Warning when future month's TBB is underfunded?
as I've got enough money built up that I'm budgeting into the future I'm encountering what some call "stealing from the future". That is: my last paycheck was able to cover categories in a future month, something then changes in this month (e.g. rolling with the punches, a reconciliation adjustment, etc.) and the money that's now missing this month is silently taken from the future month without due warning. If I'm not aware of this I'll get a nasty surprise as soon as the next month rolls around.
I do understand why YNAB handles money in this fluid way and I fully embrace how money flows between months. What I don't understand is that there is no kind of warning in the current month about this. It would be super helpful if a TBB going negative in an upcoming month would trigger something like the "Budgeted in Future" amount turning red. Any heads-up really that a future month has been altered in a way that now it's missing money. Red in YNAB means "you need to act". In my opinion this situation qualifies as a "red" situation.
So my question is ❓ Has anything developed in this regard or are there any new best practices for dealing with this situation?
I've only found kind of old and stale threads about this, that largely centered around complaints. I'm not here to whine about this so please don't hijack this question in order to do so. I'm legitimately curious because I want to deal with this situation in a decent way.
Pinging Faness since you relayed quotes from those old threads to the design team and did a good job trying to get to the bottom of this.
Currently, either you use the Toolkit to provide that warning, or you might consider changing how you handle budgeting money in future months to avoid the issue. Instead of budgeting directly in future months, you would place that money in a temporary holding category in the current month, then budget it out once the new month rolls around.
What I don't understand is that there is no kind of warning in the current month about this. It would be super helpful if a TBB going negative in an upcoming month would trigger something like the "Budgeted in Future" amount turning red.
No one else understands this, either. Toolkit provided such a warning ages ago, but YNAB does not appear to regard this as very important. There is a beta test of a change to how TBB works in an attempt to fix the SFTF issue; the proposed fix is rather more complex than a simple warning on the current month budget screen.
One common workaround is to always leave $1 in TBB. It's only when TBB == $0 that money might or might not be where you originally put it.
Awareness is obviously key, and it's good you recognize the issue. I feel sorry for all the new users who will be bitten by this design flaw before they come to realize it's a problem.
ETA: I see @herman already made this suggestion! In that case, I'll add the other common workaround is to never budget directly to the future. Shuffle money into next month via a holding category. This really only makes sense when you're an entire month ahead, however.