Strange issue when paying more than budgeted

Hi Everyone, I'm noticing something strange in a new budget I have setup and I'm not sure why it's happening.  It has me slightly concerned about my numbers being accurate.

Hopefully what I'm outlining here makes sense.  Here is how I reproduce the issue.  These are simpler numbers than what really happened, but it applies and I can follow these steps to see the issue repeatedly.

  • Credit Card #1 - June 2020 Budgeted - $0, but it turns out I owe $5.
  • To Be Budgeted is currently $0.
  • Go into my checking account, enter a transaction for $5 as a transfer to Credit Card #1.

What I'd expect to happen here is that I'd have a negative $5 To Be Budgeted and I'd need to cover it by reducing funds in another category, perhaps moving $5 over from my vacation fund.  But that's not what happens.  Here's what shows up in my budget:

  • To Be Budgeted is now POSITIVE $5 (where does this $5 come from???)
  • Credit Card #1 now has a $0 Budgeted Amount, a -$5 Activity Amount, and $-5 available.  This sounds reasonable, it's what's happening.
  • If I click the $5 To Be Budgeted, I can move this into my Credit Card and now everything is balanced, but where did this magic $5 come from?

I'm going a bit mad here trying to figure it out :)


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  • Tomato Major said:
    What I'd expect to happen here is that I'd have a negative $5 To Be Budgeted

    No, you should expect the CC Payment category Available to be -$5 (assuming Available was $0 before the transfer). The fact Budgeted is $0 doesn't terribly matter -- it's the Available that counts.

    Tomato Major said:
    To Be Budgeted is now POSITIVE $5

    This suggests that your CC account went positive. A positive CC account is cash, which is included in the budget funds, but this merely offsets the outflow from Checking. Obviously, you haven't actually gained money (it's similar to transferring from checking to savings in that regard), so the net on the budget must be $0. The negative in the Payment category must be offset somewhere by an increase, and that somewhere is TBB.

    The correct thing to do is to cover that overspent Payment category with the seemingly new funds in TBB. This basically acknowledges the warning that you overpaid the CC -- at least YNAB's knowledge of what you owed.

    So the real question you should ask yourself is why was your CC account balance $0 when the real-world balance was -$5?

    Like 1
    • I'd suggest that you reconcile your CC account, entering a $5 outflow along the way and making sure that category has funds available. Then you can delete the budget entry in the Payment category resulting in your previous move of the mystery funds from TBB.

      Like 1
  • I think I'm following you... but here's a couple questions.

    Does your credit card balance show the $5? When you click on the account itself, does it say that the working balance and cleared balance are $5?
    If not, then that could be where the issue is coming from - your credit card balance needs to match what is in your account. So either a transaction was missed, or the balance was different than what you initially started with.

  • dakinemaui & farfromtheusual - Thank you both.  You were dead on - my reconciliation was wrong (positive instead of negative) and that money ended up showing up a budgetable money.  I fixed the accounts by ensuring they were all properly $0 or negative, which obviously gave me some negative dollars in my TBB that I had to fix.  Once I got everything evened out, I retested the $5 test from my original post and it now works as it should (TBB goes from $0 to $-5 and needs to be covered by something).

    Damn, glad I caught that now, it could have totally gotten out out control with those Credit Card balances looking like money that could be budgeted!

    Like 3
    • Tomato Major whew, glad you found it! That is so frustrating when you can't find the little thing and it throws everything else off.

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