How do you track a partner account in parallel with individual expense tracking?
For years, my wife and I have paid half of our joint costs from our own account and balanced the imbalance between the two of us via transfers.
Now, however, we have opened a partner account to which we each transfer an amount determined from historical data, with which we can cover the monthly costs. In the future, all joint costs will go through this account: rent, groceries, insurances, etc.
But: what is the most elegant way to continue tracking my private accounts and, in parallel, the partner account? How do you do that?
My first impulse was to simply create another checking account. However, here you run into incredibly small payment tracking.
The YNAB guide "Join Forces" has unfortunately not been able to give me a solid suggestion.
Hi, Karl! The fundamental question here is how much you want to keep private and shared money separate.
In YNAB, all money in budget accounts added to a single budget are combined so that every dollar can be given a job. Your account is simply the *location* of the money, not the *job*. Categories are where you give your dollars jobs. So if you add your personal accounts and your joint account to a single budget, all money in all accounts will be combined and made available in Ready to Assign.
Now, you've created an account that you've put a mental fence around in that it is to be exclusively used for shared expenses. If you want to be certain that the money in that account is exclusively used for those purposes and not co-mingled with other money, you should create a separate budget for those joint expenses. Your joint account can be added to that joint budget—and should not be included on any other budget.
Similarly, you should each have separate personal budgets for your private accounts so that money doesn't co-mingle with the money in your joint account in the budget, or with your spouse's personal money.
In your personal budgets:
- If you have money deposited into a personal checking account, then manually transfer money to the joint account, you'll need to add that as an outflow. Create a category (with a monthly Target, if you'd like!) that is for "Monthly Joint Expenses." Categorize your outflow there. Any other transfers to your joint account will be an outflow, categorized here.
- Your personal expenses will be managed in your personal budget. And your spouse's in their personal budget.
I hope that helps! Let us know what questions you have about this. :)