Copying Monthly Budget?

Hi, I setup a budget for this month but can't seem to find a way to copy all the budgeted category items over to the next or to a prior month. Am I supposed to manually enter a budget for every category each month even if it's the same for an entire year? Thanks,

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  • Hi Powder Blue Cup !

    When you have a moment, take a look at the Quick Budget feature. It allows you to auto-fill your budget with the amounts Budgeted Last Month, Spent Last Month and other options. Give that a try and let us know if you still have questions! :)

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    • Faness Thank you.

      Reply Like 1
  • Thank you for pointing out the Quick Budget feature to manually budget from the previous month for any or all categories. However, is there a way to set a budget category one month and it automatically sets the budget all of the following months?

    Thanks in advance.

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      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 2 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Chipper338 No, but if you set category funding goals and scheduled transactions, when you open the next month, just select all the categories (click the checkbox at the top of the list) and then select Underfunded from the quick budget. This will populate the whole budget. Then you just have to go through and fine tune anything. I do it this way and can do next month's budget in less than 5 minutes. Most categories are the same every month, especially once you have a handle on the costs based on the past. So for example, we budget $1500 for groceries every month and car insurance is the same every month. Things that will change are gifts, clothing, and entertainment. So once I have set the initial budget my husband and go through each category quickly to see if there are any differences this month eg. someone's birthday, a concert, etc. You really want to do this so you are connected to each month's budget not just a generic budget that doesn't ebb and flow with reality. 

      Reply Like 2
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Chipper338 that goes against the overall philosophy of making constant active decisions about your budget and spending. This is not meant to be a set it and forget it system.

      You are meant to actively be telling your money what it is supposed to do. (though I do use the quick budget feature because I am in fact usually telling them to do the same thing. But it's still an active choice to do it that way - sure it may be more fun to put lots of money in my eating out category (I put plenty don't worry), but I am committed to always making room for taxable investing and charitable giving). You are in fact supposed to be entering your transactions manually as they occur and only using the import as a back-up/double check. (I may not be always entering them at point of sale, but I do always enter them manually by the end of the day). There is no "normal" month.

      Reply Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Chipper338 There's also often a timing issue. It's typical for people to apply a check received early in the month toward expenses incurred later in the month. Had the month been filled out in its entirety before receiving that check, there's only Monopoly money backing many of those categories.

      That said, a relative minority are far enough ahead they don't need their August paychecks in August, so budgeting the entire month up front works in their case -- meaning, they budget Sept. using money received in August. In these cases, though, the money backing their Sept. categories is real, spendable cash.

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      MXMOM One little note, for quick budget to act on your entire budget, you don't need to select all. If you select nothing, it will also act on your entire budget.

      Reply Like 1
  • Thanks everyone. Yes, I would like to take YNAB to the next level. In short budget the entire year in YNAB as we have done in Excel and modify on the fly.  It's great for moving an excess from one category over to compensate another category for the short term. That way I get an accurate and manageable budget.  Any suggestions besides the one from MXMOM?

    Thanks again to all.

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Chipper338 I think the only advice I have is: don't do that. Let's say you fill out a budget for 12 months. For example the fiscal year of Oct-Sept. And then in December your monthly internet changes by $2.11. Now you have to go through your entire budget and make that change 10 times. That's 10 times you could make an error. I'll get my last August paycheck on Thursday. Once that happens, I'll budget September using Quick Budget and mess with about 3 categories (my August paychecks are only used to fund September because I am classically buffered and I live off of last month's income). I have a category called Income Replacement that could easily get me through 6-8 months with what's in it if I ever needed (plus I add a little every month because of inflation). No need to actually budget it out now.

      Reply Like 1
      • eloquentz
      • Numbers Wizard (Accountant), Acoustic Artist (Musician) and Jill of all Trades (Wife & Mother)
      • eloquentz
      • 2 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Chipper338 In order to budget that far out in YNAB, you actually have to have the cash on hand. YNAB is not a forecasting budget. It took me quite a while to figure that out. Check out the blog post https://www.youneedabudget.com/how-to-create-a-budget-template/ to set up goals in all your categories so that when the month rolls over, you can either use the quick budget and budget it all in one go, or, if you are not far enough ahead, it provides reminders for what still needs funding for the month. I also use the recurring transactions a lot for my repeating items. https://www.youneedabudget.com/video/scheduling-recurring-transactions/

      Reply Like 5
    • Chipper338 I agree with jenmas : budgeting out an entire year goes against everything YNAB works toward. In YNAB, you only budget money you actively have on hand at the time of budgeting. If you have an entire year's worth of funds on hand, yes, it's possible to budget for the entire year, but that's still against YNAB philosophy. Circumstances change and predicting what you will need 12 months from now is almost impossible, as you don't know what kind of unexpected expenses you may incur. Roll with the punches refers to circumstances that present themselves now, or in a week, not in a year. If you have all your funds in categories for an entire year, you'll end up moving money many, many times. YNAB is more about the here and now and what funds you will need this month, not 12 months into the future. It's not about forecasting, it's about how to prioritize your spending with the money you currently have.

      Reply Like 1
  • Thanks eloquentz! I will check out the two links and maybe put a strategy together.

    Reply Like 1
  • Yes, KnitPurlKnit, you are quite right. That's why I want to take YNAB to the next level. The key is discipline. After 40+ years of budgeting by checkbook, then Excel, now online tools, we can all have the discipline to budget forward with an easy to use tool like YNAB.  Especially now that my wife's life and my life has settled down after raising kids, our budgets are very similar year after year. 

    So why budget month-to-month when discipline, foresight and flexibility can help you budget annually? Be brave, be innovative, be bold!

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 2 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Chipper338 YNAB is designed to work with the money you have right now. If you are budgeting ahead using projected income, you are not using the tool in the intended manner. If you aren't going to use it in the intended manner, why pay so much money for it when there are likely other tools that will allow you to project a budget for a lower fee?

      Reply Like 3
    • Chipper338 Personally, I don't agree with your strategy and quite honestly, I don't think many people using YNAB will either. But of course it's your choice to use the program as you see fit. Just know that you're probably no going to get much support here for your idea of budgeting out for an entire year, as that's not how YNAB is intended to be used. There are many other budgeting software programs out there that do use your method, but YNAB isn't one of them! 

      Sometimes discipline has nothing to do with financial situations that you may come face to face with. You can plan and plan but sometimes (oftentimes, actually), the unforeseen happens, regardless of how much discipline you've put into the planning. That's what "roll with the punches" is all about. It's close to impossible for anyone to see into the future and know what financial uncertainties they may  face. I try to plan ahead financially and fund categories that I "think" I'm going to need money for in the future, and yet, in the 4 short months I've been using YNAB, have been caught in a situation I wasn't prepared for. Did I have the money to cover it? Yes, but it didn't come from where I thought it would, as this came out of the blue and couldn't possibly have been planned for. 

      I can understand that at your point in life with your kids on their own, your budgets are similar year to year. Mine are too, as I'm in the same place you are, so while I probably spend similar amounts year to year, I don't spend the money on the same things year after year. And that's where YNAB differs. It's not so much how much money you spend, although of course, that's very important, but what your priorities are and where you want your money to go. I make conscious decisions on a monthly basis as to how I want to spend my money, and plan accordingly. Even though I'm at retirement age (impossible to believe), I still work full time and I want to plan how I spend/save my income. Yes, I'm still saving, even at my age. Why? Because it gives me a sense of control and makes me think about where my money is going and what's really important to me.

      Now I'll just get off my soapbox and get on with my day!

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      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Chipper338 

      It is certainly possible to budget out for a year. In order to implement the allocation-budget method, it just takes money.  If you receive a lump-sum income or if you can fund your year by reallocating from savings, and then use your income to replenish savings, that would also work.

      If you proceed with a forecast method and overbudget for a calendar year, you will soon realize that the software is designed to "help you" by correcting or compensating for all overspending and overbudgeting. It does this by subtracting funds from future available, or moving funds from a current month (when received) to a future month where you are overbudget. This can be somewhat perplexing to users. When the software moves funds around, it can have you chasing your tail trying to figure out what just happened, and this tends to undermine one's confidence in the software. 

      I truly believe that YNAB's unique  strength is in being an allocation budget rather than a forecast budget, whether that means budgeting one month at a time or one year at a time. I was initially reluctant to give up forecasting too, but I am a happy convert. Personally, I will never go back to a forecast methodology; the YNAB method made such a big impact on my financial well-being.

      Reply Like 1
  • YNAB is very easy to use and the data is exportable to Excel for reconciliation between my wife and I. That way we can keep separate credit/checking accounts, share common expense and maintain our independence and budgeting skills. A good way to grow and maintain a relationship. 

    Take a simple tool and make it better!!!

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Chipper338 -- I find it far more efficient to work backwards from where I want to be. If I were to project out N months, I would simply find the amount I had saved is exactly the amount I wanted in the first place. In other words, projection is unnecessary effort.

      I do this on a priority basis and stop when the monthly money is consumed. This leads to even less work, because I don't faff about projecting balances only to find out after I'm done that such balances aren't even supported by my income.

      Reply Like 1
    • dakinemaui You have a great style. I love projecting and looking forward so my wife and I feel confident about the future.  Verification of my projections is rewarding and failures of my projections are informative.  Look ahead, learn, adjust. :)

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  • It's done!!! Yes, thanks to Faness, MXMOM and Superbone I've got year long budgeting with YNAB and Excel! I use Excel for analysis and prediction and YNAB for monitoring. I have budgeted the remainder of 2019 and I'll set up 2020 sometime in December. IT'S FABULOUS. 

    Thanks again for your tips!

    Reply Like 1
      • Annieland
      • YNABbing every day since 2009!
      • Annieland
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Chipper338 😳  I use Excel for a very broad projection too, but why put that same data into YNAB for a whole year??  You can do it separately as they (should) serve different purposes.  I can view progress much better in YNAB day-to-day, and then just update my forecast spreadsheet with the actual real life spending data from YNAB month-to-month.  That keeps me rewarded AND accountable.

      I'd honestly be interested to hear updates from you on how this works out.  Like, do you end up with negative red TBB's in random months, or in the last month budgeted?  Are you constantly moving stuff around in every month you have budgeted?  Not that I'd ever use such a method, but I'm curious how it ends up working for people who insist on it.  So keep us updated, I'll follow :).

      Reply Like
    • Annieland 

      Hello Annieland, I love your questions, direct, concise and full of info!!!!

      Allow me to answer your questions in 3 parts.

      First, I love the year-at-a-glance perspective of our finances presented in Excel and I love the real time perspective of our finances in the YNAB app. It gives my wife and I a great feeling knowing our finances are well planned for the year and we can easily monitor our finances in YNAB.

      Second, the Excel and YNAB budgets work in a 3-step circular process. We plan in Excel, monitor in YNAB and analyze in Excel.

      In the first step, I populate the annual budget in Excel based upon years of experience. I review the budget with my wife and revise accordingly. She gives great feedback 😊

      In the second step, I populate the annual budget in YNAB. It’s easy to do using the Budget Last Month feature to roll through the year. Of course, each month I revise for the periodic expenses. I find it’s easier to update YNAB for the entire year at one time.

      To answer one of your questions directly, we focus on the current month and don’t worry about the TBBs for following months since we have our annual budget in Excel.

      Also, we don’t worry too much about minor over spending in the current month because we know that expense will vary slightly. If a major expense occurs, we revisit the annual budget and adjust both Excel and YNAB accordingly.

      In the third step, I export expenses for the month from YNAB to Excel for two purposes. First, we compare our expenses to our planned budget and adjust accordingly. Second, we reconcile our shared expense since we still have our separate accounts and share family expenses proportionally based upon gross income.

      Finally, knowing our finances are well planned and monitored helps grow trust and security in our relationship. In short, we have eliminated one of the biggest sources of stress in a relationship, money. It’s a great feeling.

       

      Thanks again Annieland,

      Reply Like
      • Annieland
      • YNABbing every day since 2009!
      • Annieland
      • 2 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Chipper338 That's pretty cool that you guys work together so well.  I have friends who use YNAB who similarly collaborate.  Sometimes it works well, sometimes it doesn't, but it's always the way to go when possible.  In my case I do 100% of money management as my husband is a basketcase when it comes to finances.  I don't need him seeing how much I spend on QVC anyway when I know it's budgeted for :).

      Good luck to you in your YNAB/Excel/Wifey endeavors! :)

      Reply Like 2
    • Annieland You are a true master budgeter! I tip my hat to you!

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