Stealing from the future

When I import my bank transactions into YNAB, occasionally there will be a transaction that I want to initially import into "to be budgeted" and then juggle things around on the budget page to cover.  However, instead of causing this months TBB to go red it causes next months to go red instead.

I've done some searching around and this seems to be called "stealing from the future". 

It means that every time I use YNAB I have to click forward into next month just to check it's still green.  Searching through the forums, this seems to be an issue 2+ years old.

Is there really no other fix than manually checking or installing a third party browser addon which may/may not be respecting my privacy?  Surely with a subscription based model and a yearly cost of $85 we should expect issues like this to be fixed quicker than 2 years+?

Apologies if I'm missing something - would love to know how to stop this happening if it has already been addressed!  Thanks.

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  • 2 years? SFTF has been there since the beginning in 2016. The toolkit does the trick though and will let you know. Not sure why you think it’s not respecting your privacy though.

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      • Herman
      • herman
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Superbone funny thing is I've had the beta "fix" for stealing from the future for probably 2 years now.  They never rolled it out and never came up with a new one.  🤷‍♂️

      Like 2
      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Herman Same here. The fix is fine enough. It only causes weirdness if you release money and go backward. It’s certainly better than the problem.

      Like 1
  • Thanks Superbone .  I see the toolkit is open source so I'll give it a look.  The reasoning behind my privacy comment is that I have to trust YNAB will respect my privacy (I pay them for that expectation and they stake their reputation on it).  But I don't have that relationship with the extension developers.  However, given that it's open source I have to hope their community respects privacy and doesn't do anything with my data.

    Still, I'd prefer a first-party solution direct from YNAB.  I don't use any of their training or support so I really only pay for the software.

    Cheers.

    Like 1
      • ynaber2613
      • ynaber2613
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Hot Pink Cup I agree with you on trusting the privacy of an extension that clearly warns that it can read your private data including passwords.  I know since it is open source it has a lot of pier review from other open source developers but then again it does have that warning.  Others have said that the warning is there for legal reasons but hey, you have been warned.  

      Also, I use Apple products and I prefer to get my apps and extensions from the Apple store as I feel they do a robust review of third party software to ensure it is save and plays within its own sandbox.  The Toolkit used to be in the Apple store but no longer is provided there.

      YNAB needs to provide a notification on the current months screen to indicate a negative TBB in any future month.  I do not understand why that is such a problem to do.  They have had beta versions before to attempt to fix this but apparently they did not make the cut.  Some people just leave $1.00 in TBB to provide an indication that the current month is over budgeted.

      Like 2
    • ynaber2613 Thanks, reasonable workaround.  I did look at the plugin - the devs are doing a good job but I only really need a solution for SFTF so I'll just glance at next month each day and hope that YNAB can fix it gracefully one day.

      Like 1
  • One alternative that also works, which some prefer, (I use it) and others prefer not to, is instead of actually budgeting money into future months, to create a category called "Income for Next Month" (INM) where you place all of your income that isn't planned to be used this month into.  Then at the end of the month, you release the funds from that category back into TBB, and you budget it into the new month.

    This has at least 2 great benefits.  1. you don't have to mess with switching months every time you get paid, and 2.  Even if you aren't a month ahead yet on your income (still on paycheck to paycheck mode) you can work toward getting an entire month's worth of budgeting into your INM and in one fell swoop you get the entire next month's budget done after your final income of the month comes in.

    Like 5
    • Vibrant
    • No more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars
    • vibrant
    • 1 mth ago
    • Reported - view
    Hot Pink Cup said:
    When I import my bank transactions into YNAB, occasionally there will be a transaction that I want to initially import into "to be budgeted" and then juggle things around on the budget page to cover.

     I know your overall question is about SFTF, but I'm curious about this part of your workflow, because I don't understand your purpose in categorizing any outflow transaction as "Inflow: TBB" instead of to the correct spending category. 

    Like
    • Vibrant I do categorise during import if I have the money in the right place.  But if I need to move £5 from 10 other categories to cover a £50 impulse buy I'd rather deal with that on the main budget screen when I can see the bigger picture.

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      • Vibrant
      • No more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars
      • vibrant
      • 1 mth ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Hot Pink Cup I guess I still don't understand. If you add a transaction that doesn't have enough available, the category will turn red, in the current month so you don't have to flip ahead to check the negative amount. And then you move money from other categories to the underfunded category until it's covered. It seems like flowing it through TBB adds several unnecessary steps.

      Like 3
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view
      Hot Pink Cup said:
      I do categorise during import if I have the money in the right place

      You should always categorize spending to the appropriate spending category (not Inflow:To Be Budgeted). If that exceeds the Available amount in that category, overspending results. Moving funds between categories in the budget (to correct the overspending) is a second step.

      (Ideally, you would check the category before spending and move funds before it's too late to skip the purchase if you can't find a less important category's funds to take. Still two steps, just reversing the order. The transaction is still categorized to the spending category.)

      Like 1
  • My preference is the INM category for many reasons, but leaving $1 in TBB is an effective workaround if you wish to budget directly to the future every time income arrives. Outside of overspending, a future TBB will never be less than a positive current TBB.

    Others who wish to budget all the way to $0 rely exclusively on the Move Money or Cover Overspending dialogs when TBB is $0. (Click on the category Available value to access.) This ensures offsetting budget entries within the same month. 

    Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Cash/red overspending is a concern with ANY approach (even the INM category), but that's not SFTF and presumably you can find/correct that.

      You might make a feature request for a summary of current-month cash and credit overspending. Shown in the CURRENT month header, with a "click to take me to the next occurrence", this would enhance awareness. It's all too easy to miss overspending under a collapsed group, lost in a sea of underfunded Goals, or even imported into a hidden category.

      Like 1
  • Hi Hot Pink Cup !

    Yes, once you budget in the future the most up-to-date To be Budgeted  figure is in that future month. Our team is looking at ways to make Stealing From The Future more prominent, and know that we can improve here. 

    Our CPO, Todd, recently did an AMA on Reddit that touched on this. A version was beta tested in the past, but it wasn't quite where we'd like it to be. The solution has been a tricky one, but we're not giving up! You can let our development team know your thoughts here.

    While not specifically a SFTF fix, we have a few changes in the pipeline that I personally feel will help make it less likely. Though, it's a hunch and time will tell!

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    • Hot Pink Cup Can you let me know a little bit more about the scenario you mentioned? Why is the transaction being categorized to To be Budgetedinstead of a category? Edited to add: I see that above!

      If you choose a category, you'd see the Available as overspent—and could move money directly between categories, and avoid checking the future month. There may be a piece missing that you didn't mention though! 

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    • Nicole Thanks and yes as Vibrant and dakinemaui also stated - using anything other than TBB in categorisation should avoid the issue in my particular workflow.

      Like 1
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