Manually scheduling transactions vs importing

Hi all, I'm new to using YNAB and so far I'm enjoying it, but I do have a question that I can't seem to find an appropriate answer for on the forums already. This question is twofold:

1. I started manually inputting recurring transactions into my accounts (mostly direct withdrawals i.e. next mortgage payment, etc). But since my account is linked, when the transactions actually appear on my account, will the fact that I manually inputted them cause any issues? Either doubling of the transaction or one transaction will be left dangling? Should I just not be manually inputting them? I do like this feature as I can see what's coming.

2. Right now my budget is showing in RED, which is no surprised because I've budgeted for my entire month, but I don't have all the funds in my account yet because I get paid throughout the month (2x a month for me and every 2 weeks for my spouse). I thought of doing recurring transactions like in the question above, but I have the same concerns as question 1, plus the fact that my pays fluctuate all the time (usually within 100$ or so, but still, that means that I can't really add a recurring transaction, at least I don't think so). I know the simple solution would just be to either wait until my transaction shows up, or simply add a rough number and modify it when the time comes, but I'm wondering if YNAB is "smart" enough to recognize that hey, my user inputted a pay under category x on this date and on the same date, a similar pay happened with a similar number, so I'll just put two and two together and associate them. Does that make sense? Is that something YNAB can do? If not, are there any other alternatives?

Thanks in advance!

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  • 1. No. Import will match on amount within a 10 (?) day window. If you fat-finger the amount (precluding a match), you can force a match.

    Edit: If you have 2 transactions for the same amount, you might have issues with an import matching to the wrong transaction (still for the right amount). I don't know if Payee rules are used to "break ties". Faness ?

    Like
      • Sazerak
      • Cadet_Blue_Orca.7
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui So if I'm understanding this part right, let's say I put a recurring pay of X dollars and when my pay comes in, it's X + 2$, then YNAB will show both transactions? In that case, it would simply show me as having too much available money until I remove the incorrect transaction? If that's the case, I'm guessing it would be easier for me to not make a recurring transaction for my pay is that right? The only real downside I see to this is that it would make my budget appear in red until the pay comes in which I'm fine with (as I mentioned in my other comment below). I'll have to do some more research on how YNAB works I think as it seems odd that you have to make your budget for the entire month, but can't easily "preload" how much you'll be earning for the month, so it would technically always show you as being in the red until your last pay of the month (unless you keep excess money in your account, which again seems silly since any excess should be working for you in some kind of savings account vs just loitering in a chequing account).

      Edit: so my other comment below seems to be waiting for review? So you might not know which comment I'm referring to until it shows up, lol.

      Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Sazerak Not sure why your other comment hasn't showed up, but it's not there yet. Yes, the example you give about paycheck doubling is correct, and yes if your budget is tight, you might wish to not schedule paychecks. When you have more money where you don't need your paycheck immediately anyway, the fact it's inflated doesn't really matter, and you'll figure it out when you reconcile.

      Recommended practice is to not budget for the entire month unless you actually have an entire month's worth of new money. If you are paid monthly on the last day of the month, that's pretty easy. If you're paid on the 15th and 30th, you're going to have to already have expenses after the 15th funded -- from money received last month -- if you want to budget all of this month's at once. Assuming you don't wish to inflate category balances with Monopoly money.

      Lots of new users don't have the startup capital to fund those end-of-month expenses without using their just-received income. Those people simply budget in paycheck-sized chunks. No big deal. Ideally, they would also work toward getting ahead so that someday they can switch to month-sized chunks on a schedule aligned with their expense recurrence (i.e., the calendar boundaries).

      Like
    • dakinemaui Sazerak The other comment got flagged for reasons known only to the forum gods, unless there was a swear word in it that I missed. :) In any case, it should be showing up now.

      Like
      • Sazerak
      • Cadet_Blue_Orca.7
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Matthew Thanks for looking at it. I didn't really think of offensive language as the reason, so I reread it and it looks like I used the expression "pain in the -blank-" which could very well be the reason it was flagged. Oops!

      Like
    • Sazerak That was it! That -blank- is on our filter list and we usually ask the poster to edit it out before approving it, but looks like you're good to go now! :)

      Like
  • Sazerak said:
    Right now my budget is showing in RED, which is no surprised because I've budgeted for my entire month, but I don't have all the funds in my account yet because I get paid throughout the month (2x a month for me and every 2 weeks for my spouse).

     Let me stop you right here. Don't do that. The YNAB method is to only budget the funds that you have right now, not the funds you will have. If there is any red in your budget, the rest of your budget is inherently unreliable because you have introduced fake money into the equation. Rule 1 - give every dollar a job has the subtler meaning of don't give jobs to money that you don't have yet.

    Like 5
  • Part of any journey is knowing where you are at present. If you pretend to be 2-weeks further along with additional money, that's not a great idea. If you really have $100, but budget $200 to the Groceries category, you simply cannot base spending decisions on the category balance -- the entire point of YNAB.

    Hopefully it's obvious that it makes no sense to put in a lifetime's income right now? Identical argument for next year's income, or even next week's.

    Sure, with more categories you can implicitly steal from elsewhere and maybe not get caught, but you're missing out on some powerful psychological aspects. There's a reason traditional budgets (which use expected income) don't work very well.

    Like 2
      • Sazerak
      • Cadet_Blue_Orca.7
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

       jenmas dakinemaui 

      I understand the logic of giving a job to every dollar, and I absolutely agree with it, but unless I'm missing something (again, I'm new with YNAB), the budget is setup on a monthly basis. So for example, in May 2020, I know that I will have a mortgage payment coming out on the 1st of the month and the 16th. My pay (not coincidentally), comes in on the last of the month and the 15th. So right now my budget is showing that my mortgage payment is only half paid since the other half will be paid on the 16th. While I don't have the $$ in my account for this now, I'm guaranteed to have it by that date, so it's a not a concern.

      AFAIK, YNAB doesn't let me choose when payments are due, so it would naturally leave me in the RED until my (or my spouse's) last pay of the month comes in. One way I could cheat the system is to ensure that I keep enough in my account right off the bat to cover those expenses, but that extra money would be more worth putting in a savings account, rather than just sitting in my chequings account. Plus, it doesn't seem to make much sense to modify my budget mid-way through the month. If I know that I'll be spending X amount on groceries during the month, I have to put it into the budget, even if I'm not ready to spend it yet. Otherwise, I'd be logging into YNAB every few days to modify my budget, which kind of defeats the purpose. I used to use an Excel sheet which worked perfectly for that. The beauty (as far as I understand it) of YNAB is that it's supposed to pretty well automate everything for you. I loved my old spreadsheet, but it was a pain in the a** to enter everything manually, which eventually led to me not doing it at all, thus not respecting my budget.

      Again, maybe there are features of YNAB that I'm not understanding (or maybe it's meant for people with issues unlike my own). For my purposes, I feel that staying in the RED isn't an issue so long as I'm in the green at the end of the month. All I'm really looking for is a bit of magic that will enter most (I understand YNAB isn't a crystal ball, so I know I'll have to do some myself) of my transactions in for me so that it forces to actually see the results.

      Thanks for your input, and if you have any other suggestions for me, please feel free to comment. I'm looking forward to learning the ins-and-outs of YNAB!

      Like
  • Sazerak said:
    I think as it seems odd that you have to make your budget for the entire month, but can't easily "preload" how much you'll be earning for the month, so it would technically always show you as being in the red until your last pay of the month (unless you keep excess money in your account, which again seems silly since any excess should be working for you in some kind of savings account vs just loitering in a chequing account).

    You are misunderstanding how YNAB works. You are only supposed to budget for the whole month if you have the funds available right now. If you do not have all the money to cover all of your monthly budget, you budget to your highest priorities first (what does this money have to cover before the next time I get paid?) and you STOP budgeting as soon as your TBB gets to 0. Then when you get more money, you budget it to the categories that need it. Ideally you get a full month ahead - ie all income received in May is used to budget June. This allows you to budget June all at once.

    Like 2
  • Thanks both of you for your input. So I guess long story short, I'm not really using YNAB the way it's meant to be used, but I guess there's really nothing wrong with that. My situation isn't that I don't have the money, but rather that I just want to SEE where my money is going, ideally without putting much effort into it. As I mentioned earlier (in my comment that still hasn't shown up for some reason), I have a nice spreadsheet that I've been using for years to keep track of my budget and it works perfectly, except for the fact that I tend to get lazy and not keep it updated. For me, the beauty of YNAB is the linking of accounts which means that I'll get a good picture of where my money is going without having to put too much effort into it (obviously, I know that I'll have to put at least some level of effort into it).

    I think I'll just keep going this way, ignoring being in the RED and see how the app works out. Again, I can absolutely see why the app is made the way it is since not everyone has the extra income to go over budget and not everyone has a steady income. But even for these people, it still seems strange that YNAB doesn't provide the ability to budget ahead. Using another example, if you know that your cell phone bill comes out every month on let's say the 20th, but your pay doesn't come in until the 15th, then you would have to leave the budgeted amount for the cell phone to 0$ until you get your pay on the 15th and then change it. But that bill is coming regardless, so it would be nice to be able to see it ahead of time.

    I feel like the YNAB budget should have the option to set dates (like you would with transactions). So using the cell phone example above, you could input that the bill is due on the 20th and you input that you will get paid on the 15th, so YNAB will recognize that while you don't have the funds available now, you'll have them before the due date. If on the 15th something changes and you don't get paid (or get less than expected), YNAB could then check through your transactions (that you would configure manually I suppose) to see if you're expecting any other income before the due date. If you aren't, then at that point it could put you in the RED.

    Actually, now that I write this out, I'm curious to give it a try. I'll input my 2 next pays into YNAB and see if the system will be smart and say: "hey, this guy doesn't have the cash right now, but he'll have enough by month's end, so I'll leave him alone". A man can hope right? lol. Otherwise, I'll just enjoy the magic of automatic transactions and wait until the end of the month for that red status to vanish!

    Edit: I suppose I should also ask the question: Since I'm not really using YNAB as it's intended to, is there another app that would be more appropriate? Basically all I'm looking for is something that will link all my accounts (as best as possible since even YNAB has it's limit... cough cough Capital One) so that I don't have to constantly remember to update my spreadsheet?

    Like
  • Sazerak said:
    I'm not really using YNAB the way it's meant to be used, but I guess there's really nothing wrong with that.

    I guess that's true if you feel there's nothing wrong in making less progress toward your financial goals. Almost every YNAB user has experience with a budget that uses anticipated income. After understanding how YNAB is meant to be used, I don't know of ANY of them that would go back. They're simply far more effective now.

    Again, there are more subtle, psychological effects that you miss out on by lying to yourself. I think anyone who's done it both ways knows there is a much better understanding of their own priorities; I know that's true for me. Without the luxury of saying, "ah, that overspend will just work out when I get paid again" -- or worse, if you've simply inflated the category balance in the first place -- you will find yourself reallocating from less important categories. If you can't find a less important category, then it makes it that much easier to not incur the overspending in the first place. In other words, you spend less on things that are not important, leaving more money for the things that are. That is just one reason why you'll make faster progress toward the goals you do have.

    You've hinted at the fact you have enough money that you don't have to worry about the error introduced by budgeting money you don't have. If that's true, then it should also be true that you would have enough to arrange to use it as designed, including all those psychological benefits and accelerated progress.

    All it takes is enough startup capital to cover expenses incurred between your first paycheck and the end of the month. That means you don't need any of your paychecks in the month you receive them and can budget all those newly received funds -- a month's worth of income -- to completely fill out next month's area.

    Like 2
      • Sazerak
      • Cadet_Blue_Orca.7
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Good point. I just hate the idea of having to constantly update my budget all the time. In my previous (spreadsheet) budget, I would just copy-paste my blank budget sheet and rename it with the appropriate month. Then I'd add my spending as time went and I had a formula that would calculate the remainder and alert me when I had reached that. Once I had reached that amount, I simply stopped buying in that category.

      After years of making a budget, there are things that I know like the back of my hand, like how our family spends roughly 700$/mth on groceries. Seeing as that number hasn't changed in years and that it's an essential purchase, it just seems odd to only put say 350$ in my budget and then bump it up to 700$ after my next pay. I could see this being the case for someone who is limited to what they have in their account and those who shop often in small amounts, but if I go to Costco for example, I might end up spending 500$ in one shot, but not need to go to the grocery store for 3 weeks. At the end of the month, I would still be within my 700$ which is really what matters in the long run. Sure, I could decide to split my purchase and do 2 trips to Costco, but that would mean less time for other activities and more gas money.

      I know it's probably starting to sound like I disagree with the way YNAB is setup, but I assure you it isn't. I've only been using it for 2 days now and I love it, I only wish it would have the option to switch between being a proactive and reactive budgeting system so that more users could take full advantage of it. For me, I live a surprisingly busy life and don't want to be bothered by constantly updating my budget (especially with my pay and my spouse's pay being on different schedules, I'd be updating 1-2 times a week). I'm really just interested in statistics. Being able to look back at my month and say: did I respect my budget? No? Ok, then why? Did I splurge? Did prices go up? Etc. And make a plan from there.

      I suppose the big downfall with this type of budgeting is that the risk of overspending is higher, but at least it helps me be more independent with my finances. Going back to my example of groceries, I've been so used to 700$ month that I can "feel" when I'm getting close to busting, a skill that I probably would not have honed if I were constantly looking at my budget to tell me how much I spent. Now that I'm used to that, if I see 2-3 months in a row that I bust the 700$, I know with certainty that grocery prices have gone up and that my budget should be adjusted accordingly.

       

      Ok, I've rambled on for long enough, I'm on mobile, so I don't even dare scroll up to see how much I've written, lol. I'll just keep using YNAB and see how much automation I can get out of it. Hopefully I'll be able to get enough since it really looks promising so far.

      Cheers!

      Like
  • Sazerak said:
    Since I'm not really using YNAB as it's intended to, is there another app that would be more appropriate?

     Mint. It's free. It links well (I think). You'll see your transactions as they happen. It's a forecasting, set it and forget it kind of app. With ads... 

    Quicken is not free, and I don't know if it links to accounts. It's a set it and forget it forecasting budget as well. 

    However, YNAB is far superior as a budgeting tool, IMO.  I skimmed the above comments. I can come back later and add more thoughts, if you're interested.

    I "used" mint for a few years. I wish I had used YNAB then. I can't imagine what kind of better financial position I would be in now. YNAB and its method made a humongous difference.

    Like 1
  • Yeah, if you're not going to follow the three rules, let alone Rule 1, then it's not worth it. Mint or Personal Capital would be your best bets. They have the best importing and allow you to see what you spent after the fact, beautifully. Just don't expect to get ahead or improve your financial standing.

    Like 3
      • Sazerak
      • Cadet_Blue_Orca.7
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Superbone I think from reading multiple comments, it's obvious that YNAB might not be the best choice for me, but I'm genuinely curious to understand the concept. I'd like to give you a simple example to see if you can explain it to me (if you don't mind):

      Let's use something that's pretty well set in stone, housing (whether it be a mortgage or rent) and for the sake of simplicity, let's say the starting balance of my account is 0$ since the unfortunate reality of many people these days (especially those who need to budget) is that they live paycheck to paycheck.

      So let's say your mortgage payments are twice a month, once at the beginning and once halfway through. I see a budget as being a forecast of EVERYTHING you'll NEED to spend during the month, so I would put the full amount due in my budget. But from what I'm understanding of YNAB, I should start by putting 0$ as mortgage. Then when I get my first paycheck, I split it up among various things, which could include the mortgage (so long as I don't budget for more than what I got in this 1 paycheck). I'll fast forward since I think we know where this is going. The end result will still be that the mortgage amount at the end of the month is the total that was due for the month, so in that case, why not just put that amount as due right from the start since you know it's going to inevitably get there?

      On the other hand, say I want to budget 200$/mth for eating out. If I get paid twice a month, it would make sense to add 100$ to eating out each time. But let's say this month, I got a bonus at work. Well, since I'm already in there making changes to my budget, why not just bump up the amount I budget to eating out to 250$?

      It seems to me that constantly going into the budget to update it could tempt someone to go over their limits, whereas if you set your goals right from the beginning of the month, that temptation isn't there.

      To be honest, I'm really hoping that you or someone will reply telling me that I've misunderstood how YNAB is supposed to work, because if it actually works this way, it seems a little silly to me, although I can't say it doesn't work since so many people swear by it. It just seems... odd.. to not say right from day 1 each month: this is what I'll spend this month and that's it!

      Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 6 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Sazerak OK, a lot to respond to there. Let me start out by saying that YNAB is first and foremost a budgeting system and not an account tracker. It also happens to be a world class budgeting system better than any other in my opinion. Direct import is only designed to be there to back up your manual transactions. Users from outside the US and Canada don't even have access to direct import. It is a secondary feature. Having said that, I too rely on direct import for my case. I am doing extremely well thanks to YNAB. I've been using it for over 10 years in many different incarnations. It is not important to me to be up to date at any moment in time and therefore, I can rely on direct import for my needs.

      Next, YNAB is not a forecast budget. It is a zero-sum, non-forecasting budget. In YNAB, you only budget funds you have on hand. It's got 3 actionable rules that go hand in hand. Give every dollar a job. No more, no less. Embrace your true expenses. Be prepared for any possible expense that may occur at any time backed by cold hard cash. Roll with the punches. If your priorities change, no big deal. Move funds from category to category as you wish. No judgement here. They are your priorities and yours alone.

      It seems to me that constantly going into the budget to update it could tempt someone to go over their limits, whereas if you set your goals right from the beginning of the month, that temptation isn't there.

      There are no limits other than your available funds. Remember, zero-sum. Only spend if there are funds in the category. If there aren't and you really want to anyway? Move them from a lower priority category. You decide what your priorities are. Of course this is all out the window if you budget more than you have. Now these categories don't represent real money and can't be trusted to make spending decisions.

      To be honest, I'm really hoping that you or someone will reply telling me that I've misunderstood how YNAB is supposed to work, because if it actually works this way, it seems a little silly to me, although I can't say it doesn't work since so many people swear by it.

      Nope. It works the way you think and that is the power of the YNAB budgeting system.

      Now 😄, if you're doing as well as you say you are, you CAN do what you're suggesting, lol. It's called living on last month's income and many of us do that. You can seed YNAB with a month's worth of funds from savings and then fund the whole month at once. That's what I do. That's what many long term users do. I fund the entire month with a single click. How's that for simplicity?  All paychecks this month go into an Income for Next Month category and then you can budget a month at a time. You could do more months than that but it has been found to be inefficient to do so. Instead keep x months of salary in a category.

      Actually, all your liquid savings should be in your budget. Savings are categories too! It's not all about spending. I've got more than a years worth of savings in my budget. Budget things such as Income Replacement, Car Replacement, Home Maintenance, Car Maintenance, Christmas, etc.

      Hope this all adds some clarification.

      Like 3
      • Sazerak
      • Cadet_Blue_Orca.7
      • 6 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Superbone That does clarify, thanks! I'll admit I don't agree with the YNAB methodology, but if it works for others, great! For me, I don't allow myself to move money from one category to another out of convenience, only if it's absolutely necessary, and I'm not a fan of the idea of "no limits other than your available funds". I don't think that just because you have the money means that you should allow yourself to spend it. But that's just me. Maybe at some point I'll give YNAB a try the way it was meant to be used, but for now I'm just looking to track my spending, so I'll just keep using YNAB the way I am. Thanks again for your insight!

      Like 1
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Sazerak You're welcome. Of course, nobody is forcing you to move money. You can be as strict or lenient as you prefer. The old-school militant hard limits have caused many to fall off budgeting in the past. I think it's part of the brilliance of YNAB.

      I seriously don't think you can beat Mint as a tracker. Of course, know that since it's free, they are selling your information unlike YNAB.

      Like
      • Herman
      • herman
      • 6 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Sazerak I think  you'd be better with a tool that fit your needs better.  YNAB doesn't seem like a good fit for you.

      Like 1
  • Sazerak said:
    I just hate the idea of having to constantly update my budget all the time

    You seem to have a solid handle on your needs, so perhaps 5 minutes each payday. Again, though, if you can push your income into next month, it's even easier.

    Sure, there's some shuffle between categories when things get low, but that's a minute or two to fix that.

    Like 1
  • Sazerak said:
    ensure that I keep enough in my account right off the bat to cover those expenses, but that extra money would be more worth putting in a savings account, rather than just sitting in my chequings account

     Here's an important bit of information: 

    It is recommended to put your savings account on budget. That would allow you to budget the whole month at a time, which is really very handy. 

    Then, make savings categories for the rest of your savings account balance of today. Going forward, there's no need to try to synchronize account balances to categories.

    Regarding interest, YNAB doesn't care where the money in your budget is located, so use the running balance in your YNAB check register (with as many scheduled transactions as possible) to maximize interest on your funds. 

    Like 1
      • Sazerak
      • Cadet_Blue_Orca.7
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Move Light Sound Life huh, why didn't I think of that before. That's true, I could simply link one of my savings account. That way, YNAB will see all that extra "available" money. I might end up doing that, or maybe I'll just leave it in the red to avoid linking more accounts than needed (ideally I'd like to only link accounts for which there's spending). I'll probably try it both ways and see which I prefer. Thanks!

      Like
    • Sazerak You don't even have to have it linked. I don't link any accounts. You can just manually update the transactions, which would seem to be infrequent, based on what you said. 

      I really wouldn't recommend keeping anything red in your budget. It literally means there's fake money guiding your spending decisions. Since you're financially able to, arrange things to support a healthy budget. 

      Why wouldn't you want all your savings accounts on budget? I have to ask. Why wouldn't you want to incorporate the plan for all your liquid money?

      Like 1
      • Sazerak
      • Cadet_Blue_Orca.7
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Move Light Sound Life I hadn't thought of adding savings without linking. I was more thinking of security. More links means more possible vulnerabilities. But ya, if I just manually input those numbers, then it should be fine.

      I'm not against the idea of adding all my accounts to YNAB, I just don't see a reason for what I'm hoping to get out of it. I don't really see my savings as liquid assets (except my Emergency Fund of course since that's it's actual purpose). In fact, I prefer to not even really keep track of my savings too often. If I keep checking up on them, I find that it makes it feel like they're going up slower, and I get tempted to use them early (hey look hon, instead of going to Disney next year like we planned, we have just enough saved up to go this year, woohoo!) I'd rather not let myself get tempted by watching the numbers and rather go as planned (if I put X amount every month times X months, we'll be able to go to Disney or buy that new car in X years). I don't even really take interest into account, that's just a bonus which usually gets left aside as a down payment for the next cycle of saving.

      To get back to what I'm looking to get from YNAB, I'm not looking for a full picture of my finances, but rather a full picture of my spending. Heck, I'm not even looking to LIMIT my spending so much as I want to look back and see if I did an oops in prior months (yes, yes.. many people will say that's not the best way to go at it, and they're right, but I spent many years obsessing over every dollar and honestly it wore me down). When I was younger and money would slips through my fingers like no tomorrow, I would have needed to put in the time to check every dollar before I spend it, but now I'm just looking for feedback. I don't need the app to tell me I don't have the money right now because I know I'll have it. I want the app to tell me if I overspent last month and where. And did I under spend somewhere. If so, I'll keep an eye on it and if it happens over and over, then I know I can reallocate that money elsewhere. I guess where I'm getting at is that I'm mainly looking for something that will give me PAST STATISTICS rather than helping me actually budget. As I mentioned in previous comments, I have a very thorough spreadsheet I used to use for this, but I would get lazy and not update it, so what got me to try YNAB was the fact that by linking accounts, it would (mostly) update everything for me (another reason I don't really feel the need to link my savings since I'm not spending anything from those accounts).

      Someone suggested Mint, which apparently is very similar to YNAB but doesn't have that "only spend what you have now" mindset, so maybe I'll check that one out, but I'm hoping to stay with YNAB since I find the interface very user-friendly and I like the way you can categorize/compartmentalize your income and spending habits.

      Like
      • Scythe
      • scythe
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Sazerak I have to agree with the others....IF you use YNAB as intended, it works fantastically.   Since you are unwilling to do that, I would concur with the others that another tool may be a better fit for you.

      Using tools as they are intended always works better than not.   You wouldn't use a chainsaw to butcher a cow knowing a knife works better would you?

      Like 2
  • Sazerak said:
    I don't allow myself to move money from one category to another out of convenience

    You've misunderstood the methodology of that's what you think YNAB is pitching. It's not a question of convenience, but of priority and information. You allocate based in the information available at the time. When "life happens" or new information arrives, you revise the plan as needed.

    No different than changing plans to move a picnic inside when it rains. Insisting on continuing with the original plan -- ignoring the new information -- seems silly doesn't it?

    Money SHOULD flow from low priority categories if higher priority categories need more money. That's just common sense. And it's a fact that priorities, scope, and timeline can change over time. Keep in mind the allications made sometimes weeks prior were estimates -- educated guess really -- and NO ONE guesses correctly 100% of the time. Reallocate with the benefit of hindsight (a.k.a., "recent information"), that's the essence of Rule 3.

    Like 2
  • Sazerak said:
    I'm not looking for a full picture of my finances, but rather a full picture of my spending.

    If you're not looking to plan your spending -- considering variable timelines -- then YNAB is not for you. There are far cheaper expense trackers that, in fact, do a better job.

    Like 2
  • Sazerak said:
    unless you keep excess money in your account, which again seems silly since any excess should be working for you in some kind of savings account vs just loitering in a chequing account).

     Some YNAB users disagree but most people who have been using YNAB for a long time and all the YNAB staff will tell you: put your savings accounts in your budget! 

    That will simplify your issues. Then from what you've written, it seems you'd have enough to budget for the full month at once. And you would get the additional benefit of categorising your savings and not counting them twice ($1 can't be used for vacations and a next car for example). And read this until you understand it: https://www.youneedabudget.com/the-relationship-between-your-budget-your-accounts-its-complicated/

    Obviously, you don't need all of this if you leave and go and use another product.

    Like 2
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