Why do my budgeted available amounts add up to more than my checking account balance?
Hi All! I have been using YNAB for a little more than a year and it has made such a positive difference in my finances. I'm so grateful that it makes budgeting so much easier. Today I did run into a point of confusion though. I realized that the amounts showing as available in all my budgeted categories add up to more than my checking account balance (in YNAB and at my bank ... these totals match). How can this be if every transaction has a budget category assigned and my budget shows no overspending? How would I begin to sort this out?
Hi Ivory Router !
Here are the steps you can use to verify that the amount in your account(s) matches exactly with your budget in YNAB—no more and no less. 😄 Making sure your account balance in YNAB matches your bank is a great start!
- Advance to next month's budget. (The math is easier there, because all overspending is covered.)
- In the right sidebar, when no categories are selected, you’ll see your Total Available amount, which is the sum of the Available column.
- Add that to the amount you have left To be Budgeted and any amount Budgeted in Future, if applicable. Let’s stop here for a minute, just in case your To be Budgeted was negative. If it is, you would need to subtract it from Total Available, because that means you’ve given jobs to funds you don’t yet have. Preferably though, you would go back to this month’s budget and budget less in a few categories until To be Budgeted is back in the green at zero.
- Now, add up the cash in your accounts. That includes checking, savings, and cash accounts, plus any positive balances on credit cards if applicable.
- Your totals in step 3 and 4 should match up exactly.
Now, if you’d like any dollars to be in a different category, you can confidently move money. I hope that helps! Let me know if you still have questions, I’m happy to help!
Ahhh, thanks. .. I must have moved money from checking to savings but then assigned it a category of something other than savings (like auto maintenance). Any tips for marking budgeted money for where it can be found in accounts? Like what if your savings is a mixture of emergency funds and then more specific long term goals (car purchase, house down payment, etc)? ... it's not clear in the budget interface which allocated funds reside in checking vs savings.
Ivory Router said:
Any tips for marking budgeted money for where it can be found in accounts?
Short tip: Don't.
You save money by assigning it to a category and then not spending it. The location of your money should be about how it benefits you - ie, over the next 2 months I will have a total of $6000 going out of my checking account, therefore everything else goes in my savings account to earn some interest.
This is an extremely important read: https://www.youneedabudget.com/the-relationship-between-your-budget-your-accounts-its-complicated/
YNAB Really wants to operate out of as few bank accounts as possible - so you may be getting bungled up by allocations to budgets where you think money is located in one account or another. True though, the "amount to be budgeted" is calculated directly from the amounts available in the accounts table less any already budgeted this month AND less any overspent from previous month.
I'd ask yourself some questions:
-Do I have overspending from previous months that's being corrected in this month?
-Do I have money budgeted in future months (maybe on accident - check for any months that are bold in your calendar selector - those have been viewed before)
-Did I remove money from a "savings" category but not from the respective savings account?
These are my 3 guesses at what you might be seeing. Best of luck in your reconcile :)
One tip on emergency funds and savings:
Have one parent category for your entire savings account and use categories to subdivide it into purposes. Then you can check the parent category balance against the real account balance to make sure you don't have funds allocated incorrectly.
Aquamarine Cleric said:
One tip on emergency funds and savings: Have one parent category for your entire savings account and use categories to subdivide it into purposes. Then you can check the parent category balance against the real account balance to make sure you don't have funds allocated incorrectly.
That works in theory, and I have done it, but get ready for a lot of headaches going forward. There’s always gonna be some pennies somewhere, either unexpected interest, fees, or even a typing error that will throw the balance off and by the time you notice it you’re driving yourself crazy trying to figure out why.
Trying to keep an account reconciled to a category isn’t generally recommended, as it defeats the greater purpose of YNAB and leads to much more work for the user. Especially new users.