I’ve been using YNAB for years and love it but must admit I’ve never truly budgeted for my true expenses. The challenge I have is how to limit my categories but still budget for large in frequent expenses. For example, I have a category for car maintenance/repairs....and another one for car insurance because I pay them both monthly. How do I add one for vehicle registration which is annual without creating another category? Is there some way to consolidate everything under a “Transportation” category while making sure to have the right amount for my vehicle registration when it’s due and not be short due to some type of car repair that occurs prior?
You will have to manually determine the amount you'd need in the category if you are going to combine expenses.
I've been using YNAB for 3.5 years. I don't understand the concern for category bloat with recurring expenses and bills. I'd only be concerned about category bloat in the categories I need to look at all the time and have frequent transactions in.
I would suggest you keep auto registration out of the maintenance/repairs category since you need the clarity, and not be concerned that it adds another category. And It's easier to just make the change to the discrete category and know you've made the correct change when a monthly change in cost comes around.
I do have a question. If you've been using YNAB for years, but haven't been budgeting for true expenses, how have you been successful?
I have my Car Fuel and Car Insurance both as separate categories, but Maintenance and Registration is one category. We have multiple vehicles, so I total up the registration amounts and divide by 52. I add to this weekly amount how much I want to add for maintenance weekly. Each week on payday, I add this amount to the category.
Hope that makes sense and helps.
This is a great discussion! Like other users have mentioned, I keep my auto categories separate. We do recommend fewer, broader categories to start with, but adding more as needed is expected. One of our educators, Erin, says that if you have a category for toothpaste you're probably getting too detailed. :-)
However, there are some separate expenses that I combine into a single category. Summer camp for my kid, for example, is one category and I use the category note section to keep track of each camp cost then combine them all into one Target Category Balance by Date goal.
It's great that you're getting a good handle on all of your True Expenses!
This is what I do. I have a main category group for "annual payments" and then I have a list of annual bills as categories. i.e., car insurance (which I pay annually), home insurance, YNAB subscription, Amazon Prime etc. Then I take the annual amount for each and divide it by 12 and then put that as the monthly funding target for the expense category. Then I collapse this Annual Bills main category sothat I don't constantly see the growing list of annual payments. I am currently on a monthly O365 plan but each month I save towards the annual one in my annual bills. When I get enough I will switch to the annual payment instead (saves me 16% per year) but my budget just cannot afford a $99 O365 payment right now.
I decided to put my annual vehicle registrations as part of "True Expenses: Insurance - auto/home/life". I made a future annual recurring expense for it in the month of my birthday.
YNAB is my first and only dues so I didn't want a dues & subscriptions category (we borrow a friend's Amazon Prime account when I truly need something fast, Costco membership I view as a cost of groceries & ideally it pays for itself via rewards that were used to reduce the grocery bill anyway, and I don't have any music/car subscriptions). With that in mind, I decided to put it in with my monthly netflix and comcast charges, so I am renaming the account to "Immediate Obligations: TV, Internet, Budget".
I want to set up a separate bank savings account to hold my actual $ for true expenses. Make a deposit to that account at each pay period. So the transaction I created in my checking account was slit categories-so that YNAB fully funded the "true expense" categories. My problem is My connected savings account -- if I say it was a trasfer, then YNAB says the categories don't matter. The categories do matter bc I want to show that they were funded. Anyone get what Im trying to do-have an answer?
OK. I am so happy and thankful for all the responses. I am very diligently working on controlling and working the budget-now 1 month. I had my first roll over, March 1. My mindset is trying to get wrapped around this. I see now how the categories "available" show what the amount that is available to pay that bill when it comes due. We are having trouble with 'saving' with "true expenses" while having enough to pay "current obligations". Any good ways to get this whole thing working? Should I fund each category of "true expenses" a little each or leave some unfunded. Maybe fund the ones that are nearest the due date, then ... Any other ideas?