Budgeting for a trip

Hi everyone,

 

I'm planning for a trip to LA next month and I'm not sure of the best way to utilize YNAB... I have an amount in mind that I would like to budget for the entire trip, which is $1,000.  I have an "LA Budget" set up in my Savings and Goals category with a "Target Category Balance by Date" set up for next month. 

In my mind I have the $1000 broken into separate categories: airfare, food, AirBnb, transportation, etc, etc. 

So far I've been spending against my savings to pay for the flight and AirBnb, which means that I will no longer need $1000 available to me when my trip starts. My goal is technically more underfunded than it needs to be to compensate for my spending this far. I still don't want to be spending over $1000 when all is said and done, and I'd like to know how much to budget in my next couple paychecks to meet my goal.

I'm also not sure how to keep track of the more granular categories to make sure I'm not overspending on food (for example) while I'm out there.

Does this question make sense? I'm a little fried sometimes with this program and wanted to know how others approach saving for trips and keeping to a budget once you're on them.

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    • Khaki Storm
    • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
    • Khaki_Storm.1
    • 1 yr ago
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    I'm simple. I'd create a LA trip category, move 1,000 from savings, income tbb, wherever, and then the spending goes against LA trip. Whatever could be food cat. because you'll not be eating at home. 

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    • Khaki Storm
    • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
    • Khaki_Storm.1
    • 1 yr ago
    • 1
    • Reported - view

    Also, Welcome. If you've not read the book, I made a list of book-like material ynab has online. The list is in the link in my tagline. The book covers much more on the thinking on ynab rather than the software. I wish I'd started with the book. 

    Like 1
    • Ben K. Thanks! I've actually been using YNAB for over a year now but I always want to learn better ways to do things. I'm going to check out the resource you mentioned! I started by reading the YNAB book and was glad to have a background in the philosophy, but was still unclear about some aspects of using the software.

      As for the vacation budget, I do have $1000 saved, but it's in other categories for other things (like emergency fund, tuition, etc). In your example would you move money from one of these categories and re-fill it when you have new income? I feel like when I do this I run the risk of just borrowing against my savings without realizing how much or having a plan to pay them back. 

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      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Colleen Cirocco yes, it's a borrowing and paying back situation. But if you have goals set, then you know how much to pay back. 

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  • I save for vacations in a single category in my main YNAB budget, and when I spend something i'd originally included in that funding goal (like airfare), I reduce the goal to accommodate the change.

    Because I'm a sucker for granularity but don't want to clutter my main budget more than it already is, I created a full second budget for vacations that I keep. I used to actively track everything here--budgeting for airfare and Disneyland tickets (it's usually Disneyland tickets for me...) and whatnot, then paying them.

    For the vacations I'm taking this year, I plan to use that budget just when I'm gone. I'll take the money I have to spend while on vacation, pretend it's a deposit into the vacation budget, then budget to food/souvenir/hotel categories in that budget. On the go, I use this budget to track everything and make sure i'm spending within my budget per category. When home, I let all the transactions populate automatically into my main budget and assign them all the main vacation category.

    Does that make sense? It may very well be overly complicated if you don't want that kind of granularity.

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    • slightlysmall Okay yes, this kind of makes sense to me and I can tell that it's at the level of granularity that I also like. 

      I'm a little confused about the process you describe though--when you say you create a separate vacation budget, do you mean as a completely separate budget sheet? I've only been using one the entire year that I've been using YNAB so I just wasn't sure. I'm a little confused what you mean when you talk about moving money between budgets, but I like the overall idea of what you described.

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  • When I was ready to start spending from my vacation category, I created a Vacation Master Category with subcategories for transportation, hotel, food, transit/uber, spending, etc. I labeled each with how much I expected to need, and moved funds around as needed. The categories I didn't need until I was there got funded last. I also could also rename a category if it was used up (like by paying for airfare a month before).

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