refund on airfare clearing in April but bought in January

My husband bought a flight to Europe in January for a trip he was originally going to take in April. After the airline canceled the flight twice, he opted for a refund and bought an entirely new ticket for a flight he'll now take in May.

Complicating matters is that he used American Express points to lower the cost of that initial flight and also points accumulated in the interim for the new flight.

So what I have for transactions is the following:

1/27/21 $719.82 (original flight)

1/27/21 -$212.78 (credit/AMEX points redeemed)

4/14/21 $1387.45 (new flight)

4/14/21 -$719.82 (credit for flight in January)

4/14/21 -$130 (credit/AMEX points redeemed for new flight)

4/23/21 $212.78 (charge for AMEX points used in January)

To make matters worse, when he booked the flight in January, I put it under our "Transportation" category, but we now have a "May Trip" category that I'd like to apply everything to instead.

How in the heck can I handle this so that I don't throw my January, February, March and April budgets out of whack, and also apply these charges and refunds such that the budget categories are as I'd like them (everything dated from January to present under "May Trip"?)

Any help most appreciated.

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    • Melissa
    • Routinely questioning every assumption I have about my budget, my spending, and my savings habits.
    • todays_mel
    • 11 days ago
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    Hi Amy

    For the Budget side:

    • January's "May Trip" category needs to have a total of $507.04 in available funds to clear those combined charges on your CC account (*). Go back to January's Budget screen and move that amount from "Transportation" into your new "May Trip" category. You can do this by clicking on the Available column and moving the money between those two categories.
    • If you don't have the funds, then you'll have to let this amount stay red in the Budget side so that it rolls over in February as debt on your CC.
    • Go back to April's Budget. Now the "May Trip" category needs to have $750.41 in available funds to offset all those transactions. Again, if you don't have the money, this will roll over as debt to your credit card for the next month's budget.

    For the Account side:

    • As far as the Account side, all of these transactions should be applied directly to your "May Trip" category. Don't inflow the credits to TBB since you want them to offset the other charges for this category directly.

    (*I'm making the assumption that all of these transactions have happened on the same CC.)

    Like 1
  • Amy In addition to Melissa 's excellent advice, I'd add that it's okay if you end up with overspending or a red Credit Card Payment category in January, February, or March. As long as there's no red in your budget in the current month (or future months, if you budget in the future), you don't need to worry.

  • Melissa and Matthew thank you so much for those suggestions! It took some finagling since the trip category had not existed in January but since I am slaying the emergency-type categories that have not be touched in a while I was able to draw from one of those to eliminate any overspending on credit or otherwise. Now when I run the report for "May Trip" I get the true number of what we've actually spent on it. You were right Melissa that all transactions were on one card.

    My big takeaway from this is to remember that refunds can and should go back to the original category and should not be treated like "free money" in TBB. That was my biggest mistake here. 😂

    This is another moment when I bow to the gods of YNAB and the amazing people on this forum. 🙏 

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