Reverting to YNAB4 (or, credit cards (sigh) again)

Yeah, it's me again.

I have largely given up using YNAB entirely at this point, because I simply cannot wrap my head around the credit card part of it. I have watched every video YNAB has published, I have watched the other videos that have been recommended, I have done 1-on-1 help multiple times. Every time, I *think* I get it. But if I spend more than about 2-3 days without someone holding my hand through it, it's like it seeps out of my brain like little grains of sand, and I lose it. I just...cannot...grasp...these stupid credit card rules.

I have credit cards with balances. I pay a set amount on those cards every month regardless of whether there is activity on the cards or not. I have credit cards I pay in full every month, through automatic payment. I have NO IDEA how to manage any of that in YNAB. Every time I *think* I have it set up right, it turns out that I am wrong.

End result: what look like random numbers in the credit card payments category, no idea at all whether what I have budgeted makes any sense or has any relation to actual money I have, and a level of frustration that is frankly not sustainable. Any program that leaves me in literal tears EVERY TIME I try to use it isn't something that I can work with. I swear I am not actually a stupid person, but whatever is happening with credit cards in this program is just beyond my ability to comprehend.

So I need another option. I need to either make the new YNAB act JUST LIKE the old one with regard to credit cards, or I need to find another program.

Can anyone help me figure out how to do this?

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  • Can we start with just the ones that you don't carry a balance on ever? The ones that, whenever you log on to their page and it shows what the current actual balance is (not the statement balance), you can right now send cash to pay that amount?

    Those are going to be the low-hanging fruit.

    Like
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      bevocat Sure. So here's what I *think* happens...

      I spend $10 at Home Depot and charge it to my Home Depot card.
      That transaction is categorized to "Home Improvements", and there is $10 budgeted to that category to cover the purchase.
      That $10 "flies" up to the rightmost column in the credit card payment section.

      And that's when it all goes sideways to me, because it sits there with green-ness, but the bill for that purchase usually doesn't come until the next month, and so the PAYMENT for that comes the next month, so there are negative numbers one month and positive numbers the next month, but at NO point is there ever a clear ACCOUNTING for "Here, take THIS money and actually PAY the credit card" because the payment itself is an on-budget transfer. 

      And THAT is what my brain can't handle. I need to SEE that credit card getting paid, and the fact that the numbers in the credit card payment section NEVER, EVER, EVER balance to zero rides on my very last medically diagnosed OCD nerve like actual physical pain.

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Melissa I don't understand why there are negative numbers for one month. When are there negative numbers?

      When that $10 flies up to the credit card payment section, leave it there. When you pay your CC bill, go to that credit card's register, click "Record Payment" and put in the amount you paid and what account you paid it from; that $10 is going to get deducted from that column. It doesn't matter if you pay it the week you make the charge or the day your payment is due to the credit card company next month. Just leave it sit and it'll be there to do the job of paying the CC bill when you pay it.

      Can we just look at one of your credit cards? You can take a spreadsheet or piece of paper or whatever you like and create aliases for your real life numbers so we can talk about them here. For example, if your current balance (with all transactions cleared, nothing pending) on your credit card is 378.43, you might write that down and then next to it you could write an alias that you'll use to refer to it here to us.

      Let's go with 378.43 for an example. That's the actual current balance on your credit card, with no transactions pending. You need to make sure YNAB also reflects that reality. The credit card balance should also be -378.43 with all transactions cleared and reconciled to the bank's balance. If that is the case, your CC payment's available column had better read +378.43. If it doesn't, you are not in paid-in-full status. You adjust the CC payment's budgeted column until the available column does read +378.43.

      Any new charges you put on that card need to be budgeted purchases with funded categories backed by cash in your budget. Their amounts will leave their categories' available columns and "fly" up to the CC payment's available column. At every moment, your available column needs to match the absolute value of the actual credit card balance as reconciled to your bank when there are no pending transactions waiting to clear.  You are free to pay only the statement balance to maintain your paid-in-full status with the CC company, but nevertheless, when the dust settles and the transactions are all cleared, the absolute value of the CC's reconciled balance should match the amount in the CC payment's available column.

      Can we start from that and go from there?

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Melissa this is usually a sign that the starting balance wasn't budgeted for. Did you do a migration or start from scratch? 

      Like 1
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      bevocat The negative numbers come in the next month when there are no charges but there is a payment. I don't remember exactly and can't open YNAB from here, but in general there are numbers where I don't expect them pretty much every month, and if I spend the time to walk through them one by one with someone I can get to an understanding of where they came from THAT time, but I can NEVER seem to retain it to the next time I try to figure it out.

      My actual ACCOUNT balances always show the exact correct numbers, and the CC payment budgeted column shows that WHEN I have budgeted for purchases AND the card is one I pay in full every month AND the payment has already been made AND it's all in the same month. If ANY of those situations are not true, then the credit card payment section is a complete bolluxed mess to me.

      (And to be honest...I didn't follow your last paragraph at all. Because if I don't pay the balance in full, then the amounts in the credit card payments section are always and forevermore completely meaningless, as far as I can tell.)

      Like
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule When you say "starting balance wasn't budgeted for"...what does that mean? I've done both - migration and fresh start...and I can't understand credit cards either way.

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Melissa When you started YNAB, you didn't budget money to make payments for the purchases that were not covered by budgeted categories. That's what "starting balance wasn't budgeted for" means. The credit card had a negative balance, but there were not yet any budgeted purchases backing that negative balance.

      Like 1
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Melissa If there are no charges but there is a payment and you get a negative number, that means you're paying more to the credit card company than was covered by budgeted purchases, and you need to budget money directly to the credit card payment category to cover the payment.

      Like
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      bevocat So...how would you budget money just for payments? I don't think I understand what that looks like. Let's say I make a fresh start, and my credit card has a -$1000 balance, but there's obviously no money budgeted in any category because, fresh start...so wouldn't the default always be that credit card balances aren't budgeted for? (Maybe I'm not really understanding...)

      Like
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      bevocat Right - so like in my scenario below in response to Faness...if you're still using a card but paying it down at the same time (paying current budgeted purchases plus additional) HOW do you do that?

      That's where I get lost every single month, because (in general, because Reasons and ex-husband) I pay the same amount to specific credit cards regardless of whether they are used or not. I want to be able to easily budget when I get paid, "I am paying this card $500 out of this money I currently have in TBB" and then...have that stay that way regardless of whatever else I do. And that...never works!

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Melissa Yes, the default is that they aren't budgeted for! Say you want to pay that $1000 right away-- put $1000 in the budgeted column of the Credit Card Payment category. That tells YNAB, "I know these weren't budgeted purchases but I'm going to send the money off to the CC company anyway, so please remove this $1000 from my budget so that I won't accidentally assign them other jobs."

      Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Melissa that's what we are trying to tell you. If you do a fresh start you must account for that -1000 by specifically budgeting 1000 to the credit card payment category before doing any of your other budgeting.

      Like
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas But what if I don't PLAN to pay it off right away? Then it stays not budgeted? Ugh, I think I've gone in a circle and don't understand again.

      Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Melissa then you don't budget $1000. You budget as much as you can and you only send the credit card the amount that is in green. Not a penny more.

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Melissa Then don't pay it off right away. If you want to keep it simple, add the budgeted column money the same every single month. The budgeted purchases are going to start stacking up and eventually you won't have to budget that amount directly to the budgeted column in order to bring the card to a paid in full status.

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Melissa Migrations aren't pretty coming from YNAB4 with regard to the credit card categories.

      With a Fresh start, you enter your account balances, and you have money in your budget. But none of it is reserved for anything, so you need to reserve money for all your categories, including your credit card payment for your account balance (or partial payment if you can't pay all of it).

      Like 1
  • I had a similar issue and found some related topics somewhere on the forum. Someone much smarter and savvier than I am explained that there are bugs in the CC feature, and other YNABers suggested changing it from a CC account to a checking account and manually enter transactions. I had to start a whole new budget (not a fresh start), but it was worth it!!

    I have a CC with a balance that I’m paying down and I kept that as a CC in YNAB - - even though it annoys me that the interest shows up as negative even when I budget for it and then pay it (probably something I could adjust to fix this, but it’s not that distracting and kinda keeps me motivated to pay the whole thing off ASAP!).

    The CC that I use for purchases (to get cash back) and pay in full each week is in YNAB as a checking account. So. Much. Better!! When I make a payment from my *actual* checking account it moves the money around in YNAB and I can keep track of cleared/uncleared purchases so I never have any credit card float.

    I’m still meeting the spirit of YNAB..... and *happy* with YNAB, unlike when the CC issues made me want to chuck my computer/tablet/phone across the room!!

    Like 1
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Hot Pink Yeti FYI, it's not necessary to start a new budget to convert CC accounts to checking accounts which makes them act exactly as they did in YNAB 4 and makes CCs much easier to use for PIF users. Here are the steps:

      1. Add a new checking account to move to.
      2. Select your CC account you are converting.
      3. Select all transactions in your account. (Top left check box.)
      4. Select Edit and choose Move to Account->new checking from step 1.
      5. Close the old CC account.
      Like 3
  • Hot Pink Yeti said:
    other YNABers suggested changing it from a CC account to a checking account and manually enter transactions. I had to start a whole new budget (not a fresh start), but it was worth it!!

     Do NOT do this for a credit card that you cannot pay in full at any moment in time. If your ability to pay 100% of the balance (not just the statement balance) is dependent on receiving a paycheck, this method is NOT for you. 

    Like 4
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas Why? Because the way that the credit cards are dealt with by default seems even worse to me. I am trying (and have been for months) and failing (and have been for months) to find ANY benefit in the default handling of credit cards!

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Melissa For one, unbudgeted spending on a credit card that's set up as default rolls over into debt on the credit card when the month rolls over, but if you've set up as a checking account, it will absolutely pull that money from TBB at the month roll-over because cash overspending must be covered.

      Like
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      bevocat Ah...that makes sense. So it would work to set them up as checking ONLY if you are 100% confident that you will not be adding any new debt to those cards, but IF you're confident in that, then it would?

      Like 1
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Melissa Yes. As I had the money in the available column of each of my credit card payment categories sufficient to pay the entire balance (not statement balance) of every credit card at one time, and as I make absolutely no unbudgeted purchases on my credit cards, I was able to convert to all checking accounts.

      Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Melissa because there is no Pre-YNAB debt category in this version of YNAB so credit cards won't magically act the same as they do in YNAB 4 just by turning them in to checking accounts. The answer in comes down to this - for you paid in full cards the credit card available amount must always be equal to the amount in your credit card register just a different sign (ie the account register is -500 and the credit card payment category is green 500) if it doesn't then you are not paid in full, you are on the credit card float. For all of your other credit card accounts you can only afford to pay the amount in the green bubble. If you wish to pay more than that, you must budget directly to the credit card payment line item.

      Like 1
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas And that is what is ultimately driving me back to YNAB4, because I am going around in these same circles every. single. time I open YNAB and it is literally driving me to tears every. single. time. I don't know whether I have a mental block, or what I'm doing is somehow more complex than what every other person using YNAB has in their lives (that feels unlikely, yes?) or what, but at this point I can physically feel my anxiety ratchet up when I just THINK about logging into YNAB, which is...well, the opposite of how it used to feel, and super counter-productive!

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Melissa Yep, that sounds like a mental block, because I can see you getting it, then you get right up to the point where it's different from YNAB4 and you panic and run away. I gently urge you to push through your comfort zone.

      Like 1
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Melissa you need to think of this like every other category - for credit card payments you only have available what is in the green bubble. Period. If you want to send the credit card company more than is in the green bubble, you have to budget for it.

      Like 2
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      bevocat I appreciate that, and I am honestly trying! I'm sure you're all super tired of my posts here on this topic (and I am seriously trying not to sound whiny, although I probably am super whiny about it at this point) and I have done the 1-on-1 help multiple times. And I get to the point where I feel like "oh! I get it!" and it's all good.

      And then I open it again a week or two later and...numbers I don't understand, everywhere, and I'm lost all over again. And THAT is what frustrates me so much!

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Melissa So, my fiance has mental and physical disabilities because he was nearly killed by a drunk driver as a child. He gets so frustrated when his hands won't do what he's telling them to, or his leg gives out, or he can't process things as fast as other people. I validate his feelings of frustration, and then I try to help him back off a sec and look for an alternative way to frame something so he can accomplish his goal.

      What if you don't let the frustration of being confused every time drive you away? What if you let it guide you here to ask for clarification every single time? Smaller confusions are easier to clear up than waiting until they stack up into a big pile.

      Like 1
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      bevocat I appreciate that perspective. Honestly...because I don't have any disabilities, I'm actually a smart person who does accounting as part of my job, so I just feel whiny when I keep coming back asking what feels like the same question every time! :)

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Melissa I don't have any visible disabilities either and I'm smart and well educated and when I can't get something I get super-frustrated too.

      I've been taking classes for a million billion years and I used to get mad for not being able to do everything perfectly from the start. Well? If I could, why would I need to take the class?!

      Like
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      bevocat But do you need to take the same class every single month? Hah!

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Melissa Sometimes! 🙂

      Like 1
  • Hi Melissa !

    I know you stated you don't understand how credit cards work, but you explained them very well up until the payment part! :)

    Melissa said:
    at NO point is there ever a clear ACCOUNTING for "Here, take THIS money and actually PAY the credit card"

     This is what that Green amount is indicating. If you have $10 Available (green), it's telling you that $10 is Available to pay towards your credit card.

    However, if you then make a $20 payment, the category will be overspent (red) and subtracted from your To Be Budgeted when the month rolls over.

    Like
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness Ok. So let's go from that scenario to see if someone can help me figure it out. Let's assume that we have a credit card that currently has a balance of whatever.

      New (budgeted) purchases: $50
      Interest charged (budgeted): $5

      So I'd expect to see $55 in green in the available column...so far, so good.

      Then I PAY the credit card $500. THIS is where I get lost. How do I account for the fact that I am paying not just the $55 but an additional $445 on top of that? Where do I put the $445?

      Now let's say that before I pay the bill, I add an UNbudgeted charge of $500. My credit card balance will go up, that category will turn orange to the tune of $500 (added debt warning), but the credit card still shows $55 in green. And let's say that I do NOT want to budget that $500 but still want to overpay above the budgeted $55...in other words, I want to carry over the $500 orange but still make the $500 payment? (For example, I charge $500 that I know will be refunded to me on the next statement and I will allocate the refund to that category instead of adding it to TBB.)

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Melissa You put the $445 in the budgeted column of the payment category. That's you telling it "I know this $445 wasn't backed by purchases and I'm sending it to cover old debt. Please remove it from my budget so that I don't accidentally assign it another job."

      Like
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      bevocat But that means that I need to rebudget the credit card category every time I make a purchase - I effectively need to budget two categories (and do math) for every purchase, correct? Which is frankly a complete PITA.

      The alternative, which is what I've been sort-of-kind-of trying to do, is just defaulting to NEVER budgeting credit card purchases and letting them default to orange as a rule, so that nothing ever flies up into that section. Which is...fine, I guess, but also wrong because it means that my actual category budgets are inaccurate if I use a credit card for anything at all.

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Melissa No, you don't. You need to add to the budgeted column of the CC payment category every time you make a payment that wasn't entirely backed by budgeted purchases.

      Like
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      bevocat Ok...I'm confused again. Why do you say I don't? Example:

      I get paid, and go in and budget $500 to credit card since the payment will be made before I get paid again. Money comes out of TBB, no danger of spending it elsewhere, it's all good.

      Then two days later I use that credit card to make a $50 purchase in a budgeted category.

      Now my "available" shows $550, which is NOT how much I'm going to pay the credit card.

      So I need to now CHANGE my budget somewhere, right? Either remove $50 from the budgeted amount for that credit card, or remove the $50 that's budgeted in the category, so that the available credit card payment column shows $500?

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Melissa Why do you need to change it? Leave it there for the next payment.

      What I mean is, the amount shown in "Available" is a suggestion, not a commandment. You can send your credit card company any amount you choose up to and including the amount shown in green in the available column. (Well, as far as YNAB goes; what your minimum required payment is is between you and your CC company!)

      That $50 for the budgeted purchase is reserved to send off to the credit card company whenever you choose to send it. If you don't send it this month, it'll be there patiently waiting next month. 

      Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      bevocat is exactly right. $550 is the maximum that you can pay not the amount you have to pay. Though by paying that $550, you are going to save yourself interest over the long run. Also, do not take that $50 out of the credit card payment category because then you are just unbudgeting your spending. One of the things that YNAB teaches is to let money sit. That sort of applies here. Let that $50 sit there until you are ready to send it to the credit card company. It's kind of like when I first started cooking for myself. I would complain to my mom that my chicken was always sticking to the pan. She asked me to describe what I was doing. The ultimate answer is that I was touching it too much. If the recipe said cook on one side for 4 minutes and then flip, I needed to stop touching it every 45 seconds to see how it was doing. *don't touch it was basically my mom's advice for anything and everything from my chicken to a bruise (mom it hurts when I poke it. Well don't poke it!)*

      Like 1
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas  bevocat I *think* I understand what you're both saying, but if I don't "unbudget" so that something shows $500, then my BUDGET never shows what I actually paid to the credit card, and that makes me super uncomfortable. Maybe it shouldn't, but it does!

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Melissa Sure it does. It just doesn't do it in one of those three columns.

      Here's an example of a paid in full card. I click on the Activity column and I get a little mini-report. It shows my spending and returns, my budgeted spending and my payments and returns. You can see that payment in the list of transactions. There was nothing added to the Budgeted column of the CC Payment category, because I didn't send them any money that wasn't backed by budgeted purchases. That $208.67 was all part of the green bubble in the Available column of the CC Payment category.

       

      Like
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      bevocat Right, but there's nothing that totals and shows me directly without examining each card separately, whereas if I did rebudget and not carry over it would...I think. (Maybe not...I think I've confused myself again.)

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Melissa Available shows you how much money you currently have reserved out of all your money to make all future credit card payments. It could be just your next payment, but more often it's your next payment + other budget purchases you've made that won't be paid with your next payment.

      So you need to keep those "additional" available amounts there, because if you take it out, then the money you had reserved to pay back that purchase you just made on a credit card won't be there when it's time to make the payment.

      Like 1
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Melissa If your grocery category says $550 are you allowed to only spend $500? Yes, of course. Your credit card payment category is exactly the same. If you really only want to pay $500/month until the card is paid off, that $50 will stay in the category so next month instead of budgeting $500, you only have to budget $450. Just like your groceries. And so on and so forth.

      Like 3
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      I think where I get stuck is that I WANT that left-most "budgeted" column to ultimately equal "money spent this month or paid out to bills, total" and if I carry money over, it doesn't. (I also pretty much don't let money carry over in budgeted categories, either - I sweep it all into savings or add it to debt payments, so I don't start any month with green anywhere, generally speaking. (Exceptions are bills that I budgeted in one month that are paid in the first day or two of the next month.)

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Melissa So yeah, I guess you need to let go of what you think the budgeted column means, because "I do not think it means what you think it means". :)

      In the CC Payment category, the budgeted category is there to add money to the available column if you want to pay more to the card than what has been made available through budgeted purchases. 

      Like 1
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Melissa well, you may need to change what you want. I don't mean that in a mean way. But if your goal is to pay down your credit card debt, this is how YNAB helps you get there. So either pay 100% of what is in green for the category (even if it is more than $500) which will zero out the category or let the green ride as the month rolls over. The first option will cost you less interest over the life of the debt.

      Like 2
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Melissa If you are carrying credit card debt, you are better off paying as much money as you have reserved right now, rather than a fixed amount. It will reduce payments further, since new purchases incur interest immediately when you are already carrying debt.

      Like 1
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule @jenmas @bevocat  That all makes sense...I just need to figure out how to wrap my head around how YNAB is doing things and try to keep it in my head for more than one day.

      And yes - I totally get the benefit of paying as much as possible - the issue isn't with the what should actually happen with the money, it's about how to account for it in YNAB.

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      I agree. If the money is in the available column when you make your payment, your best financial bet is to send everything that's available.

      Then forget about that credit card payment category until you're going to make another payment.

      Your budgeted purchases will stack up for you ready to pay your next payment.

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Melissa 

      Melissa said:
      .I just need to figure out how to wrap my head around how YNAB is doing things and try to keep it in my head for more than one day.

       YNAB has turned credit card payments into a category, because in YNAB4, people had difficulty figuring out how much of a payment they could make when they were carrying debt.

      YNAB is a metaphorical envelope budget. Whatever money is in the envelope is what you have available to use for that purpose. When you make a budgeted purchase on a CC, you still have the cash in the spending envelope, so YNAB takes the cash out of the spending envelope for you and moves it to the CC payment envelope.

      Now, if you are carrying debt on the card, you have to reserve some of your cash to pay down the debt, and that means putting it directly into the CC payment envelope.

      You can use an amount less than or equal to what's in the CC payment envelope to make your next payment, but never more than that. Any extra you don't use will carry over to the next month, just like your other envelopes/categories.

      Like 2
  • Melissa said:
    the issue isn't with the what should actually happen with the money, it's about how to account for it in YNAB.

     Your account register reflects the purchases and payments made on your card. The left hand column on the budget page reflects how much you are specifically allocating for payoff of previous debt. The middle column reflects your new budgeted purchases. The right column reflects the total of the budgeted spending (the amount that moved out of your grocery category to credit card payment category) PLUS the amount you have allocated for debt payoff. It's all there.

    Like 5
    • Agent99
    • Working to Get Smart at budgeting, finances and life
    • Agent99.1
    • 1 yr ago
    • 1
    • Reported - view

    This has been a helpful thread for me.  I don't use nYNAB yet (thank goodness) but when I tried it briefly, CCs drove me nuts and were not intuitive to me at all.   I am PIF 90% of the time.  But there are periods when I have to carry debt for a couple of months (spouse or family reimbursements) and couldn't figure out how to make that work.  So I stick with YNAB4 and the red arrow and if necessary Pre-YNAB Debt.  Works for me every time.    However, if I ever HAVE to go to nYNAB, I will reference this thread for CC behavior. 

    Like 1
  • nolesrule said:
     YNAB has turned credit card payments into a category, because in YNAB4, people had difficulty figuring out how much of a payment they could make when they were carrying debt.

     See, it was actually super easy for me in YNAB4, because literally the last thing I did every month was look at the TBB amount and apply that amount up to any outstanding debt I had or into savings, which felt really easy to me. Like..."Ok, everything that had to be managed got taken care of..now divvy up the rest!"

    Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Melissa But if you are still using the cards for purchases, you're doing the wrong calculation. Why would you not also pay off the new purchases since they would be incurring interest?

      Like
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule I'm not saying I'm NOT doing that - I just want to understand how the PROGRAM works so that I know that I'm accounting for everything in the right place and understand WHY things go where they go.

      Like
  • Melissa said:
    So...one more probably-stupid question. Let's say that I am going to pay $500 to a credit card, regardless of how many purchases there are or are not. And then in the course of the month, I charge $1200 to that card. To properly account for that, I would then REMOVE $700 in category budgeted funds, so that only $500 "flies up" and then there's $700 in orange in regular categories. Is that accurate? (Obviously not what I would ideally want to do - just trying to be sure I understand what I'd need to do.)

     Please don't do this. You budgeted for your groceries by putting money in your grocery category. Why would you unbudget those groceries at the end of the month? If you truly only want to send $500 to your credit card every month do it this way - first month budget $500 to the credit card payment category, let it accumulate $1200. Send the $500 and let the $700 roll over. Next month don't budget anything to the credit card category because you already have $700 available to pay. Use that $500 to budget to any of your other categories. Pay that $500 and you will be down to $200 plus your budgeted purchases in the total that can roll over to the next month.

    Like 1
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas  That makes sense for budgeted purchases. Now (I'm talking academics here, because I just want to understand every scenario!) let's say that $1200 purchase was NOT budgeted initially. For the sake of argument, say I had $200 in my "auto repair" fund and the actual repair cost $1200. I put the full $1200 on my card, and $200 of that would "fly up", leaving the auto repair category underfunded by $1000 (orange). I can now EITHER reallocate $300 that I'd planned to use for paying down the card INTO the auto repair category so that $500 "flies up" and $700 is orange, right? OR I can let just the $200 fly up and accept that I've now added $1000 in new debt (instead of $700).

      I know it's probably mostly semantics at this point, I'm just trying to make sure I really do understand what's happening!

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas Which of course is still needlessly stupid because of the extra interest being incurred on the new purchases. You are actually better off not using the card for new purchases.

      Like
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule That's obvious, but we're not talking about "best money management" here, we're talking about how to use YNAB. Obviously the BEST option is never to use credit if you can avoid it, but that's not the real world that a lot of people live in.

      Speaking as someone who very suddenly went from entirely debt-free to inheriting debt I never created or wanted, I am trying to understand how to make this software work to get back to where I want to be in the real world that I find myself living in, and your repeated comments about how I *should* be living are making me feel very unwelcome if I can't live up to your standards.

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Melissa I don't think that's what we're saying at all. We're saying that you shouldn't unbudget old budgeted purchases.

      If you're having to carry debt, fine, carry debt and deal with it, but then to the extent possible, do not use that credit card for new purchases as you're only increasing your interest burden. If the purchases are going to be budgeted purchases, use one of your paid-in-full cards to do it.

      Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Melissa How does one inherit debt?

      If you are having trouble grasping it, stop using the CC for new purchases. Use a different CC or pay with a cash account". At that point the credit card can be treated like any other bill.

      Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Melissa if you have the auto repair situation, just leave it orange. YNAB will take care of turning it into credit card debt for you when the month rolls over (auto repair category will be 0 in the new month and the debt will be pushed down into the credit card payment category).

      Question - you mention that you have some cards that you pay off every month. Are they store cards or are the typical Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Discover?

      Like 2
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule I think she's talking about a credit card she was jointly responsible for and then had to pay as part of a divorce settlement. At least that's what it was for me.

      Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      bevocat Ah, got it.

      In that case, yeah, stop using that card for new purchases. New purchases on a card that's carrying debt won't help stop the bleeding.

      Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Melissa can I ask why you are so dead set against sending the credit card company the full $1200 if it is sitting right there in your credit card payment category? That would be using the funds for their intended purpose.

      Like 1
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule So...here's the thing. Why does it matter to you WHERE the debt came from or HOW I'm handling it? I got stuck with it, I'm paying it. (Yes, I got stuck with debt in a divorce. Debt I did not know was being created and did not create, but here I am, paying it off anyway, because life is fun like that sometimes.)

      The examples I'm using here are not always what I'm actually doing, but examples I'm creating out of questions in my mind to be sure that I UNDERSTAND how to use the software.

      No, I do not use those credit cards unless I have absolutely no choice in the matter, and when I do I pay off all new purchases in full unless I have absolutely no other option. But if I understand what to do in each possible scenario then I can BOTH make the best financial choice possible AND know how to manage it in the system. And the latter is what I'm here for advice on.

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Melissa Nobody's actually questioning your choices, just trying to understand the situation and clarify. For example, you would be shocked at the number of people paying debt they don't owe because "someone" called them and said they inherited it from a dead relative.

      Like 2
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      jenmas I'm not dead-set against it in theory! Except I am trying to pay off debt intelligently, which means I may charge on an account with a lower interest rate and pay more on an account with a higher interest rate, even though it means losing the potential interest-free float.

      For example, let's say I can charge on an account with a 7% interest rate and COULD pay that new charge in full, but would still have a balance on that card. But I also have a balance on an account with a 24% interest rate. So I'm going to LEAVE the new debt on the 7% card and pay as much as possible against the 24% rate instead, because long-term that's the better choice.

      (Life tip, aka advice to my 23-year-old-self: never entangle your finances with someone who has a vastly different financial philosophy than you do. And find a way to figure that out before you do it.)

      Like 1
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas (And my example above is part of where I get confused - the money "flies up" to the card where I charge it, which makes sense...but I want to use the budgeted money to pay on a DIFFERENT card, not the one where the balance went. Which makes sense at the long-term/macro level but is hard to sort through in YNAB.)

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Melissa Hopefully you didn't bull-headedly stick it out nearly as long as I did!

      Is there a possibility of signing up for a long-term 0% APR balance transfer card and using that to carry your debt while your other cards remain paid-in-full? I did that with several cards, including the Citi Diamond MasterCard, which gave me 21 months interest-free (well, with a 3% balance transfer fee or whatever, but wayyyy better than 24% interest!).

      Like
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      bevocat Waaaaay too long (25 years). I'm working on balance transferring and looking at all of my options, but some of it needs to stay where it is while we finish some legal wrangling, and I have hope that some of the transferring can be back to "not my problem" land! It's all a Process - and yes, some of my YNAB frustration is cumulative from the "I shouldn't even NEED to deal with this because I'm not the one who created this problem!" side of my brain. But reality is what it is, and we just need to move forward, as I tell my kids!

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Melissa pretty close then. I feel very fortunate I didn't make any kids to affect with it.

      Yes, you can choose to radically accept that it is what it is (not an endorsement or saying it was okay), or you can suffer. There will always be pain, but suffering is a choice.

      Like 2
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Melissa okay, let's say you have $700 available for your Visa and $300 available for your Mastercard but the Mastercard is at 24% and the Visa is at 7% and the minimum payment on the Visa is $500. In that case click on the green $700 bubble. This will open up the Move Money Tool. In the "Move" box enter $200 and in the "To" box click on the arrow and scroll until you find your Mastercard category. Boom, you have reallocated $200 of available payment funds to help pay the higher interest card.

      Like 5
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      bevocat Exactly. I can't change the situation, and I can't change other people. All I can do is choose how I respond.

      Like 1
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas Ooooh...both of these in the credit card payments section? So I'm moving the available from one card to the other? I had no idea that would work! Thanks!

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Melissa Oh yes. It's just an envelope like any other.

      Like
    • Melissa I second jenmas 's move money between credit card solution!!! Easy, logical, and you still get to use the budget as it is intended (read: it does the heavy math lifting for you)! 

      I would only add, that if you do this at the beginning/middle of the month, it might be helpful to document the move. Either use notes, a spreadsheet, or a piece of paper you won't lose.  YNAB doesn't keep track of those money moves, which I don't like.

      I like to see my history of budget changes. You may not need this information, but I foubd it most helpful when I was trying to figure out whether YNAB was showing me correct information (checking the math from a couple vantage points, and making sure my understanding of our money place aligned).

      Like
  • Melissa said:
    Why does it matter to you WHERE the debt came from or HOW I'm handling it?

     Well, to a large extent, one size does not fit all. The advice you give to someone who has credit card debt on a card with 27% interest but keeps putting new charges on that card rather than a different one with no debt and a 16% interest rate because the high interest rate card gives them airline miles at a 1% rate is different than the advice you give to someone who has a low interest rate card but it only has a limit of $1200 whereas their high interest rate card has a limit of $10,000 and they have at least $3000 going on the card each month.

    Like 3
      • Melissa
      • liss
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas Fair enough! I tend to be in the category of "answer the question I asked" so get frustrated when the line of thinking goes off of that direct line.

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Melissa Could you please try to remember to give us the benefit of the doubt since we're giving you our time to try to help you?

      Like 2
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Melissa 

      Melissa said:
      I tend to be in the category of "answer the question I asked" so get frustrated when the line of thinking goes off of that direct line.

       Five years of providing peer help with YNAB users leads me to believe that often the question being asked is not the question that needs answering.

      Like 5
  • Melissa said:
    I would then REMOVE $700 in category budgeted funds, so that only $500 "flies up" and then there's $700 in orange in regular categories. Is that accurate?

     You wouldn't need to (nor want to) manually adjust the various category budgets. As you spend money from each category YNAB is already marking money spent from that category, and adding it to the "Available" for the CC. This is a good thing.

    Removing budgeted funds from your other categories breaks this accounting for your purchases, and leaves those categories short. Not trying to be rude, but It's like trying to pretend $700 in spending just didn't happen, then being surprised when things don't add up right.

    Like
  • The problem is the whole credit card system is totally stupid and complicated.  Ive have this software for years and never used it because it never works correctly or you have to spend days just trying to figure out how to use.  Delete it and start over that system is too complicated if no one can use it!!!!

    Like
  • Funnier yet... I hit log in to the forum and it logged me in under Gray Drum!!! I'm Stuart Simpson.  Your forum doesn't even work! LOL......

    Like
  • Nice security!!!

    Like
      • Herman
      • herman
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Gray Drum The forum does not use real names.  You are assigned a username.  You do have the ability to change that.  As far as credit cards go, I'm not really sure why people have so much trouble understanding them so I can't help you there.

      Like
    • Hi Gray Drum !

      When you log in to the forum for the first time, our system will automatically assign you a name, avatar, and username as an alias. It's usually a color followed by a random thing like Salmon Wizard or Gray Drum. 

      Here's how to change your name and avatar - click your user icon in the upper right corner and select Edit Profile. The username can be changed under the Account tab on that same page. 

      As for the credit cards, we know it can take some getting used to, but it's a great tool once things click! Have you seen our Making Sense of Credit Cards? If you have any specific questions, we'd be more than happy to answer them for you! 

      Like
      • Gray Drum
      • Gray_Drum.9
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness This is my exact point.  You make this complicated.  Just because it is simple to you doesn't mean its simple to eveyone else.  Why when I click does it create me a user name?  Why not ask for me to log in?  Why doesn't it ask for me to create a user name.  Why doesn't it create a default like guest12345?  Would that make sense?  No it creates me a user name?  Top things off I get an email when you reply and I see t on my phone and the first thing I think of is I don't know the password because you created it.  Because the first email in my list is the latest.  Not the one you sent when I logged in.

      Confusion creates doubt.  Then we wonder why we pay for something?  Instead it should make you warm and fuzzy.  Your company needs to step back look at the big picture instead of just assuming it makes sense to everyone else.

      Like
      • Gray Drum
      • Gray_Drum.9
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness FYI Im still waiting on customer support from app.  Its easier to just delete the credit card and don't even use your credit card system because it never works and support takes days to respond.  Time to review your app.

      Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view
    • Superbone How do you make a link that points directly to a specific reply like that?

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 wk ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Move Light Sound Life  

      Like 2
    • nolesrule Thanks! Must be on web only, and not available on mobile.

      Like
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