Plan for future by Monthly or Target Balance By Date Goal?

I have to plan for upcoming expenses like car insurance, HOA dues, etc.  I have been using the Target Balance by Date Goal.  But it bothers me that if I plan for a bill.  Say $600 in 6 months.  Well when I get to the 6th month and I spend $600 it complains that category is under budget.  So, do  set the Target Date the month before and then spend it the next month?  Then the month after the bill is paid I set a new goal to the next upcoming payment.  So It seems that I would be budgeting 5 months instead of the 6 month intervals between payments.

I have not tried the Monthly goal type yet.  How does it handle a case where I might need to shift funds from that category to another just for the current month?  Will it track that as a spend or next month will it adjust and say you need 'catch up' amounts to stay on track?

Using the example above if I am in the 4th month, I will need $400. or I have saved $100 along the way.  But something came up and I need to shift somethings around.  So, I move $100 from that to another category. no I have only $300 instead of the $400.  Then next month will the goal say you need to set aside $200 instead of the normal $100 to stay on track.  Or will it just say you have not gone over $500 so you are okay but in reality I am behind $100.

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  • carterbunch said:
    when I get to the 6th month and I spend $600 it complains that category is under budget.

    Create a goal in next months area for the next instance of the bill. The current month will not show a warning.

    Similar when you shift funds around. Either ignore the warning or redo the goal in next months area to turn off the warning.

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    • dakinemaui  - So. Maybe it is better to set the goal to end the month before it due. Then in the month due start the next iteration and budget it. Therefore the category will so over budget or on budget when it does get paid at some point during the month. 

      Like 1
    • carterbunch Not better in my opinion. I'd rather make a single click of the mouse than have unnecessarily higher required contributions.

      This assumes you can budget to the category before the outflow in the due month. If not, then you should set it to finish in the previous month on that basis alone.

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  • The target by date prompt recalculates every month based on the formula (Goal - Available) / Months Remaining. Months remaining is inclusive of the goal month (month 6 in your example).

    If you have been adding $100 every month and have $300 available in month 3, you can look ahead to month 4 and it will tell you to budget $100. (600-300)/3 = 100

    If you don't budget anything in month 4, you are still at $300 available so in month 5 it will prompt you to budget $150. (600-300)/2 = $150. 

    If you find extra cash in month 4 and budget $200 instead of $100, you are now at $500 available so in month 5 it will prompt you to budget only $50.  (600-500)/2 = $50

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  • Also, I believe the new Spend By Date goal will not ding you as "underbudgeted" when you spend the money in the terminal month.

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    • Vibrant That outflow would count against your "quota". The remaining budget entries will be insufficient to pay the bill.

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  • I guess I really want a simple way to keep track a bills that are paid at certain intervals not just monthly. Like car insurance, HOA dues, etc. I have not come up with a good strategy. 
     

    I have tried just manually calculate the monthly payment and budget that per month. But I don’t really see progress to how much is left to save without manual calculations   

    but I thought I could use the target by date goal. Say I create a goal in Jan for June due date. I would save $100 per month until June. When I get to June I have budgeted enough and when it gets paid. YNAB flags category as underfunded. 
     

    I have not tried the new Monthly spend this much By date. But I concerns if I move money out of category will it keep me on track for future months with ‘catch up’ amounts.

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    • Hi carterbunch !

      It sounds like the Spend by Date goal is what you're looking for! If you move funds out of a category, it will adjust so that you budget more in the following months to stay on target. However, in the month where you move funds out of that category it will tell you that the goal hasn't been met for that month. If you need to budget $100 a month to reach a goal, but you take $50 out of a category, the goal hasn't been met and that will be the case with any of the goal types you choose. 

      Also, you'll want to make sure you move money in those cases. If you categorize spending to the category with the spending goal, it will be included in the goal and won't readjust. For instance, let's say you're saving $100 each month for your HOA fee. If you need $50 for home maintenance, you'll want to move $50 from the HOA category and budget it towards the Home Maintenance category, then enter the spending in the Home Maintenance category. Since the goal is to spend $600 by the date, if you spend that $50 in the HOA category, your budget will consider that as part of the $600 you were already planning to spend and you'll only have $550 when the bill comes due.

      I hope that helps clear things up! Give the Spending by Date goal a try and let me know what you think! :)

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    • Faness Still doesn’t seem to help. I have a bill due every 6 months. I create a goal in Jan to be completed by Jun and to save $600.

      in Jan it says save $100 You have $500 left 

      in Jun it says save $100. So, in Jun I save $100 and it says you are done. 

      I pay my HOA in Jun and my goal says you need to save $600.

      how do I stop that?

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    • carterbunch When it's June, after you've completely funded the category and then paid the bill, click into the July month and reset the goal (starting in July for December, right?). That action will cause YNAB to stop bothering you about June, because you've obviously moved on. 

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    • Move Light Sound Life I will try this out when Feb rolls around. I have some bills due this month that I can test with at the end of the month.

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    • Move Light Sound Life This is the solution.  Thanks very much.

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  • I'm a new trial user of YNAB and I like it so far (and the support is great!). So I really want to get things set up correctly right from the start. Been taking workshops, reading doc's, and looking at this forum.

    I have a question about goals and found this thread. My question is similar to carterbunch.  I want to budget for my $2200/year oil heating bills but not sure what is the best goal to use. My oil deliveries are sporadic but most, of course, happen in the winter months---now. Not too concerned about having to budget more when the delivery happens this winter as I am in a position to budget more (from savings). But for my goal type should I use Monthly and just save 2200/12 letting unused budget roll over? Have my oil budget get bigger each month until a bill is due? Should I use Spend By Date and let YNAB do the monthly budget calculation? And what about using Monthly Contribution?

    The thing is---I do need to budget for this so I eventually can have the money budget and ready when bills come do. I don't want to withdraw from savings by next winter!

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    • OgDog At a minimum you would budget the average. If you know you've got an oil delivery coming up, plan for that (probably more than the average). I know you said you could pull from savings*, but if you know about something, why wouldn't you plan for it now?

      And sure, use a monthly contribution goal for whatever amount if you want to click instead of type. Change it when it's no longer appropriate. (Probably drop down to the average in spring, but still cover overspending of course.)

      (*) I'm sure you meant a SAVINGS-RELATED CATEGORY, right?

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      • OgDog
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      • Lavender_Lion.6
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Thank you for your reply! I will budget the average but budget this month for the delivery that I got after typing this. I'm still wondering however about when I might want to use the other goal types. When should I use Spend By Date and have YNAB do the monthly budget calculation? And what about using Monthly Contribution? 

      dakinemaui said:
      use a monthly contribution goal for whatever amount if you want to click instead of type.

       I don't know what you meant by click instead of type?

      I'm trying to get this specific heating category set up right but my question applies to a lot of my categories so I'd like to get straight on which goal type to use when.

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    • OgDog Spend By Date is a good one for Vacation because you need to spend before the target month (e.g., airline tickets).

      Monthly is you just want to put $X in the category. There is no particular date involved.

      Clicking: Goals can save a little effort because you can click a category (or categories or group) and click the Underfunded Quick Budget button on the right. Contrast this to typing in the various budget values one by one. Not a huge deal, but tedium is nice to avoid when possible.

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    • OgDog I suggest a monthly contribution goal for the heating category set at 1.05 * yearly total / 12. This plans for the inevitable price increase. If you have older records, you may be able to better estimate the growth factor.

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      • OgDog
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      • Lavender_Lion.6
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
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      dakinemaui Thank you again kind person!

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      • mik
      • mik
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      OgDog I too am in similar situation with heating oil. I simply use the monthly contribution goal-type with my monthly average.  Using the quick budget "click" options, it forces me to budget my goal amount, regardless of what I have available.  If I were to chose the "monthly" contribution, the quick budget click options prompt me to only budget the difference b/t what i have available and my set budget amount...like a haircut (i don't need to accumulate for that...I just need to know I have $18 bucks to spend when it's time. Good luck.

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  • OK. So could I just as easily use a "By Date" goal instead of a monthly contribution goal? I don't understand the differences between the two nor when I should use what? I know the "By Date" goal lets me spend from my budget as bills come in.

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    • OgDog I would NOT use a Spend By Date goal for your heating expense.

      If you don't rob the category or overspend, there's zero difference between Spend By and a Monthly goal (assuming you did the math correctly on the Monthly). However, there's a 92% chance you will overspend just because of the timing in when you start. Assuming that, the Spend By goal will reduce contributions -- the exact opposite of what I want since that does NOT build a surplus to use in later high months.

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      • OgDog
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      • Lavender_Lion.6
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Thank you. I think I get it.

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