Not sure where I messed up my math.
I've been YNABing since November, but it's been a fairly difficult learning curve for me. I think I've finally gotten all my categories the way I want them and my goals all set up to be filled and I just allocated all my COVID money into a cushion for paying off next month's bills - yay!
Here's my problem: I have a savings account and a checking account. I regularly move stuff out of savings into checking to cover bigger expenses (e.g. I dipped into it to cover a down payment on my new car), but the amount that's actually in my savings account is mentally designated as "off limits." Basically, in my mind, the amount in my "emergency fund" category and the amount in my savings account should be the same.
I currently have about $2245 in my checking account and $1600 in my savings account. But over in my budget on YNAB, I only have $863 available in my "emergency fund" category.
I'm thinking I did one of two possible things:
- Accidentally over-allocated when first creating my budget, and so actually I should have only $863 in my savings account because that's actually the only money that's been given the "savings" job.
- Messed up when first importing accounts and reconciling, and so actually my "emergency fund" category is wrong.
I can't figure out which it is (if it is either of those things) or how to fix it.
The main thing is to stop thinking of accounts as untouchable or savings and use categories for those designations instead. Think of your checking and savings as one large pool of money. Your categories define their purpose. The main difference between a checking and savings account is that you make a little interest in the savings account.
As long as your accounts are reconciled and everything is balanced, your current category balances do represent what you have available.
You probably transferred money to your savings account without moving money to your emergency fund category. It's a common oversight until you have that paradigm shift Superbone talks about.
I highly recommend delving into the above material. It's quite valuable to operate in that way because...
1. You don't have the busy work of syncing accounts to categories, which is error-prone, as you discovered.
2. You can look at your budget as one, whole picture, full of relative priorities. This streamlines planning and makes day to day decisions easier when you look at your categories.
3. You maximize earned interest.