How long does it take to get it?

I am ready to throw my laptop out the window. I HATE HATE HATE this software. Do I just need to wait for the epiphany moment? I get the concepts. I am good with numbers. I am a CPA in my day job. I am just finding the navigation to be cumbersome. How long does it take, 3 months, 6 months? I have been using it for a month and pretty much ready to throw in the towel. 

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  • I found the 34 day trial sufficient to fall completely in love. Try using the chrome toolkit for YNAB to smooth out some of the edges (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4-igXQLEkw). Or maybe take the concepts and 4 rules and use them with a spreadsheet for a while. That's where the magic is anyway. 

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  • What about the navigation are you finding cumbersome? 

    After you set up your budget, you only enter transactions until the next time you are paid. Unless you’re paid every day, the interaction with the budget itself should be minimal. If it’s not, you’re probably doing something you don’t need to do. How can we help?

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    • WordTenor  do I have to set up my budget by every category every month? I see when I click i can do the quick budget option, but how do I populate it all at once and then adjust as needed? I dont want to click 50 times....probably a me problem...

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      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 4 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Trumpet Yes and no. 

      YNAB is an envelope budget, not an accrual budget. You don't set nominal figures and then track how well you did against the budget. The figures you put into YNAB represent cold hard cash in your accounts. No different than walking to the bank, cashing out your entire checking account, and coming home and sorting the bills and change into piles at your kitchen table. By budgeting $200 for electric, you are saying "I am setting aside $200 of cash for the purpose of paying a bill that I expect to be somewhere near, but less than, $200." Once you pay that bill, there will be some cash leftover in that pile. You can move that cash to a different pile or you can know that you'll need that same pile the next month and just add to the existing pile. You also can keep adding $200 to the pile each month because, say, you know it's a little under $200 in the winter but a little over $200 in the summer. That way there will be extra in the pile when you get to the summer. 
       

      The month boundary only exists in YNAB because it exists in the world, and is a helpful timeframe to think about. But you budget every time there is new money "on the kitchen table," so to speak. YNAB could really be just a TBB category and the "available" column with an attached account register with no reference to budgeting in any particular month and it would work just fine. Any time there is new income, whether a paycheck, a stimulus check, or $5 you found in the backseat of the car, you change the budget. Budgeting is not tied to the month.* So yes, you re-enter the amounts each time you have new money because...you have new money and the budget doesn't know what you want to do with it.

      There are a bunch of tools, however, to make that process faster.  You can set goals for categories, or you can use quick budget, which you've found. You can select multiple categories to which you'd like to apply the quick budget function. 

      *The caveat to budgeting not being tied to the month is that long-time YNABers will tell you that YNAB operates best when you are "buffered." That has a specific meaning here--you are able to use cash on hand to budget an entire month at once. When you are operating buffered, you *do* mostly budget once a month--you put cash in all your categories in one go and then mostly just  record transactions until the following month. 

      Like 6
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Trumpet Populate categories when you get new money. Stop when To Be Budgeted is $0. Yes, that typically means budgeting every time you're paid when you start.

      If you have sufficient start-up capital, you can temporarily stash all paychecks received during the month in a holding category, then use the month-sized chunk to budget for the entirety of next month at once. If set up with Goals and scheduled transactions, this only takes a few clicks.

      Like 1
  • Also an accountant here and I fell in love with it instantly and never looked back. I don't mean this as a jibe at you, but from observation the people who seem the most frustrated by the software are those who keep trying to fight the system because they don't want to give in fully to the YNAB method. YNAB is not something that works well if you only want to half-heartedly follow the method and the rules.

    But that is just a guess. What parts of the software are frustrating you? There might be a little piece you weren't aware of that might make it click.

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    • Tobias 

      Probably 100% true! I am probably struggling with the reconciliation and some of the “rollover”.  So....I have all these categories like say, electric

      bill. For April I budgeted 200, but my bill was say $170, so

      I had an excess of $30 which it rolled over as “available” for May, plus any additional amounts I put in the budget column. I find this confusing...to me, I dont want the rollover from April. April is done, I want to close the books to retained earnings, ie my checking

      or savings account. I think I am missing a step. Am

      I supposed to go thru and manually “move” all the excess funds? I dont get it!!!! Missing a step somewhere. I get the budget is fluid and I can move money to cover categories in a month but....it seems hard to reconcile! school me!

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      • Tobias
      • Toviathan
      • 4 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Trumpet So remember this about YNAB: it is a cash allocation budget. It is an electronic representation of the envelope method. It does not behave like an accrual based accounting system and it does not work like a cash forecasting budget. What it does is tell you at this exact point in time what the cash you currently have is budgeted to do.

      There is no official closing of a month, but you are able to do things like what you're looking for. If you don't want to keep funds in bill categories, then you can absolutely sweep up those excess funds and put them somewhere else. But you need to do it. YNAB does very little to your budget on its own. It is meant to be something you need to actively do yourself. To make it a little quicker, if you have a bunch of categories you want to empty at the end of the month, just select them all then use the quick budget button on the right side of the screen that says "set available to zero" and those funds will all move back to "to be budgeted" for you to place where you would like them for months end 

      There are a lot of mental changes that you need to make to use YNAB effectively, but that's part of the power of the system.

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      • Tobias
      • Toviathan
      • 4 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Trumpet I would also argue leaving excess funds in a category is a good thing, as that's a good way to get ahead. An extra $30 coming into May from April means that's $30 less you need to budget in May which is $30 more that can go into a savings category or into a true expense. I personally tend to sweep any leftover funds in "fun" categories bit leave any excess that was in a bill or true expense to let them build a little and cover any spikes that may come down the road.

      Like 3
  • Take some of the classes, or hit you tube and look for Nick True.  He has great videos that explains some of the finer points of YNAB.   His credit card explanation is the clearest I've seen anywhere.

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  • Sea Green Trumpet said:
    I dont want the rollover from April

    For something like Electric, the rollover is a good thing. I budget the average, which builds up a surplus in the category during low months and draws from the surplus in the high months. The advantage is I don't have to scramble and rearrange my budget to pay a $400 electric bill in the summer.

    A consistent amount makes it much easier to plan.

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  • I'm not a CPA but used YNAB 4 for 10 years (the desktop version of the software).  I switched to "new" YNAB in January (so I would have a clean end of year cut-over).

    It took me 3 months to learn the new software mostly because of the things they improved (fixed) that were a pain in YNAB 4 were ingrained in my head.  So my adjustment was "unlearning" ...

    I loved YNAB4 !

    In the 4th month of new YNAB, I love it even more because :

    1) new YNAB forces me to look further ahead

    2) it automates things that I had to do manually, like adjustments to balance overspending in a category

    3) reconciling is ridiculous easy and in fact I know reconcile weekly

    Maybe stick with it a few more months.  Since you are a CPA you may be unknowingly bringing some of your professional expectations and experiences to this tool.  This tool is about budgeting and managing cash flow.  Yes there are clearly accounting principles built in as Jesse Mecham (the founder of YNAB is a CPA).

    My other suggestion is to do some on-line training and to ensure you understand the 4 rules.

    Best of luck!

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  • Thanks all for the tips! In particular the ideas to sweep amounts back to “to be budgeted”. It is just a little more manual work than I expected. It sounds like I will have to do some more training and hone my own unique practices within the bounds of the software. I’m not sure I can ever unlearn accrual accounting. I don’t really think it’s that different - you’re doing the same thing when you assign an amount to a budget, that’s an accrual, but the reconciling is different.  I also need to relook at goals- I entered a bunch of money as a starting balance in my “emergency fund” goal and ynab counted that as a huge “outflow” for the month so maybe I did it wrong.

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      • Tobias
      • Toviathan
      • 4 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Trumpet I wouldn't focus on practices so much as I would focus on the way you think about the words. YNAB uses words you are familiar to from work in a completely different way. Well...not completely different, just shaded differently.

      One of the examples I use on this board a lot and that I learned from the power users is this: the word budget. On your budget page, the "budget" column does not mean "I plan to spend this much for this purpose this month." It means "I have decided to give $x.xx that are currently in my possession this job this month. Those dollars will sit there until they are needed for that job." That philosophy is meant to apply to everything from your utility bills to your yearly subscriptions to your savings goals. And the idea is reapplied every time new money enters your budget.

      That's why your available balances roll over until you actively decide to change the job of the money.

      Like others have said, dive into the literature and see if it makes sense. But it will take some mental shifts for it to feel like it's not a hassle.

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    • Sea Green Trumpet Keep in mind also that as you spend more time with your YNAB budget, you'll have better data to fine-tune it.   You may not see the need to sweep as much after some tinkering since your budgeted amounts will be much closer in line with your actual spending in any given month.

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  • I recommend taking a few of the YNAB classes, either live or watching the pre-recorded classes. I've been using YNAB since 2014. I've gotten to the point where most of my categories get the same base amount budgeted every month (there's always a few hundred left over that I allocate based on need/priority after doing the base budget) - I use the Quick Budget all categories option and then make a few tweaks. I sweep groceries, eating out, and fuel down to 0 at the end of the month. Also the categories where I budget a round number knowing that the actual bill will come in a few cents below (mobile phone, cable). Electric, gas, admin, and entertainment get swept down to the point where the next month's normal allocation will bring the categories up to a certain cap. All of those sweeps go up to TBB and then based on a formula of my own devising these sweeps get allocated to Income Replacement, extra funds to my investment account, kitchen remodel, giving, and whatever my priority saving category is (currently a new piece of furniture).

    I have 70+ categories and it takes me less than 10 minutes/month to set up my monthly budget. Now, that's also because I am a month ahead and all of my May paychecks will be used to fund June (the old version of Rule 4) so I'll do my June budget all at once after my last May check clears (I get paid on the 7th and 22nd. Until I go to budget those paychecks, they are assigned the category of Income for Next Month. When I'm ready to budget them, I change their categories to TBB and then use the Quick Budget).

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  • Sea Green Trumpet said:
    I entered a bunch of money as a starting balance in my “emergency fund” goal and ynab counted that as a huge “outflow” for the month so maybe I did it wrong

    Yes, that sounds wrong. Is this possibly in a separate account? All you needed to do was create an emergency fund category and enter an entry in the budget column for the desired amount.

    You will have to learn to think of location and intended purpose as separate concepts. The account corresponds solely to location. The category in the budget grid defines purpose. You can change either one without changing the other. This is in contrast to common usage of having a Christmas account, a Bill account, an Emergency Fund account, etc. where the account is used to define both purpose and inherently a location. You'll find the independent approach is extremely flexible and actually simplifies things once it clicks. This is mandatory reading:

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

    The budget (aka categories) don't care about which account dollars live because money is fungible. Accounts don't care about which categories are "in" them, again, because fungibility. If a category has $X in it and an account has at least $X in it, then you can regard that category as being in that account.

    If you find yourself trying to synchronize an account balance and a category balance (or group balance), you're making things more complicated with conventional (non-YNAB) thinking. Read that article again.

    Lastly, the best way to assess cash-flow is by looking at the running balance in conjunction with scheduled transactions. Again, this is an account thing, so the categories in question are irrelevant. There is only outflow and inflow amounts. Most will keep enough in their checking account to handle outflows through the next 2-4 weeks and funnel the rest into a higher-rate (a.k.a., "savings") account.

    Hopefully it's obvious to you that money is "saved" -- reserved for a particular purpose -- by budgeting it to a category. Transferring that same amount to a savings account is optional. (Again, it's fungible.)

    Like 1
  • Sea Green Trumpet said:
    - I entered a bunch of money as a starting balance in my “emergency fund” goal and ynab counted that as a huge “outflow” for the month so maybe I did it wrong

     I don't know official accounting terms, but these words don't make sense from the YNAB perspective. See especially how the words "account" and "category" are not the same.

    A starting balance is entered in the transaction register of an account. Savings, checking, whatever.

    That starting balance (or any inflow, ever, categorized to TBB) is displayed at the top of the budget page in the TBB (available to be budgeted).

    To "save" the money, you type the amount you want to save in the budgeted column of the category you want to save in. 

    There should not be an outflow transaction involved in saving money.

    Categorized outflow transactions are for when money is leaving your hands to be owned by someone else (or go to investments, which should not be on budget).

    Goals are only in the budget side, and exist to make typing/calculating your budgeted amounts each month easier. Inputting a goal should also not result in a transaction. 

    YNAB allows you to see a few abstract levels beyond the concrete realities of your actual cash, which is represented in transactions/accounts. The budget is a plan or overlay of buckets/envelopes/jobs to sequester parts of your money to focus on being available for different jobs. 

    Goals are an overlay on the budget of what you plan to plan when you budget. 

    You use these abstract derivatives to make concrete spending choices that align with the patterns of the plans you have made.

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  • Learn the 3 rules. Read them over and over until they're ingrained in your head. Then follow them. Don't fight the software and try to do what you want to do. 

    1. Give every dollar a job. Budget all of your available funds until you have none left. To Be Budgeted should be $0 at all times unless you've just been paid or received new income and haven't budgeted it yet.

    2. Embrace your true expenses. Categorize ALL of your expenses. Not just ones that occur like clockwork every month. You need categories for the holidays, gift giving, tech upgrades, auto maintenance, home maintenance, etc.

    3. Roll with the Punches. If you don't have enough in a category that you want to spend from, what is lower priority that you can take from and move into this category? There is no perfect month. You may need an extra $100 for groceries this month due to the pandemic. Figure out what lower priority category or categories you can take that from and then add to your Groceries category.

    Like 3
  • Sea Green Trumpet said:
    I had an excess of $30 which it rolled over as “available” for May, plus any additional amounts I put in the budget column. I find this confusing...to me, I dont want the rollover from April. April is done, I want to close the books to retained earnings, ie my checking
    or savings account. I think I am missing a step. Am
    I supposed to go thru and manually “move” all the excess funds? I dont get it!!!!

     How can you follow Rule 2 and Embrace your True Expenses if categories balances don't roll over? I want $1000 to spend at Christmas therefore I save $83.33 every month starting in January.

    You definitely don't want to move all excess funds otherwise they could never accumulate. On monthly spending categories, it's up to you if you want to reallocate those funds or just add to them in the following month.

    As far as your savings account is concerned, it should be in your budget, not a tracking account. Savings is just a different location that gains more interest. If you transfer funds from checking to savings, it will have no effect on your budget. It will just hopefully gain a higher interest rate.

    Like 2
  • Oh, and to answer your topic question, 2.3 months. 😜

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  • I think your biggest issue is you.   It's a zero based envelope budget.  If you allocate this  much in May, but don't spend it, leave it in the envelope and just top it off next month.   Due to your mindset and occupation, it appears you are fighting the method.  YNAB, more than anything, is a method. 

    You shouldn't really be moving money around once you gave that money a job.  If $100 was given the  job of paying the electric bill, the fact that you only spent $70, doesn't change the fact that the other 30 dollars is still supposed to pay the electric bill.  It's just that it will have to wait until next month.

    When I started, I had a pretty good sense of what was going on EXCEPT with credit cards.  I finally watched Nick True's video (Search youtube for his name) on YNAB and credit cards and it was like a light going off. 

    For example, I got paid on Friday.   All my expenses for the month are budgeted IN FULL.  That means my next two pay checks (for May) will be paying for my expenses in June and so on.  Eventually, I will be months ahead on my bills/debts, etc. 

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  • Scythe said:
    You shouldn't really be moving money around once you gave that money a job.

    Don't take this as an absolute. There's an entire Rule that contradicts it SOME of the time.

    Like 1
      • Scythe
      • scythe
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui True.  Life happens.  However, once you give that money a job, you should keep it there until something happens that would require you to use those excess funds and change their job.

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  • I'm not a CPA, but probably the most difficult thing for me to get my head around was that YNAB doesn't care where you keep your money. In the beginning, I kept getting hung up on the fact that my savings account did not equal my savings categories.  I was associating my savings (dollars) directly with the bank account of the same name. (If the account had been called something else, I might have caught on to things faster!)

    Eventually I realized that my checking account was getting quite large because, when my paycheck was deposited and I budgeted dollars into my true expense and savings categories, I was not moving the money to my savings account at the same time.  My  "savings" were still accounted for in my budget even though the dollars were sitting in my checking account. That was the eye opener for me. When I finally moved an arbitrary "excess" amount from my checking to my savings account, it was just a blob of money being relocated. I no longer worried about where the money was sitting; it only mattered that it was still assigned to the category where it would be needed.     

    Like 3
    • Friendly_gal  dakinemaui Scythe  I am still having trouble with how to quickly check this. I'm not talking about how to reconcile to my actual bank balances, but more the subcategories beneath that the dollars have been designated for in my budget. For example, say I have $25k in a savings account and $10k is for property taxes and $15k is for a kitchen remodel or something. They are both set up as goals in YNAB, with budgeted amounts put toward them monthly, semi monthly, whatever. I am really wanting a feature to link between the funded "goal" and the actual balance in my savings account allocated by category. Am I missing something? Do I just need to keep an offline mental or physical note of these buckets?  It also kind of seems to me I will never achieve this unless I adjust all my budgeted to equal actual as the month goes on, resulting in the excess not being allocated to any one category. I am having trouble with this part! Can you tell me again what you guys do in reality to know how much of your savings or checking is for what purpose - is there a report I am missing? Thanks! 

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 4 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Trumpet 

      Sea Green Trumpet said:
      I am really wanting a feature to link between the funded "goal" and the actual balance in my savings account allocated by category. Am I missing something?

       What you are missing is that the only relations ship between the money in your budget and the money in your accounts is that they are the same total amount. WHERE the money is does not matter. Read this:

      The Relationship Between Your Budget & Your Accounts | You Need A Budget

      For most of us, where we keep the money is a cash flow matter, and has nothing to do with our categories. Keep what you need for near future transactions in the checking account, and the rest can go to a higher interest savings account.

      Consider that the checking account will receive new income, and much of that income will be added to categories not to be spent in the current month. So you can adjust the checking account balance by moving money to savings or letting it build up if you are expecting a higher expense month, reducing the need to move money out of the savings account. Sometimes you might have a really expensive month and need to pull money back from savings. I've only had to do it 4 times in my 6 years of using YNAB.

      By making liberal use of scheduled recurring transactions and turning on the running balance column, it's easy to see what the future balance of your checking account will look like, and you can use that to make decisions on when to move money around between accounts.

      Like 5
      • Friendly_gal
      • Retired and free!
      • friendly_gal
      • 4 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Trumpet   I guess I would ask you WHY you need to know how much of your savings or checking account is for what purpose. If it is to be sure that you don't spend it or "oversave," the budget does that for you. The available balance in each budget category, e.g., your $10K in property taxes, tells you how much money you have set aside for that purpose.  If you don't rob from that balance, that money is available regardless of where it happens to be sitting at the moment. If you don't budget more in that category, you will not have any "excess."

       You need to think of your money as ONE big pot of physical currency that you have divided into envelopes  (categories) for different purposes.  The envelopes for things you need to pay now or regularly probably will be parked in your checking account for convenient access (cash flow). The other envelopes for things down the road can be parked ANYWHERE. We tend to put them in some sort of savings account(s) to earn interest until we need them. BUT--if you couldn't earn interest anywhere (seems like we're getting close 😕), they could stay in your checking account or even be put under your mattress. In fact, if you left the funds from all the envelopes in one place, e.g., your checking account, you would need to look at your category balance to know how much you had toward each purpose. That, in a nutshell, is what you need to do regardless of how many accounts you have. Your account balances mean nothing (except for cash flow); your category balances tell everything.

      It may help to think of your "savings" account as your "parking" account where you temporarily park any funds that you don't need right now.  That way, you may not be as tempted to try to equate your savings categories with your savings account.  The "parking" account probably will include more than just designated savings categories; it will also hold all of the "savings" you are accumulating to pay true expenses.  Budgeting for true expenses tends to pad your checking account, so I move (arbitrary) amounts to my savings account regularly. It doesn't matter how  much I move at any point in time. If the budget says I have the money in a given category, I have it, even if it's in more than one account. In fact, if your checking account balance seems a little high when your property taxes roll around, you may choose to pay it with $2K from your checking account and $8K from your savings account. Did it matter that it wasn't all from your savings account? No! You spent the money you budgeted and that's that.

      I truly empathize with the struggle to fully grasp this mindset.  It took me a while, but it is extremely powerful. Please let me know if anything above (which is crystal clear to me 😉) inadvertently has muddied things up more for you. 

      Like 2
    • nolesrule Thanks - I have read that article. I just probably have to keep something offline for my sanity. I need a more concrete link for me personally. 

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    • Friendly_gal LOL! You have no muddled anything. I can appreciate the envelope concepts and the money is fungible etc. I think I just have control issues. I need to audit :) I will maybe eventually let go. Give me 6 months!

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      • Friendly_gal
      • Retired and free!
      • friendly_gal
      • 4 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Trumpet Well, unfortunately none of us can help you with the "trust the budget" mindset. 🙂 You will have to get there yourself, as you have recognized. When you do, your workload will diminish significantly because you'll be able to surrender/delegate to the budget, which will do the work for you.

      I really do get the control thing and I love having total control over what my dollars will do. However, I don't feel compelled to constantly audit. All I need to know is that when I started budgeting, my accounts were reconciled and accurate to the penny.  After that, the process (receiving income, budgeting, inputting expenses and reconciling) keeps things in check. It hasn't let me down in 12 years. Good luck!

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

      Sea Green Trumpet the thing to control is the budget categories. That captures the plan for all your money based on your inputs. If the category Available is not to your liking, then shift funds until it is. The money in the budget always equals the cash in your accounts. The particular location is quite arbitrary -- again, because fungibility.

      Like 2
      • Tobias
      • Toviathan
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Trumpet If it makes you feel better, I spent an entire year fighting to keep all my extra side budgeting tools before finally giving in and trusting the system and the method. I had a ton of forecasting sheets, sub-ledgers, etc that I would use in making up my budget and the result was that I was still budgeting with money I didn't actually have, and making spending decisions based on future money projections. It was an entire year of spinning my wheels and being no further along than where I started.

      Then I gave it all up and took a leap of faith. I am now 1 3-paycheck month away from being a full month buffered (July can't get here soon enough!) I know exactly where I stand at this point in time financially, and that gives me clarity on what my priorities can be going forward. I know how much I truly put towards all of my categories every month so that when those "unexpected" things come up, I almost always have the cash to cover them now. I have the peace of mind knowing that the balances on my credit cards are all backed 100% by cash that I have right now without unintentionally double booking funds.

      It's a very powerful tool. Sometimes it just takes time and a little trial and error to see what it's trying to do.

      Like 1
  • I will try to let go and embrace the method for 2.3 months. 

     

    🤔

    Like 6
  • Sea Green Trumpet said:
    Do I just need to keep an offline mental or physical note of these buckets?

     Like nolesrule said, there is no need to keep a not of this because it simply does not matter. I have 3 savings accounts and 3 checking accounts (just for me) for reasons related to fees and better interest rate and international ATM access. I have no idea where my Income Replacement Fund "is" in these accounts. It's in all of them and none of them. Because it simply does not matter. The money is allocated in a category so as long as I keep all my categories green (which I do, if I have to reallocate, I do it before I spend), I know that every single penny listed in Income Replacement Fund category is available to me whenever I need it for its stated purpose.

    Like 4
  • Sea Green Trumpet said:
    how much of your savings or checking is for what purpose

    Every dollar in all accounts is indistinguishable from each other. The category is "in" whatever account you want, and you can change it's location by *changing your mind*. The only requirement is the account you pick has a sufficient balance (at least that of the category Available).

    The only time location matters is when you spend, and the store is perfectly willing to accept dollars that are already in your checking account.

    Like 5
      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 4 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Trumpet  Or even better...the store is perfectly willing to accept your credit card's promise that you will eventually pay them back for the money they front the store today, giving you plenty of time to arrange for the money to be sent in one lump sum to the credit card company instead of in dribs and drabs from your checking account over the course of the month. 

      Like 2
    • WordTenor I know, I know :) I just can't let go.....yet!

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  • P.S. by the by, this is the hardest thing to grasp about YNAB. Most PF solutions are based on the idea that accounts = purpose. For example, I Will Teach You To Be Rich lays out a complicated 3 or 4-account solution for spending and saving. Capital One 360 offers unlimited savings accounts so you can set up a savings account just for Christmas. Ally has "buckest." PNC has their virtual wallet product where you have a short-term checking, a long-term checking, and a savings account. I was brilliant at budgeting by account. I always knew what money was where and I was absolute aces at minding the checking account balance even if I had thousands upon thousands in savings. If it was savings, I didn't spend it, no matter how much I wanted more money in checking for fun things. 

    But what I was fortunate to realize early on was that if I could respect a savings account, certainly I could respect a savings category in the same way. And because money is fungible, and it really doesn't matter if you're spending money from account A or account B, all I have to do is make sure the right amounts of money are budgeted to the goals I have. And so if I am finally ready to pull the trigger on the new dining table and checking happens to have $500 that I won't need before I get paid again,  I can just buy the table using the money in my checking account. It doesn't matter that the $500 is "savings;" what matters is that I set aside $500 of my total money for a table, and now my total money will reduce by $500 and my household will increase by one table. 

    Like 4
  • Friendly_gal I guess I just compulsively have to know as a final audit of sorts - to have a pile of cash in savings and totally rely on the software that I clicked all the buttons and set the goals accurately is not enough for me. Maybe when I am more comfortable with it over a number of months? To me it's not really any different that the "reconcile" where you reconcile to your bank balance just like you would and old school checkbook. I think I am just wanting to take it a step further to ensure the sum of the parts = the goals. 

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

      Sea Green Trumpet The sum of the parts = your priorities. It may or may not actually match your goals. YNAB is designed to be an adjustable plan for the money you have at the present time. As your situation changes, your priorities change. What was your goal a few months ago may not be your goal now.

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  • Sea Green Trumpet said:
    I can appreciate the envelope concepts and the money is fungible etc. I think I just have control issues. I need to audit :) I will maybe eventually let go. Give me 6 months!

    OK, deal! We will give you 6 months but not a day more! 🤪

    But seriously, it is such a freeing concept. You will keep MORE in savings once you shift your paradigm.

    Like 1
    • Superbone Alright, deal! I have two little girls ages 1 and 3. I would like to work less and spend more time with them, so trying to figure out how to make that all work in the financial sense.

      Like 1
  • In fact, as my YNAB colleague put it (desyncing accounts from categories):

    WordTenor  said:
    It is *the* thing that turns YNAB from a budget into a wealth-building flywheel.

    Like 2
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