Saving for trips in a linked savings account

Hi, everyone!

I have only been using YNAB for about 3 months now and I love it! I do have a question, though.

I have several upcoming trips/events that I need to save up for. Currently, I have each one set up as a category in my budget. Each one has a target with how much is needed by what date and how much I need to save in each category every month so that I have enough money for when the time comes.

So that my actual checking account in my bank does not show this money that I am assigning to each of these categories (I don't want it to "look" like this money is "available" in my checking account...for others in the house...馃槣), I physically transfer the money from my checking to my savings account. 

First: is this the best way to do this??? On the left side of my screen, both my checking and savings accounts are listed under the "budget" tab. Should my savings be listed under "tracking" instead?

Second: even though I am completely aware that I should NOT be transferring back to my checking, there have been times that we got into a bind for whatever reason and I had to. However, when I do this, even though it shows up as a transfer in each account, the money doesn't change in my budget (I know it's technically already assigned in my budget, so I realize it won't show up as "ready to be assigned.") Do I need to subtract that transfer from one of those categories??? Or what is the best way to go about saving for certain things in the future?

I hope this makes sense and I'm so sorry if this has already been asked and answered. I couldn't find it anywhere.

Thank you so much for your help!

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  • You're doing everything right. Keep both checking and savings in your budget like you have now. Let your categories do their jobs. Transferring between account either way makes no difference to your budget. That's why these transfers don't have a category. It's like moving $5 from your back pocket to your front pocket. Either way, you still have $5.

    Checking accounts and savings accounts are just locations. Your budget funds come from all budget sources. Your categories contain the purpose of all funds. Savings might just make you a little interest and/or in your case, keep the funds out of sight from those looking at checking funds.

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      • kdanae02
      • kdanae02
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Superbone Thank you so much for replying! 

      So, I have a question: I totally get (and really appreciate! lol) the $5 pocket move analogy; however, for example, I moved $100 from savings to checking the other night to cover some unexpected expenses. Technically, I know this means that nothing has really changed in my amount of money that I have available to spend. However, I moved the money from savings to checking because I needed to be able to spend it differently. So does that mean that I need to subtract $100 from one of those savings categories and move it to RTBA or whatever category it needed to go to? 

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

      kdanae02 Nope. You're transferring funds for the right reason. You need them in order to have enough to make a payment out of your checking account. When you actually spend the funds, that's when they'll come out of the appropriate category.

      Now, if you don't have enough in the category you are spending from, then you might need to transfer funds from another category. We call that WAM or whack-a-mole. You would do that on the budget screen.

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      • kdanae02
      • kdanae02
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Superbone Ok, cool. So literally the only thing that I need to do in YNAB is just approve the transfer from savings to checking, correct? (Sorry, I'm just making sure that I understand! lol)

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

      kdanae02 Yep. Just make sure it's a transfer from one account to the other. The transfers are all at the top of the Payees list. You'll have to approve both sides of the transfer.

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      • kdanae02
      • kdanae02
      • 3 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Superbone Great! Thanks!

      Like 1
      • DexterCat
      • DexterCat
      • 3 wk ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      kdanae02 there's a vital piece of information missing. When you had to move money from savings to checking, was the category you intended to spend from adequately funded? If all categories are funded and the spending you are doing is not causing any category to become overspent then there is absolutely no need to move funds between categories. On the other hand, if you're moving of funds from savings to checking is a side effect of not having enough funds in the category you are spending from, then you will need to move funds between categories. 

      Short story, you should move funds between accounts to solve cashflow problems and move money between categories to solve budget problems, whether these two are related or not depends on how you use YNAB (some users insist on matching accounts to categories).

      Like 2
  • kdanae02 Just chiming in to offer this additional resource: for a bit of extra context, check out this Helpdoc on how YNAB views accounts vs categories to feel super confident. :)

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