Combining Two Categories = More $ to Budget??

Hit an issue just now that I can't seem to figure out, so phoning a friend here.

I've run two closely-related budget categories for several months (since I began YNAB), and there's just been too much overlap. Every trip to the store requires a split transaction because it straddles the two categories. Rather than keep that going, I tried to combine categories. I renamed Category A to Category A/B, and when I tried to remove Category B it said I needed to recategorize those transactions. So far so good. I allowed the program to batch-recategorize my Category B transactions to Category A/B, and the deletion was complete.

Imagine my surprise when I then had nearly $2,000 more "to be budgeted" after the deletion! I surmise that this amount is the sum of the months that I was budgeting to Category B, and the software doesn't know what to do with that budgeted $ now that the category is gone, but shouldn't there be a way to recategorize BOTH the transactions AND the $$ that had been budgeted to Category B?  Could this be something else entirely? Thanks to the handy "undo" function, I went back to the old way, and I guess I could simply shift the current budget over to a single category and not actually try to merge them, but I'd like to be rid of the unused category moving forward. 

Any thoughts? Is this a bug that should go in another forum? 

Thanks for any input!

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  • I wouldn't delete a category you've used. Just rename one of the categories, hide the other, and use only the unhidden one going forward. You've diagnosed the issue correctly, but I don't know if it would make sense for YNAB to automatically rebudget dollars in a deleted category. Certainly something to think about, though.

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  • Hi Unmelt !

    You're exactly right about what those funds are that showed up in your To Be Budgeted!

    When you delete a category that has previous information in it, two things happen:

    1) You are asked to choose a new category for the existing transactions (Uncategorized is an option).
    2) Any money budgeted to the deleted category (in all months) is sent back to To be Budgeted. 

    To clean up your budget after the deletion, go back and budget money to the new category you assigned in Step 1 above. That will keep everything in line! :)

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  • Faness   I'm not sure I completely understand.  You State, "Any money budgeted to the deleted category (in all months) is sent  back to To be Budgeted.  But if step (1) asks for a new category for the existing transactions, won' t ALL of the transactions from the beginning to current be renamed to the new category?

      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
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      Bonnie Burtraw Well, they'll all be assigned to that new category, but there's never been any money budgeted to that new category. It wouldn't make sense to move money around in your budget just because you're changing a transaction's assigned category. It would mess things up every time you accidentally mis-categorize something.

      I understand this seems like a one step process in your head, but to a computer program it just isn't.

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    • Hi Bonnie Burtraw ! bevocat is correct! Your transactions and your budget are separate. You can choose to recategorize those transactions from the menu that pops up, but you'll need to tell your Budget that the dollars in To be Budgeted go to the new category.

      Instead of deleting a category, you can hide it instead. 😀

  • Thanks for clarification.  I have been using QuickBooks too long, I guess.   I love YNAB, but it's not quite as flexible as QBooks in some regards... No complaints -- It's also WAAAAAYYYYYYYY less expensive and less cumbersome.   THANK YOU YNAB!!

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  • I posted my step-by-step for how to combine categories and how to separate categories in this post linked here.

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