To Link Accounts or Not to Link

I'm trying to figure out the best methodology.  From my understanding, linking accounts would eliminate the need to manually enter transactions, correct?  The downside though from reading is that the accounts transactions don't show up fast in YNAB (which is due to the banks) is that correct?  Is updating transactions on a set time in YNAB (like it checks every hour) or is it manual.  I hear many people prefer manual.  Would love some opinions to figure out what I think may work best for me.  Thanks 

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  • Another aspect is the psychological part of entering manually: It *feels* as if you are spending money of you are doing something related to the spending (for example entering into your budget).

    But then, I'm not a US citizen so I do not really have an option either :P 

    Reply Like 2
  • Manual entry is meant to be the primary method of updating your budget. The importing of transactions is meant to be a back up/double check. If you rely solely on import, your budget will always be 2-3 days out of date and how can you make good spending decisions if none of your category balances are up to date?

    Reply Like 4
  • Hi Mr. Alex !

    Even when using direct import, we suggest using manual entry - that way direct import acts as a safety net to catch anything that may have been missed and your budget is up to date as you enter your transactions.

    We check for transactions every morning and when you access the app if we haven't imported within the last 8 hours. It's not unusual to see a delay of a day or two depending on when your bank clears transactions and are made available for import.

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    • Faness wouldn’t it create double the transactions to “categorize” after it does update? Seems like double the work if we do manual AND automatic?? I’m so new to this and embarrassingly still so so confused. 

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      • TechieM2
      • IT Professional and General Geek
      • techiem2
      • 12 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Piano As long as the manually entered transaction is relatively accurate (I think it's mainly the amount and date range, but someone may correct me on that), when the import happens it will link the the imported transaction to the existing one.  If it doesn't automatically link, you select the two transaction and use the Match option to link them.

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      • Vibrant
      • No more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars
      • vibrant
      • 12 days ago
      • Reported - view

      TechieM2 The amount needs to be exact and the original transaction and imported transaction need to be within 10 days of each other in order for them to auto-match.

      * note that importing doesn't look at the Payee at all, so if you have two transactions in your register in the same week for $20 and only one of them clears, it's possible that YNAB will match the wrong one.

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    • Powder Blue Piano It won't cause duplicates! Imported transactions automatically match up with transactions you’ve entered—as long as the amounts match exactly and the transaction dates are within 10 days of each other. You can also manually match an imported transaction with one you entered.

      Your bank may hold a transaction before it's cleared, so entering a transaction today ensures that your budget is up to date and accurate—instead of waiting on it to import.

      Let's say you spent the last $30.00 in Dining Out on Friday night, but if your bank doesn't clear transactions over the weekend and you don't enter the transaction. Your budget doesn't know about that $30.00 spending yet, so can't trust your category balance to guide your decisions (like if you can go out for brunch on Sunday). And that's the whole point! 

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  • I link them all, with no shame! However, my age of money is not within 2-3 days (that it can sometimes take to completely show up), so it's not a big deal to me if things are slightly out of sync by a day or two, even on a rolling basis.

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  • I do both. I enter transactions manually (keeps me honest) and then when the transaction downloads from either the bank or the credit card company, it automatically matches it to the existing transaction I've entered manually. For me, that's the best of both worlds. My account is always up to date and I don't ever miss any transactions.

    Reply Like 1
  • Thanks everyone.  I appreciate it.

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    • Momofboysx3
    • I'm going to master budgeting, even if it kills me!
    • Steel_Blue_Mainframe.11
    • 12 days ago
    • 2
    • Reported - view

    I fought entering it manually for a while. Then I had a holiday weekend where between the Visa delay, and my own banks delay of a stupid amount of days, I had 5 days of transactions that weren't showing up. While I think I keep track of how much money I spend, I don't. That Wed was a very rude awakening!!

    Reply Like 2
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