Fresh nYNAB credit card balance

I was a long time YNAB4 user and now I'm using nYNAB. Like, as of this morning. Without enough coffee...

I'd fallen off the YNAB wagon, but was still budgeting okayish.  I want to get back in the habit so I can save better. 

I'm the type who pays their credit card in full each month, with no interest payments. Unfortunately, credit card cycles and months don't line up all politely for me to start the month with a zero balance.

I understand that whenever you enter an expense, you see it transfer from the category you entered it in, to credit card payments. That's sort of neat. I picked up some groceries this morning, keyed them in, and I see $6.70 moved from Groceries to American Express Blue. 

*However*, my problem lies with entering the existing balance. Prior to my groceries this morning, my balance was $634.23. I do not see this in the "payment" line, nor do I see the balance of my Chase card in that line either. Both of them say $0.00 in grey in the far-right column. 

 

How do I get YNAB to show that I actually owe $640.93 (balance plus my purchase today) in that column? I see that amount as a negative balance in the blue and white accounts column. But not in the main budget. 

 


Thanks! 

28replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
    • WordTenor
    • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
    • WordTenor
    • 7 mths ago
    • 3
    • Reported - view

    YNAB will never show how much your card expects you to pay, only what your budget has available for you to pay. If you owe $600 for previous spending, you need to give $600 the job of paying that spending back by budgeting directly to the card category. In the future, you will only need to do this if you incur new debt later. 

    This is an identical procedure to putting a new card in YNAB 4: if you intended to pay the card in full, you had to first budget the Pre-YNAB debt category to zero. 

    Like 3
      • Dalinar
      • Sky_Blue_Jackal.4
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor  So I just need to plug the $634 into the "Budgeted" category?  (and likewise for the other balances?)  

      Once the card is paid off for the next cycle, and I'm effectively completely in nYNAB, will I have to shift budgeted amounts around for payments? Or does that already happen with new transactions? I use my cards for everything, so manually swapping $5 here and $20 there might be a hassle. 

      I'm guessing I have some videos to watch to shift my mindset from the old system. 

      Like 1
  • WordTenor is correct. Once you add the $600 to the card category itself, you should be good to go. After that, provided you reconcile your card and keep it accurate, YNAB should accurately reflect what you owe for all cleared transactions in the card category. 

    Like
  • Dalinar said:
    will I have to shift budgeted amounts around for payments?

    YNAB will automatically keep up with budgeted purchases. If you deviate outside of that, you will have to manually adjust the CC Payment category to restore agreement between the account and Payment category balances. Common examples of "outside of that" are purchase rewards, gift-card purchases/transfers (when the GCs are tracked in YNAB), and some reimbursement tracking approaches that leverage temporary debt (which are more suitable for large expenses).

    Like 1
  • Dalinar said:
    I'm the type who pays their credit card in full each month

    If you mean pay the entire account balance down to $0, you may run into issues with returns or some overspending scenarios. As such, most users with "paid-in-full" status only pay what the CC has requested; i.e., the statement balance. This leaves money in the CC Payment category for the next payment, earns interest on that amount, and can usually be automated (reducing the risk of errors).

    Like
  • Dalinar said:
    I was a long time YNAB4 user

    If you want a paid-in-full CC to work exactly as it did in YNAB4, you can use a checking account type to represent your card. This implicitly reserves money to pay the entire CC account at all times. The previously mentioned issues with purchase rewards, returns, transfers, etc. vanish. The tradeoff is it's no longer set up to finance anything, should that need arise. In that event, you would need to make a balance transfer to a real credit account until such time as paid-in-full status were restored, then transfer back to the checking account representation.

    Dalinar said:
    I'd fallen off the YNAB wagon, but was still budgeting okayish

    The above notwithstanding, this may be reason to continue to use the new credit representation, at least for now. Switching to a checking account representation forces a bit more discipline since overspending is not allowed to persist past the end of the month.

    Like 2
      • Dalinar
      • Sky_Blue_Jackal.4
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui 

      Regarding your previous post, I suppose a more accurate statement would be I always pay the statement balance when it comes in. So if my total balance is $800 and my statement tells me my closing amount as of was $600, I pay the $600 and have a total balance after it posts of $200. I don't pay the card down to $0, but I fully pay off any purchases/balance as of the statement closing date. Since I've paid off the statement balance, no interest accrues. 

       

      As far as overspending, it was pretty much stuff that was easily covered by another category.  Went over a bit in the beer budget, pulled a little from the restaurants since we don't tend to go out during winter. I never exceed my monthly income/"buffer". 

      Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Dalinar Paying the statement balance definitely sidesteps some issues, and covering overspending is a good habit. Sounds like the checking account representation would work well for your paid-in-full card(s). It absolutely prevents accidental credit growth (e.g., you miss some overspending under a collapsed category group). Again, there's little downside, as you can switch to a credit representation in seconds if needed.

      Like
      • Smarti
      • Smarti_92
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui I've been researching moving CC accts to checking accts as you've mentioned on several boards. Been a stop/restart user for several years now and back on the wagon for the past year. I've had a lot of CC refunds lately and my budget being screwed up because of it and I'm tired of spending hours on this with support and forums. ANYWAY- the issue I have sometimes is with work reimbursements- so I charge a hotel or business meal on a card and won't get reimbursed (ever) in the same month, but never to the point of having to finance (always before payment is due on the card). Any personal purchases are paid down to zero weekly, so no financing there either. Are there any issues with the month change over with work reimbursements that you can foresee if I change CC's to checking accts? TIA! 

      Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Smarti With a checking account representation, there is no debt facility. That means you should pre-fund or offset your reimbursement category in order to cross the month boundary. (This is YNAB's #1 recommended approach.) Otherwise, your reimbursements will be taken out of next months TBB, with just as much confusion for you to rectify as is currently present.

      Note this reimbursement process works for credit accounts as well. Thus, your reimbursement difficulty is not really a reason to switch to a checking account representation.

      If you cannot afford to offset the category, you'll need to use the temporary debt approach (and use a real credit account). This is YNAB's #2 recommended approach, but the official instructions are overly complicated IMHO. Here is a simpler process:

      1. Categorize both inflow and outflow to the reimbursement category.

      2. If the category turns green, move the excess to the CC Payment category.

      Like 1
      • Smarti
      • Smarti_92
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui that makes sense. Just had a rash of credit refunds over 2 months of charges that are a nightmare to deal with at the moment, that was my reason for potentially switching. Thanks for the help! 

      Like 1
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Smarti And that IS a reason for switching to the checking account method. If you're PIF user, I see no drawbacks to making the switch. The reimbursement issue is present with both methods.

      Like 1
      • Smarti
      • Smarti_92
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Superbone I think I'll try it and see how it goes! Thanks! 

      Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Smarti See this for a description of a reimbursement approach that works well with a checking account representation of your credit card. It's the first approach mentioned.

      https://docs.youneedabudget.com/article/183-reimbursements

      Like 1
      • Smarti
      • Smarti_92
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Thank you. sometimes this works flawlessly, sometimes it doesn't. :/ every few months or so something wonky will happen with the month changeover on CCs that i can't readily account for. It makes me wonder why YNAB couldn't account for the statement spread instead of month changeover? Like a feature where you could put in your statement dates and you wouldn't have all this month carryover junk with CCs. 

      Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Smarti Can you further describe a case for which it doesn't work? In my view, the CC statement dates are really quite immaterial to the budgeting process. The bottom line is that money needs to be in the CC Payment category prior to payment. That can happen anytime from approximately up to 4 weeks before the statement close to up to 4 weeks after the statement close.

      I will grant if you've got a complicated situation where you're trying to maximize rewards on reimbursable purchases with multiple cards, then yes there's a fair bit to track. That's the price you pay for those additional rewards, I suppose. (However, statement closing dates are still immaterial.)

      Like
      • Smarti
      • Smarti_92
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui I think it would help with the month changeovers. Sometimes when the month changes over and i'm waiting for reimbursement of work expenses, the overage amounts that then need to be budgeted directly to the card are not correct and i've never been able to figure out why. I guess i wish YNAB was more fluid with the month changeovers but it isn't a huge deal. 

      Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Smarti 

      Smarti said:
      i'm waiting for reimbursement of work expenses, the overage amounts that then need to be budgeted directly to the card are not correct

      How are they not correct? You haven't yet received the reimbursement, so there is no money to move. You have a minimum of 4 weeks after the expense to be reimbursed. Again, I think this is a slight process misunderstanding. With the temporary debt approach, if the category turns green, that's the signal to move funds to the CC Payment category. That's it. This handles all the cases (same-month, cross-month, and even cross-month with intervening/additional expenses).

      Like 1
      • Smarti
      • Smarti_92
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui I wish i knew. If i understood why these amounts don't match up, i wouldn't have so many issues. If it happens again i'll report back with specifics. Thanks!

      Like 1
  • Hey Dalinar ! Our Updating from YNAB 4 workshop walks through the new features and changes. And you may find the Transition Guide helpful too!

    You'll want to budget for the starting balance on your card. No matter if you pay the statement balance, or down to zero—your credit card Payment column should match the balance owed on the card. Positive amounts will roll over for next month's payment if you pay the statement balance. Here's what it looks like in the budget:
     

    Like 1
  • I also pay my credit card to zero every month. Isn't it double counting my money? I am only using 4k/mo, but when I put the pay off credit card to that it gets mad at me.

    Like 1
    • Slate Gray Cleric Hello! It sounds like (1) you didn't budget for your starting balance in full when you added the card to YNAB, (2) you have overspending in the current or past months on that card, or (3) you're trying to pay the card in full while there are outstanding reimbursable expenses that you didn't budget for (which is really the same as #2).

      In any case, however, the cure is the same: budget enough to the Credit Card Payment category to make the amount available there equal to your current balance, as in Nicole's illustration.

      Does that help you track down the issue?

      Like
  • No, not at all. It counts things I pay with my credit card twice. Once when I purchase it with the card, and the again when I'm buying it with the card with the current method. My budget is for $4,500 for the month. When I add in what it wants me to do with the card, my budget doubles to $9000. I had a starting balance budgeted for. I just want to get rid of that line item at this point, because it is counting every purchase I make twice and gets mad at me when I tell it not to.

    Like 1
      • satcook
      • satcook
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Slate Gray Cleric are you trying to budget $4500 to the credit card payments line??

       

      if you are making budgeted purchases then you don’t need to budget anything to the credit card payments line. 

      Like 1
    • Slate Gray Cleric I've just sent you an email regarding this issue—please check your inbox!

      Like 1
  • If I don't budget there, it yells at me that I paid too much into it.

    Like 1
      • Emma Catherine
      • Civil engineer getting back on track
      • emmacatherine
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Slate Gray Cleric Maybe screenshots of each step you are doing would help clear up the confusion?

      Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view
      Slate Gray Cleric said:
      If I don't budget there, it yells at me that I paid too much into it.

      It's telling you that because you paid off MORE than the recent budgeted purchases. The category increases automatically for those. (Prove this to yourself by looking at the CC Payment category Available, recording a test transaction against a category with funds, and then looking at the Payment Available again.)

      So no, it's not requiring you to double-budget for those budgeted purchases. It's merely warning you that you  haven't accounted for the starting balance (or previous unbudgeted purchases) at all -- those were zero-budgeted, if you will.

      Like 1
Like Follow
  • 7 mths agoLast active
  • 28Replies
  • 221Views
  • 12 Following