Help new start going back to the 1st of 2021?


been useing YNAB for almost a year and it’s been a bit of a learning curve. I’ve finally gotten to the point ( last December) where I’m finally keeping track of everything and staying within a budget.
My Problem : my accounts (specifically checking) don’t make any sense . i’ve never reconciled at all and even have missing stuff from my 1st few months. I’m assuming starting over is the easiest way to get things back on track? If my assumption is correct is there a way I can do it I’m going back to the first of the year at least that way I’ll have all of 2021? I can obviously go back through January and February and re-enter in the transactions but where would I come up with the starting balance/ balances? 
Or is there an easier way to fix all this and starting over that would of course be ideal

ps accounts are not linked, my bank is not yet compatible/ doesn’t show up on the list

thank you

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  • Sounds like a "Fresh Start" would be your best bet. Under your budget drop down menu in the top left, select "Make a Fresh Start".

  • Try this:

    1. Make a Fresh Start, like Superbone says.

    2. Change the Starting Balance to Jan 1, 2021. Make it $0.

    3. Download an OFX (or similar, find under export on your bank's website) file from your bank. If you can choose a custom date range of Jan 1-today, that's easiest. Otherwise, you'll need a couple monthly statements.

    4. Import that file into YNAB. Or you can manually enter the transactions.

    5. Reconcile and make a reconciliation balance adjustment. 

    6. Change the payee of the reconciliation balance adjustment to say Starting Balance, and change the date to Jan 1.

    7. Do the dirty work of cleaning up payees, categorizing transactions, and otherwise ensuring the data is correct.

    Repeat for any other accounts you may have on budget.

    8. In the budget screen for January, set all available amounts to 0 (there's a quick budget option that says reset available amounts).

    9. In the budget screen for February, Reset Available Amounts for everything again. 

    Here's a lot of If-Then scenarios for getting February's budget page set right, so pick and choose. It's helpful to go in the order I present.

    10a. If CC is paid in full, budget such that your Credit Card Payment Category shows the positive equivalent of your negative, working card balance (see left panel).

    10b. If CC is not paid in full, budget such that the available amount shows the amount you want to pay the CC.

    11a. If you are going to use INM to allow clean budgeting on the 1st of each month, AND are already on that trajectory, put the amount of money you have already been paid in February in that category (any other February pays will also go there).

    11b. If you want to use INM, but are using this month to get there, put the amount of your projected March *expenses only* in there.

    12. If you have savings pots already built up (think income replacement, medical, maintenance, vacation, other emergency/contingency), put money in those categories.

    13. If you want to start with normalized True Expenses, fill those categories appropriately (ie., a 6-month insurance bill due April will need to be 2/3 funded in Feb).

    14 (or you can do this before step 10, depends on how scarce you want to feel/how you had structured your savings before) Budget in Feb what you need to spend the rest of the month (bills, groceries).

    15. Put extra money in places that fit your priorities (I wouldn't have extra at this point because I would likely have been shaving on savings priorities when I realized I couldn't do everything I wanted. You might have extra money, though.)

    If you only do a Fresh Start and forget about the historical data, you'd start at step 10 (or 14, your choice).

    Good luck!

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  • I did a Fresh Start on Feb 1.. I was going to go back for January and re-enter.  Then after thinking about why I wanted all of 2021 in one place, I realized that a year is a year and I am only making it special because the calendar year starts on January 1.  I decided that 2021 started in February.  Its been a weird year anyway, so this is my small acknowledgment of that.  

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  • See these links for more info on the Fresh Start functionality:

    I don't believe YNAB will be able to tell your starting balances, so you'll need to get that info from your bank and add it to YNAB manually. Like Move Light Sound Life said, you may be able to export transactions to a file using your bank's website, then import it using File Based Import ( to save you some time, instead of doing everything manually.

    It will be a bit of work and it may be hard to track down mistakes, which is why YNAB usually doesn't recommend that people try to enter too much old data. Best of luck!

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