How to track overages without losing sight of the rest of the month?

Ok so every month my wife and I create our budget and then daily as my bank account transactions come in I go through the motions. There are usually some overages. So we spent $100 more on clothes or whatever. To keep everything green I move money from other categories. However, by doing this I lose sight of where we've gone over budget. 

 

Is there a way to keep everything green but still have visibility on overages?

 

Thanks,

Mike

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  • It sounds like you are not consulting your budget categories before you make spending decisions and are just using YNAB as a tracker. If that's how you're going to do it, Mint would be cheaper.

    I budget the same to 95% of my categories every month so I can tell at a glance if I've ever had to increase the budgeted amount to the category. Some people put it in the category name (Groceries/$400). But if you are regularly going over in a particular category, you need to really consider that the reality is that it's not that you are spending over budget, it's that you are under budgeting for your actual priorities (ie you think  that X is a lower priority than Y, but your spending shows that you prioritize spending what you want in X rather than Y).

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      • Michael Paterson
      • Software Engineer/Cloud Architect
      • devlife33
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas  That's a good point though I won't be ditching YNAB any time soon :) My wife isn't quite as strict with consulting the budget as I am which is why I want a way to show her at the end of the month (or whenever) how much she thought she would spend on a category vs actual.

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      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Michael Paterson 

      So why don't you leave the overages red and only WAM and move money once or twice a month after you've showed her?  It would only take a few minutes and I find that more frequent smaller bite-sized budget discussions with my spouse go over well, and mostly better than big scripted, "I've called you here to discuss the budget" talks. 

      I understand not wanting to leave categories red but, OTOH, you might want to leave them red so she can understand your urgency.  Kind of the whole, if you clean up after or fix things for somebody all the time, they won't understand that they're making problems since they never have to suffer the consequences of their actions. 

      I don't know your dynamics but it doesn't need to be fraught "LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE!" discussion.  Just a "Hey, you spent too much on Category A, we'll need to take from Categories B, C, or D to cover that this month, which one do you want to take from?"  Or, "We've spent too much on Category A, I've covered it from this category, but historically we're going over our budgeted amounts on Category A.  Do you think we should cut back on our purchases of Category A?  If we don't or can't, we need to decide which category(ies) we have to budget less for to make it work.  Where would you suggest?"

      Or even, "Let's talk about each of our priorities, ok?  Last time we said our joint priorities are loans, trip to Aruba, and savings for a down payment on house/car.  I said mine were gaming expenses, saving for a Poodle, and a new grill, and you said your priorities are new clothes, saving for a fancy new woodworking/kitchen thingamabob, and coloring your hair new colors.  You're spending more on new clothes than we budgeted for, and I'm spending too much on gaming expenses.  I'm cutting some from the new grill savings category to increase the budget for gamin.  Would you like to cut some of your budget for thingy or hair coloring to increase the budget for clothes?"

      Making it relatable without coming across as "You screwed up, I need to fix it!" helps.  Even if she's not interested, she can help make decisions and own up to her choices.  If she makes her own decisions and choices and you implement them and then show her what happens, she might be more involved and possibly a little more invested.  My husband likes when I say, hey, look, we've save yadda dollars, you can get that new air compressor that you put on the wish list now!  I'm in charge of the day to day decisions, and a lot of the time I tell him what I've done after the fact for maintenance things, but it's his budget too.  

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  • This is partly why I would like the ability to print the budget. 

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  • One way to know would be to add a note to the category with the original budgeted amount. Another way is to add the amount to the name of the category. For example: Clothes ($200).

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    •  Superbone  Yep - that's what I do. So i could theoretically check 'Activity' against the Category name...

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      • Michael Paterson
      • Software Engineer/Cloud Architect
      • devlife33
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Superbone It's funny I never thought of that. I already do that for regular monthly expenses but never thought to do it for the other categories in question.

       

      Thanks!

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    • Vibrant
    • No more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars
    • vibrant
    • 2 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    If you use the Toolkit, there is a nifty feature where you can display the goal amount in line with the category (it shows up between the name and the budgeted column), and there's an option within that setting to have the goal amount turn red if you budget over that amount. Same end result as putting the goal amount in the category name, but a little bit different visual.

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