Viewing Money Reports Differently than Set in YNAB

Does anyone else struggle with, at times, wanting to view reports about their money in ways other than how your categories are organized?  I pretty much stick to the YNAB standard of fixed expenses, day-to-day living, true expenses, etc. which is fine, but some things are spread over different category groups, which makes it difficult to group and report on.  Take my car; I have fuel in day-to-day living, but I have insurance and maintenance in true expenses.  Thankfully, my car is paid off (2012 Civic), but if I had a payment, it would be in fixed expenses.  If I wanted to run a report just for my car stuff, I'd have to rearrange it into a category group, run the report, and then put it back afterwards.  (I understand that in that example I could tick off just those categories but not if I want to see multiple areas.  It's just an example of wanting to view things differently than they are set.)

The basic question is, what do you do or use when you want to view your money in ways other than the way you have your category groups organized?  I have been looking into exporting my transactions and then using Excel or even Microsoft's PowerBI  as ways to have "alternate views" of my money but it's not easy to set up.

It would be great if YNAB offered alternate report "views".

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  • ukimagic209  After moving my categories to make a report (like you are interested in) a few times, I just permanently moved them into functional categories, some of mine being called: Housing, Garage, Food, Freedom, etc. So only things that are vehicle related are in the garage group. 

    I personally like how the reports look now and they make sense, to me. It's nice to see exactly how much it cost to run x number of vehicles or how much it cost to keep the lights on and the wifi working.

    I'm not that good with Excel, I wish I was. 

    • B's Gambit Hmm, maybe I just need to reconsider my category groups. I go back and forth about it. I like then organized one way for funding but another for reporting (at times). *sigh*

  • ukimagic209 I think B's Gambit 's approach is probably the way to go. I do have another idea, although it's clunky: you could put a keyword in all of your car-related categories, search All Accounts for that keyword, and then total up the retrieved transactions.

    You can also deselect the non-car categories when you run a report, but there's no way to get back to that view without doing the same thing every time.

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    • Matthew Thanks Matt. Since YNAB doesn’t offer subcategories, I use the method you just mentioned; basically add a label name, then a dash and the memo, so I can use that as a search term later.  It helps a little. 

      I’m just amazed that YNAB still doesn’t offer subcategories, labels, and/or alternative reporting views 😕.  I love YNAB though - been using it for about a decade 🙂.

  • Export to Excel is the "anything you want" option if you have the skills.

    The default organization is great when you're still budgeting checks to both this and next month, as it somewhat indicates the temporal aspect of your expenses. (Immediate vs accumulate. If funds are tight, the grouping are a gross indication of priority.) After I was able to push all income into next month and budget in month-sized chunks, the temporal consideration went away. There was no "which do I fund first" quandary, since everything was funded at the same time. At that time, I switched to functional groups for the better reporting.

    TBH, I hardly use reports at all now. The budget itself is the "report" I typically rely on, possibly with the addition of the average quick-budget information.

    • dakinemaui Makes sense!  Maybe if and when I get there I’ll switch over to functional category groups. 

  • ukimagic209  Why don't you just consider moving petrol to "True Expenses"? Or anything to do with your car (sans tinting the windows, adding track lights, fuzzy dice... etc).

    Having simple categories that are clearly defined will allow your sub-categories to accomplish what you want them to. Who needs to know how much you spent on a daily-expense when you only ver report on a monthly basis? They're all averaged out in the report. 

    • RyanB Well, it mainly has to do with funding, as dakinemaui mentioned in his last post. Right now, I prefer to keep things organized (roughly) from most-important-to-fund to least.  I have car gas in my day-to-day expenses while the rest is in true expenses.  I’ll just have to reorganize my categories a bit if I really want to report on transportation expenses. 

  • Now that I've given it some more thought, I just may go with functional category groups but within each group, order categories by their funding priority (first to pay at the top).  Might be the best of both worlds. 🙂

    • ukimagic209 I didn't state that earlier, but that is exactly what I do. Prioritize within the functional groups.  Also, the functional groups are prioritized as well so that Housing comes way before Little Luxuries. I agree, I think it's the best of both worlds.

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  • Suggest you search the forum.  Basic reporting fixes (ie, bringing YNAB to the reporting standard other financial mgmt programs achieved 2 decades ago), are being ignored.  Have been for years.

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