Where did my budget gone?

Dear YNAB,

 

On a screenshot you can observe kind of a strange situation.

I have -500 available, even though I spent only 1000 out of 1500 to pay down my credit card balance.

Question is, am I so terribly bad at math  to  not understand why do I have -500 available instead of +500 ?

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  • You need to budget $1000 to cover what you spent on vacations 

    Like 1
    • MsTJ
    • YNAB has given me back my future
    • Believer_in_YNAb
    • 8 mths ago
    • 2
    • Reported - view

    Hello and welcome to YNAB.

    It will help you understand the YNAB process if you do a little research. There is a process to budgeting that YNAB likes to use.  It will make things a lot easier if you get used to it first.  There are lots of classes, even some new video courses, YouTube videos, short stories links on the home page.  I highly recommend you spend some time with them.  

    Basically, when starting, YNAB recommended I take everything I thought I knew about budgeting and throw it out the window.  I'm glad I listened and was willing to learn another way, a way that actually works for me.  

    Spend some time learning the process.  Set your budget up and make little adjustments once you realize you are not spending your money on the things you really want, the things that matter to you.  While getting things worked out, learn a little more about the YNAB process.

    It doesn't take very long to understand how to get started, and then it's just a matter of adjusting things to where you truly want them to be. 

    Hope you take a little time to get settled in and have many years of YNAB budgeting ahead of you.

    Like 2
  • Hi Bob Millfred !

    It looks like you started with $1,500 in your account and you budgeted all $1,500 towards your credit card. YNAB treats credit cards differently - when you budgeted for your credit card expenses in the category where they take place, YNAB will move that money to the credit card category for you. Instead of budgeting all $1,500 towards the credit card category, budget $500 towards the credit card category and $1,000 towards your vacation category to cover the credit card spending.

    To learn more about how credit cards work in YNAB, take a look at our Quick Start Guide to Credit Cards and consider taking our Master Credit Cards with your Budget workshop!

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  • Hi All and thanks for the prompt answers I get overnight !

    Indeed, budgeting vacations would help to get things straight. I understand there is a need to invest more time into learning of the tool before actually starting doing anything. Otherwise I do wrong things and get strange numbers. 

    But is there any rationale behind allowing users going wrong this way or showing them strange numbers in this case?

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  • *assuming you aren't carrying credit card debt* The only time you need to budget to the credit card is the first month where you have to payoff the balance when you start YNAB.

    From there, you put in your transactions and apply them to the correct category (vacation) with the account (credit card) and it automatically will move the funds from your vacation to the credit card. 

    If you're carrying debt, you'd budget your extra funds directly to the credit card category.

    Bob Millfred said:
    But is there any rationale behind allowing users going wrong this way or showing them strange numbers in this case?

     YNAB doesn't know if you're carrying debt or not at this point in the process. You could be doing exactly what you need to be doing. It would be much more jarring to get a notification every time you do something when you MIGHT have done something wrong.

    The videos and the classes are excellent at showing you how to do this. IMO, the first month is the hardest, but once you get it, it's life changing.

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    • Heatskitchen thanks for detailed reply, I'd assume YNAB exactly knows I dont carry any debt since I put initial credit card balance to 0.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Bob Millfred Then why would you budget for a CC payment?

      Like 1
    • Bob Millfred Interesting point I hadn't considered. I could see it then. But yes, as dakinemaui mentioned, then you don't need to budget for a CC payment. However, you aren't the only person who has come across this so it might be a good idea for a feature request.

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    • dakinemaui by ignorance 🙂 But it doesnt matter wherever my budget is result is the same unless I do budget for vacation.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Bob Millfred That is correct. Because when you spend money on a credit card, YNAB moves the money from the spending category to the credit card payment category for you, but only if there was enough money in the spending category.

      You budgeted $1500 to the credit card category. Instead, remove that and put $1000 in the Vacations category and $500 wherever you'd like.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Bob Millfred As a general rule, YNAB makes more sense if there are no negative numbers. Rule 3 in the methodology (highly recommended reading) basically says shift funds to eliminate overspending.

      Like
  • You should also understand the Total Available includes credit (yellow) overspending. In my opinion, it should not and would therefore show you have +$500 available, matching your cash on hand as you expect.

    Like 1
  • Though I'd rather think that is more of a bug than feature, because showing silly numbers is always a bug. Especially sensitive in finance planning software designed to help making finance decisions. Anyone aware how to submit a bug request and prioritize it?

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Bob Millfred Not sure what you think the bug is. Take some time to learn what the numbers mean, because overspending on a credit card is handled differently from overspending in cash.

      Right now you have $500 reserved to pay a credit card that has a zero balance. You can do that if you want, but it's probably a poor use of your money.

      But YNAB won't make that decision for you.

      Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Bob Millfred It wasn't clear which number you regard as "strange" or "silly". Assuming you mean Total Available, that's not a bug, because it's performing as intended. Total Available currently is the total (i.e., sum) of all entries in the Available column. It is that simple.

      The reasons I think showing a different computation would be more useful is a different topic, and the result would probably be regarded as "strange" to most new users. That doesn't lessen the increased utility, however. Regardless, as with most of YNAB -- and indeed with anything of importance -- education as to proper use and application is crucial to success. ("Hey, hold my beer while I use this chainsaw for the first time ever..." 😂)

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    • dakinemaui if you check the screenshot, the bug is that column called "total available" shows -500 while using simple math I know I have +500.

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    • nolesrule please check my answer to dakinemaui

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      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view
    • WordTenor  appreciate the calculations, but what is that -500 is "available" for and for whom? 

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Bob Millfred The -$500 Total Available says your plan (overall, including covering the overspending) is infeasible. Parts of it may work (e.g., sending $500 to the CC, although doing that would be a bit silly since you don't owe them anything), but not everything will work. In fact, since TA is $1000 below your total cash on hand (your checking account), you'll need $1000 in order to make the entirety of the current plan work.

      Again, it's simply the total of that column. Interpretation is up to you.

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    • dakinemaui  my point this number doesnt have anything to do with "available" and doesnt have a clear usage.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Bob Millfred Total Available is the sum of the numbers in the Available column in your budget, as WordTenor stated above. So it absolutely has to do with "Available" (upper case).

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    • nolesrule how does it describe real money I have "available" in my pocket? And what do I have to do with this negative sum?

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    • WordTenor
    • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
    • WordTenor
    • 8 mths ago
    • 3
    • Reported - view

    I suggest not using a fake budget to try to learn YNAB. Fake budgets are excellent for testing scenarios or trying to replicate someone else's problem or misunderstanding. But it's a lot easier to understand the YNAB method when you are dealing with your real money and your real expenditures. It would be more obvious to you why this isn't working the way you expect if you'd taken the actual amount in your checking account and tried to give it all jobs first, and then bought whatever you needed to buy for vacation using your credit card, and then paid your credit card. 

    Don't abstract away from your money. YNAB represents your actual cash--the more you make it an abstraction, the more confusing it gets. 

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