Positive Credit Card Balance inflating TBB?

I've been scratching my head over this for a few days.

1) This month, I paid an auto insurance premium that I've been using a Target Balance goal to budget the payment. What that means is that I've been budgeting for the payment for the last few months.

2) Before this payment happened I budgeted my TBB down to $0. After the payment, it's in the green. Way in the green. The transaction is categorized correctly and completel budgeted for.

I have some overspending this month, so I would expect that amount  + TBB to be the amount of the insurance payment. It's really close, but not quite. I'm not sure if that last part is relevant.

3) I've verified the balances of all my linked accounts, but the Funds for Oct line seems too large to me. This article about positive credit card balances leads me to believe me TBB is being effected by that.

Am I budgeting for annual expenses incorrectly? Or is YNAB doing something wrong? I'm not sure how to get a handle on my budget for this month until I can trust that TBB amount.

Thanks!

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  • I'm not sure where a positive credit card balance would play in here? Do you mean your account balance or the credit card payment category? Did you pay your insurance with a credit card? Positive credit card balances affecting TBB has to do with paying too much to your credit card so the account balance goes positive. Do you have a positive account balance?

    There is missing information here. More details on what you did would be helpful. Maybe a screenshot of the transaction for the insurance and what you're looking at that doesn't make sense.

    Like
      • Jacob
      • Sky_Blue_Ink.2
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Tobias  I think I'm using the wrong terms. And I think I misread that article. I'm not sure it's even relevant. Yesterday was a long day. 

      My credit card payment category is positive, not the account, itself.

      Really, what this comes down to is that I don't trust my TBB, because it was zero, and now it isn't, even though I haven't received any more income or altered the amounts budgeted in any categories.

      What I need is some peace of mind about where the Funds for October amount is coming from, because I can't get there by adding up inflow transactions.

      Like
      • Tobias
      • Toviathan
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Jacob Like dakinemaui mentioned below, did you put the transaction in as an inflow by mistake instead of an outflow?

      Like
      • Tobias
      • Toviathan
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Jacob And what did the insurance category balance go to? Did it empty out for the payment?

      Like
      • Jacob
      • Sky_Blue_Ink.2
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Tobias I did not.

      Like
      • Jacob
      • Sky_Blue_Ink.2
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Tobias Yes

      Like
  • Jacob said:
    I've verified the balances of all my linked accounts

    So, are any of your CC accounts positive? (Not to be confused with the CC Payment category.)

    Bottom line is that if your accounts match the real world balances, all the money in the budget is also real.

    Like 1
  • Funds for Month is often confusing because many things are included. Of the top of my head:

    * Last month's TBB

    * Last month's Budgeted In Future

    * Income received this month

    * Positive CC account balances (at any point during the month)

    * Starting account balances this month

    It's not uncommon for FFM to be twice your monthly income, and possibly much higher if you just started.

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  • Jacob said:
    The transaction is categorized correctly

    Is it in the outflow column?

    Like
  • Jacob said:
    I have some overspending this month

    If any of the overspending is red, move money to cover it ASAP. While it is present, you do NOT have all the money your categories/TBB say you do (in spite of my earlier comment).

    Like
      • Jacob
      • Sky_Blue_Ink.2
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui 

      * My CC account is negative. The payment category is positive. I misspoke.

      * The transaction is in the outflow column

      * All of the overspending is yellow

      Like
  • I pulled this list from another topic

    +Funds for [This Month] is the total of:

    • the amount leftover in To be Budgeted from last month
    • the amount Budgeted in Future from last month
    • all Inflow:To Be Budgeted transactions for the current month (including from Reconciliation Balance Adjustments)
    • any Starting Balance transactions with a date in the current month on cash accounts (not credit card accounts)
    • any positive credit card balances in the current month
    • any cash advances from a credit account to a cash account in the current month

    This is really helpful, and when I total all these things, everything adds up.

    It seems like the credit card transaction and the positive payment category are a red herring.

    However, I'm still really struggling with the scenario where, in the latter half of Oct, after receiving a paycheck and paying off my credit cards for the month, I had budgeted down to $0 TBB. Then, without any further income, I have +$600 TBB at the end of the month. How does that happen?

    Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Jacob It's not uncommon to accidentally hit one of the Quick Budget buttons to zero out a category. Do you have any negative budget entries? You may have also accidentally deleted a budget entry, are there any blank values that shouldn't be?

      ETA: Note these budget accidents may have occurred in a previous month, in which case you may never track it down. Again, though, if your accounts match the real world, the money is real.

      Like
  • Wanted to circle back to this.

    I never was able to figure out where the surprise income came from, but I've verified all the balances, transactions, and budget items for October. I've decided to trust that YNAB is giving me the correct numbers and move forward. The only other thing I could think to do would be to start a new budget from scratch, but I don't think I would get different numbers at this point, based on all the homework I've done.

    Thanks for all of your help. If nothing else, I feel that I've learned more about how YNAB does its thing.

    Like 1
  • I'm really confused about this. Should I not be "budgeting" any money towards the credit card payment I have this month?

    If the money I budgeted & spent for things like groceries gets pulled over automatically, then the "payment" column for credit cards basically is just an indicator of what the next payment will be, right?

    What's odd for me is that my actual credit card balance and the "Payment" column are not the same. Should they be?

    Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 11 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Slate Gray Storm ideally they are the same. If you can afford to pay your credit card down to zero right this second without impacting any of your other categories, you are a paid in full credit card user. Their account balance and credit card payment available balance should always match (except that the category balance is positive and the account balance is negative).

      Some people pay their statement balance in full every month, but they are living on the credit card float. For example the statement balance is $1000 and it is due on Nov 22. You can't pay $1000 right now, but you get paid on Nov 19 so you'll be able to pay that $1000 on the 22nd. That's living on the float.

      And some people have credit card debt that they are working on paying down.

      In all cases, you should not send your credit card company more than is in the payment category available column.

      Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Slate Gray Storm YNAB will keep up with budgeted transactions. The issue is not all transactions are budgeted. It is up to you to ensure the amount you wish to have reserved is actually in the category.

      You will have to explicitly reserve money (budget) to cover the starting balance, for example, if you want that card to have paid-in-full (PIF) status. Purchase rewards issued as statement credits will require you to adjust the budget value for a PIF card. Overspending (non-budgeted spending) occasionally happens and is missed.

      Slate Gray Storm said:
      What's odd for me is that my actual credit card balance and the "Payment" column are not the same. Should they be?

      Whether they "should" agree depends on whether you want to be able to pay off the entire debt or not. YNAB assumes you do not.

      Like
      • Moohouse
      • Software developer
      • Moohouse
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas If the credit card cycle doesn't start at 1st of the month (mine's 5th-5th next month), the credit card helper doesn't even work (unless something changed recently). If I wasn't a PIF user then I guess this could lead to trouble? But I am, so I just keep the payments category minimized and disregard it. Doesn't lead to any problems for me. 🙂

      Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Moohouse I'm afraid I don't know what the credit card helper is. Dates of cycles have no real impact on me. None of my credit cards have a cycle on the 1st of the month. The balance always matches the credit card payment category if I only make budgeted purchases. If I wanted to, I could pay all of my credit card balances down to 0 today with money specifically budgeted for credit card payments. I never minimize the category however because there are too many ways for YNAB to mess it up related to returns this month for purchases made last month, statement credits, cash back, etc.

      Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Moohouse YNAB handles the non-PIF case just fine. Money is reserved within the budget at the time of purchase and is available to send whenever you like. When your CC sends you a bill doesn't matter, since that's always well after any purchase that would be on that bill.

      I wouldn't keep the Payment category minimized. It's too easy for it to diverge from paid-in-full status (e.g., purchase reward statement credits, overlooked overspending, immediate reimbursements, transfers to gift-card accounts, etc.)

      Like
      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Moohouse The credit card cycle date is irrelevant. If you're a PIF user then your CC account balance (-) is the same amount as your CC payment category (+) at all times. You pay the statement balance only on the due date and Bob's your Uncle. No problems at all.

      If people, insist on paying the full balance on the date of the payment (i.e. more than is necessary as paying the statement balance avoids all interest) and then get returns or something that takes the account balance positive then you're more likely to run into some of the funnies. Again it's not related to the payment date.

      Like
      • Moohouse
      • Software developer
      • Moohouse
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Then don't keep it minimized, I never told you to.  🙂

      It offers ME no useful information as anything there I have use for is displayed elsewhere. Like non-green categories and positive CC accounts.

      Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Moohouse true enough! 🙂

      Like
      • Moohouse
      • Software developer
      • Moohouse
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      monkeyhanger I pay the statement balance on the due date (and never before even if I can as I don't love the banks that much) and have no issues with that, but the category doesn't help me with anything, and the numbers frequently haven't matched in the past for no apparent reason. If I couldn't pay down the balance I would look into this, but for now, it just doesn't seem to matter.

      As I look at it right now everything's fine, of course. But I have wasted a lot of time before looking for errors which just aren't there, prompted by this category's claims, that I stopped looking at it.

      Like
      • adriana01
      • adriana01
      • 11 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Moohouse 

      I've run into that as well, so awhile ago I copied a list of reasons why the Credit Card Payment balance could diverge from the account balance when I always pay the statement balance. I think returns and statement credits were usually what caused the problem for me. Anyway, I hope you, or someone else reading, find's this useful.

      (The list was compiled some time ago, so there have been some changes to how the credit card info displays. So far as I know, all of these reasons can still cause a card to get off track)

      Quoted from: https://support.youneedabudget.com/t/y7k09k

      For your reference, here are the reasons I've found that the credit card account & payment category balances diverge (paid in full cards):

      starting balance on a paid-in-full card - category is lower

      overspending - category is lower

      uncategorized transactions - category is lower

      outgoing transfers to other on-budget accounts (e.g., gift card account, mixed funding splits) - category is lower

      purchase/cash-back rewards (should be categorized to TBB) - category is higher

      categorizing item returns as TBB (should use the original spending category instead) - category is higher

      reconciliation adjustment - category is lower for an outflow adjustment, higher for an inflow adjustment

      taking the account balance positive - category should be $0 in this case

      To correct the problem, budget whatever is needed to make them agree. Some of them can also be fixed other ways (e.g., overspending).

       

      If you're carrying debt on your card, your card balance and category balance will not, and should not, match. You can see the amount of debt being carried at any time  by clicking on the card's category and viewing the inspector: You'll see a line which reads, "If you pay [credit card payment category available] your account balance will be $X." That "X" is the amount of debt that is not presently budgeted to be paid off. 

      Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 11 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      adriana01 FWIW, since coming up with that list, I've realized another reason (not that it applies here): erroneous budget entries. Some newbies move money out of (or into) the CC Payment category, either because they don't understand what it represents or by accidentally clicking one of the Quick Budget buttons.

      Like 1
      • adriana01
      • adriana01
      • 11 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui yet another reason why I'm glad I switched to the alternate, unsupported yet easier to manage, method of using credit cards in nYNAB :)

      Like 1
      • Moohouse
      • Software developer
      • Moohouse
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      I recently spent 8 hours or so over a weekend to readjust a lot of small but annoying errors stemming from my YNAB4 import back when I switched to new YNAB in 2017. The credit card errors I experienced were the result of transfers from my CC to an on budget travel card along with some hidden overspending in some (previously) red arrow categories back in 2014-17. Even if these transactions were offset by the import tool with budgeting the transfer amount directly to the payments category the overspent categories were subtracted from the payment (which offset the transfer) - and turned the overspent categories green even if they didn't contain enough money. These small amounts over time led to a difference in the payment available amount down the road - sometimes making the payment available go negative. Go figure. dakinemaui You were right that the payment date doesn't matter, this was indeed something else entirely.

      By turning the offending 6 or 7 CC->budget transfers into transactions, and then entering a corresponding inflow into the travel card - then rooting out every now yellow/red category previously hidden by the payment category back in 2014-2016 - and adjusting each and every month's budget amount to accurately reflect the month's inflows for these 76 months - I no longer experience any issues at all! But it took me a whole afternoon of hard work. I did consider doing a fresh start after the second hour ... 😄

      An annoying issue was when a credit card suddenly got a small positive balance a year or so back. But I knew about this positive CC balance issue, so I quickly found the correct solution (increase the budgeted amount by the positive balance amount and budget it to the CC payments category)

      An inflow into a CC last month from a tracking account presented a (for me) new problem. I already had budgeted all expenses on the CC, so I had to negative budget the CC payments category the same amount to get the account balance to match the payment available. Negative budgeting the payments category frees up the budget funds previously held for payment covered by this inflow so it does make sense to me.

      I still wish I didn't create the credit cards as credit card accounts as they are much too easy to mess up as they currently work in YNAB!

      So yeah, I no longer should get any of the CC budget annoyances. Now the payment available always stays green and it always matches the CC account balance - which it should. And everything's fine! 😀

      Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view
      Moohouse said:
      it always matches the CC account balance

      Until your next purchase reward, transfer to gift card account, or immediate reimbursement (transfer to cash account because you picked up your friend's cash at lunch). 😉

      At best, a payment category is redundant for a paid-in-full card. If that's not the case, then it's busy work to faff about restoring agreement. My advice? Switch to a checking account representation:

      1. Create a new (checking) account

      2. Make a payment from that checking account for the entire working balance in the (old) CC account

      3. Ensure the CC Payment category Available = $0 and close that (old) account

      Like 1
      • Moohouse
      • Software developer
      • Moohouse
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui

      You make a compelling argument. The CC accounts are ticking time bombs, and this WILL happen again.

      I don't want to move money from the available category back into the respective origin categories - this seems like busywork, so I close the old CC accounts next bill period. I won't put any new transactions on the old CC accounts, and by next month they are also closed for good.

      Thanks! 🎉

      OK, now I understood. Closing the old CC accounts after a payment from the new accounts for the outstanding total. 👋

      Like 1
  • Slate Gray Storm said:
    Should I not be "budgeting" any money towards the credit card payment I have this month?

     It depends. Are you trying to pay down credit card debt? Then yes you should be budgeting to the credit card payment category to pay down the debt. Same if you are living on the float (see my post above).

    Like
  • Moohouse said:
    but the category doesn't help me with anything, and the numbers frequently haven't matched in the past for no apparent reason.

     The fact that they don't match is useful information. It means that something is out of whack and needs to be addressed.

    Like 4
      • Moohouse
      • Software developer
      • Moohouse
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas Yes, I agree. See above. 🙂

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