Why does my "amount to be budgeted" decrease erratically as I arrow forward from month to month?

Why does my "amount to be budgeted" decrease erratically as I arrow forward from month to month?

I cannot figure out why this would happen. Obviously it's not a consistent recurring expense, because the amount varies drastically. It makes it really exasperating to plan for future months' expenses.

Help!

12replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • A better question is why is your To Be Budgeted not $0 in every month?

    To answer yours, it's complicated. TBB consists of old money not previously allocated and new money received in that same month. If you have a habit of leaving money in it, it's anybody's guess what it will be. Additionally, red overspending causes a reduction in the following month's TBB, because YNAB only lets that missing money ride until the end of the month.

    In short, budget funds into categories until TBB is $0. Cover red/overspent categories immediately -- ideally move money BEFORE the spending that would take a category negative.

    Like 5
  • TBB in selected month = TBB from previous month + income in selected month - amounts budgeted in selected month

     

    Therefore the reason it’s moving from month to month depends entirely on how much income you have in that month and how much you have budgeted in that month.

    Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Blue Wildcat There's actually more to it than your formula considers (funds budgeted to the future), but your conclusion about income and budgeting playing a crucial role is spot on.

      Like 1
    • dakinemaui Thanks. I thought funds budgeted to future don’t affect the current month’s TBB, which is why people run into all sorts of problems. 

      I do however think the other element I missed is any uncovered overspend in the previous month which is also subtracted from TBB (which you should never have if you properly cover overspends as intended, hence the oversight).

      Like
  • Blue Wildcat said:
    I thought funds budgeted to future don’t affect the current month’s TBB

    Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. 😉  And you're correct, cash overspending is yet another consideration. Cheers!

    Like
  • dakinemaui  and Blue Wildcat

    None of that seems to apply to my situation. I'll include some specifics.

    It's not zero because I joined YNAB in mid-July with a tax return I needed to make last for everything that wasn't rent, utilities and a minimal grocery budget for the next year and a half. And I allocated every penny I we had, made a category and a goal for every priority we care about from a local annual ceramic show to my nephews' birthday outings.

    Then COVID-19 hit and everyone in my home lost all their jobs.

    So I did a Fresh Start less than a month ago after mucking around for HOURS trying to figure out how to take $10/month out of the Christmas budget over each of the next 18 months et al. I cried over it. It was miserable. But that means my budget starts in March 2020. I haven't been letting money sit in "To Be Budgeted".

    So then I allocated everything I had as of the end of March, which is the beginning of our budget, to last through about June. And at the end of March I had no outstanding expenses, I'd reconciled everything.

    Then a few days ago my husband's school loan money came in. I need to make that money last for 3 months. And I started getting unemployment. So I went to allocate this money.

    But when I started this process, trying to see how long I could make it last, it was BAFFLING:

    April and May are the same. Let's say $1000 for ease of math. SO this is what it looks like:
    April: $1000
    May: $1000
    June:  $446.23
    July: $377.71
    August: $377.71
    September 2020 -January 2021: $377.71
    February 2021: $826.48 (It went UP! WHY?)

    I barely have the heart to go through and allocate money to future expenses when I just had to undo it all. But the main thing is that before I do I want the system to make sense.

    What is the point of getting ahead if the system goes all wonky when you try? This is the WHOLE REASON I joined YNAB--our income has always been erratic and difficult to plan around. I was having a wonderful honeymoon using YNAB but COVID-19 has spoiled it with a vengeance.

    Does anyone have insight here? I'm incredibly frustrated.

    Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Ice Cream Star Please don't spend hours on something. Give it a shot yourself and then ask for help if you're stuck. There's lots of that around, both volunteers as well as official support reps. (FWIW, on the Christmas budget, you'd have to just reduce each month's budget entry in turn.)

      There are approaches to insulate your budget from variable income. The idea is to target your average income. When you get above average income, stash the overage in a category. When you have an under-average month, you make up the difference (to the average level) from the category. The rest of your budget never knows the difference.

      You also don't have to budget out 18 months. That's a lot of months to change every time there's a little change in priorities or a bill amount change. I find it far easier to go month by month. You can keep windfalls like your tax return in a category. If you need that to last 18 months, then each month release 1/18th of the original amount back to TBB -- mixing with your normal income -- which is then budgeted as your current priorities dictate.

      Definitely income changes mandate budget changes. But having a plan is going to be more helpful. I do wish you the best of luck in these trying times.

      Like 2
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Ice Cream Star Specifics like this help. I think the official Support will have to take a look at your budget (with your permission). I think everyone responding thus far has thought you were talking about the TBBs in past months, which now appears very different than your scenario.

      Bottom line: I know of no reason why the TBB in any future month should be different than that shown in next month's TBB.

      Faness Matthew

      Like 1
      • satcook
      • satcook
      • 9 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Ice Cream Star future tbb numbers can be affected by negative numbers in the budgeted column. Make sure the budgeted column in those future months are all zeroes. 

      Like 3
    • Ice Cream Star It sounds like future budgeted amount may be to blame here. We'd be more than happy to take a closer look at things! :)

      If you’re up for it, go ahead and enable Support Access for your account. Once you’ve done that, let me know—and mention whether you’d like to continue the discussion here or via email instead.

      Like 2
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      satcook you're right of course. I assumed there were no user entries. My mistake.

      Like
  • Thank you all.
    satcook sussed this out!  Kat in YNAB support helped me figure out what to do about it. dakinemaui, your encouragement and sympathy was heartening.

    Something else I realized is that because Fresh Start erased some things I wanted and DIDN'T erase other things I wanted it to, that I went back and forth between the two several times--and I wasn't in my Fresh Start budget like I thought I was when I came back to YNAB! So I definitely had bits of residual allocation going out to 2021, most of which I'd removed (but imperfectly, I guess? I still don't understand why I had a rolling negative going forward in categories I couldn't budget even after I deleted the goals)--but since I'd thought I'd entirely cleared it with the Fresh Start I was just baffled.

    It doesn't make much sense to anyone else, but we knew that with my small paycheck and school loans we had coming in *just* enough to live on with zero extras--no books, no Lyft, no takeout, no clothes, no shoes, etc.  The tax return covers all of that (I over-withhold because in our first year of marriage we owed and couldn't pay and it was horrible, & because I hate doing taxes and a large return is an incentive for me), and because of a previous job loss it was much bigger than we can expect for the last several years until my partner is done with school. It's easy to over-spend a windfall and I wanted to map out if it was feasible to make it last a year and a half. (It was. Ah, those halcyon pre-coronavirus days!)

    I'm terrible with math and tracking and planning money (yet the best at it in my household, alas) so this was an important exercise for me. But now with dakinemaui 's feedback I'm realizing that I could have divided the tax return amount by the amount I'd allocated monthly for extras and found out how far I could make it go without spending hours assigning it all through most of 2021. None of this is intuitive for me--there's a lot of plodding involved.

    Thanks, everyone! This is all making much more sense.

    Like 3
Like1 Follow
  • 1 Likes
  • 9 mths agoLast active
  • 12Replies
  • 193Views
  • 4 Following