Handling a down-payment goal

Hi guys!


That's my first post here and English isn't my primary language so please be charitable. 


I have a goal to save 700 000$ to buy a house. I'm saving the amount 100 000$ since 2 years and managing that in YNAB in that way: 


1. I have a checking account called "Buying a house".

2. From my budget account I move the money from main account to "Buying a house" account. That gives me an ability to assign a category (Savings -> Buying a house) to that money so after some time I can see the spending per month over time.


But handling the separate account only for that one target is cumbersome to me. So my question is: 


1. Is there a way to see how much many we were assigning for the category "Savings -> Buying a house" over time? I mean I would like to create a goal in that category and set the target amount and some time period so then YNAB can track my progress.

2. How do you handle that kind of stuff?


Thank you for all your help, opinions and replies. 



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  • In YNAB, saving doesn't happen when you move money to a different account, it happens when you assign money to a category and then don't spend it. The money will then stay in the category month after month, accumulate if you assign more money each month until you spend it.

    So in your case:

    1. Transfer the money back from the Buying a house account to your main account, categorised to Ready To Assign. And then close the account at the bank (if you are confident doing so) and in YNAB.

    2. You should now have $100,000 in Ready to Assign. Assign it to the Buying a house category in your budget.

    3. Then put a target on the Buying a house category. It could be to save a given amount every month, or a target to have the down payment saved by a given date.

    4. Then at the start of next month the Available amount in Buying a house category will be the same as at the end of the current month. It will show underfunded until you assign enough money in the category to cover your target. Once you assign the money, it will be added to whatever was already there from the previous months.

    • Ceeses thank you for your reply. I really like it but I see one major drawback - I can't keep track of saved money per month, can I? 

      Because in the case that I described when I move the money to separate tracking account it gives me a possibility to categorize the amount and then I can see that in Reports section.


      Let me know if the money tracking is possible in your solution or if I miss something in my way of thinking.

      • Ceeses
      • Ceeses
      • 3 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Orange Keyboard why do you need to know how much you saved each month?

      As others said, you can put a monthly target to save the same amount per month.

      Or if you want a deposit of X in 5 years, put a target by date for this amount in 5 years. The goal will recalculate each month if you assign more or less than the target in the category. So it can work better with windfall or inconsistent income (e.g. tax returns). If you consistently put less than the target, the category available will be consistently orange and you will know there is an issue and you won't reach your goal. You will need to reassess.

      Else, it should ensure you reach your goal in the time frame you want.

  • Hi Orange Keyboard ! Welcome to the forum! 😊

    I'd suggest you either (a) use YNAB to give your dollars jobs, or (b) use the account to give dollars jobs- it doesn't work well in YNAB to try to match an account balance with a specific category (as you said: it's cumbersome!).

    If you choose option (a), then you'll continue assigning dollars to your Savings: Buying a house category. This amount may or may not match what you see in your savings account - but don't worry - the amount in the category reflects the amount you have set aside for this purpose.  You might choose to keep some money in savings, in order to maximize interest, but it won't match a category in your budget. Instead, consider How Much Should I Keep in Checking?

    If you choose option (b), you should not include the account in your budget. Instead, you can add it as a Tracking Account. The full balance will tell you how much you have set aside for your purchase of the house.

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    • Marisa thank you for your reply. I see your point but the a) option doesn't provide keeping track of saved money per month, does it? 


      Basically what I want to do is to do some reports e.g. how much money I've saved since the beginning of this year.


      Waiting for your reply,


    • Orange Keyboard As far as I know, you're right, there's no report on how much you've saved in a given category over time. If all you're interested is now much you've saved this year, then you can go back through the months to December (or whenever month you started), note the available amount (the December available is what rolled over into January). Then subtract that number from the current available amount, and you have how much you saved in total this year.

      I do think your idea of being able to track the available category amount over time is a good one, and might decide to submit a feature request for such a report.

    • Orange Keyboard Hi, there! I'm following up for Marisa. :) Fuzzballs is right that there isn't a report that shows the difference in Available as of certain dates. Their tactic is the most straightforward way to get that information.

      My suggestion is to follow your instinct to use a category for these savings instead of an account and create a Target in the category to help you focus your savings. If you consistently save the same amount per month, it will be easy to calculate the growth of the house fund over time and plan for the future. 

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