Delete and combine categories creates big problems

I deleted a category (#1) that had $2700 of expenses in it, so that I could combine it with another category (#2).  After combining, the transactions were recategorized as I hoped for.  Fast forward a couple of weeks and I noticed I had $2700 more in "To Be Budgeted" that I just couldn't figure out where it came from.  I spent probably 3 hours troubleshooting where this money could've appeared from (I didn't know category #1 had $2700 in it to begin with, so it wasn't self-evident).  I always budget to zero at the start of every month, so it was baffling to me that I could've missed it.  I decided I just messed up, and budgeted it elsewhere.

 Come to find out, I realized that while transactions do get recategorized and moved,  the original budgeted for amount does not!  The result was $2700 subtracted from the category #2 to cover the difference without my knowing it.  Where I had $17,000 in category #2 before the merge, I only had $14,300 after the merge.  It just makes sense that everything would straight-up move together.  Is there a reason why this is not the case?  YNAB team: could the option be included for the user to combine the original budgeted for amounts also?  

Small things like this pop-up every now and again in the software that make the experience somewhat clunky and frustrating.  

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  • Generally you should never delete a category that has ever had funds budgeted to it or had a transaction assigned to it. Hide it instead.

    Like 3
    • jenmas 

      There should be warnings and/or “help me fix this” if such is the expectation..

      Like 2
  • Hi CamJPete !

    When you delete a category that has previous information in it, two things happen:

    1) You are asked to choose a new category for the existing transactions (like you did and everything moved over as expected).
    2) Any money budgeted to the deleted category (in all months) is sent back to To be Budgeted. 

    If you budget the funds assigned to the new category in step 1, it shouldn't give you any trouble. Or, you can budget those funds somewhere else. If you didn't have any transactions in that category, there'd be no need to select a new category but the funds would still go back to To Be Budgeted so that you have them to put elsewhere.

    I hope that helps explain the why! I did go ahead and send your request over to our development team, as well! :)

    Like
      • Mathletics
      • mathletics
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Faness wouldn't it make more sense to move the budgeted funds to the new category? Moving them to TBB doesn't make sense to me; that money is already spent. 

      Like 5
    • Hi Mathletics !

      The funds go to To Be Budgeted by default so that you have the ability to budget them where you now need them (after moving those transactions). If the transactions were moved to a category that already had funds to cover those transactions, or if you moved those categories to the Uncategorized option to then further split up, the full amount of funds that were in that category can now be placed elsewhere.

      Like
      • CamJPete
      • CamJPete
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Faness And that's where the trouble lied for me.  I gave those dollars a job months ago, and they performed their job for me when I spent with them.  When I reassign their job to another category, it seems that the original job assignment should be transferred along with it.  When I deleted the category and transferred the transactions, the $2700 that were assigned the job of that first category were relegated to To Be Budgeted.  When the first of the month rolled around and my wife and I budgeted last month's income, the deleted category dollars were just mingled in with the other dollars we had earned in TBB.  I had no idea that they were reassigned to TBB in the first place, much less could I know how much more came from the deleted category without a significant effort to calculate "true income" versus "deleted category income".  I ask the YNAB team again if this change is possible to make.  It seems like the majority of users would probably want this feature in the software, and I wouldn't think it would take a significant software change in the code.  Just reassign to the deleted category instead of TTB.  Maybe it's more complicated than this, but I wouldn't think so.  Thank you again for all your comments and help.

      Like 4
      • Mathletics
      • mathletics
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Faness That money going to TBB is _already spent_. The transactions move appropriately, but the budgeted dollars appear as if I now have more money to budget. However, that money is already gone, and YNAB is telling me that I overspent in those months with the migrated transactions. That doesn't make any sense to me!

      If the transactions were moved to a category that already had funds to cover those transactions

      And there's the rub; the category did not have funds to cover those expenses, because they were in another category that DID have funds. YNAB moves the expenses, but not the funds.

      Like 2
    • CamJPete  Mathletics

      Currently, it moves to TBB by design, but I'll pass this along as a feature request - two since this seems to be something you'd both like to see changed. :)

      When a category has months of previous data, we suggest using the Hide option rather than deleting the category in order to keep the history intact. Since the funds go back to To Be Budgeted, you'd need to revisit those months and budget funds towards the new category to cover things. I understand how that creates a few extra steps in your budget!

      Like
      • CamJPete
      • CamJPete
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Mathletics This is what I have been trying to communicate all along but lacked the words!  Well said!  Thanks for passing this along to the YNAB team Faness.  I appreciate it.  

      Like 1
  • Thanks for your replies to my post.  I'm (very) late in getting back, but I'd like to follow up.

    jenmas: as far as only hiding expenses, that is not a good solution for what I am after.  As an example: Suppose I have three vacations coming up: 1) a small staycation in 2018, 2) a trip to California in 2019 and 3) a trip to Australia in 2020.  The way YNAB is setup right now, I can't create separate goals for each of these trips within my "vacation" category, and have it sum the total amount I need to add each month for all three vacations of varying expenses.  The only option is to create separate categories for each, then after I've saved enough and spent the money for each vacation, I would delete the category and push it over into my "vacation" category.  This would allow to me keep track of everything I've ever spent on vacations in the past.  I don't want to just hide each individual vacation I've saved for and then have 100 hidden vacation categories by the time I die.  Plus it wouldn't keep me informed on my vacation spending habits.

    Perhaps the solution is to recategorize the expenses after I am finished saving and spending from a category.  But then the original money budgeted doesn't move with the recategorization.  Since YNAB does not allow for multiple goals, I'm really surprised that it wouldn't automatically transfer the budgeted amount to the new category when it is deleted.  What other option is there that doesn't require some rigorous reshuffling of money within each month?  Sure I could budget the total amount put back into "to be budgeted", but then that doesn't accurately reflect how I've saved in the past for all of my vacations?  "You budgeted $12,400 last month to vacations" it will say.  No I did not.  I budgeted 400 for many many months.  

    Like 1
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      CamJPete  Yeah, you have to find the right rhythm for yourself. Personally I don't find goals useful as they don't give me any additional information that I couldn't get just by looking at the balance of a category and I don't really care about my previous vacation spending when planning a new one. For those reasons I don't mind having my weird mishmash of vacation categories.  I have a General Vacation category that gets funded the same amount every month for whatever I decide to use it for (I travel for work and will often tack on days at the end of an assignment, but the timing and location is sporadic though I do know that in 2020 I will go on an international trip, but don't know where because I will be visiting a friend in the foreign service who won't get the post assignment until spring of 2019). I have my Beach Week category that gets funded the same amount every month because I've been going on the same trip every May since 1995 so I know what it costs. I have my Hawaii trip that has been fully funded in its own category since 2014, I just haven't been able to plan the actual trip for drama queen reasons. And because they are hidden, I don't care how many hidden categories I have.

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      CamJPete I have a main vacation/travel category in which I save money each month generally for vacations. I have individual categories for each vacation, and I move money from the general vacations category into the specific vacation category as we start projecting the estimated costs.

      When a vacation is over I move them into a "Past Vacations" category group when I'm done with them which is at the bottom of my category list. I don't find the past information useful because all vacations are unique so the data isn't helpful in any way.

      We don't delete the categories, and we don't hide them ... just move them out of sight so they won't clutter the budget screen, but will still appear in reports. We've been doing it this way for 4 years now.

      Like 1
  • I just want to bump this issue to get some visibility from the YNAB developers.
     

    I see no organizational value added from the action of sending previously budgeted funds back to the TBB line item when a category is deleted. This action actually actually destroys some "information", because it combines those funds with other potential imbalances in the budget. This only muddies the water.

    It's hard to imagine a situation where someone recategorizing transactions would want to separate that process from recategorizing previously budgeted funds. Those two actions are meant to go together, to me. Recategorizing is about simplifying or rethinking the structure of a budget. It's not about reviewing the decision of how to spend funds. Reviewing the decision of how to spend funds is already supported by the very aspect of being able to look at one's budget. That feature is already supported.

    If there is any way to change this feature to keep both re-categorization actions together, I would be hugely in favor of that.

    (p.s. I have been using YNAB for 4 years, and am so grateful for the organization that produces it. Thanks so much, y'all. Keep on doing great and virtuous work.)

    Like 4
    • Hi Orange Saxophone ! We appreciate you reaching out, and for being a long-time YNABer. 😄 The reasons you mentioned are why we recommend hiding categories instead. That way, your past transaction data remains intact.

      If you have a moment, would you mind submitting a Feature Request to let our product team know? We'll make sure the right eyes see it!
       

      Like
    • Nicole Understood on hiding the category. That's the way I'll go in order to keep that history :)

      Thanks for the reply! I'll definitely submit a feature request.

      Like 1
    • Nicole Another reason to move the already employed funds to the new category is to get accurate reports. 

      Say I am watching my food spending money by having separate categories for groceries, dining out, convenience meals, treats, dates, and social eating. I subsequently (thanks, YNAB) get my habits under control, and I now want to streamline/clean up my budget and reports, so I lump everything into a "food" category that's part of a "household" group.

      If I do as you suggest, the reports do not show that progress accurately, as previous months' spending is hidden, then it looks like the food budget ballooned when it was really stabilized. What's the point of having inaccurate reports? Sorry, but previous months' groceries in hiding does not show me last month's reality.

      Every time I've reorganized categories, I've had to go back manually and chase down the unfortunate budget changes.

      I've already submitted a feature request as well as a solution (raw, obviously) and provided context.

      Like 3
    • Hi Move Light Sound Life !

      Thank you for taking the time to submit that feature request! Currently, you can include Hidden Categories in your reports, but they're lumped together as one 'Hidden Categories' section instead of individually.

      The 'ballooned spending' you referred to for the Food category is the accurate way to represent that change, since the category wasn't previously being used for the extra spending, but I understand how that's not as helpful to view in reports. I can't make any promises about this changing in the future, but we'll have our product team look into it! :)

      Like
    • Faness I have to respectfully disagree that such a report could be considered accurate. 

      If, previously, the transactions were grouped in categories for type of food purchase (Dining Out, Groceries, Convenience Meals, Treats, Social, etc.) that were grouped in a category group called Food (that was placed next to the category group for Household/Bills because there's only two levels of organization available), then category consolidation of those food transactions into a single Food category should be reported as such. 

      Imagine you were putting beads on different colored threads.  If you had 5 strands of blue thread with beads placed in separate designs that, 6 inches into the design got braided together and lined up with the other color braids, then it would look like this:

      =================
      ---------
      ---------
      ---------===========
      ---------
      ---------

      =================
      =================

      It should NOT look like this:

      =================
                       ===========

      =================
      =================

      ---------
      ---------
      ---------
      ---------
      ---------

      The second way (what you describe with the hidden categories) is like missing the forest for the trees.  It's correct if you're a computer that can't find over-arching patterns and just does what it's told... That's why we have developers. :)

      Like 1
    • Move Light Sound Life I think I crossed our explanations here. When I referred to the 'ballooned spending' I meant if all of the categories were put into the single 'Food' category going forward, making it appear much larger now since it wasn't accounting for all of the separate spending in the past. (I split the paragraph in my previous response to try to make that clearer.)

      I see in your example you're hiding the original 'Food' category. I was picturing keeping the category and tracking the difference after the change, and was referring to the increase as the balloon - not the sudden appearance of spending when there previously wasn't any. So, "We were spending X in 'Food' because it was just Dining Out, but now we're spending XX in 'Food' because it's Dining Out, and Groceries and Treats, etc.". I didn't mean that no history and then sudden spending was the way to go.

      =================
      ---------(balloon)===========
      =================
      =================

      ---------
      ---------
      ---------
      ---------

      (My visual may be a bit harder to read, but after the balloon all of the hidden categories are then included in the original category spending.)

      Sorry for the confusion there! Currently, there isn't a way to keep that past history separate, but I understand how it could be useful!

      Like
    • Faness I didn't realize you responded back then, sorry! 

      I understand your diagram, and I agree that it is how the software currently works.  I would say it doesn't matter whether or not I hid/deleted the original food category.  The food category after the balloon would be a poor comparison to actual spending prior because, as you said, 

      Faness said:
      "We were spending X in 'Food' because it was just Dining Out, but now we're spending XX in 'Food' because it's Dining Out, and Groceries and Treats, etc."

      It's not like there weren't groceries before the balloon.

       I think it's illogical in real life. 

      YNAB's way compares category structure with computer logic. "This line had X spending until November, then it had Y {user remembers that the change was caused by category restructuring} because all of the Z line transactions were henceforth included. The Z transactions before November were separate, so my X line doesn't care..."

      In real life, you're spending X and Z the whole time. It's just that at some point, you simplify to Y.   This conceptual logic is not represented in YNAB's process for deleting categories. 

      I like the workplace analogies, dakinemaui and CamJPete . Another analogy could be adding fractions with different denominators.  If you have 3/11 + 2/3 + 10/33 + 20/33,  you simply can't say the expression equals 30/33 just because the first two fractions were written without the common denominator of 33. Historical things shouldn't disappear with a new perspective. If they do not maintain their relationships, the logic for the new frame is flawed.

      I do hope that feature requests are considered on merit and not only popularity. If something in the software is illogical, I would think a call to fix it wouldn't be determined by popularity. Things of quality become popular (not as a fad - the true definition of being liked), but it is rare that people/products grasping at mass appeal for popularity's sake will acquire the qualities that preclude actually being liked/successful.

      In other words, if your feature request system is designed to value my idea more if I submit it every time I wish it were there, as opposed to considering the logic of the idea itself, well, I already repeat myself constantly for my students.  The hope is that by the time they have jobs, they can synthesize and analyze abstract ideas on more components than, "Does everyone want this?" The question should be, "[How] can this idea make the software better/more comprehensive/more cohesive?"

      Like 1
    • Move Light Sound Life No need to apologize, I appreciate you coming back to this topic at all! :)

      Feature requests are analyzed on a number of factors - such as who would be affected by the new feature and how it would improve the YNAB experience. The number of requests received for a feature does put it before our Design Team more (or less) frequently, but it isn't the only factor considered when moving forward.

      The new Feature Request form asks for more details, but we use those when considering the value of a new feature. 

      Like
  • I put in another request just now for this also.  It just seems so much more intuitive to move the budgeted funds to the new category as well rather than hiding.  Just does make any sense to me at all why it was designed the way it was.  It has caused some major confusion in the past for me, trying to figure out why all of a sudden I have another $2000 in my budget.  I didn't figure it out for weeks why it appeared out of nowhere. 

    If the solution is to hide the category, then why when you delete a category does it require that you reassign the transactions to another category in the first place?  Why would it reassign the transactions but not the money previously budgeted to that category?  Baffling.   It is inherently confusing to users to do it this way.

    Like 5
      • J. Wellington Wimpy
      • I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.
      • J_Wellington_Wimpy
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      CamJPete Absolutely -- I second this. I hope the YNAB developers listen to this suggestion.

      Like 1
  • I would also like to see this changed and put in a note to developers. This should be a top priority for YNAB to fix because the way it is handled currently disputes the rules YNAB stands on. 

    Currently, having the money go back to TBB goes against the YNAB rule of giving every dollar a job. I already gave my money a job; I am just transferring it to another job within a different category, not firing it altogether. If the FOUNDATIONAL rule of YNAB is "give every dollar a job," this previously employed money should be able to be transferred to a new job if YNAB practices what it preaches. Don't fire my money. 

    I also want to point out another YNAB rule is to "roll with the punches" and to be flexible about your budgeting as things evolve. The fact that you cannot recategorize existing transactions and its assigned money to another category goes against the rolling with the punches rule. I'm always tinkering with my budget month after month to see what system works best for me, and this whole firing my money is really causing problems and making some of the rules irrelevant.  

    Like 3
    • Hi Beige Snow !

      Currently, deleting a category is like firing the dollars that had jobs in that category - the category is gone so the dollars no longer have a place to work. Their new job could be anywhere, which is why they're sent back to To Be Budgeted until they're budgeted to a new category. 

      You can always recategorize existing transactions - give these steps a try:

      1. Select the transaction(s) you'd like to change.
      2. Click on the Edit button at the top of the register.
      3. Hover over Categorize and select the new category.

      I understand if you'd like to see some of these steps streamlined and you can let our product team know by submitting a Feature Request. :)

      Like
    • Hi Faness ,

       I think this methodology would work, if you guys still tracked overspend from month to month. However, since you no longer track those numbers across months, it becomes very confusing when dollars that have already been spent are returned to TBB. I understand that the mentality is that there MAY or MAY NOT be enough funds in the new category to fund it, but there is no way to tell unless you go back to every month that you spent on that category.

      Is there any way to bring back tracking overspend across months? I thought that was actually more helpful than having them return to zero in the next month. I don't necessarily think that feature promotes responsible spending or budgeting. If the purpose is to help manage your money and spend at or below your means, what is the point of clearing the overspend? 

      Like
    • Coral General The overspend is cleared because it's taken from your To Be Budgeted - this ensures that it's immediately covered by income you have available (or new income as soon as it's received). We didn't want that overspending to carry over in categories where it could hide and didn't have to be immediately addressed. 

      When a category is deleted, it's removed from your budget history. The funds that were in that category aren't restricted to move to a specific new category - they can be placed anywhere. It sounds like you'd like the option for the funds to be re-budgeted at the same time the transactions are re-categorized. You can let our Product Team know you'd like to see that option, or a different approach to overspending, through our Feature Request form. 

      Like
      • Habanero Salsa
      • Second generation user
      • Aquamarine_Pony.8
      • 7 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Faness It's nothing like firing the dollars if the transactions with which they were associated were recategorized. It's a transfer to a different office. If the transactions are changed to uncategorized then, yeah, the dollars are exploring other opportunities.

      Even apart from the way YNAB works, the firm defense here of poor choices by the design team or developers is very off-putting. I get that support needs to put a happy face on things, but sometimes it feels like it goes beyond that.

      Like 2
  • Faness said:
    the category is gone so the dollars no longer have a place to work

    A better analogy is those workers/dollars were transferred within the company. All the code they've ever written (i.e., the transactions) go with them. You've also shredded all the authorizations for those historic work efforts (the cash backing those transactions), so now the bean-counters in the company are up in arms that that work was illegal.

    You're forcing the boss to write an entire new set of authorizations when all you had to do was not shred the old ones!

    Like 2
      • CamJPete
      • CamJPete
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui I was thinking similarly about this analogy!  The question is why would I fire the dollars from their job in the first place?  If I assigned dollars to a job a year ago, and they actually did the work that I asked them to when I spent them, why would I fire them if I simply am reassigning the work they performed to another division? 

      If my employer told me that I am moving divisions tomorrow, but that all of the money they paid me last year is going back into their payroll account...why, I'd be madder than a cow that just got tipped into a pile of his own manure.

      Like 2
  • Is there a straightforward answer to the question: How do I fix my budget after deleting a category?

    I went back and just used TBB funds to fill in the missing monies deleting my category created, but in all those months the TBB were $0, so when I worked my way back up to November, my TBB turned into a red negative.

    So I'm confused because it says here the money from that deleted category goes back to TBB, buuut that's not what I'm seeing happen...

    Like
    •  Nicole Faness ^^ Forgot to tag ynabers for my above question

      Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Sky Blue Mask Depends on how fixed you want it. Ensuring category balances are what you want (and TBB is $0) in the current month is all that is necessary.

      Like 1
    • Hi Sky Blue Mask !

      When you say you'd like to fix it, do you mean you'd like to undo the deleting of the category in the first place, or do you want to keep the category out of your budget but adjust the funds?

      If there was any overspending in your budget, the funds added to your To Be Budgeted would be offset to cover that amount first.

      If you deleted a category with any credit card spending, this action not only impacts To be Budgeted, the category you're deleting, and the one where you're recategorizing the transactions—but your credit card payment categories as well.

      One way to feel more confident in the math is to look at how much you have To be Budgeted and Total Available (the sum of the Available column, which you'll see in the right sidebar when no categories are selected). The sum of those two values will be the same before and after deleting a category.

      From there, you'll move money to cover any overspending caused by deleting the original category.

      Like
  • Agreeing with OP and others, this definitely needs attention. CamJPete, Mathletics, et.al. have already explained the needed functionality.

    Faness seems to be confused as to what everyone wants because we are using the "Delete" term, as it is the only one YNAB gives us. What we really want to do is "Merge" two categories (both transactions and budget history). We are asking for the functionality to achieve this.

    The "Merge" functionality works hand-in-hand with the "Wish Farm" technique touted elsewhere on the YNAB forums. For it to work, we need to transfer both transaction history AND budget history. While it might make sense to dump budget history into TBB for "Delete", that isn't what we're trying to do. We want to "Merge", and we absolutely need to transfer that budget history as well.

    Like 2
    • Hi Rhubarb314159 !

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts here! :)

      If you have a moment, would you mind submitting a Feature Request to let our Product Team know you'd like to see a Merge option for categories? That way we can make sure your feature request gets to the right places. 

      Like
      • CamJPete
      • CamJPete
      • 7 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Thanks Faness. Is there a way to check up on whether this in on their radar?  I feel like we can keep convincing ourselves and YNAB support that this feature is important, but if it doesn't translate into the product team prioritizing it somewhere in the next five years, it probably makes little difference to keep discussing it here.  I know several have already submitted requests, myself included.  

      Like 2
      • Rhubarb314159
      • YNAB-enthusiast
      • rhubarb314159
      • 7 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      CamJPete  I've submitted the feature request, along with many others. I also share CamJPete's question.

      Like 2
    • Hi CamJPete !

      Currently, this isn't  one of our more popular feature request, but that doesn't mean it won't make it to our Product Team's radar. How they determine What’s Up Next for YNAB isn't based on just the number of requests we receive, but how a particular change fits into the YNAB method and how that change would affect all YNABers. Right now, our team is focusing on preparations for the coming new year, but the new year is full of possibilities! :)

      Like
  • I second this request.  I have some transactions that I had categorized as category A, but I actually think they belong to category B.  So now I want to go back to 2-3 years ago, and recategorize some of the A transactions to B.  Note - I do NOT want to delete / hide category A, because I still need and use that.  If I simply recategorize those old transactions to B, now my budget is thrown off.  In my opinion, recategorizing old transactions should absolutely cause the budgets to be updated.   Or, it should prompt how you want to handle the budget change: should they go to the new category (e.g., B), or in TBB?

    Like 2
    • Hi Slate Blue !

      Thank you for weighing in here! You're right - currently, after recategorizing those transactions, you'd need to manually adjust the budgeted amounts for the new category. You can let our Product Team know how you'd like to see this option behave by submitting a Feature Request.

      Like
  • I thoroughly agree with this thread, and am pretty sure I've had feature requests out there on this topic for a while.

     

    As I see it, there are two options that could make life easier. 

     

    1) Create a "Merge Category" feature (or modify / add options to the existing "delete category" behavior) that gives you the option to shift both transactions and budgeted dollars to a new category.  Boom, no more philosophical ramblings about whether your dollar's jobs align with metaphors about your real job, no more patronizing lectures to your user base on whether they really want what they want, no more worrying about breaking the existing "delete category" functionality.  Bottom line: sometimes I want to change how my budget is organized, and align my history with it.  This grows more painful the longer I keep your product.  Therefore, you've now incentivized me to explore other options, because you've told me that my problem will get worse the longer I stay with you. 

    2)  Fix reports so that they have the option of showing hidden categories under the area they were at before hiding them.  I track maintenance records for each car separately so I can see which ones are costing me more.  I track charitable donations separately so I can fund them at the appropriate levels.  I set up spending categories for projects like home renovations.  Each of these reaches a natural end of life, and it makes sense for each of these to have the ability to "drop off" my main Budget screen without also going to the wrong place in reporting.  You've published blog posts saying not to track things that way, but also made it difficult to reorganize and fix things that were done that way. 

    Like 2
  • New to YNAB so honestly curious...Why all this concern about rewriting the past? It seems dishonest in a way. YNAB's whole philosophy seems to be about focusing on the present, providing a method of guiding spending decisions TODAY using only the money you have TODAY and planning for the future based on your priorities TODAY. It accomplishes these thing BEAUTIFULLY and PRECISELY! Going into the past is problematic and forecasting way into the future is problematic. Why so set on forcing a square peg into a round hole? For me, the reports are fun (as a way to visualize the results of my hard work) and informative in a broad sense (I can see if a category group is creeping up disproportionate to my priorities); I'm not too worried about the exactness of them. Should I be? What are you all using these reports for?

    Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 5 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Kensington It's a quest for optimized budgeting moving forward. If I want to control spending, I need to measure first. If I break out, for example, alcohol from Groceries in order to limit spending, I'm going to need to budget for it. Recategorizing past transactions appropriately gives me a basis for the budget value. Without it, I'm "in the dark" until another few months have passed.

      A different use-case is the desire for consolidated reporting. I save toward vacation (and spend) in multiple categories due to differing timelines. A single category / "pot of cash" doesn't give me the spending guidance I need because it would mix money from several vacations. However, after returning, it's convenient to reallocate from the specific category to a generic Vacation category.

      Like 3
      • Slate Blue
      • Slate_Blue_Griffin.4
      • 5 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Kensington Because the categories you create today may not be the categories you want a couple years from now.  Categories can often overlap, depending on what you want to track and how you view your money.  The current setup gives no real easy way to change how past transactions were categorized, and so if you want to change how you treat them going forward, your transactions will be inconsistent.  The reality is, many of your categories could potentially overlap, and the current system doesn't let you easily update how you think of things. Example - let's say 2 years ago, I had a category for a specific restaurant because were were getting obsessed with that place and spending way too much there.  I also had a category for eating out.   Fast forward to today, and I don't really spend that much at that restaurant anymore, so I want all my transactions going forward to just be under eating out, and I don't want that specific restaurant category anymore.  What do I do with let's say 30 transactions from 2 years ago under that specific restaurant? If I delete that category, I now have all these uncategorized transactions that will throw off my TBB/budget.  I don't want or need that category anymore, and when I run a current report for eating out, I still want all those old transactions to be accounted for under "eating out".

      Like 3
  • So I am just reading this now and it is very frustrating of course after having deleted my old categorizes (and merging it into consolidated ones)

    i know YNAB usually reconciles previous months , so if I overspent on one month it will adjust or show a negative TBB.

    so my question for YNAB support  Faness Nicole , it shows I have $926 now TBB.

    is this $926 I can reallocate to new items? :)

     

    Would the $926 be extra on top of my current total account values (checking saving etc) or is it somehow reflected in there (which would be great)

     

    if not, what is the best way to fix any additional TBB $? Can I track it down Via account $ value, or just figure it out by zeroing all my budgeted items (would be a shame) and then start again for the month (without losing any historical info)

    Like
      • satcook
      • satcook
      • 3 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Gray Horse do you have credit cards?  If so check to make sure the available bubble in the credit card payments category equals the account balance 

      Like 1
    • Gray Horse said:
      if I overspent on one month it will adjust or show a negative TBB.

      This is true only for cash/red overspending. If the category deletion/merge caused credit/yellow overspending, your CC Payment category (or categories) will be reduced instead of TBB.

      If TBB was $0 before the deletion, you probably want to put the entirety of TBB toward the credit payment(s) and any red categories in the current month.

      Yes, it is all real money, assuming your YNAB accounts are reconciled to those in the real world.

      Like 1
  • Everyone please submit a new feature request if you care about this issue. I am going to myself. 
    FEATURE REUQEST LINK

    https://youneedabudget.typeform.com/to/Pt6cek
    It looks like the feature request process has changed since I submitted my original request related to this thread. Just raising the awareness of this undressed topic.

    To sum up this thread so far: YNAB users are trying to "Merge categories", but all we have is a "Delete Category" option, that 1/2 deletes and 1/2 merges. "Delete Category" deletes budgeting history for a category (returning budgeted funds to TBB), but merges transactions with another category that the user selects. 

    Work-arounds to this issue require reports to be less representative of past spending trends (hiding the category), or a lot of work adjusting past month's budgets one a time (I like keeping my budget history available and accurate, and it is 36 months long).

    Thanks everyone!

    Like 1
    • Orange Saxophone I applaud your thoroughness in finding all these threads. Since I've already put in repeating feature requests for this, maybe I'll make a new one instructing the developers to read through these links... 

      I don't see why I should have to write everyone's really good points out AGAIN!

      Like 1
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