UGH! I'm so frustrated trying to learn and understand this program!!!!

I thought I had everything set up properly a few days ago. 

Then I updated my credit card purchases from the last few days in December and it's screwing up all my budget categories in January and somehow my available to be budgeted is totally different than what I know I actually have available in my checking accounts.

I'm so frustrated and just want to start over from zero again but can't even figure that much out. 

I'm ready to just go back to pen and paper accounting. 

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  • dealing with the same frustration right now. have you done any of the workshops?

    Reply Like 1
  • When did you start? What's the date of your starting balances on your credit cards and on the December transactions that you updated?

    Also are you manually imputting data or importing?

    Reply Like 1
    • monkeyhanger  I don't even know at this point. I had everything, including my credit card account reconciled on like Dec 30th. Then I'm not sure what happened...the things that were in my credit card account appeared in the associated expense categories as a carryover into January. So, it made these categories look "underfunded" (a term I later understood). 

      I started messing around trying to figure out how to deal with this against what I had available to budget and I'm like wtf? It's as if the only option is to pay off whatever credit card purchases I made in December in full in January...something I'm not prepared to do just yet. I mean, I want to work towards that going forward this year, but was not prepared to do that for past purchases...if that makes any sense at all. 

      ANYHOO...I did a fresh start on everything and am giving it another shot. Going to sign up for a credit card tutorial because I'm guessing that's where things went south. 

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

      Violet Yeti I was asking in case you were a really new starter and it was to do with the starting balance being out of whack due to timing issues. Jan 1 may be a really good time to start a lot of new things but as you've noticed there's often a delay with when things clear on your credit card/bank account.

      It's a moot point, if you've started again. Good luck. It's worth it.

      Reply Like
  • YNABs support staff are great, and saved me from many a headache when I was getting started. Their credit card system is notoriously difficult, so many people employ a workaround that involves treating your credit card like a checking account.

    Reach out to support and they'll wall you through whatever issue you're having right now!

    Reply Like 2
    • Kombucha Kid Thank you, I did! They are helping. And I think you're right about the credit card setup.

      I'm going to dive deeper into that and reach out for help on that point in particular if it's not clear. 

      Reply Like
    • Ben
    • Toolkit for YNAB Designer & Developer
    • furiousfalcon
    • 4 mths ago
    • 1
    • Reported - view

    YNAB has a bit of a learning curve! The end of the month / beginning of the month transition can be tricky, especially if you're just getting started and if you are importing transactions in January that actually occurred in December. You should definitely switch back to December's budget and make sure you have corrected any overspending that you might accidentally have. Uncorrected spending from the last month will either reduce your To Be Budgeted number (if cash overspending) or create extra debt on your credit cards (credit overspending). https://docs.youneedabudget.com/article/769-overspending

    Just in case... note that your "To Be Budgeted" number represents the amount of money that you haven't budgeted (given a job) yet. When you first start using YNAB, it will match up with whatever money you have in your checking accounts, but after that point you'll see that number increase as you get new income and decrease as you budget that money to your categories. Generally, you want your TBB to be zero, indicating that you've budgeted out any available money to your categories. That TBB number won't reset at the start of the new month and equal the total money in all your accounts.

    Definitely consider watching some of YNAB's classes (https://www.youneedabudget.com/classes/), checking out their YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/YouNeedABudget - there are some pre-recorded classes there), or emailing YNAB directly (help@ynab.com) if you need additional help.

    Reply Like 1
  • Hi Violet Yeti !

    It sounds like something happened when the month rolled over with those spending categories. If you’re up for it, we can take a closer look at what's going on! Go ahead and enable Support Access for your account. Once you’ve done that, let me know—and mention whether you’d like to continue the discussion here or via email instead. :)

    Reply Like 1
      • Violet Yeti
      • Violet_Yeti.6
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness  Well, I just reset everything and am starting over, hoping that helps. I'll take some more tutorials on credit card stuff and if I get in the weeds again may hit you guys up for some hand holding. 

      Also, I haven't even touched my business checking account and have no idea how to get my brain around how that fits (if at all) into the puzzle. 

      I'm self-employed and my business account has been a mess in the past, which I'm also determined to change. I've used it for personal expenses, etc...instead of neatly doing an owner draw or whatever. 

      For now, I'm just leaving it out of the picture and using YNAB with my personal accounts and trying to make sure that any funds that come from my business account go through my personal accounts first before being used. 

      Reply Like 1
      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 4 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Violet Yeti If you have a separate business account and you decide to use YNAB for the business then I'd recommend a separate budget. As you've already discovered on the expenses side, mixing things up just gets messy.

      Reply Like 2
  • First, I swear it's worth it... in 3 years my net worth is up 218% (not all due to YNAB, but YNAB kept me from spending it!)

    Second, sometimes I "cheat" and change the dates of things I've purchased at the end of the month to the 1st of the next month. Someone will say that's not the way YNAB should work, but if you had everything perfect it's not a bad way to deal with it now and learn the lesson for later.

    For example, I forgot to log the groceries I bought on New Year's Eve. It cleared my CC and my grocery budget went red for Dec. Instead of going back and adjusting the budget I adjusted the date on the transaction for the 1st, but that does mean I'm dealing with less money in my groceries category so you'd have to deal with that depending on the category.

    Hope that helps! It took me at least 3 tries to really get into YNAB, once I did it's now just second nature and has helped my stress, finances, etc. tremendously. 

    Reply Like 1
      • Violet Yeti
      • Violet_Yeti.6
      • 4 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      ChicagoFlyer Yeah, I'm trying to hang in there because everyone I know swears it helps and I'm determined to turn my financial life around. 

      I see what you mean about adjusting the date on transactions...I think that's where things got hairy for me and as a newbie it fried my wiring a bit. 

      But I'm persisting! 

      Reply Like 2
  • I'm not sure if this is the answer, but one slightly odd thing I noticed is the posting / timing of credit card transactions that are automatically imported.  What I mean by that is things that I actually charged to my card on December 30, didn't post until January 2nd, so it hit my YNAB in January.  I had to manually switch a few transactions to Dec 30 / Dec 31 to properly place them in December.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Erick M If the money is available in December, it will carry over to January if you don't spend it. So this should be a non-issue. The problem you may run into is if you are expecting it in January and it shows up in December.

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      • Erick M
      • Khaki_Wrench.5
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule I wasn't referring to carry over, I was referring to individual transactions. If I buy something in December, it should appear in Decembers budget / spending, not January's, correct?

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      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 4 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Erick M If you made the purchase in December, record the transaction in December. Allocate money to the budget category that the purchase covers in December. Whether it clears your credit card in January or December is not relevant.

      Reply Like 2
  • I think it should occur when you spend (let go of) the money, not when you get the thing.

    But, Roll with the Punches means; you budgeted for it December but paid for it in Jan. So reduce funding in the December category by that amount and transfer that to the January category. 

    Your budget is meant to be a plan, which will need tweaking, not a set of rules which you must follow regardless.

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      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      lindsay_g If I'm understanding you correctly, respectfully, I disagree. The money is spent at the time of purchase. Just because it's sitting in your category waiting to be sent off doesn't mean it can do another job too.

      If it's a budgeted purchase, why would you need to reduce funding in the purchase category in the December category?! If the money doesn't come out in December, it'll just sit there waiting in the credit card payment category until January.

      Reply Like 1
      • lindsay_g
      • Beige_Banjo.3
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      bevocat Yes, I see difference. I record everything at the moment of the transaction and it usually is also taken out of my account immediately. So for me “not available to budget” and “not available to spend “ are virtually the same thing.

      But, I’m just back from a long travel and having transactions in my bank not appearing on the day I spent it has been a total headache. So I agree that you are correct to disagree with me. I suppose I mean I do both. But I am uber-granular because I’m still getting things under control, so an hour reading transactions over and over and correcting dates and categories feels worth it. I can see, though, that it is probably a noob phase. :)

      Reply Like
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