Does Ready-to-Assign roll over to the next month?

How does the Ready-to-Assign number at the top of the budget work? Somewhere my budget got off track along the way, and I'm trying to figure out where.

Looking back through my budget, in July of this year, my ready-to-assign was -$1,000 (in the red). Then, in August my ready-to-assign was $0. 

Did my inflows in August and my allocations that month eliminate the deficit in July?

Now that it's October, do I not have to worry about that -$1,000 from the past? Or is that deficit still reflected in my budget somehow?

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    • WordTenor
    • Can we agree that goals are dumb and immature? Sure.
    • WordTenor
    • 9 days ago
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    If it was negative in July, it was taken out of any income you marked as RTA in August, so yes, it’s been taken care of. 

    Howver, you should never have red negatives in your budget, and really should never have yellow negatives either. Going forward, always cover negative balances by moving money. 

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  • Thanks for your response. You say I should never have red or yellow negatives in my ready-to-assign, but the follow-up question is, Why not? 

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    • Salmon Drill Red negatives mean over spending in cash - which is really bad!

      Over spending on credit cards shows up as a yellow number in the category that the transaction was assigned to if you do not have funds available in the category.

      If you over spend out of a cash account, it shows up as red, which needs to be fixed immediately - otherwise you're likely to overdraft your bank account.

      While any over spending is bad - it's important to be aware of what is happening and why you are ending up with over spending.

      The whole goal of YNAB is to live on last month's income. Over spending means that you are living on income that you haven't earned yet - i.e. money you don't have. (unfortunately this is the whole drive of our american culture, and many other cultures, too, just put it on credit and figure it out later...) To really be independent you should not be spending money you don't have.

      YNAB is set up in such a way that it helps you look forward to what job your money needs to do for you next so that you can build a bigger and bigger cushion, so you're spending last month's income. It breaks the pay check to pay check cycle.

      That being said - adding debt can be done strategically. And sometimes in the beginning of using YNAB (and sometimes even when you've used it for a while) you can end up in a situation where adding debt makes sense - car purchases, medical bills, etc. Things do happen that are unexpected, and sometimes you need to take on debt to manage them. YNAB helps you do that with your eyes wide open so you are prepared and understand what you are doing, what it will cost you, and figure out a plan to manage it.

      So yes, periodically my budget has yellow over spending in it (NEVER red - that means too much cash was spent somewhere). It's intentional, and I know how I'm going to work on paying it off. I haven't had yellow over spending in my personal budget in years that wasn't planned for, and I no longer have any personal credit card debt, either. It's taken me about 5 years to work through that because my income was very, very low for a long time.

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    • WordTenor
    • Can we agree that goals are dumb and immature? Sure.
    • WordTenor
    • 9 days ago
    • Reported - view
    Salmon Drill said:
    should never have red or yellow negatives in my ready-to-assign,

     farfromtheusual has given a great explanation above. Just to clarify, this advice is not just about RTA although RTA is the most urgent. It also applies to individual categories. If red or yellow negatives are anywhere, you need to fix them. 

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    • nolesrule
    • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
    • nolesrule
    • 8 days ago
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    Salmon Drill said:
    You say I should never have red or yellow negatives in my ready-to-assign, but the follow-up question is, Why not? 

     Because YNAB is a plan for the money you have. When Ready To Assign RTA) has a negative number in it (or for that matter any spending category has a negative number), it means your plan contains more money in it than you actually have. And if you were to actually spend according to your plan you would end up overdrafting or in debt. THis is the heart of YNAB's Rule 1. Give every dollar a job. But that also means do not give jobs to dollars you don't have.

    Simplified example: If you have $100 in RTA, and you assign $100 to groceries and $100 to electricty your RTA will be -$100 because you have assigned $200 when you only have $100. What happens when you pay that $100 electric bill? Your grocery category has $100 but it's not real. You can't spend that $100 because you don't actually have that money.

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  • nolesrule said:
    do not give jobs to dollars you don't have.

     Great quote.

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  • Salmon Drill  You've got some great resources here! I just want to clarify a few things: how overspending rolls over when the month changes and how you should treat past overspending. 

    Overspending and Overassigning This Month:

    • If you have overspending this month, cover it as soon as you can by moving money to those overspent categories.
    • And, if you've overassigned money making your Ready to Assign negative, move money to Ready to Assign until it's 0 again.

    Overspending and Overassigning in Past Months:

    If you can't cover overspending when it happens and the month rolls over, here's what you can expect:

    • Cash overspending (which turns your category Available amount red and negative) will be subtracted from Ready to Assign in the next month.
    • Credit overspending (which turns your category Available amount yellow and negative) shows up in the balance on your credit card. You won't see that overspending notice roll over, so you'll need to assign money directly to your Credit Card Payments category in a future month to pay back that balance.

    💡 If you have overspending in past months—or your Ready to Assign is red and negative in past months—we don't recommend going back to make changes now.  Any time you do that, you'll see those changes affect all following months, which could mess up your current budget and, at the very least, could cause confusion and re-work. 

    So, focus on getting on track this month and you can move forward with confidence. :)

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