Accumulate Savings Each Month

I have come back to YNAB after several years away. One concept I am struggling with is how to see what we are actually saving from our paychecks each month.

I used a manual spreadsheet for sometime because it was the only way I knew how to track it. I want to see how much we bring in, minus living expenses, minus what we want to save, and then budget the extra expenses from what we have left. Is there a way to integrate this practice in YNAB?

Thanks in advance!

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  • YES -- Today I just had to do this for March expenses. I needed to see what I was going to budget but any changes I make mess everything up and so I did it in XLS. Would love some more functions around things like this. 

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      • Elizabeth
      • mrserank312
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      NewYNABer BostonGirl Same here! I am going to try setting up different main categories to give me the totals for those items I mentioned... We'll see if that helps.

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    • Elizabeth What I've decided to do is create an XLS and then have a column for each month I decide to so this so I can do a little tracking. Also for the overall savings of a savings category (usually a bill due monthly). 

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  • In YNAB4, by sending income to next month and funding the entire month in one go, you know exactly how much you have left.

    This is one of the benefits of living off last month's income under the old YNAB rules and it provides the clarity you are looking for within the application. It can still be done in nYNAB with workarounds.

    But the key is the ability to fund your entire next month using only current month income.

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    • MsTJ
    • YNAB has given me back my future
    • Believer_in_YNAb
    • 2 yrs ago
    • 2
    • Reported - view

    Interesting question.  There are many places in my budget where I budget a few extra dollars every month so it can be difficult to determine how much is saving and how much is for projected spending.  Have been using reports to let me know what I'm saving.  Whether the money left is for future spending or true savings, it all accumulates and is shown on reports.  It took a while for me to realize this is where I could look to see my progress and it works for me today.  I'm enjoy seeing my basic net worth slowly increase month over month there.  I tried a separate spread sheet for other information but it was a hassle and it soon became unmanageable, for me.  I found a way to keep the other information inside YNAB by breaking down the category groups into more detail with more categories.

    I do keep a separate spread sheet for what I would like my budget to look like every month.  What I end up with in YNAB is what happens after the month happens and have to WAM some money from here to there.  After 3 years, I don't do as much WAMming as I did when I started and it still happens.  

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  • Hi Elizabeth !

    Have you taken a look at the Income vs.  Expense report? It compares the income earned in the month, to the money spent in that month, for an overall amount of what's left. You can then subtract the amount you want to save from that to look at your bottom line.

    Is that more along the lines of what you're looking for? It doesn't work for future income (like NewYNABer BostonGirl mentioned in her spreadsheet for March), but it does help analyze past months and progress in the current month. :)

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      • Elizabeth
      • mrserank312
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness at YNAB Thank you! This will help. Once our 2nd paychecks clear for the end of the month I will look at it again. 

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Elizabeth I don't find the report helpful for this purpose because it only includes expenses. You should already be budgeting monthly for recurring expenses that are less frequent than one month, and that will not be included in the reports.

      The best method for determining how much you really have left over is to put a limit on what money you will use to budget in a specific month based on income received in a certain time period, then budget everything and see what's left.

      You can do it at the end of the month if you aren't ahead, or you can do it at the time of budgeting if you are a month ahead.

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  • Elizabeth said:
    I want to see how much we bring in, minus living expenses, minus what we want to save, and then budget the extra expenses from what we have left. Is there a way to integrate this practice in YNAB?

    I think I'm unclear on exactly what you are looking for, as this sounds like exactly how YNAB works? :)

    With Rule 1: Give Every Dollar a Job, you'll take the money that comes in, and decide where to budget it, based on your priorities (which roughly sound like they are #1 living expenses, #2 what you want to save, #3 "extra expenses").

    If you're looking to set a monthly "plan" of sorts, maybe check out the info about setting up a Budget Template using Goals & Scheduled Transactions: https://www.youneedabudget.com/how-to-create-a-budget-template/ - this can give you a kind of birds' eye view of how you're wanting to set your monthly budget numbers, so you can check that it's in line with your priorities.

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    • Patzer
    • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
    • Patzer
    • 2 yrs ago
    • 2
    • Reported - view

    This is a mindset change.  In YNAB, non-specific savings is not a concept.  Every dollar has a job.   What I thought of as "savings" in the pre-YNAB world turns out to be allocated across multiple categories including property taxes, car replacement, home improvements, and so on.

    So, suppose you want a general savings function, where the savings does not have a specific job, and you want to see how much you can allocate to it.  I can think of 2 ways to achieve this.

    Method 1:  Put the savings account off-budget.  Create a "Savings" category.  Budget however much you want to Savings each month, then "spend" the budgeted amount by transferring from your checking account to  the off-budget savings account.  Budget the rest of your money to categories that you think of as budget categories in any manner you see fit.

    Method 2:  Put the savings account on-budget.   Create a "Savings" category.  Budget however much of your savings account you think of as general savings to that category initially, then budget however much you want to add to Savings each month.  Budget the rest of your money to other categories as you see fit.

    In Method 1, you will have an identifiable savings account that is non-specific savings.  It will grow with interest earned.  In Method 2, you will have a budget category for Savings, which will not necessarily match the balance of your savings account.  In particular, as you build up funds in True Expense categories, it will make sense to move funds that are budgeted but not planned to be spent this month into the savings account.  So you could have a savings account with $10,000 in it, but only have $5,000 in the Savings category because you have funds in categories like Car Replacement, Home Improvement, Property Taxes, Emergency Fund, and so on.

    Over time, you will probably find that you accumulate enough dollars in specific categories to fund just about everything you need to fund.  You will then be left with either a savings account or a Savings category that has dollars with no job that you've assigned.  Maybe you re-conceptualize them as something like an Income Replacement category for the event of job loss.  (That's what I did.)  Maybe you decide that your normal expenses are covered, and the amount in Savings can be thrown at a long term off-budget goal like retirement or your children's college expenses.  Or maybe you're just comfortable forever with a Savings category that has no well-defined job.  That's okay too.

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    • Patzer +1 for method 2. I have a budget category called "emergency savings" and (try to) allocate a set amount to it each month. I make regular movements from my checking to my savings accounts and I put the emergency savings amount plus the True Expense categories into that savings account, and move them back over when needed. 

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  • I'd love to see a break out of what is being spent (eg to a payee and leaving my account) vs what is being saved (for a goal, could be a bill or could be a vacation) easily. I don't see this in any report? Am I missing something? 

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