Feature Request: Multiple Target Date Balance Goals Per Category
I've mentioned this already in a few other threads but feel it deserves its own thread in the hopes that it becomes a much bigger focus moving forward. I think this feature would be a game changer for so many people.
Effectively, we should be allowed to create multiple target date balance goals in a single category where YNAB will then automatically adjust and calculate how much we need to be saving for this category.
An example of how this might be useful are my professional membership dues. I have three different memberships, each renewing annually in March, June and November. By allowing us to create three separate target-date balance goals in a single category called "Membership Dues", YNAB could then automatically adjust and calculate how much I need to set aside each month for this category.
Without this feature, it requires either a lot of manual calculation on my part or I have to break those 3 memberships into their own categories which I don't want to do.
What needs to happen for the YNAB developers/team to really bring this to the forefront.I know it's a feature that has been requested from the very beginning and I honestly think it simplify many people's budget categories moving forward.
break those 3 memberships into their own categories
It isn't obvious, but separate categories is very likely (92% chance on average) to tie up more money than necessary due to the startup phase. This is permanently tied up, and can be a significant portion of the total category's funding. See this thread for more details.
I have a question about this idea (which I like very much, to be clear).
Do you think this would be as useful if the goal were based purely on scheduled transactions?
The reason I ask is:
Allowing multiple goals per category is a big user interface change, and it raises all kinds of implementation questions. But we already have a way within YNAB to specify future outflows in a category—scheduled transactions!
And given the list of upcoming transactions in a category and the current amount Available in the category, you have enough information to calculate how much to budget this month to be on track to cover all of those future outflows.
Just spitballing here!
Coming to YNAB from MoneyWell, this is the feature I immediately missed the most. MoneyWell figures out the appropriate amount to put aside each month in order to meet multiple targets for a given envelope (category).
This allows you to create one "Car Maintenance" envelope/category that combines things like car washes, interior cleanings, washer fluid, tire purchases, tire swaps, oil changes, new brakes, license renewal, etc, each with its own schedule.
With YNAB, I believe there are two ways to manage this:
- Create separate categories for everything (I pay $240 once every two years for license renewal... imagine adding an entire category to budget for a transaction that occurs so infrequently!), OR
- Add up all the separate car maintenance items (prorated monthly) and set a Monthly Saving Target for that amount. Try to mention all those items in the Note field, so you can remove them (or add more) manually in the future.
Choice 1 introduces significant category clutter. Sure, I could put all those categories under a Car Maintenance category group and collapse it to reduce visual clutter most of the time, but whenever I expand that group I'd have to wade through all those (mostly stagnant) categories to figure out what's going on.
Choice 2 is what I'm doing now but it feels wrong because a human is doing the work that computers do so very well, and I know if (e.g.) I stop getting car washes it won't be obvious how much I should remove from that monthly target. For that, I'd need to use a spreadsheet alongside YNAB.
Car Maintenance is just one example of a category that contains many periodic items (others include Utilities, Subscriptions, and more). Is the idiomatic YNAB approach to create a separate category for each periodic transaction? A separate category for each of my family's cell phone plans, bus passes, and for each separate subscription (Netflix, Amazon, Apple, YNAB, app subscriptions, internet domains, magazines, etc, etc)? I could see a busy household requiring 100 or more categories to manage this.
I'm still new to YNAB so please set me straight if I'm missing something. Thanks!