At this for less than a month

I'm a long time budgeter but first time user of YNAB. I think I have messed up though and I'm not sure how to get back on track. I loaded all our personal accounts in and it included some savings balances. When I went to budget for the first month did that include those numbers in the budget? I don't seem to have a lot in the to be budgeted category but in the bank I have over $1000 more dollars than I have on paper. I'm loving this plan, just having a hard time wrapping my brain around my savings and the money I see in the budget vs what I have in real life. Before I came here I was using the Every dollar app and it didn't let me move money around as easily and I love that and it didn't' carry over to the next month. I'm wondering if I should start all over since it's the first of the month

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  • Here's what I'd do, take it or leave it:

    Note: I do not link any accounts, and I don't know how this process impacts direct import.

    1. If your starting balances are in October, date starting balances for last day of September.

    1a. If you're particular about details, use the true balance from that day and input transactions from October 1st and 2nd. I would. But I'm particular.

    2. If your balance, including savings, is large enough to equal a month of normal income, make a category called Income for Next Month and place that amount in it in the September budget screen. 

    3. Budget the rest of your money to savings categories like Loss of Income, Medical Expenses, Car Maintenance, Technology Replacement, Stuff I Forgot, future goals, etc. TBB should equal $0 in all visible months.

    4. Delete the budget entry in your INM category to put the money back in TBB. 

    5. Go to the October screen. Determine what a normal monthly budget would look like (every dollar gets a job, including building true expenses and savings and spending) and put your money in categories. 


    6. Schedule repeating transactions to save you work on data entry/matching from imports. Income should be temporarily categorized as INM (you'll recategorize to TBB when it's time to budget next month). 

    7. Look at your budget's category Availables before spending, and if there's not sufficient funds for your desired purchase, figure out where the money will come from before you buy (so you can decide if take out is more important than your medical deductible while you still have an option).

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    • Alternate reality from above:

      2. If your total available money is less than your normal monthly pay, figure out what your money needs to do before you get paid again. 

      3. Budget that plan in the October view. 

      Skip to step 7. 

      As you get more income, rinse and repeat. Perhaps make it a goal to fund all of one month with income from the previous month. 

    • Note, with my original plan, your savings might end up a bit restructured in favor of allowing you to budget a whole month's worth of income at once for the next month. 

      Many users find this workflow and decision-making perspective very helpful and would choose to use this "Buffered" status to rebuild the original savings categories more quickly.

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  • If you have transactions in September (I don't know how long you've been at it), you can leave them. Just set all available amounts to 0 in the budget. What you haven't spent will go to TBB and you can follow the steps above with INM, etc. 

  • I am particular, which is part of why I'm having trouble inside my own head. I have wondered about taking out the "extra" account that has the savings in it b/c I really prefer to just let it sit there and not be influenced by it's presence.  Is it wrong to have the money I intend to budget each month but then just forget about the extra money b/c it really is a true emergency fund. There isn't a whole month's income. I like the ease of importing so I have thought about blowing up the budget and starting over.

    • Khaki Sun I do recommend keeping the savings money in the budget - just put it in the specific savings categories you want it to be for. Then don't spend it or move it and it will stay there, safe and sound. 

      If you can't fund the whole of October yet, no worries. Just figure out what you need your money to do before you get paid again. 

      A fresh start might help you, since you've only barely started. However, that only nixes transaction history and has nothing to do with linking accounts for direct import. 

      I hope I didn't overwhelm with options/process.  Have you taken any of the YNAB courses?

    • One last thing. If you have enough money right now to fund your spending needs in October without touching October income, you can still use that INM workflow. You'll just start building savings next month. 

      When I started, I didn't know about budgeting my savings or the INM workflow, but I wish I had. I couldn't have done it right away, but I could have worked on getting there sooner! That's why I shared. 

  • That is what I decided to do.

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