Money available

Hello, is there a summary anywhere in my budget that tells me how much money I have available for expenses? 

 

I currently have money in different accounts and I'm realizing that though my budget is balance in YNAB, I have less money than my bills in my checking account, which means I must have adjusted the budget in YNAB but need to move money from a savings account into my primary checking. I just wondered if YNAB has a number somewhere that tells me how much I actaully have available to spend based on my budget, and where those numbers are coming from to help me avoid this problem in the future. 

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  • The way you know how much you have for an expense is based on the category balance available. YNAB does not look at the account that the money is held in. So, when making a purchase, the recommended process is to check your category, and then check the account you wish to make the purchase from. If there is not enough in there, you would transfer the needed money. You can see the impact on an account by having the running balance turned on in YNAB. 

    This concept is difficult to get at first. YNAB works better with fewer accounts. Many people figure out an average balance that they need to keep in their main chequing account to cover most expenses. The only time I need to move money is if the purchase is a larger one. 

    The other option, if you are okay and have the limits is to put as many purchases as possible on a credit card and then pay it off. YNAB fully supports this as the methodology is designed to have all purchases backed by cash.

    https://docs.youneedabudget.com/article/1679-why-doesnt-my-category-balance-match-my-account-balance

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    • MadDog For what it is worth, I have just started by YNAB free trial, but I am trying YNAB out to replace Quicken and so I understand your dilemma. How I decided to set up my budget categories to help with this is, anything that is a long term target (vacation, taxes, gifts, home projects, emergency fund) and that would just sit in an account until needed, I put under the category/heading of Sinking Funds and Savings.  So I know that the total of those categories can remain in my Savings account and most likely I will need all other available funds to be in my Checking/Spending account. Since I am only in month 1, I don't know how well this will work but this is similar to how I used Quicken to track.

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      • MadDog
      • Navy_Blue_Pegasus.2
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Commander Hey there. Yes, a lot of people do what you have explained. I am not set up that way because I use an activity based model. Each category group is an activity as much as possible then we split out the categories below them. We use our credit card for anything and only pay with debit or via the bank for those items that cannot be done on credit cards. We are one month ahead (using December paycheques to fund January) so I have found it becomes easier to manage. Once we became a month ahead, we transferred that amount into our savings account. Then, as we built up more funds, I used the running balance on our chequing account to determine when we could move more over there. We just moved about half a month of money to savings again. Since we so rarely use cash or debit, the only two things I check on it are that we maintain the balance so we don't pay the monthly fee and if we need to make a larger than usual credit card statement payment. It is working for me.

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  • Search the forum for "using scheduled transactions for cash-flow projection"

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  • Blue Thunder You've already been given excellent advice here, but I wanted to throw this resource into the mix, too: our Help Doc on how much you should keep in your checking account, which goes over similar concepts/strategies that have been mentioned here! 

    If your accounts are reconciled and up to date, and your categories have enough available funds but your account doesn't, you'll want to transfer funds between accounts so that the dollars you're planning to spend are in the account you're planning to spend them from! 👍

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      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Rachel I read the help document and it brings up an ongoing issue I am seeing with user questions. The help document does not clearly state that the steps are for the web app and not the mobile app. I see this when people post a question as well. The first response needs to be a clarification of which version they are using. I believe more and more new users are only using the mobile app and are not even aware there is a difference. This causes additional confusion. 

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    • MXMOM Thanks for mentioning that! It's been updated to specify the web app, but I've asked the team to look closer at making updates for folks on mobile devices. 😄

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    • MXMOM I'm advocating for better HelpDoc clarity re: mobile vs web across the board! It's something we're digging into!

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