Proposal: Change "orange" category colors
The category inspector can be different colors:
The orange classification can actually indicate three different scenarios (from the docs):
- You haven’t budgeted enough to stay on track with a goal. Check the goals section of the inspector to be sure.
- You haven't budgeted enough for an upcoming scheduled transaction. Select the category and look in the Inspector.
- You have overspending that happened on a credit card. If you don’t cover this overspending now, it will become debt that you need to pay off.
That is, orange could mean:
- goal not achieved
- scheduled transaction needs more funds budgeted toward it (or you'll be short!)
- you've created credit card debt, but can avoid that fate if you move more funds here
For my use, these are three pretty different cases, each with different causes for concern. Typically, the former is not such bad news — I am just not hitting a goal (yet) for that month.
But the latter two are problematic — if I've entered a scheduled transaction (like property taxes, say), then it is absolutely important and unchangeable. I need funds to be there, on time.
Similarly, I want to avoid creating credit card debt, though there is less urgency here.
I'd prioritize these as:
- scheduled transaction needs funds
- credit card debt impending
- goal missed
I'd like to propose that YNAB provide a different visual treatment for these three scenarios, whether that's different colors for each (probably too much) or some other visual "flag". Or, even if they all remain orange, could we get a category filter at the top of the Budget screen? You could then filter by scenario — e.g., fully funded (green), or goal not achieved (orange), or credit card debt (also orange), and so on.
Hi Scott !
We actually just had a discussion about this in another thread. Orange means 'this category needs attention', rather it's for creating credit card debt, not reaching a goal or upcoming transactions. That being said, I completely understand how these are separate levels of priorities for you! I'm more than happy to pass this feedback along to our development team! :)
The YNAB Toolkit is mention on the post I linked, in case you want to give that a try, but I'll let our developers know you'd like to see this option!
Yeah, that orange/yellow/amber or whatever color means "This category needs attention... but we're not going to give you a quick way to determine why it needs attention, so go check all the other places in the app for the possible causes and figure it out on your own."
If they were different colors, then you'd know what the cause is and go directly to the right place to look into it.
In trying to keep it simple, it's actually more complicated.
In addition, having a mix of reasons that require attention and don't really require attention using the same color creates false alarm fatigue, and then you just start ignoring it... like the steady stream of fire alarms in my dorm the night before final exams my freshman year of college.
This was a really helpful thread and I appreciate the discussion. I am also in the boat of having a really hard time with these three things being the same color. For me ANY over spending regardless if it is on a credit card or not should be red. That is because we pay or cc off every month. So any over spending is a red for us because we don't treat it as something that can be put off. So putting not meeting a goal with obvious overspending (regardless of what method) is a big difference for me. My work around for now is just to stop separating expenses in the transactions. Previously I labeled the expense based on what card it was done on (because I liked seeing my current cc bill in ynab with the budget) but if i put all the expenses on a checking/cash category then any overspending shows up red and any items that are shy of my goal are orange. to me, seeing it this way is worth more than separating my transactions by card when viewing. I look forward to seeing it be able to be more customized in the future.
Bringing this topic back to life. I agree with just about everything said here. For my budget, I appreciate that orange indicates something that needs attention, like a category that is underfunded for a scheduled transaction. But orange does not indicate the same urgency for me in categories where I have set goals, like saving for travel or setting aside money for gifts. Yet throughout the month, because those categories have goals that I meet monthly, for the majority of the month those categories are orange and it makes me feel as if I'm behind when I'm not. I get paid bi-weekly and set aside money accordingly, but YNAB doesn't recognize that progress until I hit the end of the month.
I haven't been using goals because I subconsciously don't like seeing all that orange. I really want to use that functionality, though.
Another thing that is bothersome about seeing so much orange is that I do, at some point, stop "seeing" all the orange and it's negating the purpose of drawing my attention.
I'd love to see an alternative option for categories that have goals. Maybe they remain green when there is money in the category, but show a status bar or pie wheel of progress. I just don't find the orange useful for goals not yet met, especially when I'm "on track" for the month and just don't meet the goal until the end of the month (which is, in fact, an acceptable behavior).