Withdrawing from a category funded by multiple accounts.

How are people handling this? 

I have an emergency fund category and 3-5 different accounts (my checking and savings, my spouse checking and savings, and a joint account).  Each of the accounts feeds the emergency fund category.

When it's time to withdraw money from the emergency fund category how do you know which accounts to withdraw the actual money?


I'm looking for ideas and practices people in the community use to navigate this.


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  • I don't tie any categories to accounts.  As long as I have enough money in the account I'm spending from then I spend.  If there isn't enough money in that account I transfer from another account.

    Like 8
  • Just make the withdrawal from each account? It sounds like you don't have one specific savings account you can withdraw it from, so if you withdraw from each account, just set the category for the withdrawal to the emergency fund category. You could always just transfer the amounts to one account and then do it that way. Hopefully as you keep using ynab you can consolidate accounts. 

  • I have three types of transactions: ones that come from my personal account, ones that come from the joint account, and ones split between the two accounts.  Which ones come from where depends mostly on what the transaction is, and sometimes on how much is available in the different accounts. When the spending is not directly from the account (by which I mean, I put it on a credit card), I use a flag to identify which account pays for what, so I can draw the right amount when paying the cards. 

    You'll probably get a bunch of people telling you it doesn't matter, you should take the money from whichever account is smartest (e.g., savings earns interest, so take from the checking before taking from the savings, and if one savings has higher interest, take from that one last). And ultimately, as long as you and your spouse are good with the final decision and the money is available, it doesn't matter.  But talk about it, and figure out what works for the two of you. It's okay if it ends up depending on the emergency. Or who has more or less money, or who is wearing a blue shirt. Whatever works for you.

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    • nolesrule
    • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
    • nolesrule
    • 6 mths ago
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    • Reported - view

    You don't actually spend money from the emergency fund. You would move it to other categories in your budget so that you can properly track how you are spending the money. Then you spend money from the account the money is going to come out of. if it doesn't have enough in it (whether due to this transaction or other upcoming transactions) you'll transfer some from another account. Doesn't matter which account, because a dollar in one account is always interchangeable with a dollar in another account.

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