Problem with recording Reimbursements

Hi! I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong regarding reimbursements. I am in month 2 and things are getting ~spooky~ with rolling over and reimbursements!

I watched this video:

https://classic.youneedabudget.com/support/video/reimbursements

...which I understand. I am using Option #1: paying for expenses upfront, but then I need to count on getting reimbursed before the next billing cycle (or budgeting cycle, first of the month). 

I know I am doing something wrong because YNAB is telling me that I've overspent my budget by over $2000. I think tangling the reimbursements and the Split Categories function is causing this; but perhaps I really am over-budgeted? I can't tell. 

I have a number of items that I need to be reimbursable:

1. (Screenshot #1, Mom-1) My mom, sister, and partner are all on my Amazon account, and use my card and the pay me back so I get points. (It's very nice of them) 

For instance, my mom used my Amazon card at Whole Foods ($69.46). Then she helped me with a grad school payment that I paid for initially ($156). So, she then Apple paid me $225.46 (combined). I'm confused why YNAB is handling the two payments differently. I split up the transactions (see Screenshot #2, mom-2), so I think that might have something to do with it?

2. I have subletters in my current apartment, but charge them more than my rent ($1345) because they pay all the utilities together. And, they paid me a for having a dog plus utilities, total $1715 this month (will be $1590 next month).

I want to make their payments a reimbursable expense, because I pay my landlord at the same time they pay me. So I don't "cover" them for that long (just the time it takes for the money to clear my account). 

My rent is $1345, and they pay $1715. I paid my landlord $150 on their behalf because of a dog fee, and need to use the rest, $220 (profit), as To be Budgeted. (Screenshot #3, Ben1)

I took the income ($1715, to be budgeted) and split the category. (Screenshot #4, Ben2). I should still have $1715 - $1345 (the rent I pay my landlord)- $150 (money I am "loaning" my subletter) = $220 To be Budgeted. I understand why the activity is $0 (I had +$1345, and then -$1345).

But I don't really get how YNAB handles this! The $150 should be taken out of the $370, and I should have $220 to play with (profit, to be budgeted). Again, it feels like the split categories is messing this up. 

 

Thanks!!

claire 

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  • I'm just looking at the Mom one for now. It looks correct to me:

    You (well, Mom, but it's your card) paid $69.46 to Whole Foods in the Mom category. Mom paid you back $69.46, so now that category is back to the $225.46 that you budgeted.

    Mom also paid you $156, also categorized as Mom, which added $156 to the category, so now the balance in that category is $381.46 ($156 + $225.46).

    You don't need to use a split transaction for this; you can just write both reimbursements in the memo field on one transaction, but it doesn't look like the split transaction broke anything, either, unless I'm missing something. 

    Reply Like 1
      • mamster
      • mamster
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      mamster Oh, and you mentioned that YNAB is showing that you have overspending, but I don't see any red or orange ink in the screenshots. Where's the overspending showing?

      Reply Like
  • for mom, why doesn't the activity reflect the total amount ($225.46?) that's the amount she paid me, and I split the transactions in my checking account. 

    Reply Like
  • Is this actually an outflow...??

    Reply Like
  • Is there reimbursement money you need to move back to To Be Budgeted? I don't see overspending, just more money budgeted than you actually have.

    As for the activity column in the Mom category, she paid you $156. In addition, you paid her $69 and then she paid you back the same amount, which cancels out.

    Reply Like
  • ^ that's what I'm not sure of. I want Mom to be:

    Budgeted = $225.46 (This is the spending I'm covering in advance, per option #1 in the reimbursements video)

    Activity = $225.46 (The money that she's already paid me back. Instead it now says $156; the is for some reason handled differently.) 

    Available = $0. (I fronted her the money; she paid me back.)

    ^ But now, I'm wondering if the Available isn't behaving the way I want because of how I split the transactions / how they were charged originally:

    She used my Amazon credit card for Whole Foods, $69.46; she Apple paid me $156 for my student fee that came from and went back to my checking account. So perhaps YNAB should be telling me I should have $69.46 for my credit card payment? In that case, I would want the Reimbursements: Mom to be $0; and the Credit Card Category to be $69.46 Available for payment. 

    Right? but that's not the case...

    thanks!!

    Reply Like
      • mamster
      • mamster
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Gray Rain Aha! Okay, I think the issue here is categories.

      First of all, if you're using Method 1 (prefund) for reimbursements, you will always have some money in the category waiting for the next time you make a reimbursable purchase. In other words, if you prefund the Mom category with $300, then every time Mom pays you back in full, you will have $300 available in that category. It sounds like you may be trying to use Method 2 (temporary overspending) instead. I think Method 1 is better, but either will work; if you use Method 2, your category will end up at zero when you're repaid.

      Second, you need to make sure that any reimbursable expenses are categorized as Mom. When you paid your student fee, how did you categorize it? If it was something other than Mom, either change the category of that transaction or move $156 from the Mom category to whatever category you used for the student fee.

      Hope this helps!

      P.S.: Oh, and no matter which method you use, if you're getting reimbursed for something, the activity in that category will average out to zero. Every time money goes into or out of a category, that affects the Activity column. If you buy Mom dinner for $50 and she pays you back $50, that will be a net zero for Mom activity.

      Reply Like 1
      • Gray Rain
      • Gray_Rain.5
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      mamster I will take a look in an hour and digest this! But I am hopeful about your "aha"!

      Reply Like 1
      • mamster
      • mamster
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Gray Rain Great! Hope this clears everything up.

      Reply Like
      • Gray Rain
      • Gray_Rain.5
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      mamster Sorry, I have read over your reply a few times and am still not understanding. 

      Here's another example. My sister used my card to for something on Amazon, $18.01.

      I have budgeted $18.01. (See screenshot)

      Then, I record the transaction, $18.01 (like you suggest) in that category, for that exact same amount. (see screenshot).

      I don't understand:

      1. Why the Activity does not = $18.01

      2. Why the Available = double the amount I fronted her, $36.02. 

      thanks. 

      Reply Like
      • Gray Rain
      • Gray_Rain.5
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view
      • Gray Rain
      • Gray_Rain.5
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Gray Rain She paid me back through Venmo. I cashed out a few venmo items at the same time (see screenshot). That is recorded in my MIT checking account as Inflow: To Be Budgeted. Then I split the Payment, $18.01 going toward Lainey: Reimbursements.

      So why doesn't this zero out?

      Reply Like
      • Gray Rain
      • Gray_Rain.5
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      mamster

      Reply Like
      • Gray Rain
      • Gray_Rain.5
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      mamster

      Reply Like
      • mamster
      • mamster
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Gray Rain It looks like you never entered the Amazon transaction. Here's how this should go:

      1. Budget money to Reimbursements: Lainey. (It could be $18.01 if you know how much she's going to spend, or more, if you're not sure. Let's say it's $18.01). Available in category: $18.01.

      2. Lainey uses your card at Amazon and spends $18.01. You enter the transaction (it was made with your card) as Payee: Amazon, Category: Reimbursements: Lainey, Outflow: $18.01. Available in category: $0. (You budgeted $18.01 to the category and then spent $18.01 from it.)

      3. Lainey pays you back using Venmo. The money comes into your checking account, and you enter it as Payee: Lainey, Category: Reimbursements: Lainey, Inflow: $18.01. Available in category: $18.01 (ready for the next time you lend her money). edit: I see you did this as a split transaction, which is fine; that part looks correct.

      The net activity in the category will also be zero.

      Does this make sense? I think you were entering only the reimbursement, not the spending, but I'm not sure.

      Reply Like
    • Gray Rain

      Regarding your "Lainey" payment, what I'm seeing is the original purchase is not showing up under Activity.  You should have...

          budget=$18.01  (available=$18.01)

          payment to Amazon=$18.01  (available=$0)

          Repayment=$18.01  (available=$18.01)

      However, according to screenshots your middle value is still $0 so the payment to Amazon isn't showing up (it should be Payee=Amazon, Category=Reimbursements:Lainey).

      Reply Like
      • Gray Rain
      • Gray_Rain.5
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Silver Barnacle I did record it ... that's why I'm so confused 

      (only thing that's different is Payee = Venmo, bc that's where I cashed it out)

      Reply Like
      • Gray Rain
      • Gray_Rain.5
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      mamster Silver Barnacle  I feel like I am following these steps exactly. If either of you are available for a Zoom meeting, I will share my screen. I can pay $18 / hour (I am a grad student). I feel like once it clicks, my problems will be solved!! Thanks!!

      Reply Like
      • mamster
      • mamster
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Gray Rain This is the inflow (i.e., the money you got back from Lainey). Where is the outflow (the money you sent out to Lainey)? It would be a transaction on your credit card to Amazon.

      I'd be happy to screen share for free; just send me a PM.

      Reply Like
    • Gray Rain I'm happy to hear you see the value in this and are willing to pay for help!  I would also be willing to do for free, but am currently fairly terrible at my TIME budget, so I hope mamster is able to help with a live session & that gets it all cleared up for you :)

      Reply Like
      • mamster
      • mamster
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Silver Barnacle We did! I hope I helped.

      Reply Like 1
  • Hi Gray Rain !

    Sorry for the confusion! That video you linked is for a previous version of the software, YNAB 4, so that will work a little differently in the current version. How to handle reimbursements is an important topic, so a section of our Help Docs is dedicated to it.

    Here's a quick summary, and you can follow the link above to learn more. There are two ways you can handle reimbursements in YNAB:

    1. Budget for the initial expense, then treat the reimbursement as income.
    2. Temporarily overspend, then use the reimbursement to cover it.

    Budgeting for all your spending, even if it will eventually be reimbursed, is the best way to handle reimbursements. If that reimbursement is late (or never comes), you're covered.

    Temporary overspending is only recommended when the reimbursable expense occurred on a credit card, since money hasn't been immediately removed from your bank. Our Help Docs explain how to handle the reimbursement based on whether you receive it in the same month or a future month.

    Reply Like
  • Hi Gray Rain ,

      Thanks for asking me to take a look.  I skimmed the responses & see answers pretty similar to what I'd give.  I'm not sure I could explain it any better, it'd probably just lead to maths overload for your brain.

    I think the key concepts already stated are what you should digest on, and it should start to make sense (this is really what helped me in my issue...taking the "I know it should be this" and letting the proof fill itself in):

    • Total net activity should be $0 after all is said and done.  Meaning if a=budget, b=spending, & c=reimbursement, a and c will match.

      Start with a being whatever you feel like...$0, $exact, $500 (!)...As in my issue where you commented, one tactic may simply feel "better" to you over another even if the exact same activity is occurring.  In my case, I don't know when or how much I'll be loaning out (this is an area of improvement, I'm sure), and I have enough buffer to be OK with that.  So I budget $0 for reimbursements and know that if it's negative, I'm still owed.   If it felt better or I needed to watch cash flow more, I could budget $500 and just watch to make sure that it eventually equaled $500 again whenever I got repaid.  I simply don't like budgeting $500 and having that be reflected as over-budgeted once I've entered the rest of the month's allocations.

      I confused the heck out of myself (hence the meandering post you found!) until I realized that one way felt more intuitive.  If it didn't confuse me, I'd really prefer to budget the debt.  I could set a reimbursement "ceiling" and my Available would carry every month, reminding me what's owed.  As it stands, anything below 0 gets wiped out at end of the month, so my way Available goes from negative to 0 and I have to go back in time to look up what's owed.  It's a catch-22 for me...do I appear constantly over-budgeted and have to remind myself "no it's ok, x owes me y", or do I set to $0 and have to go back to dig up old debts?

    Reply Like
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