Student Loan Payment: How do I log the transaction/payee

Hi YNAB community! 

I started my YNAB journey a few months ago in Sept. 2020 and I'm still getting the hang of it, especially with debt. So right now, I have been logging my student loan payments as transactions and the payee is the student loan servicer, ELFI Mohela. However, I notice that because it's not being logged as a payment in the linked account,  it doesn't show up in my recorded payments like a credit card would.

 

When I tried logging it as "record payment" in the linked account (like I would with a credit card) and put transfer to/from checking, it comes up as no category needed and then logs it as a payment in that account. However, when I do that, then it shows up as having no payment in that category in my budget, shows up as no activity, and shows that I still have that money available in my budget when I clearly don't. 

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  • It sounds like the student loan account is an account under the Budget section, which is incorrect. Student loan payments should be either treated as a normal bill (no account in YNAB at all) or possibly a Tracking account (which shows the account balance in YNAB). Both of those options use a category as that's money leaving the budget. In the Tracking account case, you would need to specify the transfer information in the Payee field. You would need to put the real payee in the memo if it's important.

    The simplest thing is to delete the account, which doesn't have any relation to the payments already recorded in checking. That's all you need to do for the "normal bill" approach.

    If you want the account balance in YNAB, after deleting the Budget account you need to create a new Tracking account, and edit every payment you've made from checking to change the Payee to be a transfer. Then probably make a balance adjustment or alter the starting balance transaction in the loan tracking account to get the right balance. Also every month, you'll have to enter any interest incurred. TBH, I would find it easier to look at the statement if I ever needed the balance and skip the tracking account.

    Like 1
  • dakinemaui I do have it listed under a tracking account just like my checking and credit cards. Since this is a debt, I would have thought I'd track the account just like checking and credit cards to know how much money I currently owe. When you say it's under the budget section, I'm not sure what that means? Is that the budget section versus a linked debt account like my credit card? 

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 10 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Orange Piranha Your checking and credit cards should be Budget accounts. Look in the account panel on the left, there will be the word Budget as a header for accounts like checking.

      "Linked" just means you automatically import transactions. Both Budget and Tracking accounts can be linked.

      More info here:

      https://docs.youneedabudget.com/article/177-account-types

      Like 3
  • dakinemaui thank you! Ok, so I read the article link you sent and that was SUPER HELPFUL!!!! Apparently, I've had my student loan and personal loan accounts under the wrong category this whole time!!!!! I should have them under my tracking accounts instead! Well I guess that's been wrong for four months! Goodness, what a revelation! I will change that now! 

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  • Ok, so now I deleted the student loan account & am trying to delete the personal loan. I unlinked the personal loan (which is really money I owe, not money I have to spend). However, now when I try to "delete" the account so I can then add it to tracking instead of budget, it only gives me the option to close the account. Then it says that I have to figure out a way to pay that before I can close the account. Ughhhh, any suggestions here dakinemaui ?

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    • Orange Piranha Don't worry—you don't have to pay off the balance! Just create the Tracking account version first and then YNAB transfer the balance to your new tracking account! You can then hide the Credit Card Payment category for the closed personal loan account.

      Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 10 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Orange Piranha Simplest thing is to create the new Tracking account and make a transfer from that account to the old (budget) account. This will zero out the balance and let you close the old one.

      Like 1
      • pinkml87
      • Project Manager
      • Orange_Piranha.8
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Matthew thanks, I'll give that a try!

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  • dakinemaui thx, I'll give that a try! THANK YOU so much for the gift of your feedback and time in responding to my questions!

    Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Orange Piranha You're most welcome!

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  • 10 mths agoLast active
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