My bank account balances are not matching what I have in the total available sections of my budget.

We have been using YNAB since August and I am not sure if it is really working correctly.  For some reason, the "Total Available"  part of the budget is not the same amount as what we have in our bank account.  It says that I have all this money set aside in the diffferent categories but when all is said and done we really don't have that much money set aside in our bank account.  It looks great and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy that I have all this money available but it is just numbers.  That isn't really available to me. Please help me figure out what I am doing wrong because I want this to work. 

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  • Hi,  Turquoise Piccolo ! Let's get you feeling warm, fuzzy, and confident. :-)

    There are some things that may cause Total Available in your budget to differ from the summary of your budget account balances.

    These can cause your Total Available to appear smaller than the summary of your budget account balances:

    • Money budgeted in the future will not appear in Total Available until the month in which you budgeted.
    • Overspending on a credit card removes money from your Total Available (because the category is negative) but not your accounts (no cash has actually left your accounts).

    These can cause your Total Available to appear larger than the summary of your budget account balances:

    • The summary of Budget Accounts on the left-hand side is the total of your cash accounts minus any debt accounts. It's like a net worth of your Budget Accounts. Debt balances, however, are not subtracted in the budget. Total Available is all the money in your cash accounts.
    • Overbudgeting adds money to your Available that isn't in your accounts. If your To be Budgeted number is red, this is at play in your budget.

    Of course, it’s important to us that you’re able to trust your budget, so here’s a way you can verify every dollar in your bank account(s) is reflected in your budget – and not a dollar more.

    1. Advance to next month's budget. (The math is easier there, because all overspending is covered.)

    2. In the right sidebar, when no categories are selected, you’ll see your Total Available amount, which is the sum of the Available column.

    3. Add that to the amount you have left To be Budgeted and any amount Budgeted in Future, if applicable.

    Let’s stop here for a minute, just in case your To be Budgeted was negative. If it is, you would need to subtract it from Total Available, because that means you’ve given jobs to dollars you don’t yet have. Preferably though, you would go back to this month’s budget and budget less in a few categories until To be Budgeted is back in the green at $0.

    4. Now, add up the cash in your budget. That includes checking, savings, and cash accounts, plus any positive balances on credit cards if applicable.

    5. Your totals in step 3 and 4 should match, to the penny.

    Now, if you’d like any dollars to be in a different category, you can confidently move money. :)

    Reply Like 3
  • Hello!

    I'm having the same problem. I tried the steps you mentioned but it still doesn't balance!

    I have a fairly simple budget and accounts,  this month before I've started to budget, I have available more money than I actually have!! 

    Do you have any other advice? I can email a screenshot if necessary. 

    Thanks Susan

    Reply Like
    • Exactly the same here - the amount budgeted does not reflect money available and gives a false sense of security. I must admit this is quite a complex way of managing budgets, It removes you from handling the money and moving it yourself. If you don't login like an accountant every other day and stay on top, you forget where you are and just end up fudging it.

      Reply Like
  • I"m giving this product another month or so then I'm leaving.  It simply isn't working for me. As I said above it's great for people who are logging in every day and are already great with their finances...

    Reply Like
    • Tomato Colt stick with it! I know it's frustrating to climb such a huge learning curve, but you will find freedom in the process. I've used an envelope online system for years and though at times I'll go a few months without looking at my finances at all, I can always go back and reset. It helps to keep your budget really simple with global categories. My income only comes in once a month, so I have a "mandatory expenses" and "everyday expenses" category. When I get money, these categories get funded first. Anything left over goes in categories based on priorities for the next week or 2. I don't login more than 1-3 times a month and I don't really like the mobile option, but I can still make it work. Hang in there!

      Reply Like
      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Colt If you can explain more what you think is not syncing up, we can help. When you follow the steps above, which numbers don't match? 

      This software is very much built for people who aren't already good at money, to the extent that it has angered people who are good at money who preferred the old version. But learning to think in an envelope budget style can be confusing, especially if you're used to the idea that a "budget" is where you set a goal and then check at the end of the month to see if you screwed up or not. That's not YNAB, which can be confusing at first, but ultimately  is why it works so well. 

      Reply Like 1
  • This may be similar to the issue I am having as the working balance does not reflect a change either positive or negative when my bank is synced and I have reconciled the statement.  Each time I need to perform a journal entry and change my total after reconciliation.  I am frequently on and now have to reconcile with the bank totals on a frequent basis vs. once a month as an average consumer might do with the paper balanced reconciliation.  Maybe I am not entering data correctly or maybe the bank import/sync is not working correctly, but it does show available and is in YNAB but the working does not change.  Frustrating, as I expect when a transaction has synced from the bank and I reconcile it the working balance should be a different value.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Pony The working balance is the sum of all transactions entered in YNAB. The cleared balance is the sum of all transactions that have cleared your bank account. if you are manually entering transactions in YNAB, your working balance won't change on a sync with the bank unless you have imported a transaction that had not been previously entered manually in YNAB.

      It's not clear from your post what your workflow is.

      Reply Like
    • nolesrule I figured after posting it was about as clear as mud.  So let me provide some perspective as to how I arrived at YNAB and my hope it will do what I think it can.

      Retired IT professional who supported my share of ERP packages from the 90's through the 00's.  Quicken user since the 90's.  I realized long ago that subscription based software was the wave of the future so companies had a more stable cash flow, etc.  Finally, earlier this year,  I was fed up with paying Intuit my money for a bloated product that I only utilized to about 15% of capacity.  I only used the particular product due to it's inclusion of the business and I was not relishing paying even more for Quickbooks which I knew was overkill.  Researching online several programs brought me to the YNAB universe and what appears to be an answer.

      OK, workflow.  I do enjoy being able to auto import from the bank as once I have invested the time over a few months of importing the categories only require some tweaking here and there.  For the most part it(Quicken) did good job of correctly identifying the category and saves time from manually entering all transactions.  As a rule I update the register twice a month to coincide with bill pay dates as auto pays never seem to be consistent and I have always preferred to have control over when I release the money to a vendor.  What I am not is a daily to the minute real time balance kinda person, instead I will ensure that if in any given day more than $200  is spent I will take the time to import/manually enter the transactions.  Otherwise I am happy with waiting the 24-48 hours for the bank to clear the transactions as they are generally less than $50 per.  What I do prefer is to see the current working balance in my financial software line up with the online balance from my bank, save any pending transactions which I can quickly reconcile.  I am sure YNAB does this, but just have not figured out how to customize my screen to show it.

      Reply Like
  • I am having the same problem and it's extremely frustrating. My "To Be Budgeted" amount is a couple thousand more than my banking account balances. This is really messing up my budgeting. This is supposed to help me budget and I'm failing using this program. I would do better using Excel like I used to.

    Why doesn't the "To Be Budgeted" amount just equal the total of cash available in your banking accounts? It seems every month, my "To Be Budgeted" amount increases a little bit more than what I have available. It's totally screwing up my budgeting.

    PLEASE someone help!! 

    Reply Like 1
      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Purple Saxophone Did you walk through the steps in the first reply? These pinpoint where the problem is. 

      Your To Be Budgeted number does not equal the amount inyour accounts; it should equal $0 (and one hopes you have more than $0), Your total available, however, *should* match the sum of all your positive accounts. 

      Reply Like 1
    • WordTenor yes, thank you. I walk through the steps and now I’m good to go! I should’ve read up more on the difference between To Be Budgeted and Total Available. Thanks for your help!

      Reply Like
    • Purple Saxophone  I'm suffering from the exact same problem as well...a year later. 

      Reply Like
    • Hi Orange Pegasus !

      Do you mean your Total Available doesn't match your account balances? If so, let's do a quick self audit to make sure every dollar is accounted for in your budget.

      1. Advance to next month's budget or the furthest in the future you can go, if you've been budgeting ahead. (The math is easier there, because all overspending is covered.)
      2. In the right sidebar, when no categories are selected, you’ll see your Total Available amount, which is the sum of the Available column.
      3. Add that to the amount you have left To be Budgeted and any amount Budgeted in Future, if applicable. Let’s stop here for a minute, just in case your To be Budgeted was negative. If it is, you would need to subtract it from Total Available, because that means you’ve given jobs to funds you don’t yet have. Preferably though, you would go back to this month’s budget and budget less in a few categories until To be Budgeted is back in the green at zero.
      4. Now, add up the cash in your accounts. That includes checking, savings, and cash accounts, plus any positive balances on credit cards if applicable.
      5. Your totals in step 3 and 4 should match up exactly.

      Now, if you’d like any dollars to be in a different category, you can confidently move money.

      If those numbers don't match, please let me know and I can take a closer look at things! :)

      Reply Like
  • I'm having the same issue. My To be Budgeted, at the top of November is a few thousand more than I have in all of my accounts combined. I followed the steps that April at YNAB Support offered 11 months ago and still come out roughly a thousand dollars more than I have in my accounts. What's up? (Thanks in advance.)

    Reply Like
      • Jannelle
      • jannelle_ynabsupport
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Navy Blue Harp If that's the case, I'm going to reach out from [email protected] so we can start digging! Thanks for letting us know. 😊

      Reply Like
  • Wondering if I can have help on this as well.  I went forward to February in my budget and I have no future items budgeted.  The total available amount was accurate.  It was what I had in my checking account plus what I had in my savings account.  However I thought I was setting things up to have the "available" amount only add up to what I had in my checking account.  Essentially I would like my savings to remain untouched and not something I take money from.  

     

    Right now when I flip to February the available column adds up to $680.61.  But my checking account only has  $380.61 .  I feel like the fact the the difference being an even $300 is making it something obvious that I've done.  

     

    Any help would be appreciated!

    Reply Like
      • mamster
      • mamster
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Paul Reifenstein How much do you have in your savings account? The total available should, as you said, be the total of what you have in all of your on-budget deposit accounts (checking and savings). Remember that in YNAB, budgeting money is not the same as spending it, and it doesn't mean you intend to spend it soon. If you don't want to spend the money in your savings account soon, budget it to a savings category. For example, I have money budgeted for a computer replacement that I expect to spend three years from now, and I have money budgeted for an emergency fund/income replacement that I hope not to spend before retirement, if ever!

      Reply Like
    • mamster Thank you!  Just the double check on what's showing as available for savings is what made me see the issue.  So I have a savings category and I've divided it up for different future expenses.  The "available" amount is $300 less than what is actually in my savings account.  

       

      So now that's I've located the $300, is it as simple as adding $300 to the budgeted column in my savings category and then re-jigging my checking amounts so I haven't over budgeted?

      Reply Like
      • mamster
      • mamster
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Paul Reifenstein It's hard for me to follow exactly what you're saying without a screenshot. Do you have money remaining To Be Budgeted? If so, you can distribute it out to whatever categories you like. If not, that means all of your available money is budgeted, and you can move it between categories using the Move Money tool. Does that help?

      Reply Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Paul Reifenstein Just to revisit that you would like your savings account money to be untouched. Budget the money from your savings account into one or more categories that you're not planning on spending from.

      Reply Like
    • Hi Paul Reifenstein !

      If your Total Available matches your checking + savings + any money left in To be Budgeted... you can trust your budget! Here is a video that walks you through the steps mentioned earlier in the thread.

      While this can be a shift in thinking, with the YNAB Method, your accounts are simply buckets where your money is stored, while your Budget is where you assign them jobs. This means that there is nothing in the Budget that links an account balance to a single category or group of categories.

      What are the dollars in your savings account for? Move money to your savings categories. That might be split between your Emergency Fund and Vacation, or whatever your priorities are! We have an article in our Help Docs about Budgeting Your Savings, that might give you some ideas on how that looks in your Budget.
       

      Let me know if you have any questions!

      Reply Like
      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Paul Reifenstein https://www.youneedabudget.com/the-relationship-between-your-budget-your-accounts-its-complicated/

      Read this article, until it sinks in. YNAB only cares about the total, which is correct in your case. 

      Reply Like
  • Paul Reifenstein said:
    is it as simple as adding $300 to the budgeted column in my savings category and then re-jigging my checking amounts so I haven't over budgeted

     What do you mean by "re-jigging" your checking amounts so you haven't over budgeted?

    Reply Like
    • bevocat Such a technical term :)

       

      So I'm going to make by savings account align with "available" and what the actual balance is.  To do that, I need to add $300 to the "budgeted" column in my savings category.  But by doing that, I will have over budgeted by $300.  So basically what I  plan to do is subtract $300 from budgeted amounts in my other categories to I haven't over budgeted.  

      Reply Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Paul Reifenstein I'm still confused. If you posted a screenshot it would help.

      It kind of sounds like you're trying to make a category balance and a bank account balance agree. Don't; it doesn't need to and it's unnecessary work babysitting it.  There is no relationship between where your money lives and what your money is for. The money you have living in your savings account is being saved for a purpose; what is it? Add that money to the budgeted column for the appropriate categories.

      There is an amount of money available to be budgeted after you put your accounts in to YNAB. Add money to the budgeted column of each category based on what you need your money to do before you get more money. Stop when the amount of money available To Be Budgeted reaches zero.  If your TBB is negative, then you've budgeted more money than you have, and you need to remove money from one or more categories' budgeted columns until TBB again shows zero.

      Reply Like
    • Paul Reifenstein , ran into the same issue when I started setting up YNAB in January.  Let me tell you what my problem was and what I did, and if your problem lines up with mine, then the same fix (which I think is what you're already proposing) should do the trick.  All numbers are made up for roundness and ease of explanation.

      1. Imported all my accounts (Checkings, Savings, Credit Cards, and Mortgage).
      2. Saw that I had $1000 available for me to budget (green bar at top of YNAB) - yay!
      3. Budgeted the $1000.  Noticed my checking account only had $700 to actually spend - wait, that can't be right!

      I then found, like I think you did, the problem - I'm holding that $300 over in my savings account in my 86 Fund (someone else here coined that term and I'm stealing it) - the money I need in case I get "86'd" from my job (fired).

      To fix the problem, I took the following steps:

      1. Created a new category called Emergency 86 Fund.
      2. Budgeted $300 in January into that category.
      3. Moved money from various other categories into that category until I zero'd out.

      While I'm only 3 weeks into YNAB, what should happen next based on my reading is that in February I'll keep that $300 as part of that category.  At some point I'll get $0.02 interest and then I'll need to remember to either categorize that in the same category (since that money won't actually be in my checking account to budget for and spend), or move it to checking and consider it part of my "To Be Budgeted" for that month.

      Hope that me hacking my way through this the first time helps!

      Reply Like
  • I had the same problem and was able to fix it by setting one of my closed accounts to $0.

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