Tracking credit card payment from multiple accounts

My partner and I have recently combined finances.  To try to keep things as simple as possible, we are using a joint checking account and my personal credit card on which he is an authorized user.

In our household budget, we have our joint checking, my personal checking, and the credit card.

What I am having trouble with is knowing how much of the credit card payment is mine versus how much is from shared expenses.  I have done this manually by adding a flag to each charge that is a personal expense and then searching for that flag for the billing period.  This works but I have to do math and take a bunch of extra steps and it introduces more changes for human error.  It seems like this could be automated somehow or at least made a bit easier.

Has anyone found a better workaround than this when tracking a budget of both shared and personal accounts?

Thanks!

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  • Our Credit Card team in Support is working on helping folks handle this very scenario, so I'm going to email you directly and get you over to them!

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    • Marisa If at all possible, a general update from them would be helpful - Violet Network is not the only one with this issue. 

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    • Fuzzball Meows Thanks for the ask! We're still working on this with the OP, but we'll pop back in with an update once we hear back from the credit card team.

      Also, Violet Network , feel free to share anything you'd like in the meantime! :)

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    • Dela Thanks!

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    • Fuzzball Meows Our credit card team suggests, if account funds shouldn't be intermingled, that the accounts be kept in different budgets: personal and joint. The credit card would be tracked in whichever budget used it most, and use one specific category for the transactions that occur off-budget. This method would essentially be the same way we suggest you handle Reimbursements.

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  • Violet Network said:
    It seems like this could be automated somehow

     I don't have a reply but I'm intrigued by this. Considering you have only 1 credit card, how would YNAB know if an expense is a shared expense or a personal expense? Do you have personal categories and shared categories and the classification depends on the category of the expense? Does that mean you would need something like "Eating out - Shared" and "Eating out - Personal" in your categories?

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    • Ceeses Yes, I have personal categories and shared categories, but there is not actually much overlap/redundancy between the two, so this way is pretty straightforward  - except when it comes to the issue I mentioned of course!

      I would love to see YNAB somehow indicate which categories the cc payment comes from for easy math and payment.

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  • Just out of curiosity more than anything, if you have combined finances, why haven’t you combined finances? 

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    • CPA Budgeter I can't speak to the OP, but my husband and I have joint and personal accounts for two reasons:

      1) He feels strongly about having money that is *his,* and doesn't want to put all money in a shared account. Why, I don't really know, but for peace in the marriage, I don't argue with him about it.

      2) We made a deal that he would go to the doctor if I paid for all the medical costs. If those expenses come from the joint account, then (since money is fungible) it's hard to make sure I'm following through on the deal. 

      I'm pretty sure if 1 weren't the case, 2 wouldn't matter. But since the deal was that his money doesn't pay for the medical costs, and the joint money is part his, it doesn't pay for medical costs.

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    • Fuzzball Meows this strikes me as only partially committing to shared finances. My wife and I each have our own fun category, but the bank accounts holding the money are irrelevant. We always advise people that in YNAB the categories are the budget, not the accounts. Curious, very curious  😂

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    • CPA Budgeter There are lots of ways to skin a cat, and it sounds like your way is to go all in, which is great but would not work for us right now.

      More specifically, among other reasons, we’re new to this so we’re taking it slow and we’re not married. 

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    • CPA Budgeter Yes, it is only partially sharing finances. I acknowledge that this is not how YNAB generally recommends, and kudos to people who can actually manage to totally combine finances. For my family, peace in the marriage is more important than the extra work involved in keeping part of our finances separate.

      We do use the categories as the budget. However, paying the credit card is an account thing, not a budget thing. (I say "not a budget thing" because we make sure to cover overspending so the amount needed to pay off the cc is always available.) It's similar to the "you need to make sure the account you're paying from has the money available, which is not something your budget can tell you" - I need to make sure the correct account is paying for the associated transactions.

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    • Violet Network ahh okay. I missed that you were not married. Makes more sense now. 😊

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    • Fuzzball Meows sorry you aren’t able to get full support for it. That must be frustrating. 😢

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    • Fuzzball Meows gets it!

      I love how you described it as an account problem!  It might not be the YNAB way, but it's a very real consideration.

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  • You could have a master category with your name and then have duplicate categories for your spending under that master category.  If you do not want to do that you can continue to use the flag option and go to the CC account and sort by flag and then select all flags, YNAB will do the math for you.  On a MAC you can select the first flag and then hold the shift key down while selecting the last flag and the result will be all flags being selected, the total will appear in the upper right corner.

    I personally think the master category will work better since you may have a transaction that could be split.  If for example you go to a department store and buy household goods and also personal goods then you will only have one transaction but that transaction will have different categories.  Then you can just look at your master category to see how much you need to transfer to the joint checking that month.

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    • ynaber2613 This is a great workaround!  I didn't realize selected them would show me a total.  This at least saves me from having to add up all the charges.  Thanks for the tip!

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  • Violet Network said:
    how much of the credit card payment is mine versus how much is from shared expenses.

     YNAB will actually never be able to know how much of your payment is yours vs ours vs partner's. This is because YNAB doesn't know your statement balance and which transactions count for which statement period. Thus, it doesn't know how much your total payment should be (get that info from the CC website).

    Expecting YNAB to show you a subset of a data set it can't show you is... unrealistic.

    However, YOU can know your statement dates, hone for transactions falling across statement borders, and determine totals for specific category sets within that range. Use the account register, filter by date, sort by category, and select (shift+click is easy) the pertinent transactions. 

    Since what you're describing is simply sharing a payment method and not really combining finances, you'll want to have separate categories to determine the responsibility for paying back the card.

    If you are interested in combining finances and need examples of how to do that in YNAB instead, just ask!

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    • Move Light Sound Life 

      Sounds like there was a misunderstanding, so let me clarify - I am not looking for YNAB to tell me my statement balance or to “know” whose transactions are whose. I already have my budget set up with personal categories and shared categories to split out the spending, and we both contribute to our shared account at each paycheck. I’m not sure why this doesn’t sound like combining finances to you, but to each their own.


      What I am hoping is for YNAB to tell me how much of the money in the cc payment category is from each category in my budget. This way, I will easily know how much to pay from my personal account and how much from the joint account without having to do much legwork or any math.


      Right now, if I spend $200 on my credit card from my  “Personal Discretionary” category and $400 from “Household,” I just see a payment of $600 but in reality I will be splitting that payment between two checking accounts. It doesn’t seem unrealistic that YNAB could somehow show me that breakdown since YNAB does know to pull money from the category as it is spent and allocates it automatically to my cc payment.
       

      Ideally, those amounts would clear off once a credit card payment has been made, as it does from the cc payment category, so no need for YNAB to know pay dates or billing periods either.  Hope that helps!

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  • Violet Network said:
    in reality I will be splitting that payment between two checking accounts.

     Usually, we see this question on the forum in regards to savings accounts.  The credit card perspective is certainly a new and interesting take on the matter! 

     

    Violet Network said:
    YNAB does know to pull money from the category as it is spent and allocates it automatically to my cc payment.

     You've hit the target, here. In YNAB, categories determine purpose, not accounts. 

    This article talks using savings accounts as an example, but the principle holds for credit card spending. https://www.youneedabudget.com/the-relationship-between-your-budget-your-accounts-its-complicated/

    Regarding the combining finances, I define that as having "yours" and "mine" within "ours," because it's all really ours. For combined finances, the yours/mine distinctions are representations of each other's priorities that we ensure happen within the whole picture of "ours." In such a definition of shared finances, the fungibility inherent in YNAB causes no concern and aids in maximizing financial priorities.

    You seem to be sharing a portion of financial responsibility while maintaining distinctly separate, individual responsibilities. So, I could agree on calling it partially shared. The fact of the matter is that you're making distinctions about responsibility in a very fungible and abstract representation of your partially shared resources, so you'll need to keep up those distinctions. The workflow I outlined above would be what you need to use. 

    Use the account register, filter by date, sort by category, and select (shift+click is easy) the pertinent transactions. 

    It's for you to decide what model fits your life best. 🙂 Not judging, just explaining the seeming misunderstanding. It's always good to be able to not talk past each other so the discussion is fruitful and gets to the heart of what you need.

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    • Move Light Sound Life Thanks for sharing all that. The workflow you are describing is essentially what I have been using as mentioned in my OP.

      What I am trying to describe is essentially a blue sky feature request that my YNAB budget show how much $ goes to my credit card payment from each category within the budget itself - essentially, doing all the flagging, selecting, and filtering for me - which seems pretty realistic given how the platform operates. The discussion of accounts and such is for fellow humans to understand my setup and conundrum, not an expectation that YNAB would make that distinction.

      I have been a wine hamburger for several years and feel pretty confident in the philosophy.  That said, I'm exploring the exciting new world of figuring out how to money with a partner so was hoping to hear how other real people handle this!  As we all know, principles and KB guides only get us so far.

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    • Violet Network Sure. I just wouldn't use flags because they're a pain. Other people don't seem to mind, though. 

      What is a wine hamburger, if you don't mind me asking?

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      Move Light Sound Life 

      Move Light Sound Life said:
      What is a wine hamburger, if you don't mind me asking?

       So, YNAB puts out videos with auto captioning.  And one time, at the beginning of the video (might have been one of Jesse Mecham's podcasts, I can't remember) "Hello Ynabbers" was captioned as "hello wine hamburgers". So it's kinda become a bit of a joke.

      Like 2
  • Violet Network said:
    This is a great workaround!  I didn't realize selected them would show me a total.  This at least saves me from having to add up all the charges. 

     Except remember that the flag method will not work for a split transaction, that is why I recommended a master category with your name, just look at the category each month and transfer that amount from your checking to the joint checking and then pay the credit card from the joint checking.  That seems much simpler to me.  You will have a transfer entry in YNAB if you need to look at it or show your partner.

    Like 1
    • ynaber2613 said:
      Except remember that the flag method will not work for a split transaction

       This is my issue.

      I have things divided into larger categories that make sense for my brain. Dividing them based on which account will pay does not work for my brain. I tried doing that for a while.  For example, we divide out groceries between his and mine. But the overall amount we spend on groceries is fungible - if one of us overspends, the first place we take the money from is the other's grocery category. So we keep the two together in the "food" category, because if they're next to each other, it's easy to know how much we have collectively to spend.

      That's probably the best example, because we pay for groceries together (particularly now that we order everything online, and together our orders qualify for free delivery whereas separately they didn't). There is a reason we don't combine categories, even though that would make things easier. I've talked about it before; you can post stalk me if you want to know.

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  • Fuzzball Meows said:
    There is a reason we don't combine categories, even though that would make things easier. I've talked about it before; you can post stalk me if you want to know.

     I was not talking about combining categories.  I was talking about keeping separate categories and using them to determine how much money to transfer from your checking to the joint checking.  The example I gave was if you buy something at a store and part of the purchase is shared expenses and another part is your expense then when you enter the transaction enter it as a split transaction and charge X to one of the shared categories and charge Y to one of your categories.  This way there is only one transaction, you do not have to have the clerk ring them up separately.  Each month see how much your individual categories are and then transfer that amount to the shared checking.  This will also allow you to only make one payment to the CC from the shared account.  However, I understand each person has their own workflow and I respect that, I'm just saying how I would do it.

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  • What if instead of paying from separate accounts, the payment comes from the joint account and then you reimburse the joint account instead from the personal accounts? 

    The payment is made on time to the credit card from one account. 

    On a monthly basis, you then do a reconciliation of the amount on the credit card that is for you vs your partner. Transfer that amount back to the joint account from your personal accounts rather than to the credit card. It reduces the need to sync with your credit card statement of which ones are included in the current statement versus not. 

    I think you achieve the same end result with less manipulation potentially.

    Like 3
  • Violet Network said:
    It might not be the YNAB way, but it's a very real consideration.

     This is totally valid! The reality is that not every couple wants to fully integrate their finances just so it works well in their budgeting app. I know you're working with our Credit Card and Budget teams in Support, but I think your use case is a great feature request, so I've made sure that it is logged in that way as well. 

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