How to show money transferred to savings for specific activity

I have budgeted for a few big ticket expenditures in the coming months, but I want to physically move that allocated funding to a separate account (savings account), which i already have set up within my YNAB budget.

My query I suppose is how I demonstrate that move within YNAB so that the money is moved from my current/checking account even though there has been no actual activity to show.

For example, I budget £50 per month for car insurance.  I want to move that £50 in to a higher paying account each month, but the 'payment' for the insurance won't happen for another 10 months. At the moment, that £50 is just rolling over each month to show that cumulative amount in each month's budget, but in reality it's no longer in my current account.  It is no longer 'to be budgeted' as it's safely tucked away.  Is there a way of adding a transaction to reflect that transfer?

When the actual payment for car insurance is made I will transfer the money back in to my current account to make the actual payment.

Does any of that make sense?



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    • nolesrule
    • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
    • nolesrule
    • 3 yrs ago
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    You are overthinking it. If an account is in your budget, it doesn't matter where the money is (other than having enough in the account when it comes time to spend the money) because you are using your category balances to tell you whether you can afford a purchase or not.

    If you want to keep money in a higher interest account while you don't need it, the simplest solution in the new version of YNAB is to essentially figure out how much you spend on average in a month and keep that amount with some padding in the main account. Use scheduled transactions to help you remember the irregular spending so you can take that into account when monitoring your cashflow. (The Toolkit introduced a running balance feature that helps here).

    As you receive income, if it puts you above your monthly needs in the account, you move the excess into a higher interest account. If you see an upcoming transaction that will cause you to dip to low, then you would need to transfer from the higher interest account.


    For what its worth, this was easier to do in YNAB4 (and is one of the reasons I have not migrated to the new version of YNAB. See the questions about handling of future-dated transactions. The official answer is just to keep more than you need in the main account, which can turn out to be way too much and lose out on interest income.

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  • Along the lines of what @nolesrule was  saying, embrace that location of your money is one thing and purpose of your money is a different thing. They are absolutely associated, but not necessarily causal.

    I have 2 checking accounts that I make payments out of, one at my brick and mortar bank which I don't want to give up due to some cash handling needs (because of international travel, I often need $100 bills in excellent condition for currency exchange purposes), but I hate their bill pay interface so I only use that to autopay my mortgage, HOA, condo fees, and to pay my house cleaner (using a physical check to pay her works for her in terms of taxes).

    So I keep the equivalent of 2 each of mortgage, HOA, and condo fee in that checking account. I put as much as possible on my credit cards and I know that my average monthly credit card payments are $X (I don't carry any credit card debt), so the other online checking account always contains $X plus 15%. I also keep a couple thousand in a terrible savings account at the brick and mortar bank so that if there was an immediate emergency that didn't take plastic, I could either go to the bank and withdraw from the savings account or transfer to the checking account instantaneously.  Literally everything else goes into either my money market at Capital One 360 or my online savings account at Discover Bank.

    I'm planning on making a purchase that is 100% budgeted and buying a new laptop on either Black Friday or Cyber Monday (I have it all picked out, I'm just waiting to see what the sales are and if there are none, I'm still buying on Cyber Monday because it simply needs to be done as I've been using a borrowed laptop since June). It's going on my credit card that will close on December 14 with a due date of January 10. So for a purchase on November 27, all I have to do is make sure that there is enough money in the online checking account by January 7 (I like to make payments a few days early).

    Now here's the thing. Even though I saved up for that laptop months and months ago, I won't be taking any money out of a savings account to pay for it. I'll be getting paid Nov 22, Dec 7, Dec 22, and Jan 7 (give or take due to weekends). Paychecks are deposited to my brick and mortar account. I will make sure that the money is in the online checking account by managing how much of my paychecks get transferred to the billpay account vs savings accounts. If I was worrying about money in Account X being for Y and money in Account A be for B, it would look like I am paying for my laptop with future checks. But I'm not. As soon as I filled the budget category for the laptop, I had saved for it regardless of which account(s) I use to pay for it. I'm just reaching into my right pocket vs my left pocket to grab the money.

  • Hi Col - I'm just going to chime in here to supplement these great responses.  In particular, I wanted to clarify:

    When you transfer your £50 to your savings account, you should create a transfer transaction in YNAB showing that £50 as a debit to your current account and credit to your savings account.  When you do that, you won't need to add a category -- you're not spending the money after all. 😄  

    During the month the insurance payment is due, you'll transfer funds from your savings account to your current account and then pay the bill.  In YNAB, you would need to take a couple of separate actions:

    1. Enter a transfer transaction from your savings to your current account.
    2. Enter an outflow transaction for the amount of the insurance bill in your current account, assigning the insurance category to the transaction.

    As nolesrule  and jenmas  said, YNAB takes all of your account balances together and gives you that total amount to budget -- so your budget doesn't care if your money lives in your current account or your savings account.  But, as  nolesrule points out, if you have more than one account in your budget, you need to always be aware of your account balances. 

    Let us know if you have any other questions!


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