Credit card spending came out of my budget when I didn't want it to

I had some unanticipated expenses last month and ended the month -$559 in the red for my Visa. My intention is to carry that balance and pay it off over the next few months. However, when I click over to January, it has my starting budget as negative that amount. I posted about this before and got a few explanations but have not yet figured out how to get YNAB to recognize that the money is not actually coming out of my budget because I am not planning to pay it off immediately. This leaves me with no money to budget for, well, everything else. SOS please.

7replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • YNAB will automatically budget money toward your credit card spending because the system inherently does not want you to carry a credit card balance.

    However, while not recommended, you can override this behavior by budgeting a negative amount equal to how much of your credit card spending you plan on carrying over to the next month.

    You should then be able to move into the next month without your "to be budgeted" balance reflecting your negative credit card balance.

      • ClimbingOutOfDebt
      • I think I can I think I can
      • ClimbingOutOfdebt
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      WutzUhUte Thank you. The way you're describing it makes sense, but when I tried it, the negative balance increased instead of decreased. Am I missing something?

      • WutzUhUte
      • Wutzuhute
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      ClimbingOutOfDebt It sounds like you entered a positive value in the "Budgeted" column.

      Make sure you are entering a negative value directly to the "Budgeted" column.

  • I took the "When You Have To Use A Credit Card" class last week and Erin described pretty much your scenario and how to handle it in the budget. I would fully recommend taking the class.


    In a nutshell, you need to make a goal as to how you are going to repay the debt . eg $100 per month and then YNAB won't do the default and take all your to 'be budgeted' money to repay the debt

    Like 3
  • It is my understanding that at the new month (February 1st in this case), Any items spent on a credit card that was not budgeted and thus created a negative, will turn into new debt.  So if you just leave it alone, when February comes around, that debt will be added to your card.  Then just add the extra to your card every month that you had intended to do.  Just make sure, you placed the transaction into a category with no money budgeted to it.  You will see the overspending as an orange negative number (and not red).  And should not affect your budget as you think it will.

    • Here are some very basic screen shots....

      I created a file to give you a visual.  One Checking and one Credit Card

      Picture 1 - Shows Everything zero...  Nothing to budget, nothing spent

      Picture 2 - Shows the Credit Card account, again with nothing spent

      Picture 3  - Shows the unexpected transaction of 500.00 - to represent the payment you want to add to your credit card balance (if your floating it for a few months, your adding to your balance)

      Picture 4 - Shows that you made this Unexpected Payment (that you don't want to budget for).  It again is orange with a negative number.  It means you have spent on your credit card and if you do not budget for it, it will turn to debt the next month.  Also, you can see it is not affecting your credit card category.

      Picture 5 - Shows it is not affecting next month.  The payment you want to float will turn into debt on your credit card.  Then every month here on out, use your original plan to pay if off by adding that money to the credit card category for payment.

  • ClimbingOutOfDebt

    To add to this, any Red Available amounts in your budget will be subtracted from your To Be Budgeted in the new month. The Red negative available amounts mean you overspent in cash. In order to prevent that already spent amount from remaining in your budget, YNAB removes it from your To Be Budgeted. 

    If the overspending was on your credit card, it should show in Yellow (not red). Negative yellow amounts are added to your card balance and can be addressed by budgeting to pay that balance off overtime on your credit card.

    To learn more about how credit cards work in the new YNAB, take a look at our Quick Start Guide to Credit Cards and (I know it was mentioned above but) consider taking our Master Credit Cards with your Budget workshop! :)

Like Follow
  • Status Answered
  • 2 yrs agoLast active
  • 7Replies
  • 915Views
  • 5 Following