Negative Bank Balance with Budget Money Available?

I really messed up.  I just reconciled against my bank statement and now I have a negative balance in YNAB. What I can't figure out is why I still have money allocated in the Available column of my budget.  If my bank balance is negative, shouldn't I have $0 in the Available column?  How do I correct this?

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  • Do you have a negative bank balance at your bank? When you reconciled, did you let YNAB enter an automatic adjustment? If that's the case, you can simply delete it and redo the reconciliation.

    From your post, it's not clear which part you messed up. Did you mess up the reconciliation so your YNAB account balance is different from reality? Or you didn't mess up but you don't understand the result in your budget.

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  • For money in Available, only new expenses will change your Available. If the negative comes from a reconciliation, then it likely means you have an automatic adjustment entered and that will change your To Be Budgeted, not your Available in your categories.  You may have a negative To Be Budgeted that balances out the Available column. Also, if you have savings on budget, these might be more than the negative in your other account and hence you still have money in your budget.

    Like 1
      • Tomar012
      • tomar012
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ceeses I don’t have a negative balance at my bank but my bank balance is extremely low.  The bank balance is significantly less than the total amount of money in my Available column.  When I reconciled, I did allow YNAB to adjust the balance of the account.  Basically, my budget is completely out of sync with the money I actually have in my bank account.  I try to reconcile once a month but now I’m going to reconcile every pay period.  I’m thinking that using the Fresh Start option is the simplest solution.  Perhaps increased reconciliation will eliminate this problem in the future.

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    • Tomar012 If you are reconciling that often, you're doing something wrong. You are missing too many transactions. If reconciling is how you track your spending, you aren't doing much more than keeping track of your balance.

       

      I haven't reconciled in 2 years. It should be a last ditch effort for when you've been poring over your bank statements for hours and you can't figure out where you're 17 cents off.

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      • Herman
      • herman
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Aquamarine Rhythm I assume you mean letting ynab enter a reconciling transaction. I hope you are reconciling more frequently than every two years. 

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    • Herman oh, yes, that's what I meant. Did I misread OP? I always considered reconciling to be using the reconcile feature and adding an artificial transaction. I check for accuracy every few days.

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      • Herman
      • herman
      • 2 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Aquamarine Rhythm reconciling is the process of making  sure the actual account matches the ynab register, then clearing and locking those transactions.  i have never added a reconciling transaction.  my ocd wouldn't allow it! :)

      Like 4
    • Herman I've honestly never used the reconcile feature to do that... I thought that was only meant for fixing discrepancies. I've got everything sitting pretty at Cleared. What's the benefit of locking them? I check against my bank frequently and have never had an issue.

       

      And I agree 100%. I only do adjustments on my cash account because no bank statement to help me there...

       

      OP did state that they did an adjustment transaction, and my point was that if you're doing that frequently, then you're doing something wrong. Hopefully that was the wrong conclusion to jump to.

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      • Ceeses
      • Ceeses
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Aquamarine Rhythm The benefit to locking them is to help find a transaction you forgot for example. You know the transactions before the lock are good so you only have to go through a small set of transactions with a known start point. 

      It can also help if your bank system has a hiccup. Once I logged into YNAB and things weren't in sync. I've uncleared all unlocked transactions and things were still not in sync between the then locked clear balance and my bank running balance at the same point in time. So I knew the problem was my bank balance somehow changed on things before the last reconciliation, so not a problem in YNAB normally. At the same time, the cards from the banks had issues (refuse payments at shops, not working in ATM etc). So I looked at it 1-2 days after, and things were back in sync.

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  • How many accounts do you have in ynab??

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

      ... specifically non-credit, budget accounts.

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      • Tomar012
      • tomar012
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui I have 4 non-credit account but I only use one (checking) consistently 

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Tomar012 The budget includes money from all 4 of those accounts. Read this:

      https://www.youneedabudget.com/the-relationship-between-your-budget-your-accounts-its-complicated/

      If you need more money in checking, then just move money from any of the other 3 cash-based accounts. The location (account) of dollars is managed independently from the purpose (category).

      It's like having $5 bill that you intend to use to buy a burger. You can hold it in your hand (where's it's easily accessible) or in your back pocket (a little more secure) or in your front pocket (arguably the most secure, but slightly harder to access). None of that changes the fact that you're still going to buy a burger with it.

      Your accounts match the real world, so a Fresh Start will only cause you needless busy work.

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      • Tomar012
      • tomar012
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui The other accounts are savings account.  I gave those dollars a job by creating a General Savings category so that they will not appear in my To Be Budgeted.  The only money that is used for To Be Budgeted are the dollars that are directly deposited into my checking account from my salary.  I did this so that I wouldn't allocate my savings to my expenses. 

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Tomar012 Fine, so Savings Category = sum of 3 savings accounts. Still doesn't change the math. With that savings category/account synchronization (they do equal each other, right?), then

      TBB + sum of green/red Not Savings Categories + Budgeted In Future = Checking Account Balance

      Since the right side is negative, one or more of the left must be negative as well. BIF is never negative, so either you are overbudget (TBB negative) or you have red categories.

      In short, fix anything that is red and things will make more sense.

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

      Wait a sec, I see in another reply that your checking is not negative, just small. 

      1. Ensure YNAB's account balances match those in the real world

      2. Fix any red in the budget (TBB or categories)

      Let us know if you're still confused after that!

      Like 1
      • Tomar012
      • tomar012
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Actually, the sum of the 3 savings account do not match the savings category.  I don't see any negatives (red) in my budget which is concerning. However, I think you are right in that I did something wrong when allocating my savings accounts.

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

      Tomar012 

      It's recommended that you do not try to synchronize accounts and categories. It's just a matter of time until another error is made, and it's simply more work. Read the link I gave above which explains why you can move money around as needed without affecting the budget at all.

      EVERY category is savings, as "savings" is merely "delayed spending". Putting it in a savings account doesn't make it any more saved; it simply gives you more interest.

      Like 1
  • dakinemaui said:
    The location (account) of dollars is managed independently from the purpose (category).

    The easiest way to make cash-flow decisions (when to move funds) is to use the running account balance in conjunction with scheduled transactions. You can see at a glance when you might be short or you have an opportunity to move some to a higher rate account for additional interest.

    Like 2
  • Hey Tomar012 ! Are you reconciling using a balance from a statement (past date), or your current balance from the bank? Since you mentioned statement, I wanted to check—use the latter, and compare that to the cleared balance in YNAB.

    Our Video Course has a couple of short videos on reconciling that I think you'll find helpful!

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      • Tomar012
      • tomar012
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Nicole Hi, yes I'm using the current balance, not the paper statement

      Like 1
  • I think I figured out what I was doing wrong.  When I got paid (TBB), I distributed the money among all my budget categories with the exception of my savings categories.   I did not realize that I needed to allocate money from my paycheck (TBB) to the savings categories.  It seems kind of obvious when I think about it.

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

      Tomar012 it's only wrong if you're trying to synchronize accounts and categories. If you don't try to do that, there is no problem.

      Like 1
      • Tomar012
      • tomar012
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Hi dakinemaui , yep my goal is to sync my accounts with their corresponding category. 

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