Getting started after years of Financial software

I have been using financial Software for years!  My current software is Moneydance. I have never gotten the budget thing to work correctly on MD. I have my Savings account with "sub accounts" to differentiate between the different categories I'm saving for.  I'm really struggling to understand how to keep track of my Savings account and Checking account in YNAB.  

I currently budget money every pay check to my "Utilities" savings account.  I then pay all my utilities out of that account.  Let's say I put $100 in my Utilities which already has $400 in it.  I then pay my electric bill which is $50 and my gas bill which is $30 out of that account.  I cannot seem to wrap my head around how to do that in YNAB.  I'm sure it is possible, I'm just struggling to find the right guide, video, or help resource.  I think because I'm already bringing balances to my budget.  Any and all help would be appreciated.


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  • I did find this link, which helped me a lot:

    Because I brought in saved money... I went back one month, and put it in the month before I started using it, so I wouldn't mess up this month's budget.  That helped me a lot.

  • YNAB offers a bunch of classes:

    There is also the Getting Started Guide:

  • Welcome to YNAB! There are a lot of resources which I cannot find right now but you can do a search. Basically, categories can replace your accounts. So, you would create a category called Utilities and then fund it with the same amount that you would send to your current account. But it can stay in your chequing account and you can pay for it from there. We only have one chequing accoung and one savings account in YNAB.

    Before you make a purchase, you do the following:

    1. Check your category balance in YNAB. Is there enough to pay? 

    2. If there is not enough to pay for that item. look at other categories to see if you can move budgeted money from them to the one you need. Try to pick a lower priority category.

    3. As you get used to things, check that you have enough money in the bank account to pay. Sometimes if you have multiple accounts, you may need to move money to pay for the item. You can also use the running balance on your account register in YNAB to see this.

    Found the article I was looking for.

  • Navy Blue Pegasus and the gang are exactly right! Oh, and welcome to YNAB Cadet Blue Sander! It sounds like you've used multiple accounts to separate your funds into categories or goals in the past, which makes total sense! When you're using YNAB, though, your accounts really just become containers for your money, because your spending categories are telling you which dollars are funding which goal! 

    Per your example: Every time you get paid, that inflow will populate in To be Budgeted, and you'll assign the money you'd typically send to that "Utilities" account out into your spending categories (electric, gas, etc.). Whether or not that money gets sent to that "Utilities" account in real life won't impact where it lives in your budget 👍🏻 It can be a bit of a mindset shift, for sure!

    Here's an awesome Help Doc that goes over the independence of accounts vs. categories, but definitely thread any other questions you have 😊

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