Is the stealing from future completely gone as a feature?
I'm trying to get used to the new YNAB and I'm still struggling with the workflow I'm supposed to have.
Let's say I have a category Fun in which I plan to spend $100 monthly. Let's also say I spent $180 on it in October.
In YNAB4 I'd sort out the overspending by using "Subtract from the next month's category balance". Because my budget for November would already be copied from October that would leave me with $20 in Fun for Nov.
That old YNAB4 feature was called "The Red Arrow". And yes it's gone, because it allowed people to keep more money in their budget than they actually had, which is a violation of Rule 1. Additionally. it caused people to develop bad habits long-term by ignoring overspending and carrying it month after month after month, so they never truly fixed the problem with their budget.
Stealing From the Future refers to something else entirely... that is the act of budgeting money into future months, and then accidentally double budgeting in the current month. This makes the future month over-budgeted while the current month looks happy.
For your example, you can use a Spending Target with Needed for Spending by Date. You can set yourself a yearly amount ($1200 in your case). YNAB will tell you how much to assign each month. It'll start with $100 per month. If you overspend in one month, you cover the overspending. But YNAB will see you spent more than $100 and it will recalculate the target amount in subsequent months so you don't spend more than $1200 over the year. So if you spend $180 in the first month of the target, the subsequent months will show a target of $92.73 for the subsequent months.
I am not saying one should do this, just that one can do this.
I have an upcoming bonus, and I do want to plan ahead of time. So, I create a cash account and simply put it in there. I budget only in the future, upcoming months where that money would be spent. Is there a chance I will have to re-budget? Sure. But it does not affect October (current month), which only has real dollars.
FWIW, this is very much not in the YNAB spirit.
New user here, and this 'overspending' a target amount is the main issue I can't get my head wrapped around. For variable expenses, I set a monthly target equal to the average monthly expense for that category. Inherently, some months that category will be over the target, but over time it should even out with months that are under the target. We are not living paycheck to paycheck, so the cash flow aspect is not a concern.
If I understand things correctly, a positive balance (i.e. underspending the category) will carry forward as available for future spending, but the negative balance gets zeroed out and deducted from total available funds - which makes sense from a cashflow perspective (if you don't have the cash, then sure, you need to reallocate from elsewhere) but not a budget one where we are trying to control/track spending and the underfunding is expected in some months.
I'd love suggestions on how to handle this. Thanks.
My issue with removing the red arrow is it was allowing you to budget across months - not everyone focuses on the 1st of the month as being a new budget day (especially if you're not just paid end of month).
Because I would get reimbursed for company travel, I kept a "buffer" to always cover but I wanted it separate to the amount owed (so I could check what I'm owed at a glance) - therefore, I would have liked a situation where the "master category" shouldn't carry over if negative, but individual categories could carry over if negative - ie. A positive buffer would offset. No liquidity risk this way...
And the reality is, you can just enter the previous negative as a "-" into the next month budget number to do the equivalent of the red arrow anyway, it's just more fiddly (especially with loss of multi-month view) if you have multiple sets of negatives.