Authorized User Question - I am the secondary user and partner doesn't use YNAB

Hi There

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
- Groceries
- 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?

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  • Get your own card is the simplest option.

    Otherwise, I think you're stuck making reconciliation adjustments. I would edit that transaction to use a category of Partner Spending, though.

    Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 12 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Actually, you should be splitting that reconciliation adjustment. Half goes to Partner Spending -- the same category you used when you split your grocery purchase. The other half should be going to some combination of your categories.

      Perhaps Partner can give you a receipt when they buy something other than groceries. Enter this explicitly against your non-grocery category & Partner Spending. That way your half of the adjustment is all groceries.

      Like 1
    • dakinemaui Thanks for your responses. To your first point I've got my own cards for my own purchases. This card is just for joint purchases and in hindsight i don't know why we just didn't both sign on equally to a card. Getting a new card just for YNAB budgeting ease will be a tough sell.

      Secondly, other than logging into her account to download the statements (or have her send it to me) it seems that continuing down the splitting + manual adjustments appears to be the most clear solution

      Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 12 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Green Keyboard You need to split the adjustments, too. You need her input to do that.

      Like 1
    • Hi Green Keyboard !

      If you're logging into the credit card account using her credentials, could you add it in YNAB using her credentials? If so, using her credentials should change the import so that you get all of your transactions plus hers (since both are visible in her account). You'd then categorize all of your transactions as normal, and categorize her spending to a "Partner's Spending" category. Leaving that category overspent is the correct approach since your money won't be covering that spending.

      Like 1
    • Faness Yes that would be the cleanest solution. Unfortunately i'm hoping for another clean solution before resorting to that one. The reason i'm just an authorized user is because that card is tied to her other accounts with that bank. I'm a little reluctant getting access to all of her personal finances just for YNAB. 

      Assuming i do access her account (or get her to send me the transaction history) is there a way to unflag the overspent "Partner's Spending" category? So i'm not getting push notifications of overspending there and it isn't showing up on reports? I see i can collapse the Partner Spending row in the YNAB reports but I don't see how it can be completely filtered out from calculations.

      Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 11 days ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view
      Faness said:
      categorize her spending to a "Partner's Spending" category

      Her spending on this card must be split as well. These are JOINT expenses.

      Like 2
    • Green Keyboard There isn't an option to turn off the overspending notifications - the only way is to budget for that spending. You could turn off all push notifications for YNAB, but if you use them for anything other than the overspending notice that wouldn't be helpful. You can also choose to exclude the "Partner's Spending" category from reports. If you do use her credentials in YNAB, you can link the one shared card without including her other accounts.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 11 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Green Keyboard 

      Green Keyboard said:
      This card is just for joint purchases and in hindsight i don't know why we just didn't both sign on equally to a card.

       It's fairly normal for most cards to be issued to a single primary person with others being an authorized user, even if you are fully co-applicants.

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  • 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.

    Like 1
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 11 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui we do the receipt jar, quicker notification that waiting on cc trx to clear.

      Like 1
  • 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.)

    For example:

    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.

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  • thanks for the advice all. I have a plan

    Like 2
    • Green Keyboard Would love to hear what ends up working best for you! :)

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    • Faness Sure. I've created a pass through category where all her split expenses will reside. I'll be using her transaction history export to record everything so there is no issue with tracking. The only bit left unresolved is where the funds come from to offset her pass through category payments. 

      I will probably just create an account named Partner Account which doesn't actually reflect the balance of her account but will serve just to balance her expenses so its not permanently in the negative as that bugs me. When i'm reviewing my spending habits i'll make sure to filter out the pass through category.

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