Setting a goal for a buffer(ish) category that will be moved


I'm guessing this question has been asked before, but I couldn't find it (maybe I'm using/searching the wrong terms). 

Before I explain my question/situation, I just want to point out that when I refer to my "Buffer" category below, this is different than what I think most YNABers mean when they have a Buffer category.  Mine is not used for future months.  I've already budgeted for my next month (and even some of the following!) thanks to following the YNAB rules.  In my case, my "Buffer" is just a category to cover the occasional overspending (a few hundred dollars) in a given month.

With that said, here's my situation:

I have a category for unknown expenses - I call it the "Buffer" category.  I use it to maintain a balance that I can pull from for minor overspending in other categories.  When an expense occurs that creates overspending in another category, I pull funds from the Buffer and move them to the relevant category to cover the expense.  I prefer not to assign the expense to the Buffer category because I find it helpful to see it in its natural/appropriate category when I analyze if my budgeted amounts / goals need to change in the future.

For example:

Last month, I spent $50 more in groceries than I had budgeted.  But, I had $300 accrued in my buffer.  So I moved $50 from Buffer to Groceries.

Here's where I run into an issue (an admittedly, it's more of an annoyance than a real issue).  I want to assign a goal to Buffer that will help maintain $300 in the category for these issues.  So I set a spending goal and fund the category at the beginning of the month.  But when I go to move funds (as in the example), the category thinks it's underfunded and turns orange.  I would prefer that the goal becomes green once I fund it, and then stays green until the following month, allowing me to drawdown from it as needed without being alarmed that it's underfunded.  Is there any way to setup the goal to accomplish this?

Sorry for the very long question and thank you to anyone who gets this far and is willing to help!

6replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • Such a goal does not exist. Options:

    * Budget manually

    * Ignore the warning

    * Clear the warning by resetting the Spending goal in NEXT months area. (Hit Edit then Ok.)

    Like 1
  • You could include the dollar amount in the Category name "Buffer $300" to help with remembering the level you wish to fund but as dakinemaui says, there is no goal for this functionality.

    It makes sense that you wish to appropriately categorize the expense. One thing you may wish to look at is a review of your funding levels to determine if you need to make any adjustments to them if there are some that are regularly overspent. Otherwise I assume that this is just a different mechanism to use it as the YNAB category "stuff i forgot to budget for" and pull from it instead of other categories.

    Like 1
  • Can't you set it as a taget savings goal for $300? It won't turn yellow if you move money from that category but  the little circle will not be checked. But if it's filled with $300 the circle will be checked and the category will be fully funded. 

    • Sandra Valman Yes, but if you expect to have that impact a quick budget workflow, nothing will happen.  Target savings goals without dates are not included in underfunded amounts. 

    • Move Light Sound Life Aha okay

  • Thanks everyone for the thoughtful and helpful responses.  I was hoping there would be a clear solution that I was missing.  Maybe YNAB will create a feature to handle my use case in the future.  Until then, I'm going to try dakinemaui's 3rd suggestion ("Clear the warning by resetting the Spending goal in NEXT months area. ").  It's a bit of a hack, but accomplishes what I ultimately want - fund the goal and then use it to cover occasional overspending without the goal going orange.  I'm also adding the amount to the category description (thanks Navy Blue Pegasus).   I don't often post on forums like this, but this was great.    

    Like 2
Like Follow
  • 3 mths agoLast active
  • 6Replies
  • 129Views
  • 5 Following