How should I handle transactions that I don't care to track in YNAB?

There are some transactions in my checking account that I don't really care to track because either they are meaningless to my monthly budget, such as loan money being deposited, or they are transfers to/from accounts that I'm not tracking in YNAB.  How should I handle these?  Should I create a bogus account in YNAB that I don't include in any of my reports and make these transfers to/from that account?  Can I hide this bogus account from any of the budget magic that YNAB does?  Thanks!

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  • I tried this bogus account "trick," but the money is still showing up as "Uncategorized transactions," because I haven't assigned it a category yet.  Can I created a new bogus category and have YNAB ignore that category?

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  • OK.  I just tried something else.  I created a new payee called Transfers and assigned this payee to the incoming and outgoing transactions and I set the category to be Inflow to be budgeted.  The problem now is that on the income v expense report, I can't hide income sources.  Next experiment will be creating a new expense category and hiding it.  See if that works.

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  • OK.  Assigning all of these two a category and then hiding the category worked like a charm.  However, using the hidden category is a pain in the butt.  To use the hidden category, you have to go and unhide it first, and then go hide it again.  What a pain.  YNAB, please make it easier to use hidden categories.  Thanks!

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  • The point of--and most of the power of--YNAB comes from specifically defining the goals for each dollar that is part of your financial world. While some parts of your financial world--loan balances, investment accounts--are best not kept part of the active YNAB budget, the money flowing between those places and the budget nevertheless needs to be specifically defined. 

    A good rule of thumb is that if the account is liquid, meaning you can spend from it, it belongs as part of the budget. Illiquid accounts, such as loans and investments, should at best be tracking accounts, and some of us prefer not to have them in YNAB at all.

    If a loan account has produced money that you will use in the budget, it is income. If money you have received as income is being sent to an investment account or loan, you still need to define its purpose by budgeting it to a category, and then the transfer to that illiquid account is the same as if you transferred the money to McDonald's--it's spending on the purpose that you defined. 

    So--the loan disbursements get marked as Income: TBB, so that you can define the jobs of the dollars you've borrowed. Transfers to the other accounts need a category, and are spending, no different than any other. 

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      • Victor Rodriguez
      • Husband, Father, Software Engineer
      • victropolis
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor Right, but sometimes money comes in and out of a given account more as a convenience.  For example, we took out a mortgage on one of our properties and a large sum of money showed up in our account one day and over the next few days, we transferred most, if not all of it, out of that account, to other accounts that aren't tracked in YNAB, such as 401k loans and/or investment accounts.  So, that money was not income and neither was it an expense.  The account was just used as a temporary place to put the money.  Not every inflow into an account is income and not every outflow from an account is an expense.  Sometimes, money is just passing through.

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      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Rain It was income to the budget, and it was an expense to the budget. Your overall net worth, in whatever tool you chose to track it (I prefer not to track mine in YNAB, but others find YNAB the perfect tool for this) did not change. But the budget saw a large influx and a large outgo. That's perfectly fine. It's what happened. 

      When I bought my house, the budget got a large inflow from the sale of the bond fund I had been holding my down payment in. Four days later, my "moving" category had a huge outflow to pay for the down payment on the house. I *did* choose to move that money directly in and out of the category just because I didn't want my overall income to be inflated by that much in the reports, but it still was part of my budget. I otherwise would not do this for other kinds of income--were I, for instance, still a student and getting a student loan disbursement, that would be straight up income. 

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      • Victor Rodriguez
      • Husband, Father, Software Engineer
      • victropolis
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor for the transaction(s) I'm talking about, it just looks stupid, to me, on the income v expense report.  A giant income number in March and then a giant expense number in April, when it really wasn't either income or expense.  It was just money passing through.  Thanks for the banter back and forth though.

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Rain Exclude them from the report then.

      Reply Like 1
      • satcook
      • satcook
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Rain Inflow them straight in and out of a category.  They will cancel each other out and won't show up on reports!

      Reply Like 1
      • Victor Rodriguez
      • Husband, Father, Software Engineer
      • victropolis
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      satcook It's not that simple.  If the inflows happened in one month and the outflows in another month, they still show up on the income v expense report.  Using a hidden category is the only solution.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Rain It'll still net to zero in the long run. You're overthinking it.

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  • Faness just looping you in so you can pass along this information.  Thanks!

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    • Hi Tomato Rain !

      Thanks for the mention! :)

      You can submit a Feature Request to make an official request for exactly what you'd like to see in the report options. Right now, there isn't a way to "ignore" transactions, because we want everything to be accounted for in your budget. However, in the Reports section, you can choose to exclude specific categories (even without hiding them). There's an "All Categories" option - click there and you can filter out any categories you don't want to see in the reports.

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  • I remember being consumed with making the reports look "right" when I first started.  Then I had to go digging for paperwork to confirm numbers for my tax return. I've come to rely on my YNAB register for accurate historical detail.  The bumps and dips of my financial reports are just reflective of the bumps and dips in my finances. I no longer feel the need to camouflage them.

    Although.....it does bug me that my averages are then skewed for the next 12 months.

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  • I just delete them, like they never happened. I resonate with your phrase "they were just in a holding account" - I have this instance many times and adding them in as regular accounts continually messed things up. It's easier just to get rid of them, for me. I know that's not the point of YNAB...but we all need to be flexible with how we think and work.

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  • I bring money in from my 529 plan and then send it out for tuition. Same amount goes in and goes out. I created a Category Group called "It's a Wash" and a Category called "Tuition." I don't hide it, but it's at the bottom of my budget and I don't look at it very often.

    Reply Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Rachel S That's a much better solution than deleting them, as others suggested. This way you can verify if it's a wash and can report accurate transactions in your accounts.

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      • Rachel S
      • rachel_s
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule I created another category in the same group for those silly verification transactions when you link accounts.

      Reply Like 1
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