Entering Projected Expenses for Next Month
Okay, so some of my basic expenses vary slightly from one month to the next. For example, my child maintenance will be £340 lower next month because I've just paid a big tuition bill in cash and part of this will be deducted. But if I go to next month's expense categories and enter the (untypical) amount, this is deducted from the amount I have 'to be budgeted' NOW!!! How can this be, and how can I work around it. Sometimes it is handy to enter projected expenses ahead of time, and especially when they will vary from normal costs.
Enter them into the register instead of the budget, with the future date you’ll pay them. When it is time to budget for them, you will be able to budget the amount in one click.
Tip: if it’s a recurring bill, you can set a recurrence when you set the date. If it varies, you can still make it recurring and update the amount each month. I like to put the month in the memo: if the money will be pulled in July, and I see “July” in the memo, I know I’ve updated that entry. If it says “June” I need to check the bill for the July amount.
Like wordtenor said, enter the actual expense in the register with the future date. Then you can do a quick budget by selecting all the categories and chose budget for upcoming. What I do for other categories that don’t have a specific expense (eg. Gas for the car) is set a monthly funding goal for the amount I normally budget. By doing these things I can create a monthly budget in one click and then fine tune as required.
But if I go to next month's expense categories and enter the (untypical) amount, this is deducted from the amount I have 'to be budgeted' NOW!!!
This is what should happen. If you know you'll need to pay that bill next month (and all your categories for this month have been funded for what you will need to spend before July 1 in June) then why not enter it in the budget now? You have just set aside the money to be ready for the upcoming bill. That's for the budget screen. As others mentioned, on the account register you can enter the expense with a future date.
It might also be worth mentioning that the rule of "giving every dollar a job" means that TBB should be $0 (or £0 in your case!). So anything you budget comes out of TBB regardless of what month.
The budget is the plan for the money you have now and category balances answer the question, "Can I afford this?" If you budget money you don't have yet (indicated by a negative TBB), it's impossible to use categories for spending guidance.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't have a plan for allocation when you do get new money. Goals (including the implicit goal associated with a scheduled transaction), notes (category or monthly), or even putting the nominal monthly (or per-check) amount right in the category name can serve this role.