How to create a transaction for budget category transfers?

Hi YNAB Peeps,

I recognize that normally transferring money between budget accounts does not create a transaction, nor is it necessary. There are some situations, however, where I would like to create a record of why money was moved from one budget account to another for a specific reason (and on a specific date). One example of this is moving money into my "auto - gas" budget and out of my "reimbursement - work expense" budget when I drive for work and expect to get reimbursed for my mileage. 

The only way I can figure out how to do it right now is with a tracking account. Is there something else I'm missing?

Thanks!

Jim

13replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • You can put a note in the transfer transaction. That's probably about it. You could also add a note to that budget month.

    Like
      • Jim S
      • Jiminak
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Superbone hmm, I must be missing something. I don't see where I can make a note when transferring money been budget categories. 

      Could you send a screenshot or give more detail?

      Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 3 wk ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Jim S you and Superbone were having some vocabulary issues. In your original post you didn’t say reallocation between categories, you said transfer money which refers to moving money between accounts. Accounts are where the money lives. Categories are the purpose of your funds. It’s all one budget that contains the categories and accounts. 

      To track reallocations, you’ll have to use category notes. I never track because it doesn’t provide me any useful information for future budgeting. You might be able to store the info via a zero sum split transaction in a cash based account, except that creates fake transactions. 

      Like 2
      • Jim S
      • Jiminak
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas Thanks for the clarification. Sorry for not using the correct terms. It sounds like you understand what I was trying to say. 😄

      Looking at the category notes, it appears that any notes you put there will always show up no matter the month you have selected and can't be tied to a certain date, so I don't think that fits well with what I am trying to do. 

      I think your zero sum cash account might be the only way to do this. It's not my first choice, but I think I understand how to make it work. Thanks for your help!

      Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 3 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Jim S FYI, the budget month notes don't transfer from month to month. So you could put the date and info there. Like jenmas , I've never had a good reason to track this. It just means your priorities (or situation) changed.

      Like 1
  • Net $0 split transaction in any cash-based budget account to ouflow from one category and inflow to the other. You might create a dedicated account to keep these sort of adjustments segregated.

    Like 1
      • Jim S
      • Jiminak
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui I hadn't thought of putting it in a single split transaction! Great idea!

      Like
  • A zero sum split transaction will screw up your reports and spending averages.

    Like 1
      • Jim S
      • Jiminak
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule That's a bummer. Can you explain a bit more on how it will mess up my reports and spending? I'm just getting started with YNAB and don't understand those implications very well yet. Thanks!

      Like
      • Ceeses
      • Ceeses
      • 3 wk ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Jim S The outflow part of the split will be added as an expense for that category. The inflow split will be added as a negative expense (reduce your expenses) for that second category.

      YNAB will think you spend more on average from the category you took the money from and less on average from the category you input money into

      Like 4
    • nolesrule The impact to reports in the scenario mentioned -- a reimbursement -- is exactly what should happen. Outflow against the reimbursement category means the employer owes you more. Inflow against the Gas category does reduce spending, but that's correct -- the gas used was on behalf of the employer. If the split put $5 into the gas category and the next fillup is $25, then the expense report will say they spent $20 on gas -- which is exactly what the OP would have paid if they hadn't used their car for work purposes.

      I agree that in most other situations the split transaction is a bad idea because spending is distorted.

      Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 3 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui OP just needs to be aware of the issue for generic uses of the process. I would say the edge case where it aligns with reality is exactly that... the edge case.

      Like 1
  • Thank you dakinemaui  and nolesrule for helping me to get a better handle on this. It helps a lot!

    Like 1
Like Follow
  • Status Answered
  • 3 wk agoLast active
  • 13Replies
  • 108Views
  • 6 Following