How to budget properly for true expenses
I have a general Travel budget category. I have two trips planned this year, a one-off NY-DC trip in July and an annual SoCal trip in December. I have a spend by date goal I would like to implement for both (book flights months early, pay half of airbnb now, half when you check in, other miscellaneous expenses during trip, car rental paid at return, etc) and will be contributing monthly toward both goals. At the end of the day, I don't want to see "NY-DC 2020" and "SoCal Christmas 2020" in my budget forever - I'd like to delete them when I'm done and have everything roll into Travel. Problem is, while the expenses do roll into a new category of your choice without a problem, I think I'd have to go back and fix all the budgeting allocations manually in each of the months.
Question: is there a simple way to accomplish this objective? Can I have these temporary categories with goals (and expenses) and then retire them back to Travel at the end, or at least get them hidden when I'm done?
I can see creating a Travel category group or something, but it still won't solve the problem of removing the one-offs when I'm done.
I plan to keep my budget alive for years, not restart or create a new one.
Hi sf2sa !
Yes, you can hide categories that you no longer intend to use. They'll be moved to a collapsed "Hidden Categories" category group at the bottom of your budget.
YNAB Educator Sherri has written a "Next Level Budgeting" blog series on how to plan for your spending using category groups. This one goes over how she uses her technique for this exact topic - vacation. Keep in mind that this approach can be used anywhere in your budget.
If you'd rather not "Hide" those categories, you can rename them as dakinemaui mentioned. Do you plan on taking two trips every year? After your "NY-DC 2020" trip, you could rename it to "Next Adventure 2021" or pick a more specific location for each. :)