Still Confused on Handling Cash

Ok, so I have read several of the topics in here and have not found something like what we do, so I'll just ask.  Maybe there is an answer, I just haven't found it, so my apologies if this is a total repeat.

My wife and I have been using YNAB for over a year, but for the last 25 years we have been living our budget out in a very similar way,  just not with a tool like this.  The primary issue is with handling cash.  We have a budget and live pretty close to it, but here are the few things that are confusing.

  1. I created a "cash on hand" account, but it does not show up under the budget space.  So I created two budget accounts, "{myname} wallet" and "{hername} wallet."  My wife will buy groceries and get $40 extra out, hand me a $20 and she has a $20.  I spend my $20 on a haircut and she spends hers on Starbucks (for simplicity).  Both the haircut and Starbucks were planned in the budget.  I'm just not sure how the cash flows in and out of my areas to track it all.
  2. We give my college daughter $100/mo and our at-home youngest $50/mo allowance.  My college daughter, we make a transfer (or Apple Pay) the $100 from our checking directly to her (this was budgeted for).  My wife goes to the bank and withdraws the $50 from checking and hands the cash to my youngest (this was also budgeted).  How do we track those in all the transactions?
  3. I don't see the "{myname} wallet" or "{hername} wallet" in the budget at all.  I can see Cash on Hand though.  Very confusing or did I screw something up.

I read someone who said you can track just cash as cash and have no category given to it, but we actually track what we spend cash on so we stay on budget.  We take a few minutes each day to reconcile everything online and it helps us to just stay on track and really does not take much time at all.  So we are ok with how we track, it's just the cash flow/process we want to nail down and do correctly.

We would be super grateful if someone could enlighten us.  We are totally willing to change to a better way.  Just need to know the best practice on it.

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  • I have a wallet account as an on budget account (not a tracking account). When I spend money at Starbucks, I enter a transaction in the wallet for $5 with a category of eating out. When I go to the ATM, I do a transfer from my checking account to my wallet. 

    In the case of getting cash back, I do a split transaction with x having a category of groceries and the second line of the split being a transfer to wallet.

    • jayne_m  That's what I thought it should be like, but my "wallet" accounts don't show up there.  I can transfer to my Cash on hand, but not the wallet one I have.  Maybe this is why mine is confusing.

      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Eric Prosser "doesn't show up there" where? If they are accounts, they should not show up anywhere in your budget because they are accounts not budget lines. I have a Wallet account. It shows up right under my checking account. I treat it like any other account. When I added it to YNAB the amount of money in my wallet was added as the starting balance and was categorized as Inflow:TBB. When I get cash from the bank it is a transfer from Checking account to Wallet account with no impact on the budget. If I gave my kid $50 as allowance it would be entered in the Wallet account register as Payee: Kid Name and Category: Kid Allowance. If my spouse used a debit card at the store and got extra cash, it would be a split transaction with $80 in the top line, $40 in the first split with payee grocery store and category grocery, second line payee transfer:spouse wallet amount $40 and then later when spouse gave me $20 it would be a whole new transfer entry in the Spouse Wallet account with payee Transfer:my wallet.

  • It sounds like you set up your cash account incorrectly. It should be a budget account, not a tracking account. Choose “Cash” from the account types when creating it.

    Like 1
    • Superbone I'll check.  I think you are correct! Argh!

    • MsTJ
    • YNAB has given me back my future
    • Believer_in_YNAb
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    I agree with the others.  I have one cash account, it is what's in my wallet.  When I fill it with money, it's a transfer from checking.  When I spend from it, it's money spent in the appropriate category,  same as with the other "accounts," - checking account, credit card, or any other source of payment of bills.  

    It sounds like that is the way you want to work your budget.  The generic "cash account" won't work with each of you having separate funds, generally.  It just complicates things to go from "cash account" to his and her wallets.  My recommendation would be a fresh start, close the "cash on hand" account, then open "his wallet" and "her wallet" accounts. Then, just treat them like any other accounts, if you want to track all spending here.  If you can't find them, they were not opened in YNAB.  maybe they are under tracked accounts and if this is the case, you still need to create the accounts.  You need to be able to see them on your account listing.  

    If you don't want to track your spending as closely as I do, just count the money budgeted to each as spent.  You will need to create corresponding categories to do it this way, something like "His fun money" and "Her fun money."  That works also.  That way you would simply count money moved to each as spent, no need for an account.  (I needed a small category for this when starting, maybe should have called it "sanity.")

    When giving daughter her allowance, that is an expense.  When giving son allowance, that is an expense. Same as coffee or haircuts.  It doesn't matter if it comes from Apple Pay, checking, credit card, or cash.  Once it's in your child's hands, it's theirs.  That is an expense.  

    Sounds like you maybe got a little confused on the way YNAB works?  For me, the first few years of using YNAB, was very educational.  I would go through the educational material and get lots of great ideas on how to do things differently, and I would run with them.  Then, something else would come up and I went through the material again, and learned lots more great ideas.  This has been a process for me.  It sounds like you had a better handle on budgeting in general than I did, before coming to YNAB, and I believe you might learn some new things if you do the educational material again?  

    Hope you get things worked out.  

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