Categories Groups - Frequency vs. Types

I submitted this change in the suggested features section, but I wanted to post something here to get thoughts from the community.  I've been using YNAB for a little over a month now and really like it.  But there is one thing that is bothering me.  The way the system uses Category Groups.  I understand the difference between "immediate obligations," "true expenses," etc. and how they work with the four rules.  This is largely based on the frequency that an expense occurs.  What appears to be missing to me is a new category attribute called "type" or something similar.  Something that would allow me to tag a category as the "type" of expense it is.  Types I have in mind include House, Health, Food, Comm/Media, Personal Care, Transportation, Entertainment, etc.

It seems to me that adding this field or attribute would allow for some very useful reporting options that would allow you to see how much money is going to these category types.

Right now, in order to do this, you have to adjust the Category Groups to "types" instead of the YNAB "frequency" method.  It seems to me that it would be a fairly simple process technically to just add a field to capture type.  Tags would be useful in this regard as well.  Then you wouldn't have to choose between the two.  You could have your cake and eat it too on this one, and it would be a great enhancement to YNAB overall.

Am I alone on this?  Does anyone have a solution I'm not seeing that resolves this without a technical change?  I've bounced back and forth between using Category Groups for both of these two uses and it seems to me that you should be able to have both without doing that.  It's not a deal breaker.  YNAB is still the best tool out there I have found for budgeting.  This would clearly put it over the top in my book though.

15replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • This has been requested before. Different view types for categories. Because what is conducive for budgeting isn't always conducive to optimal reporting. And it would be nice to be able to have more than 2.

    Like 4
    • casner
    • Now retired, and figuring out transitions
    • casner
    • 8 mths ago
    • 4
    • Reported - view

    I had the same concern when starting YNAB six years ago, and I think that many people do. The focus of YNAB for new users is to break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, so the default category groups are focused on that. After I broke out of that cycle and got a month ahead, I reorganized all of my category Groups, using the same categories I already had (preserving reporting information) into types of categories.

    I don't know if the various helpful blogs, videos, workshops, etc. have this as one of the topics. I've watched, listened, read, and participated in most of the topics but don't remember that one. My category groups have been massively reorganized a couple more times since then, once by priorities of bills, and currently by the Maslow's  heirarchy of needs.

    Your category groups should reflect your current needs to better see what is important to you.

    Like 4
  • Yeah, I don't use those default categories. Mine are all functional. I just know which ones are short term and which are longer term. My master categories are Food, Savings, Housing, Auto, etc.

    But I should add that I'm a long time user that budgets a month at time using the classic rule 4, live on last month's income. Like casner says, it probably depends on where you are in your journey as to the best way to lay out your master categories.

    Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Superbone I've never bothered to rearrange just because I'm familiar with where all the categories are. I guess I'm holding out for views.... weell I'm holding out on nYNAB in general, but you already know that. 😉

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

      nolesrule I didn't have much to rearrange seeing as I started in earnest back in 2010 when the default categories looked a lot different than they do today and I'm still using the same budget data (migrated from 3 to 4 to n)!

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Superbone Mine's an odd hodge podge of temporal (everyday vs. monthly & true expenses)   split as need vs. want / house / savings / reserves/  investing. I just like having the everyday spending grouped at the top because those are the most-used and also the ones that get swept.

      Like 1
      • Grey Beard
      • A YNAB Success Story
      • Grey_beard
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule Ditto. They can be whatever you want them to be. 

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

      Superbone I still have “Tithing” in my budget even though I’m not Mormon, but I figured someone making the software was and it seemed respectful to keep it. It reminds me that it’s been too long since I’ve gone to Mass 🤣. 

      Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Annieland Ha! Tithing isn’t just a Mormon thing. You did hide it though, right? Do you really want that constant reminder about going to Mass? 😂

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

      Superbone Nope, didn't hide it, and yes still want the constant reminder (i.e. guilt trip).  And yeah, I know it just means ten percent or something.  But I have kept a lot of throwback categories, like "Gas & Oil" "Repairs & Tires" and "His" and "Hers" recreation even though I think it sounds goofy.   Helps to remember where we came from :).

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

      Annieland OK, I'm not Catholic but I understand that guilt trips are part of the deal. 😉

      Like
    • Superbone Only as much as overspending is in YNAB. :) Take care of it, reorient, and move on. 

      Like
  • Thanks all.  Validating to hear from long time users that I am not missing anything here.  I've converted to grouping by type and inserting the frequency into the title as a work around for January to see how it goes.  Hopefully YNAB will consider making these two separate attributes in the future.  In the meantime, I think this will give me what I need for filtering by frequency in the title to be sure I'm prioritizing, while still giving me the reporting I want by type in the reports section.  Not ideal, but I think I can make it work.  Thanks all.

    Like 2
  • One more note on this.  Above I mention how I am filtering by frequency based on inserting the frequency into the title.  I'm able to do this because I installed Toolkit via chrome and turned on the feature that allows you to filter categories on screen.  Very useful.  I recommend exploring the Toolkit options for anyone out there who is looking to customize YNAB.  There are some useful interface enhancements such as this.  I stumbled on how to turn on Toolkit and an overview of the features via a youtube video from Nick True (who has been very helpful in getting going with YNAB by the way.  Good stuff from this guy).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4-igXQLEkw&t=190s

    Like
  • Those kind of groups are my category groups. You don’t have any obligation to use the default groups. 

    Like 1
Like2 Follow
  • 2 Likes
  • 8 mths agoLast active
  • 15Replies
  • 232Views
  • 8 Following