Credit Card usage not auto-adjusting budget

In the video for YNAB for handling credit cards, it mentions that if money is spent on a credit card for a particular category it should automatically re-budget some money into the credit card payment budget. It is not doing this on the web app.

On the Web App, neither auto-imports nor manual transactions are causing  a change to the credit card payment budget category. This makes a big red negative sign on the payment category constantly increase during the month, and a big surplus in budget that isn't really there.

Anyone know how to enable the feature that automatically adjusts the "credit card payment" budgeting?

46replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • You have to have money in the spending category. If it's overspent nothing will be transfered.

    That said, the change is not shown in the Credit Card payment Budgeted column, but rather the details of the Activity column.

    Like 4
    •  Hi Salmon Viper !

      To add an example here, let's say you budget $20 towards your Transportation category - you now have $20 Available in that category. If you spend $15 on your credit card and categorize it as Transportation, YNAB moves $15 from your Transportation category to your credit card category. You'll have $15 Available to pay towards your credit card, and $5 left Available in your transportation category.

      If you've budgeted for your expenses and funds still aren't moving, double-check that your credit card account balance is accurate in YNAB. If it's showing a positive balance, funds won't be moved (because there's no debt to cover). :)

      Like
  • I'm having this same issue. If I happen to overspend a category using a credit card, I go back, rebalance my budget and add money where needed. But the transaction amounts are not being added to the Payment.

    Like 1
      • satcook
      • satcook
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Alice Blue Flute is your credit card showing a negative or positive balance in the accounts list??

      Like
    •  satcook negative. And even though i have budgeted for these items that were then charged to the card, no money is being transfered to the card payment, but instead showing up as red... like its a cash transaction. 

      Like
      • Jannelle
      • jannelle_ynabsupport
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Alice Blue Flute Hmm, curious and curiouser! Where is the red you're referring to, the credit card payments category for that card or the category that the purchase came from? 

      Like
      • satcook
      • satcook
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Alice Blue Flute is the category you are spending from negative??

      Like
    • Jannelle satcook The categories I am spending from show up red, like they are a cash transaction, even though they were charged on a credit card. If/when I need to add more to the category budget to cover it, it is not registering as a credit card transaction, and so the amount is not transferred to the Payment amount. Basically it seems they are being mistakenly categorized as cash transactions. This has happend a couple times since using YNAB, and I have gotten around it by 'budgeting' money to the credit card that should have been transferred automatically to the 'Payment'.

      Like
      • satcook
      • satcook
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Alice Blue Flute you must have both cash and credit purchases in the same category. YNAB prioritizes cash based overspending so you don’t overdraft your account. Once you budget enough to bring the category to $0 YNAB will definitely move money to the credit card payments category. 

      Like 1
    • Hi Alice Blue Flute !

      Your Available amount covers cash spending first – even if the cash spending wasn’t most recent. If you have money Available after the cash spending, it will be used to cover credit spending. This is why you may notice credit overspending (orange) when you expected to see cash overspending (red).

      YNAB covers cash spending first because those dollars have actually left your accounts. When you have cash overspending, you can’t trust your budget (money is gone from other categories), so it’s best to avoid it. Credit overspending, on the other hand, isn’t as dire. Money hasn’t left your account yet, so those dollars are still in your categories, just as your budget suggests.

      You'll have to cover the cash overspending and the credit overspending to bring those categories current.

      Like 1
  • I am having the exact same problem.  I have allocated funds for my budget and still have cash left.  Every credit card transaction that I have entered adds to my credit card category (and so it's increasing and negative), but ALSO deletes the money from the category where I have entered it.  It's incredibly frustrating.

    Like
      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Lavender Leopard Just clarifying, are you referring to your credit card account balance in the left hand side bar or the credit card category in the main part of the budget when you say it's increasing it and making it more negative?

      Your CC account balance should be negative and should increase when you add a transaction. Your CC category should be positive and should also increase when you add a transaction. If you are truly paid in full on your credit card then the two balances should be equal and opposite.  If your CC category balance is negative to start with then that's a different problem but it's not worth any of us typing reams until we clarify the first question above.

      Like
      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Lavender Leopard Actually, if you've got funds left over it wouldn't be that difficult. If your credit card category balance in the white main budget section is negative then you need to budget enough funds there that it is positive and, if you intend to be paid in full, equal to the negative balance on your credit card account.

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view
      Like 2
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule agree, good advice.

      Like
    • nolesrule If I understand what is being said here, I don't think that's how it's supposed to work...when I have $50 in groceries, spend $50 from groceries on my card, shouldn't it transfer $50 from groceries to my card? Therefore, my card should be green $50, correct? But what happens to me, and others (if I'm understanding) is $50 comes out of groceries, but the card is red $50. Maybe I just don't understand.

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Piano It doesn't transfer it to your card. it transfers it to you card's Payment category, so you know how much money you have available to make your next payment.

      The account balance will become more negative, because a credit card purchase is an outflow.

      Like
    • nolesrule I meant credit card category. 

      Like
  • The way the credit card spending is set up is so confusing to me. I, like many others here, use my credit card like cash - I spend within my categories and pay off the card every month, but my card is always red, even though I'm using my categories. I worry that my budget isn't trustworthy now. And I don't understand how to fix it. I think I understand how it's supposed to work, but it doesn't seem to be working that way in my budget. Frustrated.

    Like
      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Piano How long have you been using YNAB?

      If your credit card payment category is red it means you paid more to your credit card than you had budgeted to pay. This can occur for a number of reasons but the main one is that you didn't budget for the starting balance on your credit card. Those purchases took place before you started YNAB so you have to specifically budget to the credit card payment category for them.

      Like
    • monkeyhanger I’ve been using YNAB for many years but I just switched to the web version about 9-10 months ago. I like many things about it, but the credit card section has been a mess for me from the beginning. I did budget for everything in the beginning, but the card balance and the credit card category balance never matched. Even the support people couldn’t help me. I just watched a video and I think I understand part of my problem. But it’s still weird because one credit card is red and the other is green and neither match my balance. 

      Like
      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Piano Red is never good so you need to budget money towards that credit card until it does match. I'm sure you already know that but never want to assume.

      Green doesn't mean any more than there is some money set aside to pay towards the credit card (unless you have the toolkit on with certain settings enabled - then green means you have enough to pay it in full). Is the balance on the green credit card more or less than the actual credit card balance?

      Like
  • I agree that the way YNAB handles credit cards is confusing and unhelpful. I pay off my balance every month, but I'm constantly left with huge red deficits and green surpluses in the YNAB interface. 

    Like 2
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Steel Blue Leopard Green surpluses or just money available to make a payment. Sounds like you may be riding the credit card float.

      Like
  • Ignore the Overspending amount on the credit card account screen. Just make sure the Payment amount is equal to the Working balance.

    Like
  • nolesrule said:
    Green surpluses or just money available to make a payment. Sounds like you may be riding the credit card float.

     I'm sorry, but don't understand what this means at all. I am seeing green surpluses or red overages every month, even though all of my spending is budgeted. I pay off my balance every month. What do you mean by floating?

    Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Steel Blue Leopard Did you ever budget for the balance you had on your credit cards at the time you started using YNAB? The balance on the card is unbudgeted spending unless you budgeted for it explicitly when you started using YNAB.

      This scenario would cause the fluctionas you are seeing.

      Like 1
    • Khaki Storm
    • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
    • Khaki_Storm.1
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view
    Steel Blue Leopard said:
    What do you mean by floating?

    Welcome to YNAB. There's a lot of YNAB language, short hand, whatever you want to call it. In short, riding on the float is spending money you don't have yet. https://www.youneedabudget.com/are-you-riding-the-credit-card-float/

    Like
  • I was able to work out my issues with credit cards by chatting with YNAB support. I had to go back to the very start of my budgeting (3 months ago) and add a specific "payment" amount to correct the yo-yoing that was going on each month.  The payment amount was equal to whatever transactions had cleared as of the first of that month. To be clear, I never made an actual payment of this amount, it was just something I had to fudge for YNAB to not show deficits/surpluses every month. If I hadn't done that for each credit card, it would have never been right. So unless your statements all start and end on the first of the month, you'll have to do this to keep from yo-yoing if you pay the balance when it's due. Seems like a flaw in the YNAB software/workflow that I would have to do this, and that I would have to *know* to do it. But their support was golden, and now I'm all set up. Thanks all for your responses!

    Like 1
      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 1 yr ago
      • 7
      • Reported - view

      Steel Blue Leopard This is not a note for you but for others who might read this: this is not a flaw in the workflow but the result of accurately accounting for your card. If you begin YNAB mid-cycle, some of the money in your possession is mentallly reserved for paying off the things you’ve already charged to the card, just like perhaps some of the money in your checking account will be reserved for paying your mortgage or any other bill you can’t pay by credit. You make explicit that you intend to use some money for paying your mortgage by budgeting to the mortgage category. You make explicit that you intend to use some money to pay for last month’s card charges by budgeting to the card. 

      Going forward, you’ve made explicit that you intend to pay for things by budgeting to the categories, but when you first begin, the software has no idea what your plans are for that big lump sum in checking and savings. If you intend to use it to immediately pay your card to zero, you have to tell it that. 

      Like 7
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Steel Blue Leopard It's not a flaw. YNAB doesn't know if you intend to carry the debt or pay it off when you add a new credit card that has a balance. Because those charges were from before you started using YNAB, they were never budgeted for. So as WordTenor pointed out, you must tell YNAB that you intend to pay it back by reserving money to do so in your budget.

      This should be part of the onboarding anytime a new card is added with a balance. If not, YNAB should update the credit card onboarding workflow.

      Like 2
    • Maybe it's not a bug in the software, but it is a flaw in the YNAB onboarding workflow for people who pay off their cards every month. Here's the workflow that I followed, straight from the YNAB documentation: I set up my credit card in YNAB with a starting balance, correctly set on the day I start YNAB. I use my credit card, and assign budget to every transaction in YNAB. I pay off the balance entirely, before the due date, and choose "transfer" (no category necessary) to account for the payment. But somehow I'm supposed to know that I need to make an additional fake "payment" in the YNAB system so that it doesn't get confused about what I might owe or have in surplus on my card? Where in the process would I have known that? 1/ When I set up the starting balance? (not according to YNAB documentation, and not how we resolved the issue) 2/ When I set the budget for my payment transaction? (it's a transfer, so no budget category necessary). At no point did YNAB make clear that it was necessary to make this fake "payment" to keep things straight. Furthermore, I don't have a requirement for budget categories for credit card payments, so I had hidden those categories (at the suggestion of a support rep!), and the surpluses/deficits were messing up my numbers from behind the scenes. Since it seems necessary to take this additional step, then I would suggest either adding it to the documentation, or else have the software make a suggestion that it be added for credit cards that don't have billing periods that exactly correspond with the first of the month. If the software needs for me to do something so that it doesn't get confused, then the software should take care of that or let me know that I need to do it. If not, then put it in the documentation. If I've missed this somewhere in the documentation, I would appreciate seeing that reference.

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Steel Blue Leopard It's not a fake payment. It's budgeting for the payment for charges made prior to starting YNAB. And while maybe they need to improvethe wording, they actually do have it included in the onboarding process. I just created a test budget and added a card with a $500 balance, and this screen came up. Perhaps the wording could be better, but the option is there.

      Like 3
      • adriana01
      • adriana01
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      I know YNAB has changed some things about onboarding credit card accounts recently. It's possible that the changes happened after you started. I'm surprised and a little disappointed that Support would tell you to hide the credit card payment accounts without making sure you had budgeted for the initial balance.

      I'm not sure which documentation articles you looked at when you set up the accounts several months ago, but here's the most recent quick start for adding accounts on mobile: https://docs.youneedabudget.com/article/1223-quick-start

      Also, the current workflow for adding a credit card account on mobile asks you whether you want to set up a goal to pay off the balance over time or right away, and has a reminder screen showing what needs to be done. It sets up the goal for you, but doesn't budget the money for you. I can't test it on the web version at this time, but I believe it should be much the same.

      I hope everything is working properly for you now. 

      Like
      • mamster
      • mamster
      • 1 yr ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule Yeah, I feel like a good start would be to make "Skip this for now" red and write "(NOT RECOMMENDED)".

      Like 4
  • I don't remember seeing that screen. They should fix the onboarding so that this doesn't happen. Maybe they should remove the "skip this for now" in case that's what caused all my headaches. If I'm the only person that had this trouble, then that's great. For others who are having the same problem as me, they will be interested to know that the solution requires making a fake payment in the YNAB system. And yes, it's a fake payment. It was never a payment I made in real life. It was something I had to do to fudge the numbers so that YNAB understood what the balance of the credit card is at the beginning of the month.  Really no way around that, and I stand by the word "fake" since it's not a real payment. Either way, it's a flaw in the system.

    Like
      • adriana01
      • adriana01
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Steel Blue Leopard did you have to enter a payment transaction, or adjust the category balance to match your account balance? Keeping your credit card category balance equal to your card account balance is a necessary step when you have a PIF card. Fake transactions are not.

      Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Steel Blue Leopard Agree with adriana01 . A fake payment would change account balances. If the starting balance as imported was wrong, you could adjust the starting balance or just do an inflow, but a "fake" payment that is actually a transfer to the CC from checking would screw up the balance in the checking account.

      So either the lingo you are using is wrong, or what they advised you to do to fix it is wrong.

      Like
    • adriana01 Not a transaction, that would definitely be worse. Instead I had to move an arbitrary amount from my budget surplus to the Credit Card Payment category. For a credit card payment that I never made. So, fake credit card payment. 

      Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Steel Blue Leopard Payments don't happen on the budget screen, they happen on the account page. You budgeted to pay off your credit card because you started YNAB with the intent of paying off the existing balance. There is literally no other way to do that than to budget for it.

      Like 2
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Steel Blue Leopard 

      Steel Blue Leopard said:
      Instead I had to move an arbitrary amount from my budget surplus to the Credit Card Payment category. For a credit card payment that I never made. So, fake credit card payment.

       If your intent is to pay your credit card statement balance (or the full balance) every month, then the card payment category must match the balance of the card so that the entire balance is covered by the budget. This is not a fake payment.

      The problem is that if you paid off your old balance without budgeting for the old balance up front, the current charges on your account covered by the budget are not enough to pay that old balance and also cover the new purchases. So when you paid off the old balance, it consumed your budgeted payment amount and may have gone negative if the payment was larger than the intermediate purchases, but then you had no money for the next payment. More charges over the next few weeks rebuilt the payment category, but then the payment for the old charges consumed the balance again. That is why it was flip-flopping on you.

      Like 1
    • nolesrule Yes, I realize that now. But without tech support, there would have been no way for me to know that I needed to do this arbitrary movement of money to the "credit card payment" category. "Budgeting" is not something I should have to do if I pay my credit card off every month. Maybe I missed that onboarding screen entirely, or maybe I checked "skip this for now" not understanding the pain that it would cause. Either way, it's not something I could have been aware of without tech support. I see that as a flaw in the system. If you see it as user error instead, then that's fine. My point in posting this is so that people who are having the same trouble as me know that they have to take this additional, undocumented step.

      Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Steel Blue Leopard You didn't need tech support. We could have told you here after a couple more questions. 😉

      I agree the onboarding could do a much better job than it does.  A lot of people think that they are Pay In Full credit card users while riding the float and don't realize it, however the wording of the onboarding question implies that they are asking if you pay the full card balance when you make a payment while most people pay the statement balance whether riding the float or not. It's a subtle but major difference.

      Like 1
  • My transactions aren't subtracting from my budget.  I  have $300 budgeted for durable household.  I charged $125 on Amex.  I hand entered the transaction because AMEX import isn't working right now.  The credit card payment goes to $125 but the durable household budget is still $300.  Shouldn't it be $175?

    Like
      • satcook
      • satcook
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Violet Orca what is the amount in the available bubble??

      it should be $300 budgeted for household

      -$125 for activity 

      $175 in available. 

      Is that what you’re seeing?

      Like
  • Sorry, I should have posted an  update.  I figured it out.  The transactions were coming out of last month since they were on the last day of the month.  That didn't change the amount budgeted for the this month, just last month.  The only thing that showed up in this month was a decrease in TBB which I didn't notice since I hadn't finished budgeting for this month so it was staying greeen.

    Like 2
Like Follow
  • 1 yr agoLast active
  • 46Replies
  • 1735Views
  • 17 Following