Imported several years of data, now have $580k "to be budgeted"

When I found Ynab, I guess I didn't fully realize the philosophy of Ynab and was planning on using it as a way to see how much I've spent over several years in different areas of my life (eg, food, insurance, interest fees, etc.). I spent several hours searching for transactions (eg, Wal-Mart) and putting it into categories (eg, General purchases).

Yesterday, I attended the re-education camp (Ynab intro videos) and I now think I went about this the wrong way. Perhaps I should have just imported the last month and started there. (It would have been easy enough as I already have a basic Google spreadsheet with most of my major annual and monthly expenses, so I would have only needed to enter the other fund stuff like Netflix, etc.).

At the top of my Budget screen it says -$587,373 to be budgeted. Oops. I guess importing tons of data made a mess of my Budget. What should I do? I'm not even sure I understand what this means.

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  • Yes. I would recommend you start fresh (there's a button called that) as of your balances on Feb 28th. 

    Since you did all the work of categorizing, it is possible to backtrack and correct things, but if you're iffy on how the software works, don't mess with it now.  It will likely harm more than help.

    That being said if you want to keep that transaction history...

    0. Go into your accounts and make sure any transfers been budget accounts have the payee listed as To/From account, with no category.

    1. Start in the oldest month (budget screen).

    2. Set all available amounts to $0 (there's a quick budget button in the inspector on the right).

    3. Ignore everything and repeat for each subsequent month, including March 2021. 

    4. When you finally get to March, ensure your CC category available amount matches the positive equivalent of your CC balance. Alternatively, if you're not a Paid In Full user, just budget so that the available amount shows what you intend to pay if you were going to pay it now.

    5. Proceed with normal budget set up.  The available amounts are what you want to focus on. 

    • There are some if/then possibilities, so treat these instructions like a choose your own adventure story.

      Edit: That was a cool idea, but it wasn't working. I'll try to go find my flow chart instead. 

    • Basically:

      1. Sequester savings in categories.

      2. Ensure CC is PIF.

      3. Ensure Next Month Income workflow.

      4a. Budget March.

      4b. Budget what you need until you get paid again. 

      Steps 1-4a are optional and of interchangeable priority. You might not be able to fund them all, but they will save you time, effort, and give you clarity moving forward. If you want more detailed steps to get any of them going, just ask.

      Regardless, Always use the 3 Rules:

      #1 Every $ gets a job (TBB will be $0 at the end of your set up).

      #2 True Expenses

      #3 WAM/adjust plan as needed.

      Like 1
    • WordTenor
    • Can we agree that goals are dumb and immature? Sure.
    • WordTenor
    • 1 mth ago
    • 4
    • Reported - view

    You should not import any months. tomorrow is March 7. Start with that day.

    Like 4
      • Happy Habs
      • Beige_Mask.12
      • 1 mth ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor Thanks. Done.

      Like 3
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