How to untangle budget/account mismatch mess?
Hi all. So, me and my wife have been using YNAB for a little over two months (just finished the trial). I was reading Help, FAQs, watched videos and contacted support about some bits, but the end result is a complete mess.
We dutifully classify all transactions, and setup budgets on the 1st of the month, and yet none of the credit card account balances match the YNAB view, and neither does checking account balance. We are constantly seeing negative To Be Budgeted and "you have overbudgeted" warnings and yet have ~10k on the checking at the end of the month (my paycheck comes at the last business day of the month).
(Honestly, considering how long YNAB has been around and how many people are using it, I am surprised it takes so much effort to ramp up and use it, especially outside of the app itself; lots of potential design improvements).
Anyway, we are tenacious and willing to work with YNAB for a bit more. I suspect that the main problem are credit card accounts and mismatches between their pay cycles, paycheck cycle and budgeting cycle (1st of the month), but that does not really explain the checking account mismatch as well.
Did anyone else have this problem? Is there a standard procedure to figure out and fix all the mismatches? I saw "manual reconciliation" but that does not seem like a proper/sustainable solution. And I do not want to start from scratch and lose the transaction and budget history...
I've read somewhere that one can re-characterize credit card accounts as "checking" (paid in full = our case), to disable YNAB money-moving magic for them, but I could not find how/where to do it - is it still a supported option?
Hi alexandroid !
If your accounts in YNAB aren’t matching the bank (account balance and transactions), then you can’t trust your budget. If you have $1,000 in your account, but YNAB thinks there's only $800 in that account, you can't budget all of the funds you have.
YNAB only imports your balance once. From there, the balance is updated by the transactions you enter and import. This means if your balance in YNAB isn’t matching your bank, there is a transaction problem.
To get this fixed, use the reconcile feature in the web app (on your computer). You could open a separate browser window for the YNAB account and your online statement to more quickly check them back and forth.
You have total control of the balance—look for the following in your register, fix any discrepancies, and you’ll be back on track:
- Transactions that have cleared the bank but have a gray C next to them
- Missing transactions that need to be entered or imported
- Transactions you entered or imported that have the wrong amount (maybe inverted, 0.34 instead of 0.43, for example)
- Duplicate transactions
- An incorrect starting balance
If you still have questions, please let us know! We'd be more than happy to walk through setup with you!Reply
YNAB is an envelope budgeting system. It is quite simple to understand once that fact is understood, but it takes a good number of people a moment to really understand what that means, especially if you make a good income and generally don’t run out of money. YNAB is going to show you scarcity that you aren’t necessarily feeling,
Judging from your statement about cycles not lining up, I’m going to guess you probably are relying on some amount of credit card float. To get things in order, step one is to get your accounts accurate. I don’t recommend using the reconciliation feature, except to lock the final value. Don’t let it make an adjustment for you: if the balances don’t match, go through and match your transactions one by one with the bank until the cleared balances match. It’ll take a good minute, but understanding this aspect is vital.
Once the cleared balance for each account matches YNAB, you need to ensure that:
1. You have no categories overspent
2. TBB is not overbudgeted
3. Your credit card payment categories match, to the penny, the working balance on the associated card.
When those three things are satisfied, what is left in your budget is what you truly have available for spending. It’s going to be less than what you make, possibly a lot less. If there’s not enough left, come back and we can tell you how to get off the float.Reply