Rolling over spending into the next month

I was just looking at my budget, and I can't figure out if there is a way to do this or not. I thought there was, but I'm not seeing it.

If I over spend in a category this month, but know that I'm going to get paid for something next month, I'd like that over spending to show up in my next month's budget. This would be spending on a credit card, so it's not going to put me over budget in cash flow. Is there a way to have that over spending roll over to next month?



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  • Overspending does not stay within the category into the next month.

    Overspending in cash comes out of your TBB in the next month.

    Overspending on a credit card does not transfer the spending to your credit card payment available, implicitly increasing your credit card debt.


    The money's gotta come from somewhere. In real life, you can't pay for something with an IOU in a zero-sum system. You should correct for the overspending now and then make adjustments to next month's plan to correct for the changes you make now.

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  • YNAB is not about "cash-flow", it's about reality of your financial state at THIS moment in time. I mean, cash-flow in a traditional sense is essentially stealing money that you intended to use on Expense A to pay Expense B and hoping you don't get caught with your shorts down. In your particular case, you simply have a temporary debt increase.

    Categorize the inflow back to the same category (so total spending = $0) and reallocate for debt reduction. (Move funds from that now higher category to the CC Payment category.)

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    • Agent99
    • Working to Get Smart at budgeting, finances and life
    • Agent99.1
    • 6 mths ago
    • 1
    • Reported - view

    Sounds like you need YNAB4.....

    Reply Like 1
  • Hi farfromtheusual !

    Only positive amounts in your categories will roll over into the next month. Negative amounts will not. What happens to those overspending amounts depends on whether the overspending was with cash or credit.

    • If cash, that amount will be deducted from To be Budgeted in the new month.
    • If credit, the overspent amount will be represented as an increased balance on your credit card account.

    The option to carry that negative from month to month was allowed in YNAB 4 but we did away with that option because we wanted to keep your budget honest. When there are negatives in your budget, you can't trust the amounts you're seeing.

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  • Faness Thanks for your reply.

    While I understand YNAB's stance on this, it makes it difficult when you KNOW there will be money coming in from somewhere, but it crosses over the month date marker, which is arbitrary anyway.
    This isn't a situation that I'm making a habit of, but it happens once in a while, and it would be far easier to track it if YNAB allowed for the option to roll the over spending across the month. Most credit cards aren't even due on the 1st anyway, so the date as a marker that doesn't coincide with anything.

    As it is, I feel like it's easier to "hide" the debt if you're over spending on a credit card by having the debt not roll into the next month. If it's credit card spending and you over spend in a category, then the category ends up at zero when the month changes, and that means you have to consciously go apply extra  funds to the credit card in order to not accrue additional debt on the card. It's way easier to ignore the debt on the card and add new funds the categories with the next income in the new month. It's essentially a free pass to start over with your categories, while the debt hides over on the accounts column.

    It would be helpful if this is a feature that could be turned on or off for specific categories.

    Hopefully Jesse Mecham  can work on some options to improve the system even more.

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    • farfromtheusual Thank you for offering those details! :)

      When it comes to credit cards, I completely understand your point! We've been considering improvements here for how to make it more obvious when the amount Available for that credit card falls out of line with the actual account balance - so YNABers know they need to budget more to pay that card off in full. 

      We know the roll over is a big shift in thinking, but we appreciate you sticking with us! :)

      Reply Like 1
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 6 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual Unless you're intentionally increasing your debt, I actually disagree with you slightly. Yes, the month boundary is arbitrary, but that doesn't actually matter because if you're only budgeting money you have today, the time horizon shrinks to zero and it doesn't matter when the arbitrary roll-over is. If you have any overspending and it's possible to correct it now, do it that way so that your budget reflects reality, then adjust your budget to put the money back where you wanted it when you get the money back.

      The fact of the matter is, you absolutely do not KNOW there will be money coming in from somewhere until it's in your hands. Payroll screw-ups happen (and honestly, they seem to have spiked in the last quarter, both in people I know here and in real life). Government shutdowns happen. The guy that was going to pay you back getting hit by a bus happens. Civil unrest happens. Hurricanes happen.

      When I stopped pretending I had money that I almost have, my budget came into shape.  There's just no reason not to wait to budget that money until you actually have it.

      Reply Like 3
    • bevocat I appreciate your thoughts. When it comes to reimbursements and spending for certain things in my business, the money comes in after the fact. At this point, that is how it works, and eventually I'll bring in enough money that it won't matter.

      It would help me in my situation tremendously if I could roll over some categories by choice into the next month.

      Sometimes credit card float is just how it works in order to keep things covered, especially with a small business. And you're totally right about the risk that poses. But you also have to do what you have to do.

      Being able to turn that feature on and off for specific situations would enable me to work with my budget in an even more flexible manner without having to remember totals from the previous month.

      Faness I hope that it makes sense as to why this should be added back in. I know I'm not the only person that has asked for it. I know it would benefit a number of people who would be able to use it responsibly. I'd prefer to have the choice to make my own responsible decision for myself than being told that some people can't use a feature responsibly so no one can use it.

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      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual I hear ya, and you may have noticed by now that you're FAR from the only one who has asked for it.

      I have zero ambition to have my own business (if possible, I have negative ambition!), so I won't even pretend to second-guess how you run yours. I sincerely wish you success and prosperity with it!

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