Yearly budgets

Hi everyone,

This is my first month using YNAB and I'm still getting the hang of it. I really apologize if this has been asked somewhere else, maybe I just need to be directed towards a previous conversation.

My question is: if I know how much I'd like to spend in a certain category (ie, my yearly budget for clothes is $500), how do I reflect that in my budget? 

I was trying to set a "Target category balance by date" goal, but I wasn't sure if that was right. If I spend $25 on a dress, I just want to know that I still have $425 of my yearly budget left to spend. I don't want my goal to now reflect that I need to put away an extra $25 to reach the $500 by the end of the year. 

I might spend $300 of the $500 in February, if there is an event I'm going to, etc. How will that work, since it's more sporadic spending, but it's still within my yearly budget?

 

Please let me know if this makes any sense, or if I have terribly confused you all, and if you have any feedback for me.

 

Thank you!!

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  • Hi Colleen Cirocco !

    That's a great question! :)

    How you set that category up in your budget depends on how quickly you want or plan to have that money available.  Do you have the whole $500 now? If so, you can budget $500 towards Clothing and you don't need to do anything except rationally spend throughout the coming months. If not, how quickly do you want that $500 set aside? You can set a monthly funding goal of $100, so in five month's you'll have set that $500 aside - you can then cancel the goal and focus on stretching that money the rest of the year. Or, you can budget $50 a month for ten months instead, or any variance of that savings approach.

    When you have a moment, read our How To Create a Budget Template blog post or take a look at the Create a Budget Template Workshop. Both will teach you how to use scheduled transactions and goals to outline priorities and plan for those expenses! :)
     

    Reply Like 1
    • Faness  I came here to ask the same question for the same reason. I Don't want to spend over $420 a year on clothes, but I don't buy clothes every month. So I saved $35 for January and February, then took advantage of a sale in March and spent $200. So in order to figure out my monthly budget for the rest of the year, I have to do some really annoying math. ((annual budget - spent so far) / remaining number of months.) It's particularly hard because I have to go into the reports section and hide everything but my clothing budget in order to see the accurate number fo how much I've spent so far. You have a method of planning for predictable annual or bi-annual expenses, but nothing for unpredictable annual expenses. To add to the frustration, YNAB is pretending that this is not a valuable method of controlling your spending when it's actually a great way to do it. It would be nice if there were a type of goal that would adjust my monthly budget in clothes to $24.44 now that I've spent a lot of my planned yearly budget three months in. 

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    • Hi Tomato Sidewinder !

      I'll pass this along to our development team as a feature request for further consideration! :)

      For now, to save a step, after you know how much you want to spend the rest of the year, you can set a Category Balance by Date goal to help with the math. YNAB will calculate how much to budget each month between now and the date you select (such as December 2018) to stay on track for that goal. :)

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    • Faness  Oh man! That's actually a great workaround for now. Thanks for your help!

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    • Tomato Sidewinder Happy that helps! :)

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    • Faness  Sorry, I'm back, that actually doesn't work because the math will show me how much I need to save to have net $500, not $500 total budgeted for the year with my debits taken into account. 

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    • Tomato Sidewinder No need to apologize! For that goal to work, you'd still have to do the first portion of the math you laid out. So, if you wanted to spend $500 total for the year, but spent $200 on a sale, you'd have to enter $300 as the goal amount by December to fix those amounts. Also, you'd want to create the goal the following month so that the $200 in spending isn't included.

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  • Hi Faness!

    I was planning on gradually putting money into this category, while having the option to spend against it as well. I'm looking for some visibility on how much I'm spending on clothing (and other categories as well) throughout the year. I'm still learning how things carry over from month to month with YNAB. I will take a look at this workshops! Thanks for your help :)

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Colleen Cirocco You can't carry over negative from month to month. You need to reframe how you think of your budget when using YNAB. It's essentially an envelope system, where you dish out all your cash and only spend what's in the envelope. If you need more than what's in the envelope, you need to take it out of one of the other envelopes... because cash in an envelope can never be negative.

      The reason it's not an annual budget is because you aren't getting paid once a year, and you can only add money to your categories when you get paid. This technique is designed to prevent you  from commiting to spend, and actually spending, money you don't have yet.

      Reply Like 2
    • eloquentz
    • Numbers Wizard (Accountant), Acoustic Artist (Musician) and Jill of all Trades (Wife & Mother)
    • eloquentz
    • 1 yr ago
    • 2
    • Reported - view

    You could use a target balance instead of target balance by date.  Then, when you spend from the category, you can build it back up again.

    Reply Like 2
  • I agree.  YNAB seriously needs a way to account for items that you want to spend a specific amount on per year but then do a big portion of that yearly amount in random months.  The months that are over the 12 month average of course can be covered by available TBB funds or by moving money from one "Envelope" to the other...but it should still let us know what we have left to spend in that yearly budget amount for the remainder of the year (taking the spent portions into account).  PLEASE add this as an option at least for those who want/ need it! :)  

    Reply Like 1
  • I’m new to YNAB - Faness has this been sorted now? It would be an extraordinarily useful function as it just doesn’t seem to work any other way. Thanks! 

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    • Hi Powder Blue Yeti !

      We haven't released any new goal types yet, but there are a number of tools you can use to help stay on top of spending in a certain category. You can use the different goals mentioned above if you're trying to save or put aside a certain amount and you can use the Spending Report to check on how much you've spent so far. :)

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