Why am I allowed to budget next month's money now?

Why does "the new YNAB" show me incoming money as available to budget immediately? It makes it awfully tempting to cheat on the "live on last month's income" rule...! And if I put off budgeting for a few days, or a paycheck comes early in a month, it gets confusing to figure out what I intend to spend this month versus next etc.

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  • Because they changed the rule which no longer emphasizes "live on last month's income". I agree with you and I dislike the fact that the functionality was removed.

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  • It is not my preference either. What you can do is flip over to the January budget and start budgeting in January. HOWEVER if you make a weird change in December it will impact the January budget and you may not notice. The other option is to create an Income for Next Month category and put the new money there and release it in the future.

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  • The web version treats all income alike. You budget it in this month or into next month as you wish. Once you've budgeted in future months, it is important to either use only the tool to do rule 3 (click on amounts and move money), or to be certain that you check the latest month in which you've budgetedwhen you adjust this month's budget. 

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  • jenmas said:
    The other option is to create an Income for Next Month category and put the new money there and release it in the future.

     That's actually a good idea. I'm also struggling with this limitation in YNAB. When I was just barely making it month to month, I liked seeing the green amount before my monthly bills were paid, then the gray $0 after they were paid. Now, I if I have enough to fund that monthly bill for a future month, it's confusing. "Did I forget to pay that bill? Oh, wait no. That's next month's amount." I think I'll take that advice and give it a try, then just move it all into "To Be Budgeted" at the beginning of each month.

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      • ynaber2613
      • ynaber2613
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Abraham Lincoln I use monthly funding goals.  If I fund the car payment category to the goal amount of $325 this month and then fund it in the next month to $325 I still get the grey (0) when I pay the payment this month and when I look at next month it shows green $325.  I think the key here is to use the monthly funding goal feature so that the category will be orange if you have not fully funded it yet.  This is also useful to let you know if you had to WAM from a previously funded category.

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    • ynaber2613 I see what you’re saying. The problem for me is when there is a leftover balance, I guess. For example, I have a monthly funding goal for my gas bill of $56 because the bill varies. This month’s monthly bill was $50. I have $6 left for use next month but I see it in this month’s budget. I’d prefer if there was a way to only see what I intend to spend in the current month. Then, when I get to next month, I’ll see that extra $6. 

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Abraham Lincoln For variable spending categories the fluctuate, I budget the 12 month average, but I leave money in the category with a cap equal to sum of all amounts above the average for the past 12 months. This ensures that I can manage for an unexpected and unusually high month. This is a common strategy for gas bills, electric bills and automobile gasoline.

      I've been using a spreadsheet to track the data for those categories for years and calculate the amount to budget and the category cap. That way I know for sure that in those particular categories any overages are untouchable, as these are not "spend to zero or reallocate leftovers" categories.

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  • Piggybacking off of ynaber2613 , there's a blog post that goes over creating a Budget Template. It walks you through setting up monthly funding goals so you can track what you need in the current month and then safely budget towards the following month.

    For varying expenses, the averages are a good way to go - as nolesrule mentioned. That extra $6 may seem out of place in the current month, and you can use the move money tool if you really don't want to see it there, but rolling over from month to month should give you a good buffer for any particularly high usage months.

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