Why do I have to budget extra money for credit cards?

I have my cards set to auto pay the statement each month. I budget everything. So if I pay $100 for groceries on my Chase Freedom, it should move $100 from groceries budget to "pay off Chase Freedom" budget. Then when autopay pays the $100, it should pull from "Pay off chase freedom" category, and the card is payed off.


I realize that I pay the statement balance, so each month there's still some owed on the card, that will show up on the next month. However, I've noticed this creep where the amount set aside to pay off the card does not equal the balance still on the card. But that doesn't make sense, since every transaction on the card is budgeted.


Here is a screenshot. As you can see this month I need to budget an additional $1044.55 just to make the amount available to pay off equal to the amount owed. Why am I double paying? I think something is severely wrong with my budget now.

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  • This sometimes happens to me and it’s almost always related to a late charge from the end of the previous month that snuck by on the roll over to the current month. My suggestion would be to scroll to the last 2-3 months and look at your categories for any yellow or red totals. 

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  • If you are letting YNAB import your transactions, make sure you are looking back to the previous month to make sure no overspending snuck through

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  • So I overspend often. Doesn't it just ask "what category do you want to take from"? I usually just select my "Emergeny" budget. Should't it pull from there if I'm out of "grocery" money?

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      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      You need to manually move the money from another category to cover overspending. If you overspend on any category in which you've used a credit card this month, the overspend will show as orange. If you don't cover that overspend in the correct month, then YNAB will reflect the reality that you've increased the debt being carried on your credit card and then budget to cover this unbudgeted spending (i.e. overspending) directly in the credit card category the following month as you are doing.

      Best practice is to address all overspending in the month it occurs wherever possible.

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    • Hi Steel Blue Colt !

      Credit overspending is treated differently than cash overspending. If you overspend with credit in a category, there's not enough money to move to the payment. The number in the Available column for that category will be orange.

      Orange in your budget means you don’t have enough budgeted. Move money from other categories to cover that amount. Your payment will be updated, too, and you’ll be on track!

      You may have credit overspending that you can’t completely cover with Rule Three. Sometimes after you make your payment, you’ll be left with debt, and your credit card account balance will reflect it. You'll budget for paying it off in your Credit Card Payments category.

      Here are the two best resources to help you understand how the Credit Card Payment category works:

      Let us know if you still have questions!

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  • Do you have a lot of returns on your card? Do you use multiple cards in the same category? Do you sometimes get return refunds after you've made the credit card payment?

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  •  Full disclosure, I have not had coffee yet. But I have looked at this photo over and over and I don’t see even a penny that needs to move. Why do you think you need to move moey?

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 6 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor OP probably should have said, "needed" to budget. They already corrected the discrepancy, but was lamenting the need to do so. Perhaps the extra bold brew today. ;-)

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      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 6 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui ah yes. The past perfect aspect would’ve helped me to look at the budgeted column instead of available. 

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  • Steel Blue Colt said:
    But that doesn't make sense, since every transaction on the card is budgeted.

     Overspending is not a budgeted transaction. Nor is the starting balance transaction. As long as you keep overspending you will have to continue to add to the CC Payment category. If you can add to the orange category, however, it will migrate to the Payment category on its own.

    So either way, you have to reserve funds (i.e., budget) for every expense in YNAB. Only you can know from where you'll need to pull the money to do so.

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