Importing past transactions
I just purchased and am setting up my YNAB. I want to analyze our past income and spending.
Can I import past spending history going back a year? Between checking accounts and credit cards I have about 7 banks and over a year there must be hundreds , maybe thousands of transactions. In other words, can I import past statements from the banks' websites?
YNAB works from today forward. Definitely look at those statements to get an idea of your spending in various areas, but because of the way YNAB works, putting them into the software is extremely counterproductive--you'll have to do hours of confusing work to make the budget make sense before you even really learn to use the software. Not to mention, your trends will likely immediately change when you begin using YNAB so the past info is less useful than you might expect.
Begin with your balances from today, and budget that money to where you need it before you get paid again.
I want to say that you'll probably be sorry you did this, but I also understand the analytical backward view of crunching data being an attractive notion, at least in theory.
A way to experiment would be to create a separate budget for the historical stuff. That way it doesn't make a total mess of your current budget (requiring you to start over when it totally gums up the works), and if it actually works for you, you have some historical data you can refer to, and if it doesn't work, you can delete it with no harm done.
Hi Cornflower Blue Sound !
YNAB is forward looking, so when you link your account it will start with today's date. We don't suggest adding past transactions - especially not those spanding a lengthy period of time - but it can be done. I second HappyDance's suggestion of trying this in a separate budget.
After connecting an account, if you decide to import past transactions (since the first of the month, for example) you can change the date of the starting balance transaction. You will also need to adjust the amount of the starting balance.
Direct Import will only provide historical transactions for a couple of months in the past, at most. If you need additional history, you might consider our File Based Importing option.
Let me know if you have any other questions, I'm happy to help! :)