Payday amounts

I am just starting out, and just started with some classes.  I entered a transaction for my paydays.  I have created most of my budget.  It is showing a negative amount at the top in red because my budget amounts are for the month, but it is not recognizing future pay dates in this month.  Is this ok?

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  • Hi Lavender Display ,

    Welcome to YNAB! 🎉

    It sounds like you're off to a great start with your budget, and you've hit on a really important aspect to the YNAB Method. Future income is scheduled, but not budgeted. 

    This goes back to the core idea of only budgeting the money you have on-hand. We talk about this in our Prioritize Guide. Here's a quick summary of why YNAB is designed this way:

    Available money. When you budget money you don't have yet, you can't trust the amounts Available in your categories when you make spending decisions.

    Scarcity. Scarcity is that feeling of wishing there were more. (Time. Money. Dessert...) Scarcity is good for you. When you forecast how much money you might have down the road, you take your focus away from right now. When you step back and embrace scarcity, you make good decisions.

    We do recognize that looking forward is important. Upcoming transactions and Goals help you plan for weeks and even months ahead without needing to input future income. As you go, all this prioritizing will naturally create a longer delay between when you receive money and when you spend it. As your money ages, you'll be able to budget the money you receive this month for next month.

    We know this can be a shift in thinking, so let us know if you have any questions.


    Like 1
  • I'm just starting out too, but I THINK this is normal ... assuming you entered those payday transactions as future transactions.  Those funds show-up when the date hits.  Maybe a YNAB vet can confirm?

    BTW - I say this sounds like what happened to me too and I was confused.  I decided NOT to budget future paydays (or any transactions) as a result, at least not until I get a little more comfortable.  I decided to stick with the basic idea of setting my budget based on the money I currently have available ... for now.

  • YNAB is a zero-based allocation budget; not a forecasted budget.  This means we only budget money we actually have in our accounts. You will probably find, as I did, that you see the money differently when you are forced to only make plans for the funds in hand.  All of a sudden that last $100 is definitely needed for food and utilities instead of clothes and entertainment. When you get your next paycheque, that's when you'll set funds aside for a little fun.  Most of us have been making spending decisions based on the imminent arrival of our next paycheque for so long, we didn't realize that doing that is what is keeping us scrambling for money all the time. 

    Stop budgeting when you get to zero. Don't live with red overbudget numbers or red overspent numbers, and you will be amazed.

    Like 3
  • If you don't use future payday for the current budget month, won't you been in the red?  You budget figures for a month but your income is only part of the month.  What am I missing?

    • Lavender Display The theory is that you only budget what you have. If your rent is due on the 10th, budget for the rent now. If your cable bill is due on the 25th and you get paid again on the 15th, leave the cable category empty until you get paid on the 15th. Start with your priorities until you get more income. Then complete the month only once you receive more income.

      If you budget everything and that TBB (to be budgeted number is red) you are playing with pretend money. It was hard for me too... I KNEW I was getting that money, but it's life changing when you focus on the now and what you have to work with.

      (It's even more life changing when you start to spend less so that you have more money in each category and you can budget the whole month with the money in the paychecks from the month before)

      Like 2
  • Ok, starting to make sense. I think.  Lets say you have a bill you pay every payday the amount is 100.  Payday is this Friday.  I owe a total for the entire month of $200.  I enter a budget amount for 100 now. And what do I do next payday - do I just leave to 100 again?

      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Lavender Display 

      If the total of the bill you will pay this month is $200, and you plan to budget $100 now, then increase it when you get more funds, you would increase the budgeted amount to $200.  There are a few ways to do this: 

      MMT (Move Money Tool) - you'll be able to click on the available funds in To Be Budgeted, identify the amount to be assigned ($100) and the category to add it to. This also works to move funds from one category to another.

      Click into a budget cell (requires using arrow left or right to get at the number) and manually change it.

      Click on the budget cell and use the following keyboard shortcuts:  [end] * 2 (to multiply the original number by 2.  (also works to divide /, add +, subtract -)

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      • GBR
      • GBR
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Bayou Buckeye To follow-up what HappyDance said, there's also a third thing you can do:  if you know that it's going to be $200 every month, set a monthly funding goal for $200.  Budget $100 with the 1st paycheck (available amount will be orange because you haven't met the goal yet).  When you get the 2nd paycheck, select that category then click "Underfunded".    Another tip:  some folks put due dates in the category name (or organize them by when they are due using categories based on week of payday).  You might consider creating a budget template - info on that here:

      Like 2
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