End of month carry over events...

So I have been at this for about a year and for the most part it has been going good, well actually great! I consider it a game changer for my family.    But there are still some things I struggle with one of them being the end of the month.  I have watched bot Nick True's video and Heard it from Hannah. LOVE them both! I was truing to use Hannah's way and it worked for a bit but then I started getting Red TBB that would take me hours to figure out. (I was up to two months covered), if the electric bill (Auto drafted) was over the budgeted amount it would not just pull it from the next month, TBB would start turning red in the next month or the most future month or the current month and I just couldn't figure out why.

So I switched to keeping a "Next months bills" category, and although it make sense I don't like it as much because I need to do the math to figure out how meany months of "Fixed expense" reserves I have.  BUT continuing with this method what do you do at the end of the month  Here is the example.

It is today the 31, I have 10 category's in the fixed expenses Group including things like Mortgage , electricity, soccer club dues and insurance.  Things that auto recur and auto draft from my "Bills checking account"So through out the month things get paid and the green bubble turns to $0 gray or +$5.01 if I over budgeted. 

How do I handle tonight or tomorrow?  What I would like is that the $5.01 rolls over to tomorrow and when I click on it the Goal amount is still $200 BUT THE UNDERFUNDED" is $194.99" But I can't figure out how to make this happen, hence I need to do math OR move the 5.01 to TBB and then redistribute the underfunded amounts, with  would then be the $200.   I'm thinking I am missing something...... Why would there be no way for YNAB to recognize that there is already 5.01 in the category and just add from TBB the balance to make it @200?  That way I could click the entire group and hit underfunded and be done for the month. Instead when I do this if I leave the 5.01 I end up with 205.01.....




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  • Ideally, the Next month's Bills you mention actually contains the money for EVERYTHING. All categories. You simply empty the Next Month's Income (as it's typically known) category on the 31st (filling up To Be Budgeted/TBB) and budget all that money into various categories where needed. However, whether you use a Next Month's Income category or budget directly into next month's area doesn't really impact your main question.

    As far as leftovers, let's say you did that last month and there's leftovers in one or more spending categories at the end of this month. Two options:

    • Move the leftovers to a high-priority category (in this month's area). Monthly Funding goals work well with this workflow, as they always put the "standard" amount into categories. Sweeping the leftovers out keeps the category from getting too large. Personally, I do this as I believe it focuses on rewarding myself for being "good".
    • Budget less to the category (in next month's area), taking less from next month's TBB, allowing you to budget to that high-priority category (in next month's area). Yes, it's a bit round-about (IMHO), but lots of people prefer it. Spending Goals were designed for this workflow, since they count leftovers toward the next month's goal. IMPORTANT: Spending Goals don't work correctly until the month actually changes IN THE REAL WORLD.

    If you're proactive and budget before the month ends, you will be penalized by this design choice (overbudgeting as you've noted). Feel free to make a feature request that Spending Goals should work immediately (like everything else in YNAB).

    Like 1
    • Melissa
    • Routinely questioning every assumption I have about my budget, my spending, and my savings habits.
    • todays_mel
    • 10 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    I would suggest reviewing the Four Rules again. https://www.youneedabudget.com/the-four-rules/

    Red categories have to be dealt with in the month they occur.  YNAB will never automatically take from TBB or any other flush category and randomly assign it to an overspent category - there is no mechanism that they could build to do this and have anyone be happy with it... I know I'd be pissed if I opened my file and found that all my TBB from my recent paycheck had already been assigned by some random algorithm, or arbitrarily reassign money from one green category to a red category without my input.

    It is up to you to assign TBB dollars, and/or Roll with The Punches (Rule 3) and move money from other categories when overspent - I think this is where the major disconnect is. TBB should always be zero, unless you just had an income event like a paycheck, dividend interest, or possibly a return (that wasn't on a credit card), etc. , post to your account and haven't had a chance to assign them yet. 

    The purpose of the Next Month's Bills category is a good habit to get into, but not if you're seeing Red in your budget now. And if you know that you have bills to pay, even if it's not until the following month, you can still assign those dollars to the needed category now and those funds will rollover. You don't have to wait until the month begins to do that... 

  • Thanks for the reply guys,  To be clear I do budget in a kinda odd way, a carry over from my pre YNAB days that worked then and provides security now. In short I have 2 checking accounts, and my pay check has the first $1700 put into account 1 (Checking Bills) and all of the remainder put into account 2 (Checking Everyday).  Account 1 ia all of my recurring and fixed bills.  The $1700 amount will over cover all these bills, so I never have to worried about missing a payment and although I watch the accounts and category every few days, they are automated and lowers my stress.  The second account covers everything else, gas, food, travel, clothing, alcohol, kids expenses, house projects and savings budgeting.  (Witch is moved into savings account or IRA at the end of the month.)

    dakinemaui,  I only use the next month category under "fixed expense / Checking Bills #1" category now.  I keep this separate as I NEED to pay these, if I cant get coffee or need to float credit to cover the kids new soccer shoes so be it. (This never happens anymore because of YNAB, but it could some day...)  The other Everyday category I just budget every two weeks as my check comes in and never "get ahead" I just dump it into debt and emergency fund. I like to budget the next month on the 31 because I have had to meany times where the bank auto imports after I go to sleep and I wake up to the dreaded "over budgeted in the last month" amount at the top of the screen.... its like feeling good about a final and getting a "C-" on it.  I think you statement "Feel free to make a feature request that Spending Goals should work immediately (like everything else in YNAB)." is spot on and my main problem.   Nether Nick or Hanna address this issue and it seems to defeat the budgeting into the next month usefulness and requires me to use a "Next months bills Category. 


    Melissa, Yes I agree all the red is dealt with NOW!   I'm not quite sure how it even happens but everything is good and green / orange and reconciled, in the next month everything is green.  Then the next time I open YNAB and auto import my TBB in the current or future turns red.... I takes hours to figure out what happened. Its like I kind of understand it but get surprised every time...  With the "Next months bills"it works, but I really wanted to be able to see into the future with green eggs in category, alas it is causing to much stress so i will have to run the "next months bills" and not truly know how much into the future is covered till I get to the next month...  :-( 



    • tgpratt Thanks for your thoughts on the goal behavior! Our team is listening closely to feedback, and working on more improvements to Goals. You can let our Product team know here. When the month rolls over, with a single category selected—there is a Goal Target option that will remove the excess. No multi-category one just yet (I asked for that too!) but stay tuned.

      The other piece sounds like those end of the month transactions? Enter any pending transactions right now (ideally as they happen), then your budget knows about them, and is up to date. If any end of July transactions import in August, they'll match up automatically and you don't end up with overspending!

      You can use Scheduled Transactions too, which will pop in to the register on the date you select.

  • tgpratt said:
    not truly know how much into the future is covered

    Which is why people use an entire month's worth in the deferred income category. Then they know all of next month is covered.

    They probably also use an Income Replacement category in top of that to add N months of income (without giving up the month-centric view).

  • I had this same issue with my electric bill.  I wanted to always keep $30 in my fund since my bill is usually $25-27. Then each month I only need to budget what I spent last month to get the balance up to $30 again. The new goal option called "needed for spending" will allow you to do this.  I set a goal for my electric category to $30. If I spent $26.50 in July, then in august when I click the underfunded button, YNAB will budget $26.50 to get the total available up to $30 since $3.50 rolled over. The catch is, you can only do this once the month has started.  So I have to wait until August 1st to input those numbers otherwise YNAB will try to budget the full $30.  There may be a way around that, but I haven't found it yet.

  • tgpratt said:
    To be clear I do budget in a kinda odd way, a carry over from my pre YNAB days that worked then and provides security now.

     I did this before. I had so many accounts ( not just 2). I was moving and shifting money around.  It was like a part time job. I then embraced the YNAB way and moved all my accounts on budget and then eventually got down to 2 accounts. One that I spend from (a chequing account) and one where I park money that I don’t need for a while (a high(er) interest savings account). both are on budget. It was scary but I realized that MY way didn’t work for so long I needed to trust the process. And it’s worked. 

    Like 2
  • Yes I agree essentially I have three accounts. The two checking and one savings.  The only reason this really works for me is because my employer splits my check between the two for me. The other reason I feel it works for me is that I don't necessarily want to build up huge reserves in most my categories. So when I get two three four months ahead it's on the very basic must pay bills. All those bills are isolated to the one account and the category total is the same as the bank account total at all times. It just makes it cleaner.  

    • tgpratt Syncing category groups to accounts provided me with security when I was first learning YNAB as well. It took 6 months before I was comfortable enough with the software and could trust myself to consistently use the method enough to look into the benefits of not syncing. 

      Now, it's great that I don't have to do the extra work to maintain the budgetary sync, plus I can easily maximize account interest/money availability.

      Whenever you're ready, feel free to look into the technique more. 

      Like 2
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