Bi-Monthly budget when the month rolls over
I'm very very new to YNAB, so please explain in layman's terms. I'm trying to understand how to work the month rolling over in my budget. I get paid on the 10th and the 25th. I do understand YNAB's envelope system in which you budget for where that money needs to go until you're paid next. What confuses me is when everything seems to clear once the next month hits, but I'm in the middle of a pay cycle (25th-10th). If I budget for my 25th pay period, I can see everything that needs to be paid until the 10th. Then the 1st hits and everything sort of clears away and my work was useless. It's gotten to where I really try to make that last paycheck stretch to the 1st, but that comes with it's own set of problems. It would help me if I could see what someone else's solution looks like, or explain to me what I'm missing with rollover.
What do you mean "everything sort of clears away"? Your available balances in each category roll over to the next month. So if on August 31st you have $43 left in groceries, if you do nothing to your budget, you will still have $43 left in groceries on September 1. Then, when you receive your next pay on Sept 10, you can allocate funds in the September budget to increase the Available amounts in your categories.
Now, personally, I found great value on being able to live on last month's income. That means that my entire September budget is funded by the paychecks I receive in August. It may take you months or years to get to that point. That's not unusual. The way you achieve it is that as you create Living On Next Month's Income category and you add money to it over time until it equals 2 paychecks. Let's say that happens for you when you receive your February 25, 2022 paycheck. At that point you flip over to March 2022 on the budget screen, empty out the LONMI category and budget all of March at once.
From that point forward - you have 2 options: 1) when your Mar 10 and 25 paychecks come in, just go ahead and budget in the April budget page. Rinse and repeat forever or 2) change the name of the LONMI category to Income for Next Month and when your paychecks come in, assign them to INM and when it is April, empty out the category and budget the full month. I sort of do #2 - my 2 paychecks are set up as scheduled transactions (because they vary by pennies) but instead of the Inflow: Ready To Assign Category, I have the transactions set up so that the category is Income for Next Month. Then after I receive my last paycheck of the month, I change the category in the account register to Inflow: Ready To Assign and then I budget the next month. I never budget more than one month in advance, because I don't find it useful - my Loss of Income category would cover me for 6-8 months so I know I'm set.
Available amounts in categories don't go away (unless they finished the month with a negative number).
Assigned amounts only show you what money you actually Assign to the category in the month you are looking at, so when the month changes and you haven't assigned any money to the category in the new month, Assigned will be zero. Same for Activity, which only reports category transactions within the month you are looking at.
Sounds like you're talking about the Assigned column. You're looking at the wrong thing. You should be looking at the Available column. That doesn't change when you roll over and that's what you look at to make spending decisions. The Assigned column is only for new income. Once it's assigned, that's it. It now becomes Available for spending or saving.
Also, if you have goals (targets) set up for some of your categories, then it might be that at the beginning of the month, they are telling you that you didn't have enough to cover your goal. If that's the case, and you have some categories that are due on the 1st (like rent/mortgage) -- or at least between the 1st and your next paycheck -- then once you've covered the expenses remaining for this month, and you still have money to cover next month until your paycheck comes, you can flip over into September (next month) and budget the remaining money there. That way the targets will still say that you're set when the month rolls over.