Handling two budgets between two currencies with shared accounts?
I've just started using YNAB because I have a hard time keeping track of my funds (which are meager, to say the least) :). It seems really comprehensive and smart, which I like because then I don't have to spend hours categorizing my transactions.
However, I've run into a little problem which I've spent hours troubleshooting. I'm an American student, traveling to the EU for a semester abroad. I've set up a budget for while I'm in school in America that has different categories for academic expenses and personal spending. However, I'd like to have a budget specifically for my semester abroad where I can document my daily spending as well as savings for travelling after my program ends. I tried to create a separate budget but, because it's linked to the same checking account as the American budget, the currency didn't exchange properly --something I spent $45 on registered as €45. Do I need a separate account for a different currency, or is there an easier way to handle this? In an ideal world, the EU budget would connect to the same account, but transactions related to my American expenses could be categorized "out" of the EU budget. Perhaps this is too much to load onto one budget, though ...
Hi Spring Green Display !
We actually suggest a separate budget for each currency you plan to use - so you're on the right track with the new budget you created! However, how are you planning to handle your separate currency? As you noticed, you can change the currency in the budget, but the transactions will still import as reported by your bank (in USD instead of EU). Currently, YNAB isn't able to support direct import for financial institutions outside of the US and Canada, so a new bank account wouldn't offer direct import. However, you could use File Based Importing if you wanted to go that route. :)
Going off of what Faness said (because that is currently the only way to handle two currencies in YNAB).... I will assume that as a student on a semester abroad, you are funding your normal expenses while abroad using money you earned in America.
With that assumption, you could create a tracking account in your US budget called "UK expenses and ATM withdrawals" . As you withdraw money from your US bank account, make an outflow transaction to the tracking account named above. Switch to your UK account and create an inflow (income/to be budgeted) in the amount of whatever UK-pounds amount you actually withdrew.
Any credit card spending you do in the UK with your US credit card will most likely be billed in US dollars. I won't go into detail on that unless you ask for more, since you didn't ask about this in your original post.
That will help you keep the two reconciled and your US bank balances up to date, and allow you to track cash spent in the UK in pounds rather than having to fuss with dollars & conversions. I hope this helps!