Monthly Goal Mindset

I am paid 2 times a month.  I need only $150/month for groceries (which equates to $75 per pay period).  I know this is right because I've been doing this for years with my excel spreadsheet.  So, first I fund it with $75.  Goal tells me i'm underfunded by $75.  No problem I get it, it's looking for the month.  So say I used $50 of my $75 so I have $25 left.  I get my next paycheck, I had $25 left so I need $50 to get up to the next $75 for the month, however, YNAB tells me that I need $125 which in fact I do not need and I do not want to go into the next month in this category with an overflow.  I could just ignore and add$50 more but I'm trying to understand the concept of this.  This goes into aging but for this category i'm not interested in that.  Any meaningful, non-condescending thoughts and assistance would be appreciated.  Thanks in advance

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  • You are using a target balance goal so it is only looking at what is in the available column for the line item. You need to use a monthly funding goal instead.

    Reply Like 1
      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas Monthly funding won't work for this application either--it will show $25 short. 

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor ah I see, the goal is not being funded to the full $150 in the scenario described ($75+$50=$125). But if the plan is to actually fund $75 out of each paycheck, the monthly goal will work.

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  • A monthly funding goal will get closer to what you want, but still not perfect. Monthly funding is looking for $150 budgeted. If you budget $125, because you had $25 and you only need $50 for this pay period, it will still show you as $25 short. 

    It sounds like you have a handle on this category. Goals are only meant to help you budget quickly and alert you to areas which need attention. They didn't exist in prior versions of YNAB and I personally feel quite strongly that they are WAY over emphasized in the support material. You know you need $75  max per pay period. So when you budget, just add what you need to the category, and don't set a goal for it. You can add money either by clicking on TBB and telling it to move $50, or by clicking on the budgeted column for the category and adding a + sign and 50. Both will accomplish taking $50 out of TBB and adding it to groceries. 

    Reply Like 5
    • eloquentz
    • Numbers Wizard (Accountant), Acoustic Artist (Musician) and Jill of all Trades (Wife & Mother)
    • eloquentz
    • 2 mths ago
    • 1
    • Reported - view

    If this month you are only in fact doing $75 + $50 (because you had spent less in the first half of the month), your goal of $150 is going to show under funded. It's okay to leave this under funded. The yellow draws your attention to it, but you can ignore it because you know you managed to do with less groceries last pay cheque.

     

    Another option would be to set the funding goal to $75 not $150 for the target balance. Why? Because your next pay comes in and you put in your $75. But, let's say you only spent $60 on groceries this pay cycle. As you spend the money, the category goes yellow. But when your next pay comes in, you've got $15 in there already, so you just need to add another $60. 

    Reply Like 1
    • eloquentz That is a really good option!

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      • Mr. Alex
      • mr_alex
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      eloquentz This is what I thought about doing initially but I wanted to see if there was a difference in funding this way with $75 vs. the $150.  Thank you, I will do it this way $75.  Thank you again.

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      • eloquentz
      • Numbers Wizard (Accountant), Acoustic Artist (Musician) and Jill of all Trades (Wife & Mother)
      • eloquentz
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Khaki Vacuum Essentially, the goals are a tool to help you. If the way you initially thought you were "supposed to do it" isn't helpful, try something else.

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      • jamesx4
      • Software Engineer
      • jamesx4
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      The Toolkit for YNAB has a feature called Budget | Goal Indicator Warning Color which turns underfunded categories to blue instead of yellow to better differentiate these from credit card overspending.  To me Yellow says Warning so I want to "fix it" even though it's really not an issue that needs fixing.  To me, Blue says "it's all cool" so I can just "chill" on those blue categories.  

      Reply Like 1
  • WordTenor said:
    I personally feel quite strongly that [goals] are WAY over emphasized in the support material

    +1. One tip is to record the per check (or monthly) amount right in the category name for reference.

    I strongly urge you to get ahead such that you can budget all checks into next month's area. At that point, you can temporarily stash income received during the month and budget ALL of next month in one shot with a couple clicks. Promotes a "big picture" mentality, and I find I make better allocations with month sized chunks.

    Reply Like 4
      • ynaber2613
      • ynaber2613
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui This is the better option, he can then sweep any category excesses at the end of the month to other categories or TBB.  I actually have a category for next months income and often sweep category excesses to next months income.

      Reply Like 1
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