Budgeting for Multiple Vacations

YNAB newbie here!  So far, I feel like this is the answer to my budgeting dreams!  I love how granular I can be in my categories.  But - vacation has stumped me.  My family is taking a lot of small trips this summer (camping, a weekend at the beach, a wedding out of town), and one big trip next year.  I'd ideally like to be able to budget for each trip individually so I know that, say, $100 of the next paycheck needs to go specifically towards my camping trip or the beach weekend, etc.  Then when the vacation is over - rather than clogging my Vacations category group, I'd like to archive the category.

I set it all up, went on vacation, and then ran in to the issues. When I hide the category, it removes it from Reports.  When I delete the category, YNAB tells me that I needed to re-categorize all of the transactions.  

How do others (who like to granularly budget like me) handle this?  I was thinking of creating a catch-all Vacations category and then re-categorizing each individual vacation into the catch-all when we're finished.  That way it will show up on Reports as Vacations and I will still be able to budget for each trip individually.  

Writing this out... I feel like I may have solved my own problem.  LOL 馃槀 But I'm still curious to hear how others go about this!

9replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
    • WordTenor
    • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
    • WordTenor
    • 1 yr ago
    • 2
    • Reported - view

    Save for each vacation in its own line and then move the money to one generic "Vacations" category before each trip begins. a la the Wish Farm. You will then be able to delete the individual category (or rename it) because no transactions will have happened, only budgeting. 

    Like 2
      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

       A second tip: I like to categorize all expenditures in my Vacation category to generic, Vacation-related payees: Vacation Food, Vacation Ground Transit, Vacation Lodging, Vacation Shopping, Vacation Cash. This gives me the ability to quickly look over any previous vacation for future planning of needs--looking for "Vacation Food" gives me a quick summary of what eating cost on that trip, etc. Some people add a tag in the memo, like Mexico2019 but I find that just using the dates as the signal as to which trip it was is sufficient. 

      Like 2
      • Kristi Turner
      • Have Camera, Will Travel
      • adayinthelight
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor  Thanks for the tips!  I think that's what I'm going to try out.  I am not quite a month in, so I'm getting use to the Reports piece, but I think this will satisfy my needs.  I'm assuming you don't auto-import transactions then, if you categorize like that.  Part of what I am loving about YNAB so far is the auto-import piece.  I put in transactions manually, but if I do forget something, I see it imported within a few days and can deal with it quickly.  I was using Mint + Good Budget prior to this, and it was too much work and headache for me.  

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

      Kristi Turner Import uses the amount of the transaction, not the payee. So if you enter $345.67 as "Vacation Lodging" and a few days later YNAB imports MARRIOTT DISNEY*ORLANDO FLA for $345.67 it will match the transaction anyway. 

      Like
      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Kristi Turner We have a similar routine to  WordTenor 's first post. Where we differ is on her second. We haven't found much benefit from splitting vacation costs further so we just use a generic vacation category and as long as the total is within budget we're happy. For us it's easy enough to work out flights, hotels, car hire etc from either memo comments or payees.

      We do however use tags because we have repeat trips to similar locations and the flights and hotels may be paid for in advance so we can't rely on dates. 

      ETA I have now reread WordTenor 's post and realised she was referring to Vacation-related Payees and not categories! Apologies, it's ridiculously hot here and my brain is fried.

      Like 2
      • Kristi Turner
      • Have Camera, Will Travel
      • adayinthelight
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor  I didn't know that!  I will try that next time I add a manual transaction and use some of my preferred terms. 

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

      Kristi Turner It's a really helpful hack. It works for location, too: YNAB knows that the Arby's at the state border on the two freeways I use most often are to be given the payee "Trip Food" because if I'm buying a sandwich there, I'm on a road trip (and the state border happens to be exactly "now I need lunch" distance from my house, tee hee).

      Like
  • Hi Kristi Turner ! Welcome to You Need A Budget. There are some really great tips here! Test them out, and you'll find what works best for your budget. 馃槃

    Sherri, one of our amazing YNAB teachers, recently wrote a blog post on her Next Level Budgeting: Category Groups and Vacations for another approach.

    Like
      • Kristi Turner
      • Have Camera, Will Travel
      • adayinthelight
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Nicole hahaha I found that post after I got some advice here and found it helpful! I can see that method being super useful for big/long trips.  I鈥檓 confused why she would hide the category afterwards since it also hides from the reporting. I鈥檇 still want to know how much I spend on vacations over the course of the year. 

      Like 1
Like1 Follow
  • 1 Likes
  • 1 yr agoLast active
  • 9Replies
  • 540Views
  • 5 Following