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.

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  • This would work fantastically for Birthdays and can even be used to compute the optimal "budget-billing" (i.e., consistent) amount for utilities. (Hint, it's not necessarily the yearly total / 12 because of the well known startup phase.)

  • 10SNE1 said:
    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.

    Like 1
  • 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!

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    • Matthew The inspector only shows upcoming transactions in the current month, so there would have to be a longer time frame shown, as well as awareness of when the category would hit the lowest point. I use that calc-it-out site dakinemaui recommended a couple of years ago, which graphs all those things. There would need to be some big interface changes to deal with it from a scheduled transaction perspective, as well, I would guess. Besides, would you have us put scheduled transactions in for anticipated birthday gifts? I mean, I use scheduled transactions for a lot of things, but that is possibly a little much. 

      I think it's 5 in one hand (scheduled transactions) and half a dozen in another (multiple goals). Also, committed transactions would play nicely with multiple goals... 

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 8 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Matthew Scheduled transactions could be one way to specify the "input" to the multi-outflow goal, but it's not without its own issues. The issue is that the "real" transactions are often different from the plan. For instance, a Birthday category with a planned $50 in January and $80 in October. There might be several transactions totalling $45 for the Jan. birthday. There's also the issue that the scheduled transaction "fires" and creates a $50 outflow that isn't real and needs to be deleted.

      I expect the GUI changes to allow multiple amounts and multiple dates would be simpler than trying to shoehorn something with scheduled transactions. However, a "Promote to Goal" when right-clicking on a scheduled, recurring transaction would be welcome.

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      • 10SNE1
      • jagstyles
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Matthew If scheduled transactions were incorporated into the feature request I've made as a stop-gap measure, I'd be willing to accept that for now. 

      I think the key takeaway is that I'm tired of having to create separate categories for expenses of a similar nature. I'm actually quite surprised YNAB hasn't launched something like this already given that it would result in much simpler budget categories.

      I also think this feature alone would go a long way at showing the users of YNAB the value that comes with their subscription. It's something they can't easily replicate/duplicate on their own. I mean sure, right now most people are using the prefunding strategy of manually calculating all their expected expenses for the category and then prefunding it but not everyone enjoys doing this and not everyone has sufficient money available to pre-fund the category.

      So long-story short, if YNAB could quickly implement this feature request by only looking at scheduled transactions for now, I would take this! I could simply schedule estimated/budgeted amounts for things like birthdays where the exact amount may not be known.

    • 10SNE1 Our team is continuing to work on goal improvements! I love the idea of simplifying and cutting down on category bloat. When or if certain type or implementation will be available, is another matter. This is quite a different approach, so we'd definitely test thoroughly—and I feel comfortable saying that exploring this concept would take time. Thank you so much for submitting the Feature Request and sharing your thoughts with our Product team!

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      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 7 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Nicole This would be an awesome feature!!!!  Crossing my fingers...

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  • I want this feature too!!!!!!

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  • Would be an incredible feature!!!   All for it!!!

  • A small improvement would be just to allow arithmetic in Goals Amount field like it is in the budgeting & transactions fields.

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  • I definitely would appreciate being able to handle subcategory goals on a category. I understand it's a change in UI and on the database level, but it would make things simpler for some more complex people. 

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