Need Some Advice on Accomplishing Something
Good afternoon fellow YNABers,
I am hoping that one of you might have a tip or trick to help me with something that I can not seem to get to work the way I want it too.
In my “Accounts” section I have something called “Set Asides”, it is where I put the sums of money for Semi-annual and annual true expenses., YNAB, auto insurance, Sam’s Club, Microsoft Office, and other subscriptions or things I am saving for. The money is transferred to a no fee, pre-paid debit card. I do this for 2 reasons, first it provides a clear physical and psychotically separation of the funds, while I can access the funds at any time, I have to take conscious steps to do it, the second reason is that since I don’t use the card online or for normal shopping, it gives me access to funds if my checking account/debit card is hacked/cloned or my identity stole, something that has happened to me several times.
My problem and it is problem for my weakness and desire to spend talking more than anything, is in the budget section. I have monthly and fund by dates set up for each item and transfer the money to the card once a month. However, the amounts in those sections grow each month and if I have overspent in one area, I see those funds and want to dip into them, where if they were greyed out I would not. I tried putting the "Set-Asides" in a tracking account and can’t remember right off the top of my head what I didn’t like about that. Does anyone have an idea of what I can do to fund my “Set Aside” account but not have the balance grow month after month in the budget section?
That's tricky. I've had some similar problems with old sinking funds (my future car fund was basically my overspending protection fund). I'm not sure how to track that fund without a growing balance, but a couple ideas that might help...
- Make a note in that category detailing everything it's for, maybe with dollar amounts to help you see what you'd potentially sacrifice by drawing from it? Or a motivational message?
- Create a separate category just for covering overspending and only pull from it for that reason. That might at least put a buffer between you and your set asides.
Sky Blue - I don't think I stated it right, I don't mind a growing balance, just not as Green in the budget. I restarted "Set Asides" as a tracking category and transferred the funds to it. So far it is doing what I want, as I said in my original post I can't remember what it was that I did not like in the past when I tried it. It could be that I was doing it wrong.
As to an overspending category, are you saying in addition to my "Emergency Fund & Auto Emergency Fund"? I like that idea and that is something that I would not mind seeing increase, sort of personal overdraft protection.
I would look at your categories before you spend and make adjustments before you spend. That's how you build the muscle which keeps you from spending money that's in categories.
The longer you use YNAB and the better you hone that muscle, the more of a hassle all these "But if I put this on budget I'll take the money for something else!" accounts become. I've been there, got this exact advice from Lee from YNAB, told him he was crazy and clearly did not understand that my situation was unique, and then totally regretted it a year and change later when I had to re-do all my accounts to avoid fresh starting my budget. Yes, a tracking account puts it out of sight out of mind for now, but when you're better at respective your category balances it becomes a PiTA to constantly be transferring money out of your budget.
It will also save you the hassle of transferring money to a separate prepaid card. (I reread and saw it was fee-free.)
Tan Major (faac422e1003) said: I am not sure I understand what you mean here.
"But if I put this on budget I'll take the money for something else!" accounts become.
I am working at honing and sticking to the budget, I even had an emergency this week, wiped out my emergency funds accounts, but did not impact my budget for month everything was covered.
The monies I am moving around are almost all in discretionary spending, I will fund say movies, but end up buying books and not going to any movies at all that month.
There's some great advice here!
You might also consider setting Goals for those "Set Aside" categories -- if you move money out of one of them, and it goes below your Goal amount, the Available will turn orange. You'll keep the budget all green, instead of watching for that gray when the money is gone from the budget.
Let us know how it goes as you decide.
Hi Tomato Mask,
Would placement help?
For example, if it was at the bottom of your budget categories and always collapsed (out of sight, out of mind). It would still grow and show as green but may not be as prominent.
Or would a physical representation of the delay to achieving your goals help such as a timeline where every time the set aside fund is dipped into it shows the goal moving? Similar to the image below.