Credit Overspending and YNAB's budget moving

So, my wife and I pay our credit cards down to zero every month (thanks YNAB). But, sometimes we pay them down and find that we've spent more on our payment than we have allocated. Which is confusing since YNAB moves our budgeted money from the category in which we spent into the credit card budget item.

I have a theory, and I'm wondering if anyone here can tell me whether I'm correct. Sometimes we overspend in a few categories and go through the budget after entering transactions "fixing" the overages. When we do this, we simply add the money we need into the red/yellow categories in the first pass, then go back through and take money out of green categories until the red at the top of the budget goes back to zero.

My thinking is that when we do this, the money that we allocate into the overspent categories does not get reflected in the credit card payment category.  Is that correct? Thanks for any answers you all might have.



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  • It's more likely that you didn't budget for the initial balance on the card. 

    Your credit card payment category should always have an available amount that is the positive equivalent of your negative working balance. If it's not, make a one-time budget adjustment to fix it. After that, as long as your card doesn't go positive again, YNAB should have the correct amount ready in your CC - as long as you properly fund the original categories of the purchases, of course.

    There's actually a list of other reasons the category can diverge floating around the forum. It includes the way rewards are handled. 

    • Oh, and why are you paying the card to zero? 馃檪

      The other major reason for your issue is that your CC balance goes positive when you're "paying to zero."

      In that case, the overpaid amount gets put in TBB and you need to manually move it to the CC payment category. (And then stop paying to zero... And learn what Paid In Full/PIF status is in YNAB).

  • Thanks. When I say Pay to Zero, I mean that I pay the full cleared balance. We did make a one time adjustment in the budget last month to fix it, but it is off again this month, and I'm not quite getting why. When we use cash back rewards we treat it as an inflow to the CC and make the category To be Budgeted.

  • Sea Green Stallion said:
    When we use cash back rewards we treat it as an inflow to the CC and make the category To be Budgeted.

     I'm not an expert on this, but I'm pretty sure this would result in you having extra in your CC payment category. You would then have to manually move that money to another category. I could be wrong.

    However, since you're short in the CC payment category, either I'm wrong or that's not your problem. 馃槃 

    I'll leave this for someone else to confirm. 

      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 3 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Move Light Sound Life you are correct

      Like 1
    • I'm pretty sure this is actually not correct. If I made the category of the transaction the CC payment, yes. That would result in extra in the CC payment. But, instead I make the category To Be Budgeted. As an inflow into the balance of the card, the transaction should be treated as an inflow into that account. But, in the budget, it is money with which to budget wherever I need it because it is essentially money I no longer need for the payment.

    • Sea Green Stallion It's a little weird/complicated, because the issue is more "it doesn't change the amount you have available/set aside to pay the card (from your covered spending), but does reduce the amount you owe." So if (and only if) the cashback took your cc balance positive, you'd have more money in TBB to distribute to other categories. If it did not, YNAB just treats it as reduced debt on the card, and you have extra available in your payment available amount.

      In both cases (the balance went positive or it just reduced the debt), you're likely to end up with extra in the "available for payment" category, which you then distribute from there back to your other categories. 

  • Good question. We do make sure that every bit of overspending from one month is covered by moving money around before the next month begins.

    Maybe I'm just looking at something wrong. Maybe its been fixed since we made the adjustment last month, and I'm just getting confused. This little bit here was what was confusing me earlier today. I'm still a little confused about it, I guess.

    • Sea Green Stallion If your working balance is $2546.91, you're good to go!

      If your working balance is less than that, you can safely move the excess to a different category. 

      If your working balance is more than that, you'll need to move money into the CC category. This should not be common, though. 

  • Oh dear. You're right. I was so primed for it to be wrong because it has been for months that I was looking at the wrong number. The working balance is 2549, so of course that's how much should be budgeted for the payment. Thank you. Duh. Sorry to waste your time, and thank you for the reply.

    Like 1
      • SgtBatten
      • "YNAB broke" since 2013
      • SgtBatten
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Stallion Please just set up an automatic payment of the credit card. The bank should allow you to set the amount you want to pay every month to the statement balance. this will then mean you pay exactly the minimum required in order to pay no interest. 

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