Reimbursements :(/:)

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?

16replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • 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.

    Reply Like 2
  • 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.

    Reply Like 2
  • 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.

    bret said:
    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?

    Reply Like
    • Hi boodles8 !

      I know the Help Docs were mentioned above, so I wanted to leave a quick link to the Reimbursements page. 

      Did you pay for your expenses on a credit card? If so, you can carry that debt until you're paid back. However, if you paid for them in cash, your budget is inaccurate if you don't cover the overspending. For instance, if you're in the red -$600 but your RDF has $800, you truly only have $200 Available (even though the RDF says $800). We want your budget to always be accurate so we removed the Red Arrow to prevent this. 

      If an emergency took place today and you needed all of the funds in your RDF, the truth is they aren't really there and we don't want that to be a last minute surprise. 

      Reply Like
    • Faness Thanks this helps me a lot to deal with this, I was always unsure about it, but its good to see a recommended way (thankfully I have the option to use a credit card for these transactions) 

      Reply Like 1
    • Zaneta Caravello I'm happy that helps! If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask! :)

      Reply Like
  • 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. 

    Reply Like 2
    • Cyan Rhythm can you please explain further? I just started YNAB and also struggling with this reimbursement issue!

      Reply Like
    • Navy Blue Lightning  Say you have -100 in your category on 30th June and want to use the red arrow. On 1st July, budget -100 to that category, or if you have already budgeted something to it, subtract 100. This has the same result as the red arrow.

      Reply Like 2
      • aohara
      • aohara
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Cyan Rhythm I pay the family cell phone bill and then get reimbursed at various times and this is the method I use.

      Reply Like
  • 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!

    Reply Like
  • 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.

    Reply Like 2
  • 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.

    Reply Like 1
    • GBR That's exactly the method I used for a recent work trip. I "stole" the money from my "emergency month" category and placed it in the "reimbursable category". I used a note to track how much I moved. 

      I DO wish that the software would track movements from one category to another, but in the meantime, the note method works well. 

      Reply Like 2
  • Someone suggested adding the negative number to the available budget the next month and repeating as needed. This does replace the red arrow function, but what does NYNAB do with the red number, it must put it someplace?  Where every it goes is now inaccurate, I think?

    Reply Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 11 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Sky Blue Drum When you negative budget, it adds to your TBB. But if the original purchase was on a credit card, this will be problematic trying to maintain a TBB across months.

      Reply Like 1
Like2 Follow
  • 2 Likes
  • 11 mths agoLast active
  • 16Replies
  • 1788Views
  • 12 Following