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.

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  • 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.

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  • That's right - you can't roll over a negative number in the available column from one month to the next. Here's what happens When the Month Rolls Over.

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  • You need to avoid the red arrow situation and instead wam money from another category in October to make up the deficit before moving into November.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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