Budgeting previous months when signing up a new account?

Hello, I'm inviting my gf to have her own YNAB account, and was wondering if, after connecting her credit cards and bank accounts, it is possible to go to the expenses of the last 3 months and assign them to the right categories. That way we can reflect about the spending behaviors and learn to budget for the future.

 

Is it possible?

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  • Can you? Yes.

    Should you? No. It's not worth the trouble and confusion that tend to come with trying to set up YNAB this way.

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  • Can you depends on how good your memory/record keeping is. Me, personally? I wouldn't be able to. I'd have no idea what the Amazon charges are, or the TXTRIWN&*(&^%$ (or whatever gobbledygook my credit cards use for various transactions that makes then unrecognizable), etc. Not knowing what it is means I can't give it a category, so there's no point in importing it.

    Should you is, as nolesrule says, not advised.

     

    When I initially set up YNAB, I was having issues getting the numbers right on one credit card, so I entered it with a starting balance of the last statement and entered all the current transactions. (I think it was one of those "I had a transaction the day of my starting account entry and it was double counted," but I didn't know about that possible issue at the time.) In extreme circumstances, I'd say you could do that. Otherwise, it's usually not worth the time/effort. 

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  • On the positive side, most credit card issuers have decent web sites that will give you monthly and annual spending reports to help with your first budget.

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  • I agree with everyone else here! While you can do this, it can create a bit of a mess. Instead, I'd suggest a more manual approach. Go ahead and look at your past three statements. I'd especially note any recurring transactions. Make note of categories that you might need to add to your budget. Do your best to estimate monthly expenses, learn and adjust as you go!

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