Authorized User Question - I am the secondary user and partner doesn't use YNAB
Apologies if this question has been asked in earlier threads, i looked around but couldn't find an answer for my direct question.
I use YNAB for all my budgeting but my partner does not. We have a shared credit card where she is the primary card holder and i'm an add-on user. This means that I cannot see her transactions or payments but she can see all of mine.
That shared card is only used for groceries, and other shared expenses that are split 50/50. I do most of the spending on the card so it originally wasn't a big deal but i've been trying to do a better job with my YNAB as I found myself reconciling accounts every month.
In my YNAB account i have specific line items for our shared expenses
- Car Insurance
- Dinner out
Normally I'd spend $100 on groceries. At the end of the month we both pay $50 into the account to pay off the credit card. When i download my transactions it doesn't show her payments so i'm always off and i have to reconcile manually.
Also, if she spends money on the card it magically shows up in my account even when i don't see the specific transaction. For example i'll see $1000 balance on the card (even though i've only spent $500 in groceries. This is because the new TV was bought on her card. So when i reconcile if i want to YNAB to match all my accounts i have to manually update the account balance, then update it again when she pays for her half. Doesn't make any sense.
What I've done now is to update our shared budget items to only show my half of the expenses.
Groceries will have a budget of $250 (rather than $500) and I manually split each transaction with half going to my grocery budget and the other half going to a separate budget item. The problem with this is that item is always in the red unless I manually update it when i know she's paid off the credit card... but my reports will be all messed up with this fake budget.
Any suggestions on how to solve this problem?
Tl:dr - how do i account for shared expenses in YNAB when i cannot see my partner's spending/payment history but my view of the account balance reflects BOTH of our expenditure?
One thing that might help: You could get a text alert when your partner makes a purchase on that shared-expense card, and you could enter that into YNAB at that point. (This is a split, just as if you did the spending.) If the category isn't obvious, you'll obviously have to ask her.
Or the low-tech equivalent: she drops her receipts in a jar for you to enter into YNAB.
Green Keyboard said:
To your first point I've got my own cards for my own purchases.
To elaborate on my suggestion for your own card, I meant you would put your shared-expense purchases on your card as well. The joint account wouldn't even be in YNAB. The benefit is you can reconcile all your charges without issue.
Tracking reimbursements is a common thing. The biggest issue arises when the "other" person is spending on your behalf, since that needs to be entered into your budget as well. The above advice doesn't solve that problem. (It's mainly a communication issue.)
You buy $100 of Groceries, split $50 against your Groceries and $50 against Partner Expenses. (Partner owes you $50).
Partner buys $200 of Groceries (and gives you a receipt or text). You record a net $0 split: 1) $100 against your Groceries and 2) $100 inflow to Partner Expenses. Your CC Payment category increases automatically (inflow in the same month as the outflow) and Partner category is +$50, so you owe her. More importantly, the money to pay her is already in that category.
Settle up at the end of the month. If you owe her, send that $50 to the joint CC (or Venmo/whatever to her directly.) If you owe her, you can also just let it ride. If she owes you, she can Venmo to you. (YNAB doesn't want to "let it ride" if she owes you, at least with the temporary debt / non-budgeted approach to reimbursements; this is only one possible approach, though.)
If you use the offset category (pre-funded) approach to Reimbursements, you don't even need to settle up at month end, as the category offset covers what she owes and simplifies the interaction with your CC Payment category. (The only caveat is the offset needs to be enough to cover what she owes.) Another bonus is all your categories should be green.