How far back to get started?

Hi all,

I am very new w/ YNAB.


One 'getting started question' I have not seen in the docs:

  • "how far back?"  should I import and categorize transactions
  • Can I delete imported transactions that are "too old"


  •  I have imported YTD transactions from my bank and credit cards


Some points:

  • We have a lot of  purchases and categorizing hundreds of transactions year-to-date seems daunting
  • We're more interested in "the future" than "the past"
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  • Recommended practice is start from today. No historic transactions, as they were made open loop without the spending guidance of YNAB.

  • Another thought, it is good to examine past transactions to get an idea of what categories to create. A credit card yearly summary is also a good resource.

    Just be aware budget allocations are estimates, otherwise known as "guesses". You will not be 100% right, so adjust as it becomes obvious that you should, and move on.

  • PurplePython said:
    Can I delete imported transactions that are "too old"

    Yes. The absolutely most important thing is that your YNAB cleared account balance matches that in the bank as of today.

  • Go back no further than 60 seconds. What are the cleared balances in your accounts right now? 

    That’s what you begin with. 

    I would start a whole new budget and do that. Ignore the YTD stuff you did before. 

  • Start from today.  Get the current balance from each account, enter pending transactions and go forward.

  • PurplePython said:
    How far back to get started?

     None far back.

  • Hi all,


    thanks for the quick and consistent replies!


    I raised the question during the online zoom class today and the instructor said the same:

    i.e, the most important thing "up front" is to get your mind wrapped around the process and that starting out "unlinked" is  best in most cases.


    I like this answer as:

    - categorizing hundreds of transactions appears a daunting task w/ no "well defined"

    - from a long term perspective, we want to get our practices in place

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