Rolling over overspent amounts

Hi, We are wondering if it is possible to roll over the overages in categories vs having it automatically come from To Be Budgeted. Specifically, our electric bill varies greatly month to month, but we budget for it on an annual basis. So we spend $2400 annually on electricity, but some months it is $300 and others it is $75. We historically have just put it in our budget at $200/month, and we carry over the excess or negative and it all comes out at the end of the year. But each month that it is higher than $200, it is then zeroed out the next month. However, when it is under, it carries over, thus throwing off our budget.

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  • No it won't do it automatically. If you want, you can manually make a category negative in the following month. It's what I do for my Reimbursables category.

    Reply Like 1
      • ungifted
      • More fresh starts than hot dinners
      • Powder_Blue_Koala
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas Hi, could you, or anyone tell me how to do this, manually roll over a negative balance? Thanks!

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      ungifted you need to enter a negative amount in the budget column such that the available column is the negative amount that you are looking for.

      Reply Like 1
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Further clarification - don't do it in May, do it in June because if you do it in May, it will be zeroed out when the month rolls over to June.

      Reply Like 1
      • ungifted
      • More fresh starts than hot dinners
      • Powder_Blue_Koala
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas you’re a darling thanks! Ok, so I just put “-40.00” for example in the category total available column!

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      • ungifted
      • More fresh starts than hot dinners
      • Powder_Blue_Koala
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      ungifted sorry supposed to be a question mark not exclamation mark :)

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      ungifted - no you do not do data entry in the available column. You enter the negative amount in the budgeted column.

      Reply Like 1
  • I would budget the current higher amount needed now to pay each month, and I would implement the $200 average budgeted amount when the cycle dips below the most expensive months. By doing it that way, you will build up a nice plump category that enables you to continue budgeting the annual monthly average of $200 even though your bills increase by this time next year.  Also, understand that in carrying a negative in one category means that your positive in another category is just an illusion. +$100 -$100 = zero.

    I want the build-up in my seasonally-affected categories to be in place in time to supplement paying for the more expensive months, rather than going into the red and carrying the negative forward in my budget until I can catch up in the least expensive month. If you make it your goal to build the category up so that it is ready for next year's expensive season, you'll have moved the break-even date to the end of the expensive season and resolved this issue.

    I would also encourage you to always eliminate any red in your budget rather than pretend you have +$100 in vacations and -$100 in utilities when you really just have just a zero in both.

    Reply Like 3
  • I second what HappyDance said.  That's what I do, too. I budget the same amount every month. On the months where the bill is less, I leave that money in that category so that it will accrue to cover the next large bill.  This way I always budget the same amount every month; there's either some left over (waiting for that big bill) or it gets spent (almost all -there's usually a few bucks leftover) on those high bill months. The tricky part is initially setting up if you are close to one those "high spending months" and I did basically what HappyDance said above.  

    Reply Like 2
  • I do as HappyDance suggests, with a variation.  I have determined that March usage, which arrives as a bill due in April, is the last of the potentially high winter Gas & Electric bills.  So in my budget for April, I true up the Gas & Electric category to exactly the amount of the bill.  It has never been more than amount in the category, so this has always meant salvaging some excess money that can be used to fund other categories - vacation, home repair, investing, whatever needs it most.  Then from April usage/May budget till the next winter, my bills are under $200 each and money builds up.  It gets drawn down during the winter when bills are above $200, and I true it up again the next April.  At that point, I re-evaluate whether $200 per month is likely to still be enough.

    This allows me to:

    1) Budget the same amount to Gas&Electric every month, except for the April true-up;

    2) Have the money in the category when the bill is above average;

    3) Avoid using RG&E's budget estimate, which could be inaccurate in the direction of "I need to have a pile of money when RG&E does its true-up."

    Disclaimer:  Psychologically, I do better budgeting a bit more than I need and salvaging excess for use in other categories than I do budgeting close to the edge and sometimes having to scramble to find money to take from other categories.  Other people may find that they do better budgeting as closely to accurate as possible.

    Reply Like 2
  • Thank you for all of the feedback. We find that budgeting for the higher amounts monthly and building a surplus works for water and electric, since those are low in the winter and we build a surplus by the time they spike. The gas starts high and then has the surplus later, throwing things off.  Our money management is a little complicated, as my husband co-owns a business, so he gets a small biweekly salary, then random dividends paid out as business is good. Those checks go into a savings account and we move the same amount over to checking monthly, to subsidize our income needs. After just over a year using YNAB, we have found that we actually do a great job staying on budget. We find that what info we do find useful, is being able to look at blocks of time, in various categories, to see if we generally overspent or underspent, in order to adjust budget or spending. We are trying to just be very mindful of where the money is going, so when it goes from one category to another, it throws off our number juju. :) I guess it is a good problem to finally have!

    Reply Like 1
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Slate Gray Lion 

      I like the juju description.  I may need to borrow that word.  It just sounds so much better than 'quirky', the word I used to describe my idiosyncratic approach to numbers in my budget.  🙂

      Today, I am able to budget a 1/12th portion to almost every single category, and this gives me the calm predictable formulaic series of numbers I desire.  I don't think it will ever be perfect, but it's close enough for me to consider it a win.   In the beginning, however, I needed to get those categories caught up, and that meant doubling up or tripling up some of the 12ths to get the category balance to where it should be for that point in the calendar year.  My car insurance resets in July.  My Christmas spending resets in January. Etc.  Once I understood that I had started YNAB with zero in every category but not every one of them could be funded at an equal 1/12th because some should have a build-up already, the light dawned. Then, it took me a while to build up the categories to where they should be.

      Reply Like 2
  • Slate Gray Lion said:
    We find that budgeting for the higher amounts monthly and building a surplus works for water and electric, since those are low in the winter and we build a surplus by the time they spike. The gas starts high and then has the surplus later, throwing things off.

    The situation you have with water & electric sounds like it's actually nearly identical to the situation you're having with gas - the key difference is that with water & electric, it sounds like whenever you *started* budgeting, the monthly average was higher than the true spend, allowing you to easily build the surplus, rather than the other way around. Whereas if you'd started your budgeting six months later, you'd likely be in the opposite situation - having a nice surplus available for the high gas months, while having water & electric come up short :)

    I think what HappyDance is saying is the key to breaking yourself out of this cycle - if you can allow yourself to *temporarily* budget an extra chunk into your gas category, just enough to fund the "extra" to get you though the rest of the high months, then you should place yourself in a position where you're then starting to build up surplus during the following lean months, so that by the time the *next* high months come along, you've got the surplus ready to go!

    This temporary extra chunk can be done as a one-time lump sum if you're able to pull a bit of extra $$ from somewhere to fund this, so that you can go back to budgeting your monthly average amount right away. This would just allow you to break free of this frustrating "catch up" cycle you're finding yourself in now, which seems like it might be totally worth that one time pinch! :)

    Reply Like 3
  • YNAB used to work like this (allowing an overage to be deducted from the next month's budget). I've just started using YNAB again after taking about a year off and I hate the change. Now it's a lot more work to manage each category and clean up all the little categories that are over by a few dollars.

    For instance, we spend about $1,000 each month on groceries and we were able to set the account to rollover any positive or negative balance to the next month. So if we spent $1,010 on groceries in Feb, then YNAB would automatically pull $10 from the available Groceries balance in March, giving us $990 to spend.

    This was perfect. I didn't ever worry about a few dollars here or there.

    Now, every account that is a few dollars over gets highlighted in yellow and I have to go and choose where to pull that money from - and next month isn't an option. 

    Maybe I'm missing something, but this change creates more work and goes against the "go with the flow" principle.

    Reply Like 2
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Matt 

      Hi, Matt

      You can still let overspends carryover to next month, but in nYNAB you can't use the red arrow to subtract from the same category. What it does now is subtract from the total available to budget in the next month. Which category you choose to budget a little less to is entirely up to you.

      I prefer to deal with every overspend, no matter how minor, in the current month. I am so inflexible on this subject that I will WAM for a package of chewing gum purchased 15 minutes before midnight on the last day of the month. 🙂  (Call me quirky)  It's a deliberate decision I made when I first started using YNAB, and I probably picked it up by reading in the old forum, to never let a category stay red or fudge dates in my accounts. As a single, I'm the only one affected by any fudging, but I still imposed it on myself.

      A funny thing happened: I stopped needing to borrow from next month's allotment for those categories. It really only affected the first couple of months, because once I stopped borrowing from next month's spending limits, I was finally able to start a month fully funded, which meant I didn't need to borrow from next month's category allotment.

      And I was also able to determine, finally, that some categories were just underfunded. I wasn't really overspending; it was the amount that was unrealistic.  I finally admitted I needed a more realisitc amount, and resolved the cronic need for more funds in those categories.  I am absolutely convinced that holding myself to those self-imposed rules has supercharged my success.  However, I know that rigidity is not for everyone with or without a partner, so you can still let your overspends carry over to next month on cash-accounts, and budget with a slightly reduced TBB.  If the spending was done on a cc, you will have to deliberately budget to the cc payment line next month to deal with cc overspending.

      Reply Like 5
      • Beige Hail
      • Beige_Hail.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance This might be a good place to ask, what is WAM? I'm reading through the journals and everybody is WAMing. I'm pretty sure I'm WAMing too, without knowing it...

      Also, I have to say that I am really happy that YNAB doesn't allow that category rollover anymore (even though it would be really helpful for outstanding reimbursements.) What  Matt describes sounds like the slippery slope of how I used to budget:  Set a goal amount of $1,000 for food; spend $1200; set the next month's groceries for $800 and vow to never ever eat out or buy coffee; spend 1100; freak out, give up.  For some folks this rollover may not be a slippery slope, but for me I can see that it would go against and undo everything that YNAB is training me in.  Maybe I will eventually be annoyed by being forced to go back through my budget with a fine-tooth comb and make hard decisions not only keeps me honest, but I think it's engendering a very good habit.

      Reply Like 2
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Beige Hail 

      WAM = Wac-a-mole. In the context of budgeting, it means hitting an overspent category with funds from another category.  Example:  I needed $500 for an emergency brake job, but didn't have any funds in car repair, so I WAMed from entertainment, clothing, vacation, and adult beverages so that I wouldn't have to use a credit card.

      Reply Like 1
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Beige Hail 

      I think the worst thing about relying on the red arrow for overspending was that it camouflaged an overspend rather than cause the budgeter to stop, assess the options, and make a decision about what was more important: funding category A or spending from category B. I was a disciplined budgeter before YNAB, but the program provided an excellent mechanism to face my overspending decisions. It really did supercharge my saving by putting me in touch with my mindless robo-spending.

      Reply Like 2
      • Beige Hail
      • Beige_Hail.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance Oh, of course!  It totally is like whack-a-mole!

      Reply Like
    • Beige Hail said:
      What Matt describes sounds like the slippery slope of how I used to budget: Set a goal amount of $1,000 for food; spend $1200; set the next month's groceries for $800 and vow to never ever eat out or buy coffee; spend 1100; freak out, give up. For some folks this rollover may not be a slippery slope, but for me I can see that it would go against and undo everything that YNAB is training me in. Maybe I will eventually be annoyed by being forced to go back through my budget with a fine-tooth comb and make hard decisions not only keeps me honest, but I think it's engendering a very good habit.

      My thoughts exactly!! In the oldest YNAB days (YNAB3 and before), this "red arrow" thing didn't exist, and, like now, you were forced to deal with all overspending in the current month (or deliberately decide to budget less the following month).

      At one point Jesse Mecham put up a poll to see if we were in favor of allowing category overspends to roll over, and the results were vehemently opposed at that time, so I was shocked to discover that this change had in fact been implemented in YNAB4 regardless :)

      This is one way in which YNAB seems to have reconsidered a previous change, and I for one am a fan!

      Reply Like 1
      • Beige Hail
      • Beige_Hail.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Resistant Punch Roller Oh, how interesting that this rollover was only in Version 4.  Sounds like a feature they tried out, and decided it wasn't the right fit.

      Reply Like
  • WAMing stands for" Whack A Mole", the arcade game.  As one pops up, you knock it down, then the next one pops up.

    Reply Like 1
  • I'd suggest squeezing your budget, if you can, to budget the $300 a month until your electric bill drops to the lower point then go back to budgeting your $200. The category will then build up and you should be all set for when the bills go back up later in the year.

    Reply Like 2
  • This isn’t exactly what you’re asking, but I highly recommend using your electric company’s average billing feature. Most utility companies offer it and it makes budgeting so much easier!!

    Reply Like 1
  • Going all the way up to Slate Gray Lion's original post - I agree with him.  Dealing with all categories doesn't always work in the current month - for instance, my husband and I only budget a SET amount of "fun" money to each of us, weekly.  Sometimes we overdraft that to get something on sale, and we aren't going to budget extra or pull from other categories because the requirement is that THAT PERSON pays it off from the set amount they get weekly for fun  money (almost like, an allowance).

    The new YNAB makes that a total mess and so complicated.  You guys NEED to reintroduce the ability to roll over negative balances BY CATEGORY - pretty please.  The change going to the YNAB, between this problem and a few other little ones I've noticed, makes my budgeting take at least 1.5x as long. Uggggh

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  • I so agree with CatAnastasiou I think they need to bring back the little red arrow maybe we need to start a petition to ask them to bring it back so people have the option to pick what works for them.

    Reply Like
    • Hi Navy Blue Router !

      Currently, we don't have any plans to bring back the Red Arrow. However, we are looking into ways to better handle reimbursements! If you'd like to pass any specific requests along to our Product Team, please don't hesitate to fill out a Feature Request. :)

      Reply Like
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