I keep trying to like NYNAB. I even bought it so I could learn to like it. But this month I can't help but hate it.
I am $600 in the red all because I took a trip last month and spent $1600. I will be reimbursed, but not for a month or two. I have more than enough moolah on hand to cover that expense if I steal from my various rainy day funds. But I don't want to. Because then I have to remember what RDFs I took that money from once I do get reimbursed. My recall is not that long.
In this era of red-arrow annihilation, what methods are other folks using to deal with situations like this?
I steal from my rainy day funds and replenish them when I get money back. It's either that or leave a negative balance on the category where I spent the trip money. That's kind of the whole point of the "roll with the punches" rule, isn't it?
This may or may not be applicable to you, but I spend and get reimbursed for work pretty regularly. I have a category for "work reimbursement" and I start each month with some money in the category. As I spend, anything I know I'll get reimbursed for goes into there, even if it matches another category--gas, food, etc. Then when I get the reimbursement check, instead of marking it as Inflow To Be Budgeted, I count it as positive activity in the Work category. This becomes the seed for the next month's spending in that category, and I only ever need to top it off if I spend more one month than I did in the previous month.
I agree with boodles8 - the lack of a a "red arrow" is irksome.
At any given point in time, my outstanding reimbursable expenses represent only about 1% of my entire cash-on-hand. Proving to YNAB that I can afford that "overspending" -- by temporarily covering it with funds from another category and undoing that once the reimbursement arrives -- is asinine. Busy work without any practical benefit.
Furthermore, the red (negative) balance in my "Reimbursement" category is a convenient reminder of exactly how much I'm owed at any given moment. Temporarily covering that overspending (with funds from another category) just obscures that information and forces me to track it elsewhere.
My workaround for the lack of red arrow is to manually enter a negative budget entry into my "Reimbursements" category each month. But I know the community has some other methods for tracking reimbursements -- YMMV.
Gray Admiral said:
This may or may not be applicable to you, but I spend and get reimbursed for work pretty regularly. I have a category for "work reimbursement" and I start each month with some money in the category.
I thought of doing that, but I prefer not to. I only have occasional--and large--reimbursements once a year when they pay for my conference. If I saved for it in advance, I would have to set aside $140/mo at a minimum, $200 would be safer. That's a lot to lose each month for a year over what is truly a mere inconvenience forced upon me by the software.
Furthermore, the red (negative) balance in my "Reimbursement" category is a convenient reminder of exactly how much I'm owed at any given moment.
This is the second reason I am really disliking NYNAB. Tracking small, unpredictable reimbursements for family or friends elsewhere is very inconvenient and prone to error if I forget to put it in or do the math wrong. Being automated, the red arrow was fool-proof.
What does YMMV mean?
Cyan Rhythm said:
Never understood the outrage over the red arrow, you can easily replicate it by budgeting a negative amount to that category in the next month.
This sounds like a good idea. I'll try it out. I hadn't thought of that kind of work-around, which was what I was hoping some start person would have. Thanks!
Just be careful, if you're using a credit card account for your reimbursable spending, then things are a bit more complicated.
If you have overspending (negative category balance) that involves credit cards, then when you transition to the next month YNAB will automatically absorb that overspending as credit card debt. In that case, a negative budget entry (to simulate the "red arrow") wouldn't be appropriate -- in a sense, YNAB has already "red arrowed" that overspending into a hidden credit card debt category.
boodles8 If you are going to cover it from "various rainy day funds" & want to keep track of what categories you borrowed from, you could do the following:
(1) Create a budget category for your reimbursable expenses (let's call it "work reimbursements")
(2) Cover the expense with your various rainy day funds(RDF) and here's the important part: as you do each move from an RDF category to the work reimbrsements category, make a note in the work reimbursement category's NOTES section.
(3) When you are reimbursed, categorize that to the work reimbursements category, then use the notes to replenish your rainy day funds.
(I personally use the category notes section extensively, including to consolidate some RDF categories into one - since the notes carry over month to month, they are always there for reference.)
I'll add: I know some folks use a tracking account to keep track of reimbursable expenses with more detail. For me, it's usually related to friends owing me for tickets or vice-versa. I find it's not worth the effort to use the tracking account if they reimburse me the same month that I paid; but if it's going to take a few months or if it's multiple people, I'll use the tracking account. In either case, though, I still use my "peeps owe me" reimbursement category so that I can separate out what is my actual expense from the total spent.