Classic YNAB "Income for next month"

Hi!

I'm sorry if this is elsewhere, but if it is I can't find it.  My budget is fully buffered, and with the classic YNAB I used to just hit the "Income for next month" all the time, and then at the beginning of the month I would take all the income from August, and put it into September's categories.  I'm struggling with how to get this to work in the online YNAB.  Not being able to get this right is actually almost causing me to fall off the budgeting bandwagon.  I've been budgeting for over 10 years now, and I loved YNAB classic, but this new thing is not going well.  Is there some way I haven't found to re-institute the designating a paycheck as to be budgeted next month, so I can just do it all at the beginning of the month?

Thanks!

Janet

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    • nolesrule
    • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
    • nolesrule
    • 2 yrs ago
    • 6
    • Reported - view

    It's one of the reasons I'm still using YNAB4.

    Others will come along with  instructions on workarounds to be able to nearly replicate the functionality in the new YNAB.

    Like 6
      • Janet
      • Magenta_Horse.8
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule  It was one of the reasons I was hesitant to switch, but I find that without an app on my phone I make poor choices in the "dining out" and "grocery" categories.  I must say that the workarounds for this are rather complex.

      Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Janet What's complex? Putting money into the category is identical to the YNAB4 method (categorization of a transaction). Releasing the money is a manual effort that takes 10 seconds once a month. It's irritating that we have to do it, but "complex" is not a word I would use to describe the process. 🙂

      Ignore the "template" stuff in the directions I wrote if you prefer to use Goals to implement a "template" capability (fill out the month with a few clicks).

      Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Janet Also, YNAB4 still works fine on phones. The only looming issue is the desktop software won't run on the Mac after the next update.

      Like 1
      • bret
      • bret
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Janet 

      It's really not that complex. Think of it this way: YNAB 4's "Income for Next Month" category is just like any other (user-managed) category with two small differences:

      • Instead of being rendered inline (alongside your other categories) its hoisted to the top of the budget;
      • YNAB helpfully empties out the category balance (into "Available to be Budgeted") at the start of each new month (so you don't have to do it manually.)

      You can recreate that same workflow with minimal effort -- less than a minute of extra clicking each month.

      Like 4
      • Janet
      • Magenta_Horse.8
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui  I haven't messed much with templates or goals.  I actually don't have a template set up, and only one goal.  Having budgeted for 10+ years, no debt, and an extremely stable salary, my categories don't change all that much.  So since I haven't used the template feature at all, I don't understand off the top of my head your directions for that.  I'm certain I can go and start learning about the templates and that your explanation of them will make perfect sense, it's just that I don't have that knowledge yet.  :-)

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      • Janet
      • Magenta_Horse.8
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      bret I think I need to go learn about the template feature that I haven't used yet, and then what didn't make sense and therefore seemed "complex" will make perfect sense and no longer seem complex.

      Like
    • Janet The template just allows you to fill out the month with your nominal values with a couple clicks. It's primarily a time saving device.

      However, when you have to add a category or get a bill increase, the template makes it easy to adjust other values or timelines to compensate. In the end, the total of the template must not exceed your stable monthly income.

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Janet You don't have to have a template. I don't. I just use the Quick Budget underfunded and budgeted last month features and then make a quick once through and make adjustments. It takes all of 5 minutes at the most.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Superbone In my view, you're using scheduled transactions, any goals, and last month's numbers as the template. :-) The template is simply your nominal numbers for the month. The manner in which you "store" them is a personal call, each with its own pros & cons.  (I'm just a little too OCD to have them scattered about like that! 😋)

      Common storage options:

      • In the category name/notes
      • Goals
      • Scheduled transactions (implicit goals)
      • Last month's numbers
      • Combination of Goals/Scheduled transactions/last month's numbers
      • Next month's area (which is really "last month's numbers" that have been copied before I screw them up by reallocating)

      Ultimately, one wastes a lot of effort without a template (i.e., some idea of "nominal" numbers) and increases the chance of making errors. In simple terms, the budget is the "money plan", and the template is merely the "plan for the budget". A template answers the question, "what are you going to do when you budget?"

      Like 2
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Good point. I'm doing exactly that. I should have said the type of template as you laid out where you store a "normal" month's budget in a future month. I've tried that in nYNAB but it was a pain for me to keep up on. This is why I personally prefer the Goals/Scheduled transactions/Last month's numbers Quick Budget method. I've advocated and put in a feature request for a template goal type that doesn't complain when you move funds around after the initial application like the current Monthly Goal does.

      As far as the scatteredness of this method, I like how it all pieces together after a couple clicks. I also enjoy the once over period where I put the "finishing" touches on my master plan for that month. 😄

      Like 2
      • Kroneg
      • kroneg
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Is the Classic version still on iOS? I tried last night, went through my ENTIRE purchase history (shiver) and the only YNAB version available is the current one.  I had YNAB Classic on my phone as recently as Jan 2017, but nothing is showing up under purchased except the new online version.  :(

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Kroneg the only way to get YNAB Classic for an iOS device is through your purchase history. If you have an Android device, there is some link floating around the forum that will allow you to load it.

      Like 1
      • Kroneg
      • kroneg
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas I did that, and then contacted Apple support - in their words the app "has been modified or removed and is no longer available"

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Kroneg Unfortunately that means you are out of luck. I just looked under my profile on my iPhone and I can still find YNAB Classic under purchased apps so did you maybe use a different account the first time you got the app?

      Like 1
      • Kroneg
      • kroneg
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas No, the purchase is "there" - Apple support verified my purchase.  However, YNAB has done "something" to the old app so that "YNAB Classic" is not available to everyone.  I'm guessing it was something to do with some update at some point that changed the app enough that Apple considers it a "new" app and I never got the "new" version of Classic.  Basically, it's Apple and YNAB each saying it's the other's fault - and you're right, I'm "out of luck".

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      • WordTenor
      • Can we agree that goals are dumb and immature? Sure.
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Kroneg It’s not available to “everyone” but it should be available to you, if you’ve had it on an iOS device before. I just checked and had zero problem finding it in my list of purchased apps and downloading it to this iPad, even though I’ve never had Classic on this actual iPad. It shows up just fine on my phone, too, which is also a different physical device than I had the last time I had the app. 

      I would check to make sure the AppleID you used to download the app originally is the same one currently logged into the device you’re trying to find the app under. This is what the “purchased” list looks like. 9/7/13 was the first day I used YNAB, so you’ll need to think about when you would’ve first downloaded the app and scroll down until you reach that date.

       

      Like
      • Kroneg
      • kroneg
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      For anyone following this here, I have more details here:

      https://support.youneedabudget.com/t/18a4s8/ynab-classic-on-ios

      Short version: for some of us with bad timing of YNAB Classic usage and updates, it is NOT on our purchase history like it is for other folks.

      Like
  • You're going to need a category to temporarily hold next month's funds. There are a couple ways to put money into the category as well as "release" them. Then there's the "when" aspect (this/next month) to the "catch" and "release" actions. These choices influence effort, reports, budget headers, and whether "stealing from the future" is possible.

     

    Ultimately, I want all of the following:

    • Automate the process as much as possible (e.g., favor memorized/scheduled transactions over budget entries).
    • Reports are accurate (income show up in the correct month in the income section).
    • Headers at the top of the month are accurate (e.g., "Budgeted in <month>").
    • Impossible to steal from the future (without benefit of the Toolkit Extension or always having to scroll around the Move Money dialog)
    • Retain the benefits of a zero-based TBB (e.g., error detection)
    • Current spending plan to be available WITHOUT flipping back and forth between months.
    • Keep a template budget in next month's area for vastly reduced effort and easy reference/adjustment throughout the month. (The use of Goals to implement a template budget is unacceptable to me because I do WAM during the month, resulting in yellow categories -- yuck.)

    The following workflow achieves all of this. (Assume January is the current month.)

     

    Setup: Make a category "Income For Next Month" (referred to as INM in the following)

     

    During the month

       Categorize income directly to INM as it arrives -- no budget operations

       Adjust the template numbers (*) in Feb. as your needs/priorities change   
       Any budget manipulation in Jan is not complete until To Be Budgeted (TBB) == $0 AND Budgeted In Future (BIF) == $0


    (*) One useful tip for working with the template is to negative-budget your expected income in INM and work toward Budgeted In Feb = $0. Additionally, the balance of INM is the remaining income you need/expect. Make sure that you delete this budget entry when Feb arrives; it's only used in the template.

     

    Transition at the end of Jan:

    1) Release funds by recategorizing transactions as TBB. (Search for INM in All Accounts, Select All, Edit | Categorize As... | TBB)

    <These funds flow into Feb, "fixing" the negative TBB normally present in the template area.>

    2) Move forward to what will be the new template area (March), Quick-Budget the budget entries from "last month" i.e., the current template in Feb.

    3) Go back to Feb and fix up the budget if necessary -- Make TBB == BIF == $0.

     

    Differences from my YNAB4 workflow:
    1) The release of funds is a manual operation.
    2) Both TBB and BIF should be $0 during most of the month.

    Like 7
      • Janet
      • Magenta_Horse.8
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui  Wow!  Thanks!  This is very detailed, I appreciate it.  I'm going to have to spend some time with it and try it and see how it works for me.

      Like
      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Quick question as I'm about to implement this approach.  Does this substantially differ in effect from just emptying the INM category at the end of the month?  What I've been trying to do to build a reliable buffer is just keep setting goals for the amount in Budgeted In Future at the top.  With the new YNAB it's always been very tempting for me to just WAM from this month's income.  But I'm trying to be really strict now and planned to just dump INM at the end of the month.

      Is the issue the stealing from the future thing, or the income prematurely being sent to the next month?  Just want to totally clarify as I implement this seemingly complicated yet probably totally simple workflow. Thanks!

      Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Annieland Yeah, it's harder to describe it than it is to just do it. To answer your question about "just emptying the INM category," no it doesn't substantially differ. That's exactly what's going on if you forget about the template stuff. However, there's a lot of ways to do that, each with various side effects. It's the side effects that have led me to what I described earlier.

      Firstly, I don't want to have to do anything when money arrives. I also don't want it to accidentally mix when WAMing during the month. Direct categorization into the INM category keeps me out of it and prevents it from mixing if I am mucking about WAMing.

      (You certainly can put it in with budget entries instead, but manually budgeting with every income arrival gets old quickly, so the automatic approach (via categorization) is easier and less error prone.)

      Secondly, I want reports to be accurate. Since categorization put it into the category, something has to happen with the categorization in order to pull it out or else reports are useless. Some people use a net $0 split transaction which is also effective (and can be automated as long as your income is truly constant -- with interest, etc. though, mine isn't).

      (If you put it in via a budget action, pulling it out via a budget action also works. Deleting that budget entry in the current month is a good option in that case. Some people want to move to next month's area and negative-budget to release the category. That's prone to errors when there is newly arriving money sitting in TBB by the time you get around to releasing the funds.)

      So yes, all the variants to the workflow are merely trying to temporarily hide and then release next month's money. The manner in which they do those two things impact other things like effort, likelihood of making a mistake, reports, headers, and so forth.

      If you want to budget with every income arrival and then delete the budget entry at the end of the month, that'll work as well. The drawback is the "Budgeted In <current month>" is skewed high during the month (because it also has next month's money until you delete that budget entry).

      Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Annieland  Including the template capability is something I greatly value because a) the month turnover only requires a couple clicks, b) it yields a convenient reference of the nominal numbers, c) I also get a total, which I know better fit within my expected income, and d) doesn't nag me if I choose to WAM. YNAB's built-in Goals really only achieve (a) and maybe (c) if you do it right. So, given I want to use next month's area as a template, how can I keep that from screwing up this month's normal workflow and spending guidance?

      Turns out the impact is minor. The fact there are budget entries next month mean they will suck up anything that would ordinarily go to the current month's TBB (e.g., when WAMing). That's easily worked around by using BIF as a surrogate for TBB.

      FWIW, you can use a partial template as you build the INM. As you build INM, just add more budget entries to the template to consume the additional money.

      Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Annieland In thinking about the partially buffered situation, I think doing the "catch & release" via budget entries is better until you're fully buffered. You can still use the template if you like (and BIF as the surrogate TBB).

      End of month:

      1. Release the INM money by deleting the current month's budget entry. (Edit: consider zeroing out discretionary categories to add any remaining money in them to the INM funds.)
      2. Move forward a month and ensure TBB = $0 (will be necessary if you've made progress, so yea!).
      3. Copy these numbers forward one more month for safe keeping (i.e., the template).

      During the month:

      1. When income arrives, use it to fill out as much of current month categories as possible. If you've filled your spending categories and there's money left in BIF/TBB, then budget the rest to INM.
      2. If you're going to WAM (one-off adjustments), just ensure BIF/TBB = $0 before starting and after finishing.
      3. If you need to make "permanent" adjustments as well, flip to next month and adjust the template numbers. These should probably be offsetting adjustments to keep the template total unchanged.

      Lastly, I wanted to say, "thanks" as well for prompting the partially-buffered thinking. Unsurprisingly, a workflow optimized for the fully buffered case isn't quite as optimized for the partial case.

      Like 2
      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Cool! Thanks for all that.  I totally get you, because I've been trying to get "fully buffered" for the past 4 years (since YNAB4)  and get befuddled why I never seem to send an entire month's income to the next.  I've had periods where I could in no way fill out the whole month on the 1st, but thankfully I'm not in one of those periods right now.  So I want to use this chance to make sure I don't slide backwards, and I totally know how easily monthly monies can mix.  Suddenly I have $7.51 budgeted to next month, and huh???  So I like this more fail safe approach where I can mess around and still see $0.00's for this month and next.  Crafty!

      Maybe I do the template thing without even meaning to, but I do like fiddling with my budget often, and keep making little plans and goals for myself with different categories.  So I'm fine with not doing a "one click budget."  So this will be interesting as the month turns over... :)

      Like
  •  

    I've tried a variety of different methods with an open mind, often making myself live with process for a few months as I test them.

    I like this one the best: I created a Master Group and a subcategory for next month's income. It's the number one item at the top of my budget. That is a pretty fair indicator of just how important my classic buffer is to me. You'll have to pry it out of my cold dead hands....

     Every inflow gets entered as inflow: to be budgeted, which makes it immediately available to budget.  It puts it into the TBB for the current month, and I budget it to the Income for Next Month category in the current month's budget. I don't budget anything into the future until I get the entire month's income.  When I'm ready to budget all of next month in one sitting (after the receipt of my month-end salary deposit), I then revise the budgeted for this category to zero, releasing all funds back to TBB, click forward to next month, and budget the next month until TBB is zero.

    I make sure that the Total Budgeted for this month is an exact match for Total Inflows from last month.  No exceptions. The fluid or porous walls of the web YNAB budget just make me extremely nervous and make me feel like I can't trust my budget. Doing it this way creates the sense of stability I need.

    Like 2
      • Janet
      • Magenta_Horse.8
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance  Thank you!

      Like 1
  •  

    I have used the above solution for buffering. Within a master group called Buffer, each month of the year has its own sub-category.

    Any money left unbudgeted each month is simply assigned to a future month(s). When that month comes around you simply move the available amount back into the TBB for that month.

    Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Falco Lombardi It seems overly complicated. I personally only want to budget one month ahead. Any extra goes in a savings category. I don't even have a special master category. Income for Next Month just exists under my Savings master category. It just seems like you're overcomplicating things for limited benefit.

      Like 3
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Superbone Yes, after emptying the single INM category prior to budgeting the month, it's conveniently empty and ready to accept newly arriving income. 😉 Works for me.

      Like 2
    • Superbone  Not sure I would call it complicated, but each to their own.  The idea behind it was to potentially buffer several months into the future (for those who like a bit more granularity I guess).  The emoji are for my own amusement (12 hours = 12 months - rather pointless, but couldn't resist!)

      As it goes, I don't actually use this system (I have a system similar to your own), but thought I'd share in case somebody found it useful.

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Falco Lombardi Next month is more than sufficient. You are talking to people have been using YNAB for a very long time and have become proficient at best practices within the methodology , and explaining best practices (even when YNAB itself struggles with this).

      Like 1
    • Alemap
    • Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler -Albert Einstein
    • alemap
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    Question: once you budget for next month, if there’s money left over do you put it back into INM?

    Like
      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Alemap No, I budget all of it it in the month it is intended to be budgeted in. You should figure out what you want to do with that money in your budget, because your income is greater than the needs of your budget. Pay off debt, increase retirement contributions, accelerate timelines of some of your savings categories, start making taxable investments. All are valid uses of this "extra" money.

      If you have variable income, there are different techniques to employ in order to manage above average and below average months to keep an even keel.

      Like 4
    • Another common use of "extra" money is a loss of income fund if you don't have one.

      In time, you won't consider any of this money "extra", as every penny has a purpose. There will simply be a certain level of importance or priority associated with everything for which you're saving (category). If something needs money, then feel free to reallocate from any category of lower priority with funds.

      Like 1
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