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?

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  • 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.

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    • eloquentz
    • Numbers Wizard (Accountant), Acoustic Artist (Musician) and Jill of all Trades (Wife & Mother)
    • eloquentz
    • 1 mth ago
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    I personally don't track balances like this since they are really restricted as to what I can spend them on.

    Reply Like 1
  • If sending money to another account like that or a gift card purchase is going to be used in a single category, I just consider the money spent at the time of purchase.

    But yes, you can create an account for it if you'd like. No different than an account for the money in your wallet.

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