Priority order: budgeting decisions versus spending decisions

OK, so I don't think that subject line makes much sense, but hopefully I can clarify.

When I receive new income, YNAB tells me to use it to fund budget categories in priority order —first fund the stuff that has to happen before my next paycheck, and then put what's left into other categories in order of descending priority.  To make this as easy as possible, I try to keep my categories sorted in precisely that order —that way I just sort of move my money down the list until it's all green.

When I'm about to make a spending decision, YNAB tells me to look at the appropriate category balance and make sure there's enough money to cover the expense.  On a day-to-day basis, this means I'm going to spend a lot of time looking at categories like (for example) Groceries, Clothing, and Fun Money.

Here's the thing, though —there are loads of categories in my budget that are higher priority than Fun Money, but for which the spending decision is either already made way in advance (Rent, Electricity) or won't be made until way in the future (Vacation, Next Halloween, etc.).

So let's say I'm out and about and I see a shirt I like, on sale for $20.  I pull out YNAB Mobile to see what my Clothing category balance is —but in order to get there, I have to scroll past everything else.  By the time I get to Clothing and I see there's $50 there, I'm tired and intimidated from looking at how all the rest of my money is tied up.  One could argue that this is a good thing because maybe that exhaustion keeps me from buying a shirt I don't need —but the whole point here is that if I have $50 for Clothing, I shouldn't feel bad about spending $20 on a shirt, right?

I guess what I'm saying is, I'd love it if the mobile app had some sort of day-to-day spending view that only listed the categories I have to think about when I'm running around spending money with the family.  OR, I'd love it if someone could advise me on an ordering strategy that minimizes this problem?


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  • Ohhhhhhhh …this is what that pushpin button is for.  Sorry for writing a novel to explain a solved problem :)

    Like 2
  • In case anyone else on here didn't already know about the "Pinned Categories" feature on the mobile app —if you go into the "Details" area on a category, there's a pushpin button in the top left corner.  If you toggle that on, your Budget page will float that category to the top.  Exactly what I needed for day-to-day spending decisions in the field.  Thanks!

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      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Forest Green Viper Already knew about it in YNAB Classic, but hadn't been using it for a while and hadn't known it was also in the new app.  Thanks for the reminder!

  • I've been using the mobile app since January and I didn't know about this. Perfect, thank you! Now I can move my food and shopping categories from the top of the list where I put them to avoid so much scrolling on my phone.

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  • 3 yrs agoLast active
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