Cash Back on cards

I haven't figured out a good system to deal with this, so I'm asking for help!

I have several cards that offer cash back.

Recently, I went to make a payment, and the card asked if I wanted to use the $3.24 cash back along with my payment, which reduced the payment by that much. I said yes.

Now I can't figure out how to make YNAB compute that the 3.24 was given to me, and that the rest of the payment was from my account.


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  • Enter the 3.24 with the category of TBB....

    Reply Like 1
    • satcook Simple answer, but doesn't actually help explain why, or where those funds go when you do it this way.

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  • It mostly comes down to reporting accuracy (and how much you care about that stuff.)

    I've noticed that recently (in the last year?) Amazon allows me to apply my Amazon Store Card rewards balance towards a purchase, which is similar to what you describe.

    I usually decline that option and redeem those rewards later (as a statement credit) because from a reporting standpoint, I'd prefer to track those rewards as generic income and as a distinct (monthly) transaction. That allows me to see interesting things like, "What were my total rewards in 2018?"

    If I were going to apply those rewards toward a purchase, then I'd probably record it as a split transaction:  An "Outflow: <Some Category>" for the full cost of the thing I'm purchasing, and an "Inflow: TBB" for the rewards I redeemed during that purchase. That'd still give me visibility into rewards and would avoid distorting my spending reports.

    Reply Like 2
  • Hi farfromtheusual !

    We recommend you categorize cash back rewards to your credit card as Inflow: To be Budgeted. Let's look briefly at why:

    When you categorize an inflow to a credit card as Inflow: To be Budgeted that inflow will only reduce the balance of the credit card. This accurately reflects what happens in your account as well. The credit is applied, and your account balance is reduced.

    Once your account balance is reduced, be sure to double check the Credit Card Payment category for that particular account. You might find that you now have more money than you need in the Payment column. If you find this is the case, you can safely move money from that category to any other category.

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  • Faness thank you for the explanation of what to do with the extra funds that showed up on the budget page. I couldn't figure out what to do with them, and now I understand I can move them back to a different category. That helps! I didn't understand why they weren't showing up in the TBB funds since I categorized them as TBB when I entered the transaction.

    Reply Like 1
    • farfromtheusual I'm happy that helped! :)

      The TBB is only increased when there's a positive balance. So if that cashback made the credit card balance positive, then the TBB would show the amount. However, since there was still a negative balance, it was addressed first (and then the budget amounts can be moved to adjust).

      Reply Like 1
    • Faness Ok, that makes more sense. I'll remember that for the future! (and hopefully there won't be much of a balance for long!)

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