New to YNAB - How do I create a budget for half a month?

I started working full-time june 10th and would like to begin my budget on that same day.

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  • It’s now July 7th. YNAB really works best when you embrace the method, and the method is to take what money you have, and determine what it needs to do for you in the future rather than what money you used to have did for you in the past. It’s an envelope budget: if you were putting real cash in real envelopes, you wouldn’t be able to magically conjure up cash you spent last month. Same idea.

    Start with your balances today, and budget that money from today forward. The how-to materials will guide you in this process. 

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  • I'm not a YNAB expert or anything, but I did just reboot my budget. The whole philosophy of YNAB is to budget with the dollars you have on hand. The easiest way to do this is just look at your account values (checking, savings, wallet, etc) and make sure that when you create those accounts in YNAB their starting values are accurate. Then you can budget for everything you know is coming up around the corner, confident that your budget is an accurate representation of real life.

    If you have linked YNAB with your bank accounts, make sure that the dates associated with those starting values are also correct, because YNAB is going to try and auto-import transactions back to that starting date. That being said, the only reason you would really want it to import old transactions is to generate pretty graphs that can help you see your current spending habits, and it's a pain in the bahuki, because you'd then have to spend time categorizing them and making sure the account balances match again. 

  • Hi, Green Filly

    Welcome to the YNAB forum.  

    Budget just means "plan", so you can definitely create a spending plan for  a partial month with the money you have on hand using YNAB.  I also started using YNAB in the middle of a month and I remember setting it up something like this:

    • Rent? Um, no, that's been paid already. Skip that one.
    • Utilities?  Yes.  They're all due in the last week of the month. I only have one statement, but I can guess on the others based on past bills.  I entered that for utilities that first month, and I think I added an extra $25 in case they come in a bit higher than expected.
    • Groceries?  How much do I need for food in the remaining three Saturdays in this month?
    • Gas?
    • Mom's birthday is next month and I want to buy her that gift this month, so budget enough to gifts for that.
    • Et cetera.

    I was able to handle the rest of my first month with the money I had in my accounts. I'm paid once a month at the end of the month, so when my salary arrived at the end of my first month, I used it to budget the next month in one sitting.  I was YNAB hooked from that point on.

    It's okay if this month's budget is wonky because it's not a full month.  And it's okay if your budget is a little different from month to month.

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  • Hi Green Filly !

    A good budget is a forward looking budget. :)

    Instead of going back to June and planning expenses from there, it's better to start with today and move forward. The other comments have some great examples! When you have a moment, take a look at our Ultimate Get Started Guide. :)

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