Spare change YNAB automatic savings?

For awhile I was doing cash envelope budgeting and at that time I was letting my change collect into a jar.  It ended up being a pain because it's hard to spend change and I didn't want to pay for it to be rolled at the bank.  But I really like the idea.  Acorns and some other apps do this, but they charge you for it.  I'm already paying for YNAB and, as many folks made abundantly clear to me recently, in YNAB it doesn't matter what account the money is, your categories are KING, so I don't need the money to be moved, just reallocated.

Is there any way to do this already, right now, without having to do it manually?

I believe it would be fairly easy for YNAB programmers to add a feature which we can select or unselect (or maybe select which accounts to apply it to?) where it rounds our transactions to the nearest dollar and puts the "spare change" into a savings category we select, if there's no way to do this now.  I would love to have this feature!  It wouldn't be a game changer, and I realize most people would just say "just lower your category balance a little and put the difference into savings", but I just know it was neat having ~$30 of change after several months of saving my spare change without even noticing the loss.  I was already following a very tight budget, but that allowed me to squeeze even more out of it.

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  • I can't see this getting much traction. YNAB is trying to get you to be deliberate with your money. Personally, I either want my leftovers to stay in the category, or I'll sweep them to a high priority category on my own.

    You might get one of the Toolkit developers to bite, though.

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  • Hi PhysicsGal !

    We actually have a great blog post about why we don't typically recommend those round-up savings accounts. You're exactly right - your categories are king, so we rely on those rather than additional accounts just for change. 

    If you still prefer keeping that account, you can enter them as split transactions to show the funds moved to Savings, but you'd then have to manually adjust the category balance like you mentioned. 

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    • Faness I think you're missing the point of the post. Instead of automatic transfers, OP wants automatic reallocation. Many of the same objections apply, so thanks for posting that link.

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    • dakinemaui Thanks for clarifying! Automatic reallocation would be tricky since we don't want to move funds without a deliberate action in the budget to make that happen. Currently, that's what the Quick Budget options are for but I can't imagine one that could automatically consider save the change transactions and move funds accordingly. A transfer option that would move funds between accounts while also reallocating the funds to a different category would push linking account balances to category balances and we want to stay away from that, as well. 

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      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 2 wk ago
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      Faness Thanks, no worries, it was just a thought.  I miss my change jar growing, but I guess my credit card rewards is my new change jar :)

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    • eloquentz
    • Numbers Wizard (Accountant), Acoustic Artist (Musician) and Jill of all Trades (Wife & Mother)
    • eloquentz
    • 13 days ago
    • Reported - view

    How would this be implemented in practice anyways? Many of us almost exclusively use debit or credit cards to make our purchases. Why on earth would I want YNAB to automatically move the rounded up change to some random category? And how do we determine how much is "change". Even if we look at the money that is physically coins, that changes from country to country.

     

    YNAB is not a mind reader so the logic behind sweeping extra "coins" into "savings" has giant holes in it. It would be basically impossible to program that.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 13 days ago
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      eloquentz It would work similar to the current CC handling, with implicit activity (i.e., the round-up amount) to adjust the categories and which does not figure into reports/averages. The user would specify the destination category. The concept of what is change is already clearly defined by the "." or "," symbols.

      So it's actually quite easy in a technical sense. Whether it's a good idea is an entirely different question.

      Personally, I think sweeping leftovers at the end of the month achieves the same end result in a better manner. This is in better alignment with the methodology of being intentional with your money.

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      • eloquentz
      • Numbers Wizard (Accountant), Acoustic Artist (Musician) and Jill of all Trades (Wife & Mother)
      • eloquentz
      • 13 days ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Not really. Some people think of change as coins only. Some people are talking about rounding up to the nearest dollar. "What is change" is way more complicated than what happens after the decimal place.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 13 days ago
      • Reported - view

      eloquentz It's only way more complicated if you choose it to be so. I'm just pointing out that YNAB already has the concept of an integer <something>, whether that's dollar, euro, whatever. The fractional portion is a natural choice in this context. This is in the budget, which is NOT tied to any particular form of money, coin or otherwise. 

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      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 13 days ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui For some reason now that I'm using credit cards the YNAB way instead of cash envelopes, I don't really have extra money in my categories at the end of the month.  If the money is there to be spent, I will spend it, or move it to another category that is low.  But if I put it in  my change jar, I just let it sit there.

      Maybe if I weren't budgeting so tightly this would occur naturally, but I was on a tight budget before but still managed to put aside the change in a jar whenever I got it.

      What is that saying the work expands to fill the time allowed (or whatever)?  My spending expands to fill whatever I allow.  I guess I could just cut out $5 a month from a few key categories and get the same result, but for some reason that's harder for me to do.  People are weird like that.

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