positive credit card balance show as overspending but should carry over to next month

Dear YNAB,

I got a late fee on my credit card which I budgeted out of my fees category. (easy peasy)

I paid the credit card (including late fee) (so far so good)

The late fee was then reversed and I credited this back to the fees category.

I reconciled my cc account which now has a positive balance of $35 reflecting the credited late fee reversal (and my overpayment).

This shows up as "overspent" in the credit card category, which actually makes sense to me because the available budget in that category is just a holding bucket for what has already been spent and is available to pay the bill.  So because there's a $35 credit, it makes sense that i'd have $35 less available to pay the bill because the bill will be $35 less.

HOWEVER this should roll over to next month because that bill won't reflect the credit until next month.  Also why does it show an extra $35 in TBB now? I didn't have any extra inflow other than the $35 credit which I categorized under Fees.   

I see that if I categorize the extra $35 under the credit card it will just zero that category, but what will happen when my bill is $35 less next month? but now i have $35 extra in the cc bucket?

This is where I lose the logic thread.

If I do nothing, it also zeros out the cc bucket, but again, next month will i have an unexplained extra $35 when I pay the bill, which should be $35 less than what i spend next month?

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  • I think what I will need to do, is artificially make it carry over to next month - so I budget the random extra $35 in cc this month. that results in me having an extra 35 in the cc bucket, but next month I can budget negative $35 in the cc bucket - which zeros out the bucket again, and i can re-budget the $35 to a spending category. and then the cc bucket should end up matching my bill.

    I'll let you know if that works as i think it will.

    My point is that because the cc category doesn't work the same way as spending category, ie- a positive balance is reflected as negative, negative balances should actually carry over in this category.


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  • Budget the $35 to the credit card payments category. While you use up the $35 positive balance your credit card will function like a checking account. 

    The $5 you spend on groceries will be subtracted from the groceries line but the credit card payments line will not increase. 

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    • satcook I don't think it works that way, because the credit card category zero'd out when it rolled over to a new month

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    • Purple Dragon yes because you have not spent it. When you add it to the budget ynab says you have that much to spend which you do. When you spend on groceries the amount you need will come out of it. The following month should still match your balance if you budget the whole balance and 35 dollars 

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  • That 35 dollars was not spent, so you budgeted it in the fees category but you didn't end up spending it on the category. So your credit card category registers that you had an inflow but no spending attached to it. I would set the available balance to zero, and this should match your statement. 

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  • TBB was increased when the CC account went positive. Use these seemingly new funds to clear the overspent CC Payment category.

    A positive CC account is effectively a cash account. Think of it as another checking account. As such, your next $35 in purchases DON'T HAVE TO BE PAID BACK. Therefore $0 is the correct amount to be reserved for your CC payment (i.e., the Available amount).

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    • dakinemaui right. My next $35 in purchases don’t have to be paid back, therefore the correct amount to be in my credit card balance is negative $35. (With that $35 available for me to budget towards groceries or whatever) Which is what it was until the month rolled over and because negative budgets don’t carry forward from month to month, YNAB zero’d out the credit card line and the TBB. So now I have $35 less available to budget than I should, and when I pay the credit there will be an extra $35 in the credit card bucket, which I don’t need, because that amount has already been credited.  My work around should work - which is to subtract $35 from the credit card bucket in the next month and budget it toward groceries. But YNAB should allow this happen  automatically if there is a negative balance in the credit card line, because it doesn’t represent overspending. A negative balance in the cc line represents a positive or overpraid credit card balance. 

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    • Hi Purple Dragon !

      This guide goes over the effects of having a positive balance on a credit card. Negatives should be covered in your budget whenever possible. Yes, you have a positive $35 credit card account balance, but you don't have to pay -$35 - you have to pay $0, so the $35 in To Be Budgeted should be used to cover that negative to represent that.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 9 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Purple Dragon Again, since you don't need to pay, you don't need ANYTHING reserved to pay. That payment category really should be $0.

      You're probably missing the fact the next $35 in CC purchases do NOT increase the CC Payment category as they normally would. (Again, this is temporarily a cash account, JUST like checking.) Therefore, at some point, you should have an account balance of $0, conveniently matching the category balance of $0 that we're saying you should have. Any further purchases will increase both in lock step.

      If this still doesn't make any sense, consider making $35 in budgeted purchases and re-evaluating things when the CC is acting "normal".

      Reply Like 1
    • dakinemaui yeah, you're right, i didn't know that cc purchases didn't increase the cc amount if there was a positive balance. how would a person know that? I find that to be counter intuitive. 

      Also, I still can't figure out where the $35 came from.  I don't just have an extra $35 because i overpaid. i budgeted the overpayment out of the fees category, and then credited it back to the fees category.  so it should be accounted for there - how is it also in  TBB? how can it be in both places?   - i mean i guess its not really $35, its just a placeholder - i'm the things i'm buying are still coming out of other budget lines, just not increasing the cc line - so it's just ynab's way of getting around that the $35 credit doesn't roll over - and its smart enough to account for the credit behind the scenes.

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    • Faness thanks.  yeah, i didn't know ynab would account for the positive balance that way.

      Reply Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 8 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Purple Dragon consider an easier scenario: you got the fee reversed (shifting from Payment to Fees), but your account balance is still negative (let's just assume you carry a balance in this scenario). You said this makes sense to you that the Payment category would go negative. TBB would be unchanged.

      Now, change the scenario to a positive account balance. Remember, this is exactly like a checking account with $35 in it. What would happen if you put a new checking account on budget? That money goes to TBB. This is exactly the same.

      Don't feel bad, positive CCs in YNAB are very non-intuitive and trip up a LOT of people. Most (all?) of the replies are coming from people who have used the previous version where a CC ALWAYS acted like a checking account. Our intuition may be a bit more finely honed as a result. 😉

      Reply Like 1
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