Goal advice: differing target dates, one category?

I currently have three Car categories:

1. Car Insurance & AAA membership : $1300/yr every December (with a Savings goal of that much by December each year)

2. Car Registration & Smog Check : $180/yr every June (with a Savings goal of that much by June each year)

3. Car Servicing : ~$600/yr at random intervals (with a Target goal of $300 by no given date)

I'm trying to figure out how to merge them into one Automotive category and still have a single Goal set up that makes sure I have the necessary funds when I need them.

I can't quite wrap my head around the new Goal systems. I'm also worried that if I end up having to pay an uncharacteristically large amount on car servicing for the year for whatever reason and I didn't account for it, even if I put more money in the budget, that it will throw the Goal off whack.

Anyone know how to do this right? Thanks so much for the help.

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  • What's wrong with having 3 car categories? I have 5 under my Auto master category (Gas, Repairs & Maintenance, Insurance, Registration, AAA). Your first two goals should be Spending By Date like you mentioned but I would make the third one a Savings Monthly Contribution. Figure out how much you think you need on average each year and divide by 12 to get your monthly savings amount.

    Like 1
    • Superbone Well, I meant to heavily simplify my budget this year and see how that goes, but it everyone here seems to split the car stuff into multiple categories as well. Guess I'll stick to it. Also because it's a nightmare to properly merge categories without messing up the integrity of the budget history...

      Thanks for the help!

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 yrs ago
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      Turquoise Major Yeah, the problem is that it complicates the monthly contribution calculation since like dakinemaui said, YNAB doesn’t currently have a multi-outflow goal type. I’ve always found that breaking things into their logical components simplifies budgeting for them. I could have one big Utility category but then I’d have to do the math each month since some are variable. I suppose I could budget a little more and then sweep out the extra each month but I don’t find it difficult at all to budget them separately and don’t see a large benefit to combining categories.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view
      Superbone said:
      don’t find it difficult at all to budget them separately

      OP, this is one of many reasons to get to where you can budget on a calendar basis instead of a paycheck basis. The month is budgeted in a few clicks regardless of whether you have 10 categories or 200 categories.

      Like 3
  • that's what i've done as well. one category group for automobile and categories under that for gas, maintenance, AAA, tag renewal and insurance. each with a different goal

  • YNAB hasn't implemented the goal you want. The math isn't trivial in the general case, so the easiest thing to do is use separate categories.

    I also suggest you plan a date to have the $300 car servicing funded. Adjust that date until the monthly contribution is acceptable in light of all the other demands on your money.

    After reaching that point, plan a date that you want to have $600 available, possibly less aggressively saved so other categories that previously waited get some money.

  • Upon further thought, I did notice the first two can be easily combined since you're starting in January (I assume). A Spending Goal of $1480 by Dec. would do it.

    Even if YNAB had a general multi-outflow goal, the variable nature of #3 (likely capped) would suggest that it should stay separate.

  • The way I have it set up. I have a general category called Car Expenses that includes 5 sub categories called:

    + Car Insurance

    +Car Maintenance

    +car Fuel

    + Car Parking

    +Car Wash

    I supplements these subcategories on a monthly basis ant let the amount accumulate. I will have the amount ready when a bill comes in. Also, I have an other category called Emergency Fund of $2000.00 just in case I don't have enough money when the bill hits. 

  • Thanks for the feedback guys. I meant to simplify my budget, but it's sounding like it might be a good idea to keep the auto ones separated after all.

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