How to "bundle" categories and impact of reporting
I notice that many YNABers tend to use "Monthly Fixed Expenses" as a category name. Most budgeters, however, tend to use Housing, Transportation, Living Expenses, etc. as expenses. Is there a benefit to using Monthly Fixed Expenses as a category? Which of these methods provides more useful reporting information down the road? To be honest, I've gone back and forth between these two methods. I attached a screenshot of a portion of my current budget.
I was recently made redundant from my job. Before that I had a good income and I was never concerned with how I was going to pay for things. YNAB was more a tool to force me to control my spending and prioritise my money effectively for big things like buying a house or a car etc. All of my categories were grouped by function, housing, children, spending, etc. Now that I'm actually concerned with my ability to pay bills I have re jigged my budget into Essential Monthly Expenses, Discretionary Monthly Expenses, Essential True Expenses, and Discretionary True Expenses.
This is better in my new situation because it has given me insight into the minimum income I need to for survival vs the income I need to have a somewhat nicer lifestyle. Every category has a goal and I can see the monthly income required by just selecting the appropriate category groups.
The fact is though, that as I get a handle on my income requirements, I have hidden categories that I can't justify spending on in the short term and I'm actually migrating back to a functionally grouped categories system because I find it more useful on the whole.
I guess I find the Immediate Obligations approach to be good for strategically planning your budget in the first instance, but once it is laid out I prefer to use the budget tactically with the functional category system. When using categories grouped by function I just have the higher priority ones nearer the top of the group.