Credit Card Payment Help

Hi, I'm hoping someone can help me understand credit card payments in YNAB. I've read through the cc basics, watched the help video, but I have no idea exactly it works, it's completely messing with my "to be budgeted" amount for the month.

I don't understand the amounts that come up under the activity column. When I click it, it shows my my spending and returns which I understand, but then it shows me budgeted spending, which I have no idea what that means. Then it shows payments & returns which I understand, but I end up with a total I have no idea what to do with. I also have no idea what the available column is telling me. I amount seems to go up every month which isn't right.

What I've been putting in the budgeting column is simply the amount that I intend to pay to the cc company, the statement balance, so all these numbers should zero out.

I've started using YNAB in March, and right now, I'm simply trying to get a feel for where my money is going, and how much we are actually spending in each category, before I start budgeting.

Hopefully someone can help me sort this out. As of right now after adjusting some of the Credit Card Payment numbers in the budgeted column, my amount for "to be budgeted" went from -$5000 to -$10000 and I don't know what's correct.

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  • Hi Daniel Chapman ! I’m happy to help!

    The Available column is the amount of money reserved for your credit card payment. It includes:

     – the amount left Available at the end of last month 

     – all of the budgeted-for purchases you've put on the card

     – anything you've added to the Budgeted column

     – minus any credit card payments which should be entered as transfers (outflows from your checking account and inflows to your CC account)

    Every time you make a purchase with your card, assuming that purchase was budgeted for, money from that category will be moved to the credit card payments category (we call that budgeted spending). You only need to budget there directly if you are "catching up" on paying down other debt on your card.

    Like 1
  • Hi, thanks for your reply, I'm still wrapping my head around this.

    What I normally do every month is pay my credit card statement balance, not the balance in full, but the amount for just that month. This is paid on the 15th of every month.

    I realize that the numbers in the Available column will be off (not zeroed out), since the credit card is paid in the middle of the month, and will incur more charges as the month progresses.

    In the budgeted column under Credit Card Payments, for the past 3 months, this is where I've been putting the amount that I pay for my credit card statement. For example, my credit card statement was $347.70 between April 15th and May 15th, so I payed my statement and put this amount in the Budgeted column.

    Is this the correct way to do it in my situation? Should I be putting a different number in the Budgeted column so that the Available amount doesn't keep going up?

      • mamster
      • mamster
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Daniel Chapman The correct amount to put in the Budgeted column is zero. That's because when you make a budgeted purchase on your credit card, YNAB automatically moves money from the spending category to the credit card payment category.

      The only time you need to budget directly to the card payment category is if you've incurred debt in the past and want to pay it down.

      Like 3
    • Daniel Chapman You mentioned in your original post that you're currently tracking spending, but not budgeting. Is that still the case?

    • mamster That's exactly what I needed! Thanks so much for the explanation, now my overall budget makes a lot more sense. Thanks for your help

      Nicole I'm currently getting a feel for our spending habits, so for the first few months, I simply want to get an idea of where our money is coming and going. But I've also budgeted for things further in the year, such as car insurance, property taxes, membership renewals, vacation savings, etc. Thanks for the help

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