Help with credit card payments & too much available to be budgeted

Hello, I need to figure out what I'm doing wrong with the way I pay my credit cards, because I keep getting confused. I pay my two credit cards off in full every month. This happens via autopayment. Now, today's payment was withdrawn from my checking and applied to my credit card account, and all of a sudden I have $350-odd more in available funds and a $350-odd red in the available column of my budget. 

Why is this happening? All my expenses are accounted for, and I don't want to spend or allocate this $350 because it's not really available. 

 

I've been using YNAB for about five months and have had to do a fresh start several times because of credit card issues (can't recall what they all were). I'm determined to figure this out! 

Also (and possibly related), is there a way for me to check and make sure my cc account is set up as a cc account and not some other sort of account? It shows up as a payment from my checking account and a payment to my credit card, so that's all correct, right? It shouldn't be a transfer?

Thanks!

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  • Following up, when I clicked on the red amount, I got a notice saying my payment was greater than I had budgeted for and where would I like to take the extra amount from, so I moved it from my "available" to be budgeted - but I don't understand why this happened. I'm exact with my budgeting and spending. Does it have to do with expenses made in one month and paid for in another?

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  • It sounds like your payment caused your credit card to go positive. Is the credit card showing a green positive balance in the accounts list??

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    • satcook  yes, it is. 

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  • Lavender Trombone said:
    Does it have to do with expenses made in one month and paid for in another?

     Honing in on this question specifically.  Is this by any chance a reimbursement that you are recording as income and that is being used to pay the credit card?

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  • HI Lavender Trombone !

    When your Credit Card Payment category is red, it means you made a payment for more than you had "available" in your Payment column. Here's a video explaining the following reasons why this can happen:

    1. Overspending. If you had any credit card overspending in your budget (in the current or a previous month), the Payment amount would be lower than the balance due. If you still paid the full amount, you’ll have spent more on your credit card payment than you had budgeted.
    2. Starting Balance. If you had an outstanding balance on a credit card when you set it up in YNAB, and you paid that in full but didn't budget for it in the Credit Card Payments category, it'll show your Credit Card Payment category as overspent. Budgeting for that balance in your Credit Card Payment category lets the budget know you plan to take some of the money you have and use it to pay off that existing balance. Here’s a video explaining how this works. 
    3. Overpayment. If your payment created a positive balance on a card, the positive balance is treated like cash and is added to To be Budgeted. Budgeting those dollars directly to the Credit Card Payment category will bring it out of the red.
    4. Returns/Refunds. If you had any returns/refunds on this card, and you paid off your card between your original purchase and your refund, you might see that your payment category is short and goes red.  

    That should help pin point what caused the overspending. If you already moved money to cover the overspending, you should be good to go! In the future, double check your credit card Available amount before making your payment. If you have $20 Available in your credit card category but you want to make a $25 payment, you'd need to budget $5 more so that you have the full $25 Available for the payment. :)

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    • Faness  Thanks for this information! Maybe it's a combo of a few things? When I look at my last fresh start on 11/30, the cc account shows Starting Balance ... Inflow To Be Budgeted at $851. 26. I bet I set that up wrong, didn't I? It looks from the video you linked to in #2 that I should have created a category in the budget itself for a credit card payment for whatever the balance due at that time was, and I can't see that I did that. 

      In any case, going along with a responder in this thread, I have not reconciled either of my two cc, although each individual transaction has been accounted for, and my checking account, where these payments come from, is reconciled. So do I need to reconcile these? What happens when I do? I'm worried about my numbers going all haywire. 

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    • Lavender Trombone 

      That Starting Balance being categorized as Inflow To Be Budgeted is correct - just make sure the amount is entered as an Outflow to show a negative balance instead of a positive one. When you add a credit card account, YNAB automatically creates a category with that credit card's name underneath the Credit Card Payments category group. That's where you budget to pay off the starting balance (the $851.26).

      When you click the Reconcile Account button in the upper right hand corner of the register, YNAB will ask you if the account balance in YNAB matches the account balances listed with your bank. If it doesn't, you'll need to go line by line to find the discrepancy.

      Our  reconcile Help Doc goes over how to do this. You could open a separate browser window for the YNAB account and your online statement to more quickly check them back and forth.

      Take a look there and let me know if you still have questions! :)

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  • Lavender Trombone said:
    all of a sudden I have $350-odd more in available funds and a $350-odd red in the available column of my budget. 

    Offsetting amounts in TBB and the CC category will happen if the payment took the account balance positive. Why did that happen? Since it sounds like the real-world account went to $0, I wonder if your YNAB account balance is off. When was the last time you reconciled?

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    • dakinemaui  I reconcile my checking account regularly and just did so. I don't know that I've ever reconciled my cc accounts, actually. And they're definitely off. The account in question shows +$357.12 in YNAB "available" and the cc itself shows a current balance of $1359.59, but all of my transactions since 11/30 (when I did my last restart) have cleared. 

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 11 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Lavender Trombone Bad news is it looks like you have about $1000 of unaccounted CC spending, or possibly an inflow that you were expecting that never came in, or a combination.

      You must get your accounts in order first (agreeing with the real world), then deal with any budget issues after that.

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    • dakinemaui  Could it be a combination of the $851.26 I had set as a "starting balance" on 11/30 plus a few returns (totaling maybe a couple hundred of dollars) that I might have missed? This card is my husband's & he buys and returns things to Home Depot pretty frequently, and I don't pay much attention to the returns - so I bet that's part of it. All my spending is accounted for. I'll wait to see what @ farness says regarding that starting balance - I bet that was my initial mistake. 

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 10 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Lavender Trombone Just compare the starting balance transaction and the budget entry to the CC category in that month. If they don't match, you didn't. However, I would NOT try to fix it there.

      Regardless of how things got out of whack, you'll have to adjust the budget to fix it. It's far easier to do that in the current month. (Reallocating from other categories to fix it in the past often causes a cascade of overspending moving forward.)

      Since you regard this CC as "paid-in-full", the bottom line is that the CC Payment Available needs to match the (working) account balance as a positive number if the account is negative. If the account has a positive balance, the CC Payment Available should be $0. Budget whatever is necessary to make that happen (and then reduce other categories until TBB is $0).

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