Payment Available Amount Larger than Credit Card Balance
Longtime YNAB user here (since 2016) - and I'm STILL confused about how credit cards work. I thought I had it, and then this month things just went wonky.
We pay off our balance on our credit cards in full, and have done since May of last year. All purchases are accounted for in the budget. All accounts are reconciled. And yet, the Payment-Available category is over $1000 more than the card balance for one card, and $400 more than the card balance for the other. I haven't budgeted extra funds to those lines since last May because all things are covered in their category lines. All category lines look either zero-ed out or green going back at least 2 years. Can anybody tell me why those Available numbers are so far off from the balance and the purchases?
Have you had any returns or cashback transactions on those cards? Cashback in particular can cause the payment available amount to be higher than the card balance, since the card balance is reduced, but unless the cashback transaction takes it positive, no money from YNAB moves to RTA. (Returns should be categorized to the appropriate category, and thus wouldn't cause the same issue. But if you/YNAB categorized them to RTA, you'd have the same issue as with the cashback.)
You can safely move the $1000 and $400 to other categories, since you don't need it for the credit card payments.
Fuzzball Meows said:
when the refund shows up on the credit card, leave it categorized to RTA
I don't do this because I don't like random payees from returns in my income/expense report.
All returns go to the category the spending came from. OP, in your case, you would have moved the $800 from the clothing category to the CC to deal with the fact that the month turn occurred in the middle of your process.
Since you didn't, all you need to do is move money around to ensure you have PIF status on your cards right now and your other categories are as you wish them (er, based in reality).
Regarding CCs and PIF status, you can either represent yours as a checking account (though that wouldn't let you float $1000 in trial shoes), or there's a list floating around somewhere on the forum with all the things that can cause the CC Payment category to diverge from PIF status. Fuzzball Meows already addressed about how to deal with rewards. :)
If I purchase something on the card, categorize it, and then return in in a different month, I should assign that return to the original category even though the negative balance has been removed from the category?
This is my preference, as it keeps my returns offsetting my spending in my reports. For returns that occur after the monthly rollover, you'll want to keep a sharp eye on that Credit Card Payment category, though! In instances like your Zappos example, you'll want to move the money right back into your Credit Card Payment category after entering the return transaction.
That said, messing with the past can be dangerous! To move forward from today, you'll want to first cover any credit overspend in the current month, then move money into your Credit Card Payment category until the amount in the available/payment column is equal and opposite to what's on the card.
Here's a bit more on managing a PIF card, how to handle cashback rewards and returns. Let us know what questions you still have, too!