Transitioning from Mvelopes

I thought I'd start a topic for those of us transitioning from Mvelopes.  I've found some answers on some of my own questions but not for others.  I'll try doing a separate entry for each area that I'm working on so that replies can be categorized.  

Hope this helps others also :)

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  • Funding envelopes (now "Budgeting") with a plan tied to paychecks - I had set funding groups set up that were tied to our paychecks.  For example, I had funding plans to cover our mortgage and maybe some other set expenses from my check on the 15th of the month...and then other weekly expenses, like our food budget from my husband's weekly check.   I think I can do this in a combination of ways - setting a funding goal for variable expenses (like eating in/out, etc) and then setting up recurring transactions for those monthly bills.  My question is how do I quickly budget ("fund my envelopes" in my old world) based on these spending plans?

    "How do I plan ahead in YNAB to make sure that I'm thinking about all of my obligations for the month" is probably the question I'm asking.  In Mvelopes, there was a Budget section where you could plan based on anticipated income for the month and then plan out how you were going to fund your envelopes from each paycheck.  There was a sum per category to let you know if you were over/under-allocating your per-paycheck funding plans for the month, based on what you'd set up as your budget for the month.  

    Reply Like
      • Just Joan
      • just_joan
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      I’ve seen tutorials and suggestions on adding goal amounts and due dates to category names, which makes perfect sense. Is there some way to plan my budgeting by paycheck so I know I’ve covered what I needed to cover from that check? 

      Reply Like
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Just Joan Not projecting into the future. Well, there is, but its not recommend because the budget category colors don't change like they should. I tried it for 2 mths, too confusing. 

      Reply Like
      • satcook
      • satcook
      • 8 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Just Joan I have goals set up for all my categories. I use my husbands monthly paycheck to fund all of our bills. I quickly do this by clicking the checkbox of the main category header and then clicking the underfunded button to find all of those categories

      Reply Like 2
      • Just Joan
      • just_joan
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      This video was the clearest explanation yet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tACY3ge6VdA&feature=youtu.be It's called Budgeting When You're Broke.

      In Mvelopes, the funding plan pre-decided where the next check was going to be allocated.  I could change it around, but it was pre-planned.  YNAB just doesn't support that on a specific date basis.  Instead, I can set up goals or recurring transactions (they kind of act the same) but then have to use some of the hacks like adding the date to the category name to make sure I've covered everything.

      I saw a video for Budgeting in 10 Minutes, so I'm going to go check that out and see if that gives me any further insight.

      Reply Like
  • "Money For" envelopes - I *think* the equivalent in YNAB is the Credit Card Payments section.  I'm bringing over credit card balances and I know the envelopes where those funds were spent.  I've grouped them together as negative-balance envelopes so I when I allocate money to those, the negative balance goes down and I am making the same payment to my credit card.   How do I do this in YNAB when the cards came into YNAB as "Starting Balance?"   

    In Mvelopes, my "Money For" and these negative-balance envelopes offset each other, for reference.  

    What is the difference between Debt Payments and Credit Card Payments as standard YNAB groups?  

    Reply Like
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Just Joan I had problems brings those over too. I think I had start the balance as zero and enter the uncleared transactions in ynab. 

      Reply Like
      • satcook
      • satcook
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Just Joan when starting YNAB you need to budget the amount of your starting balance to the credit card payments section. So if your starting balance on your Visa card was $551, budget $551 to the visa line in the credit card payments section. Categorize all transactions going forward and YNAB will set aside money for the payment. 

       

      Debt payments are for car car loans or student loans. 

      Reply Like 1
      • Just Joan
      • just_joan
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      For closure here, I suspect that if I got into overspending again, these budget line item categories would then be negative.  I think what bothers me is how negative balance categories reset to zero when a new month happens.  I mean, I understand that a new month means a clean slate but other than noting that I have a credit card balance I now need to pay off, how do I remember where it came from?  I think the answer is to set up a tracking account.    Faness ?

      Reply Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Just Joan Go back and handle the overspending in the month it happened so that the month reflects reality. 

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      • Just Joan
      • just_joan
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      bevocat  I understand what you are saying, but sometimes that isn't possible.  For example, a major car repair where I can't take from another category to cover it and it has to roll to the next few months until it's covered.  In this case, I would shift to budgeting extra payments to my credit card in order to pay it down.  Having a named reason helps me see what I'm paying for when I am making those extra payments.  

      I suppose I could put those reasons in the notes under each credit card payment category, but then I need to click on the note to see vs looking at a spending category or tracked account.

      Reply Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Just Joan You've got the mechanics down just right with budgeting directly to the Credit Card Payment category in future months to pay it off (Hey, I've been there with huge vet and dental bills!).

      I suppose if you want you can create a tracking account for the amount of the big payment, and then you can make an entry every time you pay down extra on the credit card if that helps you. There's nothing about the software stopping you from doing that if it helps you. But there's nothing baked in, as you have already discovered.

      Reply Like
  • Also, where do I put a check number when I've written a check?   Just the memo field?

    Reply Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Just Joan I can answer that one. Yep, in the memo field.

      Reply Like
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Just Joan Just the memo field. I'm coming from the software before Mvelopes. Yes, I held onto it this long. My shortest advice is to embrace the YNAB thinking and don't try to relate is one for one back to your past system. I also like to create fake budgets with just enough entries to play around to learn without learning on my main budget. 

      Reply Like
      • Just Joan
      • just_joan
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Ben K.  I definitely did that for a few days to see how things worked :)   I'm more trying to understand the YNAB concepts in the language of Mvelopes, if that makes sense.   Sort of a Google translator for when I look at YNAB it speaks to me in Mvelopes.

      Reply Like 1
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Just Joan Good luck. YNAB's thinking is baked into the software. Here's what I've ended up at after 2 months of trying to hold: I set a monthly goal for each category based on my annual budget (the goals are from my old system). Then when I'm paid, I leave the whole amount as to be budgeted (TBB), I go to the budget and use the first quick budget option called Underfunded. This seems to spread all the money around according to my goals to the point where my budget might go red. Then I have to decide which one of my goals to fund less than planned. (I've also learned I could checkbox each category until that total reaches my TBB, I'll be trying that next paycheck).  I would really not try to make a google translate, just embrace the new. 

      Reply Like
      • Bruce
      • Software Engineer
      • Bruce
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Just Joan I haven't actually done much with fake budgets yet, but that sounds like a good idea.  My first check came in on the 1st, so we'll be taking a look at it tonight after the kids are in bed, and seeing if we can figure out what to do with it. 

      Reply Like 1
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Bruce Also, the help support are super. You get to them by the ? in a circle on the bottom right of the desktop view. 

      Reply Like
  • Someone owes me money - how do I track that?  Caveat is that I used my credit card to pay for something and now my daughter is paying me back.  I also have another friend who is doing the same thing.

    I think that I need a category for each of these but it seems like the balance would be negative and I don’t want that to disappear the next month. I want the balance to roll over until they finish paying me. 

    Reply Like 1
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Just Joan you're hitting all the high points. There's couple of threads on this, here's one https://support.youneedabudget.com/t/63dwpc/loaning-money-to-my-son

      Reply Like
      • Relieved
      • Retired
      • Relieved
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Just Joan I actually fund a category for what I’m owed because it reflects reality— my budget is actually out $x until I’m reimbursed.  

      So I pay $50 for Joe’s dinner on my credit card. I categorize that $50  as Reimbursment and I actually move money from another category (maybe Restaurants, maybe Savings)  to put $50 in that category. The amount available is now 0 and the credit card payment is funded. When he pays me back, I categorize it directly to Reimbursement.  Amount available is now back to $50.  There are no issues with losing track of a negative category  when the new month hits  

      Since I find that it’s the same people that always owe me money,  I have a category named Joe Reimbursement and  I just leave the $50 there. I put “Bring to $50” in the comments or name the category Joe Reimbursement $50.  If it’s ever less than $50, he owes me money.

      If I don’t have $50 to fund the category I shouldn’t be loaning people money. The truth is, if I am waiting for a reimbursement from work or a friend, the money has left my budget and it’s money I can’t spend. 

      Reply Like 1
      • Just Joan
      • just_joan
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Relieved that makes sense.  My situation is that I used my credit card to pay for something for my daughter (a critical car repair) because neither of us had the cash.  She is paying me back over the next few months.  In Mvelopes, I would have a category (envelope) called Due from Rachel that had a negative balance.  As she makes payments, I allocate those funds to that category until it is cleared.  In YNAB, the advice I've seen (and am trying out for myself) is to have a tracking account with that title.  

      I've had overspending over the last few years which has resulted in a good-sized credit card balance.  In Mvelopes, I had tracked what I spent the money on, leaving negative balances in those categories.  As we've had extra money come in and been able to start paying that down, I achieve this by funding those envelopes (budgeting to those categories in YNAB language).  On the Mvelopes side, when you spend on a credit card, the same amount goes into a "Money For" category tied to your credit card (positive balance).  I can quickly see that my "Money For" matches up against my negative categories.  I get the feeling of progress when I can put some money in those negative categories - meaning that it's not just paying against a giant credit card balance but paying off a car repair or emergency trip that had to be taken, for example.  

      The other way to look at this is that I totaled up what I had funded/budgeted for my usual spending categories and made sure my checking balance was enough to cover those.  So the sum of Monthly/Periodic Expenses = Checking.  The net of Due from/other negative categories and Money For is zero (or positive, if I've been able to put some funds toward the negative categories - which confirms I can then send an extra payment to the credit card)

      As I'm typing this out and thinking about it, maybe setting up a tracking account for those categories that were negative in Mvelopes is the way to solve my desire to see where I've overspent and how I'm reducing those balances.  

      I'm definitely looking forward to Support being online and helping me work through this stuff :)

      Reply Like
      • Just Joan
      • just_joan
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      I've watched lots of videos, looked at a few Help articles, and think I've sorted myself out with regard to confirming my Checking account balance and categories I've budgeted for are in alignment - yay me!  

      I *think* I understand the credit card payment side of things, especially with the interest assessed.  We'll see how it flows through this month 🤞The key for me to confirm I've captured all transactions was to look at the details of each credit card account and note whether the Working Balance matched what was online.  

      I also decided to let go the idea of tracking where our credit card debt came from (cue theme from Frozen) and just focus on paying them down.  I have set up tracking accounts for the two people who owe me money which is carried on those cards, so I can at least see what's "mine."   And I think I've got a plan for my son's share of our monthly cell phone bill.  I already split the transaction into categories, with a Due from Ben for his amount.  If he doesn't reimburse me by the end of the month, I'll pop that into a tracking account as well so I don't forget to hound nag remind him.

      Reply Like
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Just Joan congrats! 

      Reply Like
      • Just Joan
      • just_joan
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness  any further insight here?

      Reply Like
  • I have been watching all the YouTube videos from YNAB, which have helped a lot.  I also found another YouTuber who has done a FANTASTIC series on getting started:  MappedOutMoney.   That being said, I haven't yet found the answers to all of my questions.  I'm sure some of this is just learning how to speak YNAB.  If anyone has ever learned a new language, please remember that you first learn by equating the new words to the ones you already know - and that's what these questions are about :)

    Reply Like 2
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 8 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Just Joan the support is also great, I'm sure I had no less than 20 exchanges with them just learning how things worked. 

      Reply Like 2
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Just Joan the problem I was having with relating the words back is my old language carried different baggage with the word and my simple mind was trying to bring that along too. 

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

      Just Joan Yep, the problem with that is that there is not always a one-to-one mapping between words in different languages. So too it is with YNAB and other systems. We can't "translate" the way you do X into YNABese because X is not a thing that you do in YNAB. Does that make sense?

      Reply Like 1
      • Just Joan
      • just_joan
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      bevocat  it does - I'm definitely looking forward to Support being online so they can help out with some of these questions.  With all of the new users coming from Mvelopes, I know I'm not the only one feeling my way around and learning how to understand a new language :)

      Reply Like 1
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Just Joan just keep at it :) 

      Reply Like
    • Just Joan You can reach us a number of ways - on the forum included! :)

      It looks like you answered the questions above, but if I missed one please don't hesitate to let me know!

      Reply Like
  • I'm coming over from mvelopes too and its been a bit of a change of thinking. I think it will be good for me because I got too used to seeing negative balances in envelopes and never fixed them. I think the thing I miss the most is being able to plan out what to do with my two extra paychecks a year in the funding plan. I use those two paychecks- this year in May and November to fund my periodic expenses like vacation and car repairs. How does everyone plan an overall annual budget if your income is reliable from paycheck to paycheck? 

    Reply Like
      • Tobias
      • Toviathan
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Meghan Parnell Ideally, your monthly budgeting is going to be based on what you need your year to look like in the end. Part of embracing your true expenses is to think of all the non-regular/non-monthly expenses in terms of monthly funding and smooth out those expenses. Like car repairs, that's something that you should hopefully be funding monthly and letting that money sit and wait for the day when you will need it. Same thing with savings goals like vacations, set money aside regularly as a part of your budget and then you won't need to fund it all at once. This is where goals come in, either monthly or target date depending on whether you can anticipate when you will need funds by.

      Working this way, when you get those extra paychecks you can decide once the money is in your hands where those funds are most needed. Maybe you can still stand to buffer your true expenses more, or maybe it's time to get a head start on a savings goal. It will be very easy to tell once you are in the moment based on your goals and priorities. Trying to make that decision now before you even have the money is setting yourself up to make decisions with your money today based on money you don't even have yet. It's hard to get out of the habit of looking too far ahead, but it is very freeing to stop and focus on where you are now rather than hope for tomorrow to go a specific way.

      I really recommend using the goal features. Right now I have three types of categories: categories tired to regular bills that have recurring scheduled transactions set up, true expense categories that do not have regularly scheduled spending which I set monthly funding goals or target date goals up to determine the monthly funding needed, and savings categories that I also have monthly funding goals on. I'm ignoring the credit card payment categories since we have become paid in full, but those are there too. When a month rolls over in my budget, I can see all of my categories are orange and are waiting for funding for either a goal or a bill. Once I have cleared out the orange, I know I am good to start either funding into next month or add further cushioning to true expense categories. Our larger goal is to get a month ahead in our budget, so I have been opting to throw money into the next month. What you do is up to your goals and priorities.

      And when my extra paychecks come in March and August this year, I'll get to decide what to do with them at the time based on where I am in that exact moment.

      Reply Like 1
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Meghan I'm coming for a similar place.  Very used to red envelopes and forecasting a year out. I've had to change my thinking,  it's taken a while and still going on.  I'm using category goals to represent my old annual budget. 

      Reply Like
      • Meghan
      • fl_meg
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Tobias I understand what you are saying its just that I dont have enough money in my two paychecks to accomplish what I want and use that third to be strategic on accomplishing goals. Ive created goal amounts for those specific categories and will see if that works. I also have a few I fund with a small amount monthly but then like to load them up on my third paychecks. Thanks for your response and the encouragement!

      Reply Like
      • Meghan
      • fl_meg
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Ben K. Thanks Ben. I guess I will have to change my thinking too! We need a support group for those recovering from the trauma of mvelopes. (joking) I just couldnt handle it anymore! 

      Reply Like 1
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Meghan The hardest part for is the terms are either the same or close to the same, but mean something totally different. I'd be fine learning a new language with all new terms, but this is like hearing my own language (was with Crown a long time), but it means something different. 

      Reply Like
      • Meghan
      • fl_meg
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ben K. True but I think I'm starting to get it! Available = envelope, goal = funding plan, budget = budget (sort of) 

      Reply Like
    • Meghan 

      Meghan said:
      Available = envelope, goal = funding plan, budget = budget (sort of) 

       If it helps, Budget = the amount set aside for the category in that month. That's a little wordier, but hopefully more clarifying! :)

      Reply Like
    • Khaki Storm
    • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
    • Khaki_Storm.1
    • 8 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    How's the transition going?

    Reply Like
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