YNAB.  I have it down to where it is really minimal effort at this point and I can direct my attention to more substantial financial issues.

      Like 2
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Patzer No! I demand that reality contort itself to conform to my normative statements! 😇

      I like the category that rolls up my income for the next month so I can budget all at once-- thank y'all for teaching me that!

      Like 1
      • adriana01
      • adriana01
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      🤣 

      I don't think I could budget anymore without having some method of holding my income for the next month & budgeting to zero. I don't care if it's native or I have to find a hack or workaround, so long as it works, that's one of my (if not the main) priorities for any budget method

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

      Patzer I understand if I was paid once a month, or was at the point were I could pretend I was paid once a month it would work. I used to be many, many months ahead, then got my eyes fixed on a big house, etc. I'm trying to get out of paycheck to paycheck, but that's were I am.

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  • This might be a hack, but it may also help. Looking at my budget last night I have a scheduled auto draft coming due. Above the Quick Budget Underfunded button, a new button appeared called Budget for Upcoming $x.xx. For food - we do something really weird I've mentioned in the parenting area - we withdraw it all as cash every two weeks. If I create that as re-occurring transaction every other week, then I should get a button Budget for Upcoming that is the 2 week amount. I joined 5 YNAB conferences last night. I raised questions on this idea of half the budget quick button, for things like mortgage, electric bill, etc. They are not really worried about this feature because once you've been using the tool for a while, you're expected to be budgeting into next month and break this paycheck to paycheck thinking. However, I don't feel my example falls into that area. Even if we're budgeting 6 months into the future, we're still going need to eat every 2 weeks. Update: Upon further testing the Budget for Upcoming seems to go out 3 weeks into the future to look for scheduled transactions. Just FYI.

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

      Ben K. I also made a change to my budget last night. Call it another hack, it is. I simply removed my mortgage from the budget. I have my employer deposit half the mortgage payment into a separate savings account with each paycheck. That works most of the year, except the 2 times I'm paid 3 times in a month. Then I just manually move that money over to checking. Then the mortgage company does an autodraft out of that savings. I've been struggling on how to automate in YNAB what's automated in real-life, then the very simple answer hit me: It's not really part of my budget.

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      • mamster
      • mamster
      • 1 yr ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Ben K. I believe Budget for Upcoming looks ahead to the end of the current month.

      The way to handle this mortgage thing is to change your deposit so it all goes into your checking account and budget for your mortgage payment in YNAB. New YNAB users often want to parcel off part of their money and keep it out of YNAB for one reason or another, and this is counterproductive. Very soon you will look back and say, "Whoa, I can't believe I only wanted to apply the power of YNAB to a subset of my money." As WordTenor (I believe) said, rip off the band-aid. Get your money under the YNAB and get a month ahead.

      Like 4
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Ben K. Yeah, that's a lot of unnecessary busy work you're doing there. That's old-school budgeting by account which is not needed when using YNAB. Let your categories do your budgeting. You don't need to move it to savings. It's not like you're getting a big interest benefit by parking it there for less than a month. And the hack part isn't a hack at all. The only real reason to have your mortgage in YNAB is for net worth purposes.

      Like 2
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Superbone but I'm not doing any work, it's all automatic. I should have said my mortgage payment isn't really in my budget. It's a nonnegotiable that I've set up an automatic system for. You're right, there no huge interest. It was kinda like locking away the cookies from myself while on a diet. That separation helps keep the mortgage paid. 

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Ben K. I would hope that you wouldn't remove funds from your Mortgage Payment category so that you could buy a shiny toy.

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

      Superbone Shiny new toy is more like home repair items on sale, it's a tough call sometimes. I'm not sure I'd call septic risers and lids shiny, but there were new.

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  • I for one am glad that even though “use all money earned this month to budget next month” has been replaced with the nebulous “Age Your Money” that the software is obviously still most functional when an entire month is budgeted at once.  They are accidentally still encouraging people to get buffered,  even if they’ve made that harder to do, and if they have decided to radically deemphasize it.

     The answer to budgeting your paychecks one at a time is to not budget your paychecks one at a time. 

    Like 6
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor ok, but until I get there... these hacks/crutches look very helpful. 

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

      Ben K. Don't use hacks. It makes you an apologist.

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      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 1 yr ago
      • 7
      • Reported - view

      Ben K. It’s great to have some strategies in place while you are getting a month ahead. But building it into the software will make people likely to continue limping along paycheck-to-paycheck. 

      Case in point: after using MVelopes for a considerable time, you don’t seem to have the money to automatically just make yourself a month ahead. I can’t be sure what all the reasons for that are, but I am going to guess that using a tool that encouraged paycheck by paycheck thinking certainly didn’t help matters. I don’t say that to be accusatory, but to help you notice the pattern. This is one of those things that don’t translate: YNAB doesn’t make it easy to budget paychecks one at a time because the goal is not to do this.

      Rip the bandaid off as fast as possible. It really does help. 

      Like 7
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule no it doesn't. We're going to need a dictionary added to the community. 

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

      Ben K. Just some background, I used Preachtree (aka pre Sage 50) at work entering invoices, purchase orders, helping reconcile receipts, etc. Again, not an accountant, just worked very close with them in the business world. 

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

      WordTenor Those aren't the reasons, I was using an older software purchased from the same company that sells Mvelopes, but not the same developer. In the software's prime, it had more features than Peachtree (a small business accounting package). The developer of the software I was using went on to making business accounting software, and tax preparation software. They stopped supporting the desktop app years ago and I needed to find something that didn't crash on me every week. The short story is I was doing well on my budget, long term goals, etc. until we bought too much house. It's been down hill for a year, and now it's time to build back up. 

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  • Ben K. you should checkput the API

    https://api.youneedabudget.com/

    It's mostly just really for now (hopefully atleast that changes) but you can create (POST) and update (PUT, PATCH) transactions at /budgets/{budget_id}/transactions and update (PATCH) monthly budgeted amounts at /budgets/{budget_id}/months/{month}/categories/{category_id} which you may want to look into.

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

      Coral Battery thank you,  I don't know what you said,  but I assume it means I could budget in s spreadsheet and upload into ynab. 

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