Multiple budgets that interact

I would like to set up my household budget, budget so much for me personally, and budget so much for my wife's personal use. Would then like to set up the app on my smart phone to manage my personal finances, set up my wire's phone to manage hers, and allow either of us to manage the household budget from those apps. Can do?

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  • Yes. Three budgets, the mobile app only looks at one at a time.

    Do note, you both will have access to all three budgets, assuming you share a single YNAB account. If you use separate YNAB accounts, you cannot access budgets outside of your account (so the answer would then be, "no cannot do.").

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  • Perfect! It suits our needs admirably.

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  • Thanks for your reply. Now, I'm trying to set it up and need some help. 

    I have selected "Make a Fresh Start;" and, happily, I now have all of the categories I've been working with. 

    In the past, I've included all of the categories for all three: mine, hers, and ours. And I now want to create a budget on my app for my personal items; one on my wife's phone for hers, and then remove the personal items that currently appear in the household budget on the PC. 

    Can you give me a hand here? Can I just transfer some of the categories from the PC to one or the other of our phones?

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  • I would just set this up as different categories within the one household budget.  You can then make your own sub-categories within your own section to track separately but wouldn't need to switch back and forth between separate budgets.

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  • Actually, that's the way I've been doing it; but we're trying to make it appear like a "new life" in which each of us has a fixed amount to spend (which each of us will manage on our mobile devices).

    So far as the household budget is concerned, I'm planning on having my wife manage it on a day-by-day basis and being able to access it if she needs some help. 

    Keeping our personal budgets separate has been a desire of ours for a long time. 

    Given that this is the goal, what is the best way to do that? I suppose it's simply to set up different budgets on each phone and add only the accounts we'll use with those budgets. That seems to make sense. 

    As I understand it, since the budgeting/categories are "unrelated" to the bank accounts, we can reconcile the accounts from any of the devices. But we would each reconcile only the accounts each of us uses.

    Is there any downside for doing it this way?

    BTW, thanks so much for taking the time to respond to my queries.

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      • mamster
      • mamster
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Beige Tugboat I wouldn't try to deal with having the same bank account linked to multiple budgets. Also, you can't reconcile from the phone app, only from the website. It's also easier to set up the budgets on the web app. The phone app will default to the last-opened budget, so once you have them set up (with her checking account linked to her budget, your account to yours, and the joint account to the joint budget), just load her budget on her phone; she'll be able to switch to and from the household budget by opening it in the app.

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      • chahan
      • chahan
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      mamster This is more of a yes / no thing. 

      You can view the account balance and compare to your actual bank balance using the mobile app and make adjustments to transactions, clear previously entered transactions, enter new transactions etc to get the balances to match - hence reconciling. 

      There is no "Reconcile" button in the mobile app like the web version and it will not automatically create a reconciliation transaction for you. Even on the web version, I would recommend adjusting transactions and going through them  line by line to find mistakes to reconcile instead of relying on the automatic adjustment transaction.

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  • Thanks, everyone, for the help. I think I've got it now.   :o)

    It looks to me like it will work just fine. 

    I'll let this forum know how it's going, when I start working with the budgets.

    I intend to start when we move into our new home (on St. Patty's day, next).  That way, we can start from scratch and do it right. 

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  • This is the scheme that my wife and I use, though I'm the one running the household budget.  It's very important to have each account only tied to one budget, or you'll constantly have to account for various transactions that don't apply to the budget you're working in.  For us, this works fine, because she has her checking account, I have mine, and then we also have a joint checking and savings account.

    This also allows for differences in budgeting methodology between us.  I track my cash in ynab (only to the dollar level - change doesn't count), my wife doesn't - she counts the money as spent when it comes out of the ATM.  I am more of a hard-core budgeter, she lets things get overspent and then fixes it with the next paycheck.  Drives me nuts, but since it's not part of my budget or the share budget, I can cover my ears and say "la-la-la-la-la."

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  • If you have a budget linked to accounts and then create another budget linked to the same accounts, will it mess up the first budget?  The reason I ask is that we have our main budget and I'd like to create a "test budget" to use for trying things out without messing up our budget.  For real-world feel, I'd like to link to our accounts, however, I don't want to mess up our real budget...  If I download the transactions in the test budget, they will still be downloaded to our real budget as well, right...?

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    • Amy Rizzo I don't use direct import, so I can't answer about the linking. 

      I just wanted to say, "YES!  Use a test budget to fiddle with things as you learn the software!"  Also, you can do a Fresh Start, rename the "new" budget to be called "Sandbox" or something, rename the "old" budget to be your regular budget again, and that will keep all your categories, scheduled transactions, and goals.  Saves a bunch of work.

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      • Amy Rizzo
      • Business Analyst and Wife
      • creeping_shadow
      • yesterday
      • Reported - view

      Move Light Sound Life Ok, I'm nervous...  "Fresh Start" to me sounds like "please wipe out all my work and start all over"...  If I'm on my main budget and choose "Fresh Start", exactly what happens....?

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      • Amy Rizzo
      • Business Analyst and Wife
      • creeping_shadow
      • yesterday
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Ahhhh, interesting.  https://www.youneedabudget.com/the-logic-art-of-a-ynab-fresh-start/

      This is an AWESOME feature!  Just did it and saved a TON of time trying to reproduce our budget!  Thanks so much Move Light Sound Life !!

      Like 2
    • Amy Rizzo Don't be nervous.  There's a help doc that outlines it somewhere, but this is what happens:

      1. It archives your current budget and all past transactions with the filename of BudgetNameArchivedDate or something similar.  You can always go back to that and use it fully-functionally.

      2. It plunks you into a new budget with your original budget's name as well as the same scheduled transactions, goals, and categories. You'll want to rename this to be Sandbox (or whatever) right away.

      3. To use the new Sandbox budget, just enter current account balances and play.

      4. To use the old (normal) budget, go to Open Budgets --> find the archived file.  Rename it to get rid of the extra archived name characters.

      5. You might have to ensure your linked accounts get relinked to your normal (not archived anymore) budget, but I don't have experience with that.

      I see you've found a help doc, so I won't go looking for it!

      Like 2
    • Amy Rizzo You can import transactions from those accounts into multiple budgets. Small word of caution for test budgets, though - direct import is only meant to pull transactions as far back as two weeks. If you only open your test budget on the first of each month to play around with things for the new month, it may not import all of the transactions since your last import (on the first of the previous month). In those cases, you'd need to manually enter the missing transactions or give File-Based Importing a try. :)

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