Manage shopping that involves more than one category?

When I shop somewhere like Target, I may get clothes, groceries, and things for my son. Do you split those expenses to apply them to multiple categories? I'm confused...

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  • Where is your money? Either split categories, move money or use a single super category. Personally I split, because I am detail oriented and want to be able to realize overspending in certain areas. 

    Like 2
  • For me, it depends.

    If the majority of the cost (perhaps 90%) is groceries, and the rest is clothes or gifts, I usually don't bother splitting. I just put it under groceries. 

    If it's more evenly split, I will do a split transaction.

    And lastly, if the 'small amount' is a category I want to cut back on, I will definitely record it correctly. Like if you have a "Electronic gadgets"-category and want to cut back on your gadgets, always put these expenses in that category in order to keep track.

    But in the end it is all up to you. If you want to buy a gift and take it out of the grocery budget - YNAB is fine with that. 

    Like 1
  • I always split the transaction into multiple categories. I find accurate spending data to be important to future awareness.

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  • I always split. It can be a pain because I have to sit down with the receipt and figure out my 5% Redcard discount, then see what items were and were not taxable and then figure out how I want to apply the $0.05 coupon for using my own bags (which I always do because in my county they charge $0.05 per bag). I mean, I usually come up with a number that is about $0.11 different than my receipt (seriously, 11 cents almost every time) so in the end I just pick which category to "discount" but still, it's pretty darn accurate.

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  • Add me to the 'splitter' group. Having detailed specific entry lets me budget really tightly, and that has caused my savings rate to increase dramatically.

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  • Also a splitter here! :) But I completely agree with others here - it really depends how detailed you prefer your budget to be. Some like to group anything bought at the grocery store under "groceries", even if that includes paper towels, counter cleaner, trash bags, etc. It keeps things simple. But if you like to break things down even more, then splitting would be your best bet. 

    Even though there's no right or wrong answer here, I'm going to go ahead and mark this post as Answered. But don't let that stop the discussion! Carry on! :) 

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Janelle at YNAB Yeah, we consider all regular consumables related to personal care to be groceries unless it is considered medically necessary (and those go in our Medical - Over the Counter category).  We have a household goods category for durables-- utensils and small kitchen gadgets but not large enough to be considered a home improvement--  things you might buy at a grocery store or a Bed bath & Beyond.

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      • Janelle
      • ynab_janelle
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule Interested to know how you typically fund that household goods category - do you use a monthly funding goal that rolls over each month if unused? I can never decide if I should let mine keep rolling over and building up or send the surplus elsewhere toward the end of the month.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Janelle at YNAB I still use YNAB4 so the mechanics are different in that we don't have the goal feature. But we have a handful of categories in which we have a monthly funding target with an absolute cap. So for example, my Household Goods category has a target monthly funding amount of $50 with a balance cap of $300. We've barely touched it the last couple of months so the balance is about $180. We tend to do most of our household goods spending in early spring but still do some here and there throughout the year as needed.

      Same with clothing. One month it might be you just need a new package of socks, another might be new shoes. Another might be both kids have moved to the next size up and it's time to replace their wardrobe.

      Essentially any categories that we have irregular  regular spending (Medical - OTC, school supplies, household goods, clothing, haircuts, restaurants, wine). We don't often hit the balance cap in any of them  because they are regular spending in a sense, but it's happened a handful of times over the years, and allows us to redeploy what would have gone above the cap somewhere else.

      The caps we decide on for all of the categories are unique to each category. For example restaurants is  2 months worth of funding, while wine is 3 months and household goods is 6 months.

      In other words we came up with a mathematical formula that "automates" the decision making process for funding irregular regular spending categories, but then we're both analytical and like to crunch numbers for efficiency's sake.

      When online YNAB was first released, a goal type of "monthly funding with a balance cap" was requested by several users, because a lot of us have this strategy for certain irregular regular categories.

      Like 3
  • I find it too easy to inflate the consumables purchases and run out of money before the end of the month. I split it all out and this assures me that I can buy the basics I need but let the extras slide to a more convenient time (I can go without replacing a light bulb, but I need a minimum amount for bread and milk.) 

    • Sundries (every non-edible consumable item I use to keep me, my clothes, or my home clean, functioning and smelling fantastic: so aluminum foil, batteries, laundry soap, air freshener, light bulbs, .....yada....ad infinitum)
    • Groceries (fresh stuff I buy weekly, monthly)
    • Pantry-Freezer (bulk orders of meat, buying case lots and other bulk items, condiments, allowing me to take advantage of good sales without compromising my ability to eat normal meals)
    • Gracious Living (*new category, intended for those more expensive items I would use to host guests or treat myself)

    Most of all, though, I like the sense of control this has given me.  It has evened out my budgeting, a big plus.  I no longer have lumpy budget months where I'm buying everything that has run out because I've separated out the categories I totally consume from those in which I need to build a little for irregular purchases.

    Like 4
      • Janelle
      • ynab_janelle
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
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      HappyDance I love the title "Gracious Living"! I may need to implement this in my own!

      Like 1
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 5
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      Janelle at YNAB 

      It sounded a whole lot more classy than liquor or wine. and it gave me the flexibility to categorize expensive cheeses or bakery confections or other hosting nibblies.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance Hehe. It's your budget. It doesn't need to sound classy. Our version of the category is just called Wine & Booze. 😉

      Like 1
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule 

      uh-oh.  No offense intended. 😊

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  • Thanks so much, everyone! I appreciate your help!

    😊

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  • 2 yrs agoLast active
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