Using money from a goal towards that goal? Not sure if right place...
Hello everyone. I'm back to YNAB from way back from the classic edition.
Recently I saved up for a trip. I hit my goal target in time and I'm ready to go next week! However, I'm not sure how to handle transactions from the trip. When I buy a meal out, should I put it in the trip goal category? Or to my restaurants category and then move money from the goal. Same goes for gas and such.
Anyone have advice?
It depends on how you want to track it.
Usually when we travel, the food and travel costs come out of the budget amount for the trip (and the budget amount was determined including those expected costs). That way our gas and restaurant categories will maintain averages that are based on regular monthly usage and not skewed by the trip.
On the other hand, if you want to just use your regular categories for those expenses, you can always move some of the travel budget money into the restaurant and gas categories if those amounts were planned for in your travel budget originally.
I am consistently inconsistent with this situation. Since 1995 I go on an annual trip to the beach with friends. So I save up all year. 100% of the time I categorize the costs of the rental house to the Annual Beach Trip category. Sometimes I also allocate the grocery/restaurant/souvenir costs to that category as well. Sometimes if I spend $30 at the grocery store I move $30 out of the Annual Beach Trip category to groceries. Sometimes I switch things around after the fact. The one thing that I do consistently since starting YNAB in 2014 is to hashtag the memo field for every transaction #BeachWeek2014, #BeachWeek2015, etc so that once I finally come to terms with how I want to do it, I can easily sort the transactions for categorization. This only works because I don't actually care what my average monthly grocery spend is. I categorize the gas for the trip into the Trip category because it is a 6 hour drive so really throws things off (my daily commute to work is over an hour each direction, but only 2 miles round trip are in a car) whereas the overpriced groceries at the beach don't really skew my groceries as I'd be buying groceries anyway if I were at home.
Now, when I go on a very specific vacation - in December 2014 a friend and I met up in Berlin to visit the Christmas Markets - everything from the taxi to the airport to the ornaments that I bought got categorized to the Berlin Trip category because the whole thing was a one-off as opposed to something that happens the 1st week of May every year for 20+ years (in my mind at least).
I don't want vacations to muddy up my other category averages, since I value the YNAB reporting feature to help me determine future budgets.
For me, I would just say that XYZ restaurant came from the trip category. So much easier than moving money around and it doesn't affect your regular budget categories. Plus, if you ever want to look back at how much you really spent on the trip, you just have to look at the trip category itself.