Next Month's Goal deletes this month's goal
New to YNAB and loving it! I have a question about setting up goals for next month.
So, let's say this month I have $250 to put towards a category. But, next month I don't have as many expenses so I want to devote $350 towards that category.
If I go into next month (planning ahead) and tell it to set my goal to $350 for that category, it deletes the category goal for this month. Is there a way to change next month's goal without affecting this month's goal?
I guess my thing about using that method is that I have to make a mental note about it. Since I use the app for planning purposes, I wouldn't be able to glance and see how much money I need to cover things. I would need to add up what is in the app, and then go back and add up all my mental notes.
The example I gave was one in which I'm just choosing to pay more towards. But, this also applies to things where I can't choose - such as my electric bill. And I'm in the same situation with it right now. I already have my bill for next month. But, I can't go in and change my goal for next month to match my bill because I'll delete this month's goal in the process.
Maybe I'm using the software wrong or thinking about this incorrectly. But, I want my goals to accurately depict what I know is going to happen. I'd rather not just set some amount and then deal with the over/under when I know exactly how much I'm going to need.
If the goal is to get a month ahead - how can I accurately do that without being able to change goal amounts in the future without affecting current goals?
Am I thinking of this wrong?Reply
You're missing one of the more useful aspects of the methodology - Rule 2. Everyone's actual expenses differ from month to month, but ideally, you would be striving for relatively consistent budget entries.
Your nominal budget entries will change over time due to shifts in priority or bill amount changes. Exploiting Rule 2, they don't change just because time goes by.
A consistent process is easier (a few clicks is all I need at the start of a month for my entire budget). It is also far less error prone.Reply
If the amounts change month to month, then I will either put in the amount needed in the name of the category - ex. "📞Cell Phones - 7th - $73.94." My cell bill is due on the 7th, this month it was $73.94. Next month it's a bit more, so when I get around to budgeting in August (which I do at the end of the month), I'll change the category name.
Alternately, when the amount changes but it's going to be stable going forward after a certain point, I'll put the month when it changes in the Category name. I.e. I started YNAB in January of this month. I'm playing catchup on a lot of bills so I have to save more per month now than I will when I have to pay that same bill in 2020. So for instance, I have an insurance that's billed annually. It's: ☂️Insur. Umbrella Policy 👩🏽⚖️- Sept. So in September, I will annualize the bill, i.e. budget 1/12 of the bill each month. I will change the goal in September. I leave the month of an annual bill in the name of each annual bill category because it's a reminder that I will need to change the goal when the bill comes due and I need to start saving anew because most of those bills are target amount by date and those kinds of goals don't automatically reset.
As I'm fully buffered, as next month's bill come rolling in, I'll change the amount in the category title this month since I've already paid this month's bill or I've got it scheduled and waiting to come out. But if you're still budgeting this month's expenses with this month's income, you'll need to be careful.Reply
@dakinemaui I've got a counter to that rule - occasionally, a budget needs to change substantially, and I'd love not to wipe out old accounting.
For instance - I was self-employed until a couple months ago, and had to pay my health insurance premium out of pocket. Now, I no longer need that budget goal, or even really line item. I definitely want to delete the goal, since there's zero utility of the little orange light going forward. But if I do, obviously it makes all previous months change also.
In this case, I guess deleting the goal (or setting to zero anyway) is fine - who cares about months in the past lighting up correctly, since the budget is inherently a tool for the present and future?
Then again, I'd prefer to delete the "insurance premium" category entirely, which would really screw up earlier months and also new months.
How would you handle a situation like this, besides making an entirely new budget and starting fresh?Reply