Money in digital account (like iTunes account)
Hi! I’m just starting with YNAB. I have an interesting situation:
I’ve got quite some money on my iTunes account, enough for my Apple subscriptions and App Store purchases over the next years. (How) can I track this in my YNAB budget?
I was thinking of adding an account (“iTunes balance”) to my main budget, so I could keep track of the balance. That would also allow me to budget my monthly spending.
However, this would result in the total balance being added to my funds, and being available to be freely budgeted. That’s of course not correct: it can only be spent on apps etc., I can’t pay groceries with it.
What would be a good way to handle this? Should I just create 2 budget categories (“App purchases” for the spending, and “iTunes balance” for the rest), and ensure that their total is equal to the iTunes account?
I create cash accounts for gift cards, pre-paid credit cards I get for rebates, and online accounts like Amazon. True, there are restrictions on what/where those particular dollars can buy: the gas card can only be used at one particular gas station chain, the grocery store card can only be used at two grocery store chains, etc.
But I find it handy for tracking what's left on those accounts/cards that I can use. When I finish one off, I simply close the account. When I get a new card or online amount, I re-open a closed account (sometimes change the name on it) and start tracking what's on that card. When I didn't do this, I would forget I even had the cards.
If you are budgeting close to the line, getting down to near zero before the next paycheque is received, this could be a problem, and the larger the amount the more vigilance you'd have to expend on your cash flow as you near zero. But if you are like me and have some liquidity built up in your budget from saving for true expenses and emergency funds, you're not likely to run into a problem.
I too have a considerable amount in iTunes (numerous $100 iTunes cards for $80 each during Black Friday) I use to pay for various things throughout the year including subscriptions like YNAB.
Note: The below instructions are much easier to do than it will likely seem when you first read them.
Create a credit card type account called “iTunes Account” to track individual charges and credit related transactions to your “iTunes Account”.
Create an “iTunes” true expenses category to budget the credits you have in your “iTunes Account” (helps keep the credits you can only use for specific expenses separate from real funds). If you wish, you can re-budget credits to other categories as you see fit (like Subscriptions) when you actually make a transaction from the “iTunes Account”.
Lastly, I use “Apple iTunes” as a payee for credits deposited or when I purchase music, apps, or movies via iTunes. However, I use the actual payee name (like YNAB) for subscriptions I have via iTunes.
When I buy $100 iTunes Cards at a discount for $80 each, I add $80 (per card) directly in the budget line of the credit card I am using to purchase the iTunes card, then transfer $80 from the credit card to my “iTunes Account”. I then create a $20 deposit directly in the “iTunes Account” with payee “Apple iTunes” to account for the extra $20 in purchasing credit. I then budget all $100 to the “iTunes” category.