Beginner Question


Beginner question, but I'm probably just getting myself confused. I really like planning for a big expense by breaking it down into monthly chunks. But what about regular expenses? For example, if I expect to spend $50 per month in cash on average, but some months I spend no cash and some months I spend $100 or more, do I just allocate $50 every month and let the available build up to cover the higher than average months, or do I actively try and anticipate the cash spending at the start of every month and budget accordingly?



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    • MsTJ
    • YNAB has given me back my future
    • Believer_in_YNAb
    • 2 yrs ago
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    • Reported - view

    I go with $50 monthly in the situation you describe.  Others do things differently.  My goal is to make the months as smooth as possible, budgeting wise since I hate having to make monthly changes that truly don't make any difference in the end.  

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    • nolesrule
    • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
    • nolesrule
    • 2 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    50/month. But you need to be careful early on so that you aren't under-funded in your category. If in the first month you budget 50 but spend 100 or more, you're going to have issues, and you'll need to cover that overspending.

  • You can create an excel "calculator" which records income (50) and when you "spend". From that you can determine which is your start month. Once you have start month (aka if you started saving this month you would not go negative), you know how much to front load that category to be good from this point forward. That is what I had to do for all of my categories when I onboarded with ynab.

  • You can do it either way.  Personally, I like the $50/month option- letting the category build up over time.  I use this method for a couple of budget categories.  For example, I allocate a certain amount to medical expenses every month.  I don't always spend the amount allocated, but sometimes it will be higher.  I just let the amount build up and use it as required.

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