How to get rid of imaginary money
Hi everyone! My budget thinks that I have $14.04 that I don't actually have. I won't bore you with the story of how it got there in the first place, but there doesn't seem to be a way to make it go away without throwing off the balance in one of my accounts. Any tips? Thank you!
You could use the reconcile account feature which allows you to reset the YNAB account balance to what it really is at your bank and move forward from there. Check out https://docs.youneedabudget.com/article/166-reconciling-accounts for more information.
Alternatively, you could (as I have often done) spend ages looking for the discrepancy....! But the quicker route is reconciling.
The money in the budget is equal to the money in your accounts. If your account balances are correct, your budget is correct. You may just not be looking at the right numbers for comparison.
In the future-most month you can access:
Total Available + TBB = Sum of cash based accounts + CCs with positive balances
Since I have only got less than 2 years of YNAB history, I have taken the unusual (ONE OFF) step of amending the opening balance (i.e. lowering it by $14.04 as in your case). Or, in another circumstance I moved the starting balance back to one day and adjusted the amount before the beginning of the financial year (or calendar year period). But, that suitability may depend upon how much history you have. But there is also nothing stopping you doing the adjustment prior to your current reporting period - despite how far back your history goes - while remembering to ‘reconcile/lock’ for any inserted backdated transaction.
However, I have found also found ‘peace’ in the ‘reconcile account feature’ (already mentioned by others) because it is not robbing from a category (category not needed; just like an ‘on budget’ transfer between accounts’) but, once it is done I sometimes Change the payee (from ‘Reconciliation Balance Adjustment’) to the word “🟨NOTE: Manual adjustment”. Inclusive of the icon/emoji makes it stands out when scrolling transactions (or reports). And the ‘memo’ field for that transaction allows you to write a note about how that particular amount got there (or the circumstances of the matter) if you later need to reference it in more detail. You can also backdate the effective date of the that ‘Reconciliation Balance Adjustment’ (with caution assuming you are an experienced YNABer) so it disappears in the the distance past history.
Since the ‘income v expenses’ reports will CLEARLY separate it (as a line item) in the top ‘income’ section of this report, you instantly know what it is and it is pulled away from everything else. You can make it more obvious (if that is the desire) by using an icon/symbol/emoji or if it is better off being benign then, leave it with the standard text ‘Reconciliation Balance Adjustment’. This should should suit almost all scenarios - whether it be something that needs to be ‘dead and buried🪦’ or left with markers (for posterity).
Good luck 🍀 - let us know what you decide. 😊
nolesrule Moriarty NettieFIRE Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. After messing with it, I figured out a way to get it right for April's budget. The $14.04 is still showing up in March's budget as available cash, but for April going forward it's OK. I am not sure what happened there, since I added the money using a transaction and then spent it out of the account I'd added it to with another transaction—YNAB still wanted to say that it was in my account. But in any case I've got it handled to my satisfaction.