Category Names

I find myself wishing I had better names for my categories. Right now I have Bills (things due on a certain date with a set amount), Necessary Expenses (things I need every month but doesn't have a set amount. like groceries and gas), Planned Expenses (things happening in the future that should be budgeted for like a new car and christmas gifts), and Self Care (anything that I don't NEED to live, but gives me piece of mind or makes me happy) are my biggest ones. 

What category names do you have? Did you keep the "True Expenses" group? I found that I didn't really understand what that meant, so I broke it up into groups that made sense to me. 

I want to hear why you've organized yours the way you have!

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  • Master categories are:

    Flexi(ble) includes groceries, personal care, pet care, takeout, sales tax., etc. Things that occur regularly but that can vary. I don't own a car, so car-related categories don't exist, but would be in here if I did.

    Fixed are those regular bills that occur monthly and are mostly the same every month.

    Future are what YNAB calls "True Expenses," a term that doesn't make sense to me, either.  These are things I'm "saving up for," or better put, planning for. Annual fees, various savings targets, holiday and gift expenses, subscriptions and renewal fees. Fun money is in here, as are my Emergency Funds.

    I also have Income for Next Month (INM) which is where I park this month's income, until it will be applied to future months.

    Like 1
      • Emma Catherine
      • Civil engineer getting back on track
      • emmacatherine
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      JoeDid Why do you park your income for next month in a category instead of budgeting it in the next month? I have never had enought to budget for the next month (yet), but I have seen others do this and was wondering why that way instead of budgeting into next month?

      Like
      • JoeDid
      • Remember: It is To Laugh
      • Purple_rain
      • 8 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Emma Catherine I'm leery of the Stealing From the Future problem, which has been discussed at length here. It's a situation where, if you're not careful and very mindful, a change in the current month can result in a shortage in the future, something that can catch you off-guard and short funded.

      I'm now six weeks ahead, but I'd rather see what I've got for future months in a safe envelope.

      Like 2
  • My Category Groupings are:

    • Monthly Bills (Checking): Bills we have every month
    • Irregular Bills (Checking): These are like Amz Prime, Pool Pass. Aka things that are sinking funds to save for but bills overall are on the smaller size
    • Life (Checking): Things like haircut, fun money, splurge, Income For Next Month, etc
    • Insurance Bills (Savings): Prop Tax, Car Ins, Identity Theft Ins, Life Ins, etc. These are larger bills and irregular so they remain in savings to accrue more interest. Move the funds sometime before the bill is paid.
    • Sinking Funds (Savings): Scoped Sinking Funds. Eg Birthdays, Summer Vacation, Winter Vacation, XMas Vacation, XMas Presents, Extra Curricular Activities, etc. These are funds where the month is basically known where the funds will be used.
    • Bucket Savings (Savings): These are open ended Sinking Funds where the month of usage is not really known. EG: Clothing category for each fam member, Emergency Savings, Kids School Activities, Medical, Maintenance, Benevolence, Wish Farm categories, etc.

    Total categories is around 115.

    Like 2
  • I'm only on month 3 but I think I like where we've landed with our groupings and categories.  

    • Giving:  To our church and then other charities
    • Everyday Expenses:  Dining out, groceries, gas, etc.
    • Bills - Monthly:  These are sorted by the date they are due.  I originally had debt (student and car loans) in a separate category but because it is a monthly bill, we treat it as such.  When paying those off more aggressively becomes a priority, I'll move them out. 
    • True Expenses: Hair cuts, auto maintenance, household necessities, gifts, etc.  These are categories that we are building up regularly so that when the random expenses come up, we already have money there. 
    • Just for Fun: My husband and my fun money!  We also have "cash" we got from our wedding that we want to be intentional with.  We have that accounted for here. 
    • Bills - Annual: Amazon, YNAB, car registrations, insurance, etc.  These are sorted by date and I move them to the bottom of the list once they past, reset the goal, and start saving again. 
    • Savings: Down payment on our first house, the millions of weddings we have this year, trips, Christmas, and job loss
    • Hidden Categories: This is where I hide not only irrelevant categories but also ideas I have for future categories, like a wish farm!  I want to try that but it won't happen till we finish saving for the house.  

    53 not including hidden categories. 

    Like 2
    • Vibrant
    • No more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars
    • vibrant
    • 8 mths ago
    • 1
    • Reported - view

    My category groups are Monthly Obligations, Kids, True Expenses, Personal.

    As my budget has evolved, I ended up I grouping less-than-monthly bills (quarterly trash bill, Amazon Prime, etc. - technically "True Expenses") under Monthly Obligations because they HAVE to get funded a certain amount each month in order to make sure there are funds available when the bill comes due. My "True Expenses" is really more like lumpy expenses/sinking funds - for those "I know I'm going to need this category eventually but I don't know when or how much" events. I just haven't bothered to update the category group name. "Kids" and "Personal" are self explanatory, I think?

    Like 1
  • Here are mine:

    Income for Next Month

    Dream Farm: aka wish farm 

    Housing: bills like rent, renters insurance, utilities, household supplies (eg toilet paper, cleaning supplies)

    Transportation: gas, car insurance, maintenance, car registration, and future car (was auto loan but paid that off in December)

    Food: groceries, convenience dining (used mainly for when I get take out instead of cooking for me and the kids), dining out

    Subscriptions: life insurance, YNAB, Amazon Prime, etc.

    Kids: Allowance, grade money, clothing, school lunches, school expenses, music instrument, haircuts, savings account. I will be adding a category for expenses I am anticipating for my son’s Senior year of high school and to start saving for car insurance/gas for my daughter when she starts driving in November.

    Self Care/Personal Development: massage, health and beauty supplies, clothing for me, hair (cuts, coloring and salon products), craft retreats (2x per year), books, hobbies, classes/workshops/seminars

    Other Discretionary: household upgrades and maintenance; technology upgrades and maintenance; giving; theater; concerts; random fun, spending money

    One-Time Expenses: kids first car, 401k loan payoff, divorce (my divorce was final at end of 2019 but there are some residual expenses)

    I also have a separate category for Vacation. I use a separate budget while we are on vacation to manage our spending but categorize the actual transactions after the vacation is over here. I put a #vacation description in the memo if I ever want to see what we spent on a specific vacation.

    i also have a category for moving but nothing is in this one right now as I just moved in this place and plan on being here til my daughter graduates from high school.

    Like 1
  • I just started within the last month so still tuning what works for me (and still learning how it all works). A main consideration is that I have multiple savings accounts for different purposes (high interest ones, etc) at different banks in addition to the one i use for bills. I don't want to "mix" the pots of money where I don't understand how much i should have in each account.

    So I have:

    Monthly Fixed Expenses: Anything and everything where the cost is fixed and will be spent monthly regardless of the "kind" of expense (e.g. my mortgage, netflix, and even 529 savings for kids are under here). These are one and done expenses for which I've created monthly goals and scheduled transactions. I've also suffixed each subcategory with the day of the month that the bill generally gets paid, and ordered within the main group based on this).

    Monthly Flexible Expenses: Anything where I spend in that category monthly where there is some discretion in how much i actually spend (gas, groceries, entertainment, etc). I've created monthly budgeting goals for these.

    Build Up Intermittent: Anything where I don't pay monthly, but  small enough total amount that don't want to bother storing in one of my high interest savings accounts or may need access to money sooner than an ACH transfer might take. This includes amazon prime membership,  medical, etc. I've set up various types of goals for these (target balance,  by date, etc) based on whether I pay them yearly or more frequently.

    * Savings Group: I have multiple of these - one for each saving account and named based on the bank in which the funds are held. Each has the associated subcategories for which the money for them are held in that savings account. This includes emergency fund, house insurance, property taxes, etc (stuff where i want the higher interest and i won't need to move money out often).  The advantage of this for me is that the Savings Group totals should reflect the  balance of the accounts at the bank. When they don't, it indicates I need to move money (e.g. end of the month i'll "sweep" the funds I set aside for the categories up to the appropriate account).

    I started out with more main categories to try and classify the "purpose" of the expense (fun, keep the lights on, etc) but ultimately decided the top level goal for me was to track the "flexibility" of the expense (e.g. - i have wiggle room on all the flexible, but i sure as heck better have the fixed funded by the date).  I wish YNAB allowed me to add keywords  or something to each sub category to have more flexible reporting (e.g. so I could mark netflix as a fixed entertainment expense, while my mortgage is a fixed keep the lights on expense).

    Like 1
      • Emma Catherine
      • Civil engineer getting back on track
      • emmacatherine
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Gold Robot I love the idea of having different categories for each savings account! I’m in the process of moving my emergency fund from my savings account to my checking account (because it’s not really an EF if I don’t have quick access to it 🙄) and that would help me keep everything in order, so thank you for sharing!

      Like
      • RIP_MSMoney
      • FinTech Programmer
      • rip_ms_money
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Emma Catherine depending on the amount of that category, can could result in a big loss of interest earned.

      Like 1
      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Gold Robot I used to have my savings accounts set up like you, but once I stopped doing that (after being convinced, kicking and screaming, on here to give it a try) I now find my budget so much easier to manage.  It's something to keep in mind, but I know for me, it was a process, so do it when you're ready.  I know for me the main issue was mental, I had gotten myself in trouble when I quit budgeting in the past and never built up an emergency fund, so I wanted the accounts as back up in case I started slacking on my budgeting.  That plus probably a smidge of OCD...

      But now I know I'm sticking to this budget thing for as long as money isn't infinite in my life, so I find the new structure helpful because it made keeping up with my budget so much easier, so I'm probably more likely to stick with it in the long run anyways.  

      This explains it really well.  Anyways, just thought I'd chime in because, although at the time it annoyed me that people were judging my way of budgeting, in the long run their willingness to question my methodology helped save me a ton of time since I made the switch.

      https://www.youneedabudget.com/the-relationship-between-your-budget-your-accounts-its-complicated/

      Like 1
      • Gold Robot
      • Gold_Robot.10
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      PhysicsGal Thanks, appreciate the time you put into your reply and describing your situation, but it sounds like your reasoning for having the distinct accounts is different than mine. It would be financially unwise to keep all my money in single low interest bearing account that earns essentially zero interest as opposed to a high interest bearing one. If the difference in lost interest was trivial, say a few bucks/month, perhaps the small amount of additional work it causes would be more trouble than it's worth, but it's more than that. Similarly I don't want to keep all my cash in a single high interest account, because I want/need the flexibility, access, and convenience of a checking account with a local credit union. Hence, I need at least 2 accounts. I then have a third for other reasons I won't get into. 

      I therefore had to figure out a way  to make it easy to balance the books on both accounts (e.g. ensure the balances reflected what my budget says they should) - hence my savings account categories were born to provide an automated roll-up at a glance. Yes, periodically I need to ensure the balances in the actual accounts reflect what my budget says they should (adding up categories). I do that once a month as the interest I lose within the single month isn't worth it to me to balance them more frequently, and i generally have a sufficient cushion in my primary day to day account to float the spending from these infrequently used categories until I rebalance (transfer money) at the end of the month.

      I've had the same budget setup since my initial change a few weeks after starting, and for the last 5 months it's worked fantastic, and is trivial to keep things aligned.

      Like 1
      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Gold Robot I keep as much money as I can get away with in my HYSA, so that's not a drawback of the method I was attempting to describe.  I just have no correlation between what is in savings and the categories on my budget, the link I shared explains it.  The running balance feature in the accounts combined with the recurring scheduled transactions make it easy to make sure I have enough in my checking to cover all my transactions for the month in my checking, moving money in or out of savings whenever I can, or need to.  I just update the scheduled recurring transaction with the new payments once a month and put the month in the memo field so that I remember I already updated it.  Most of my spending is on my credit cards (the YNAB way, so I get rewards without spending more than I budgeted and I have the cash to pay my bill at any point in time), so I only have to make sure my checking account has enough in it to cover last moth's statement balance on all my credit cards, and a few various monthly bills.  It so very much easier to run my budget now than it was when I was matching my account balances to my category balances.

      It's something to consider trying at some point in the future, but it's something you'll try when you're ready for it.  You can always go back to your method, but let me tell you, I have zero interest in going back to that way of doing things.  It was much more of a hassle.  It's just a sort of paradigm shift to make the switch and you'll only be ready when you're ready, it's an individual thing.

      Like 1
      • Gold Robot
      • Gold_Robot.10
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      PhysicsGal Again, thanks for the detailed response, but my approach, which, by the way, follows the "YNAB way" as well, fits my goals perfectly. It's straightforward, easy to manage, and am able to fully and easily control my budget. I'm glad you've also found what meets your current preference for categorizing things. Neither of our approaches is better than the other's - after all, it's just a personal preference grouping of personal preference categories, under a personal preference of category group names.  Your way is superior than mine for you; my way is superior than yours for me.

      Prior to even setting up my first budget I read the link to the article you provided, along with pretty much every other article on YNAB, and watched numerous tutorials. I then tried multiple ways of organizing my categories for the first bit. I initially set up my accounts without the "savings" category groups. It didn't work for me (neither did many of my original category names) and I have zero interest in going back to them. That said, over time, I'm sure I'll change up some categories and groups again as the areas I want to focus on change - after all the only constant is change. However, it won't be because I need to have some "paradigm shift", because I'll "be ready when I'm ready",  or because I've finally become enlightened to some grand and singular truth for how things should be categorized within a YNAB budget. :)

      Ultimately, the only actual difference between our budgeting seems to be our chosen category group names considering we both agree that having multiple accounts makes sense - which therefore collapses this discussion to simply bikeshedding.  Of course, the method by which we move money between accounts is different as well - you modify a scheduled transaction monthly; I just create a new transaction the day of the month I decide to do the transfer, but that's unimportant to this particular discussion as well.

      Again, thanks for sharing what you've determined is the best way for you to do your budgeting!

      Like 1
    • PhysicsGal deja vu? I remember when you were on the other side of this. Gold robot has your old words. It keeps striking me as... Something. But I'm tired and don't have words! Have a good night/day!

      Like 1
      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 3 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Gold Robot Just going to point out that if you’re truly concerned with maxing your interest, not tying accounts to categories is the best way to do that. My “Savings” categories right nw have half the balance of what’s actually in my savings account, because there are other things elsewhere in the budget (giving, true expenses, money being held for future credit card payments and more) that don’t need to be spent right away. So I am earning twice as much interest as I would if I determined my savings account balance by a category group.  My checking balance is determined by the outflows and inflows which will happen over the next month or so; everything else I’ve piling up and earning interest. 

      Like 2
      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Move Light Sound Life Maybe ironic is the word you were thinking of?  My friend used to say that the universe maximizes irony.  He may be right.

      I don't think I have the fortitude to continue through the defensiveness though.  You guys are tougher than me.  I'm glad you were willing to bring me towards YNAB "enlightenment" kicking and screaming :P

      Like 1
      • Gold Robot
      • Gold_Robot.10
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor  Thanks. Not looking to maximize interest, or I'd be doing a number of things differently, likely including what you're saying.

      PhysicsGal Thanks. As mentioned, I appreciate your responses. However, you seem to think I don't understand your point with respect to not caring about the actual balances within each account, that all that matters is the budget (and, of course,  having enough in the particular account from which the money is being taken out so i don't over withdrawal). What you apparently fail to realize, or won't accept, is that I actually do understand. Just because I know that 3+1=4, doesn't mean that I can't also understand that 2+2=4. You call my responses defensive for stating that my process works for me. That's fine. I don't have the fortitude to continue through the condescension.  Have no fear though, I'll continue on with my barbaric way of budgeting in YNAB that is simple, meets my needs, and has actually made budgeting fun for me. =)

      Happy budgeting, all!

      Like 1
      • Gold Robot
      • Gold_Robot.10
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Move Light Sound Life  I presume the "deja vu" comes from this thread? https://support.youneedabudget.com/t/809rg9/how-can-i-link-a-savings-goal-to-a-savings-account

      =)

      Like 1
      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Gold Robot 

      Sorry! Guess I misunderstood this, then! "It would be financially unwise to..." makes it sound like you care about earning interest; maybe next time you can make clearer that this is not a priority for you! 😄

      Gold Robot said:
      It would be financially unwise to keep all my money in single low interest bearing account that earns essentially zero interest as opposed to a high interest bearing one. If the difference in lost interest was trivial, say a few bucks/month, perhaps the small amount of additional work it causes would be more trouble than it's worth, but it's more than that. 
      Like
      • Gold Robot
      • Gold_Robot.10
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor You are correct. You misunderstood.

      You stated:

       Just going to point out that if you’re truly concerned with maxing your interest

      I responded that I'm not looking to maximize interest.  The statement of mine you quoted even states that I'm ok with not maxing my interest.  If you look further into the overall response from which you pulled that quote, you'll also see that I stated:

      Gold Robot said:
      I do that once a month as the interest I lose within the single month isn't worth it to me to balance them more frequently

      Both in isolation and taken together, I think those quotes do clearly show that while I care about earning interest, I don't prioritize maxing said interest.  However, I'll try to be even more explicit next time. 🙂

      Like 1
      • Gold Robot
      • Gold_Robot.10
      • 3 mths ago
      • 8
      • Reported - view

      PhysicsGal  I want to "start over" with my response to you. With any discussion, especially between strangers on a faceless forum, it's too easy to focus on a few words and phrases the other says and end up missing the forest for the trees - which is exactly what I did. Ultimately you proactively shared your own personal journey of your use of YNAB since you saw similarities in your past with my present, and offered your advice in the spirit of trying to help me avoid (or at least, lessen) my journey through the same bumps, sidetracks, and whatnot with which you have already dealt. I truly do appreciate that, even though my words sometimes didn't reflect that.

      So...with that. Thank you for sharing your experience and advice. I have to say, I did find that "deja vu" thread pretty ironic. Hello, future self. 😂

      Like 8
      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 3 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Gold Robot Thanks Mr. Robot!  I appreciate it.  Yeah, I  read a few of my responses again when you linked to that thread and it's uncanny how similar our arguments are.  I myself am very sensitive to any hint of dogmatism because of my experience with cults, that's why the thread there first got me triggered, because I perceived dogmatism it gives me the heeby jeebies.  

      I appreciate you coming back and saying this.  It's so true, the internet is not always the best medium for us to treat one another with respect as fellow humans, but that's just the nature of the beast.  Maybe we'll evolve to develop the ability to have more empathy for the humans behind the words and photo on a screen, but until then we have to be pretty intentional about it, and I truly appreciate your intention here.  Have a great weekend! 

      Like 5
    • Gold Robot A model of honest, respectful humanity. Thank you. Your reply to physicsgal really warms my heart and gives me hope. Thanks for making the internet a better place.  Also, good luck on your journey!

      Like 4
      • Yes I can
      • yesican2020
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Gold Robot  Don't worry I'm not buying into the discussion. I'm also fairly new to YNAB (this time) and am amused at the passion which YNABers have for their methodology. 

      I was going to suggest that you have a look at Flags as a way to add keywords to your categories or purchases.   You then search (and I think report) by the flag colour.   One weakness is you can't rename the flag colour eg. red = transport, blue = housing, but I can easily remember (or write on a note card and put on my notice board).  I'm using a similar category structure to you and am interested in these flags for the purpose.  

      Like
  • I don't like the default YNAB categories, and prefer to group mine by function for the head categories/groups:

    Savings

    Home - mortgage maintenance etc.

    Household - groceries, school. etc.

    Utilities - electricty etc.

    Technology - computers, subscriptions etc

    Car - fuel, maintenance, etc.

    Work - expenses, university, etc.

    Like 1
  • Mango Box said:
    A little money is better than no money, but you can have too much in savings; a large chunk would be better served in longer-term investments.

     Then that would be bad for an Emergency Fund. My point is that an Emergency Fund should be accessible. So investing is not a good idea. Next best is savings. Better to get something over nothing. I mean if your Emergency Fund is massive than you could argue half investment and save liquid but this conv was keeping the Emergency fund in savings vs checking. For us that is 100 a month of interest...

    Like
      • Emma Catherine
      • Civil engineer getting back on track
      • emmacatherine
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      RIP_MSMoney this has gotten a little off topic, as I was only asking for how people categorize their groups lol. My EF currently is $1000 as I am working on paying off debts. And I feel most comfortable keeping that in my checking account. You may feel more comfortable keeping it elsewhere and that’s perfectly fine! I was only asking for categories ❤️

      Like 1
  • I have a bills category which is the monthly bills (Hulu, cell phone, mortgage, etc). I have another group called Freedom Accounts based on a book I read 10-15 years ago called Debt Proof Living by Mary Hunt.  Its called a Freedom Account because it gives you freedom from debt, because you plan ahead for larger expenses such as yearly homeowners insurance, property tax, vacations, Christmas, renovations, etc. 

    If you look at vacation, you see a large balance there.  We cancelled our upcoming cruise since we were still within the full refund phase to allow time to see what happens with this virus. We are both nurses and could not take extra time off if ship is delayed or if we have to quarantine. Maybe things will improve and we can rebook. I will leave the money in this category until I’m ready to use it again for vacation.  I was wondering how bad all of these refunds from several companies would mess up my YNAB, but it was very simple.  
     

    Like 1
  • I've also just started in YNAB.  Started trial in November and played around then did a Fresh Start recently once I (think) figured out I was doing.  Here are my categories

    Home Bills - are all those mandatory fixed payments every month - mortgage, internet, phones, etc

    Home Expenses - are the other required monthly expenses to live - groceries, gas, pets, health

    Living Life - is the fun - Eating Out, Gifts, Entertainment, Clothing, Christmas

    Periodic Expenses - are the "saving for" or "Sinking funds" - yearly software subscriptions, auto maintenance & licenssing, vet fund, home maintenance

    Wish Farm - what we are specifically saving for right now - New pots & pans, trip to Florida

    Wish List - all those other things we think we might want

    Savings Account - this is a specific category that reflects my bank saving Account - has two sub categories - Emergency Fund ($1000) and Property Taxes - the rest of the balance.  ( I move it over here so I won't "accidently spend it before it's due :) )

    Savings - General - basically it's an extra checking account that we haven't closed and only has a little bit of money.  At one time was considering moving cash monthly over to it and puting all of the Periodic Expenses there - but I think I've decided I'm going to close it.

    Like 1
      • Emma Catherine
      • Civil engineer getting back on track
      • emmacatherine
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Jill McDevitt Love it! Seems like you have a good system and I love the emojis lol

      Like
    • Emma Catherine Thanks!  Don't the emojis make it so much more fun?

      Like 1
  • I started with just a few categories but over time have found that having more categories has helped me see more detail in the reports. I have these categories now:

    Groceries

    Mortgage

    Investment Properties: prop 1, prop 2

    Credit Card Payments: Credit card, Redraw

    Savings: Emergency Fund, Buffer, Retirement

    Utilities: Electricity, Gas

    Health: Insurance, Medical, Chemist, Optometrist

    House: Rates, Insurance

    Pets

    Professional: Registration, Insurance, Education, Supervision

    Cars: Registration, Insurance, Green Slip, Repairs, Petrol

    Personal/Fun: Clothing, Holidays, Gifts, Spending, Dining Out

    Entertainment: Netflix, Stan, Austar,Internet

    House/Yard/Repairs: a list of house projects, repairs that need doing

    Like 2
  • I am also a YNAB noob. (That's fun to say out loud, huh? 😉) I have: 

    Monthly Fixed: rent, phone, car payment, Audible, etc.

    Monthly Variable: electric, clothing, groceries, etc. 

    Irregular Repeating: haircuts, yearly subscriptions, etc. 

    Just for Fun: dining out, entertainment, etc.

    Long Term: new computer, travel, etc. 

    After reading this thread, I'm going to re-evaluate! 

    Like 1
  • 1st Pay, 2nd Pay, Day-to-day, Debt Prevention, Savings (for Income Replacement and Emergency fund only), and Credit Card Payments (YNAB generated). I wanted clarity on my cashflow while looking at both the budget and reports and I needed headers that resonated with my goals.

    Per pay groups cover monthly bills like rent, phone, and life insurance. Day-to-day is the umbrella for groceries, transportation, etc. Debt Prevention monitors funding of new mattresses, vacation, and electronics, anything that one would typically incur or risk debt for. 

    Like
      • dangerosity
      • Aquamarine_Piranha.9
      • 6 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      After reading through this thread, I was driven to change my categories...again 🤣

      Like 1
  • Not a big fan the default groupings, I divide my into functional areas.

    Like 3
  • My category groups are:

    Food and Gas

    Monthly Bills

    Annual Bills

    and then I have all my discretionary spending/long term savings in categories by topic below that:

    Family + Pets ....... clothes, babysitter, pet food, vet, kid stuff, etc. 

    Fun + Occasions ....... fun money, gifts, Xmas saving, Upcoming (planned) trips/vacations, etc

    Home + Car + Tech ...... household stuff, appliance repairs, car repairs/replacement, tech repair/replacement, tech accessories, etc. 

    Medical ...... copays, pharmacy, dental, saving for braces, etc. 

    Financials ...... E-fund, work reimbursements, charges/fees, and next month rollover

     

    I used to have those lower groups just broken down as Spending and Saving, but that wasn’t satisfying and I tried some other variations of need vs want but I always ended up frustrated that I couldn’t find a category quickly when I was scrolling looking for it. Having them sorted by topics makes that a breeze now.

    I’ll also note that I broke the paycheck to paycheck cycle finally so I am able to build enough in my “next month” fund so that when the new month rolls over I have enough to fully budget the new month, including all the goals for those discretionary funds.  When I was paycheck to paycheck I preferred sorting those discretionary as highest priority to lowest so I could fund them in order as I received more income, but since I’m not in that position anymore it doesn’t matter if funding my work expense reimbursement category is a priority so it doesn’t need to be higher up and I now have those groups sorted by more commonly used higher up and less often used lower down. 

    Like 1
  • I am working on %-age budgeting to Giving, Debt/Savings, Housing, Transportation, Food, and Fun+Life.  Currently my %ages are 5,35,30,5,10,5%, respectively.  I like seeing it broken down like that for now, but I may change it again at some point.  Right now I'm working on killing my debt and building my Emergency fund, after that I can loosing up on that category and have some more money for fun.

    Like 2
  • I'm fairly new to actively using YNAB (had YNAB4 for years but never could really get into it).  I'm feeling much more confident with it this time! Despite my failings with 4, I had adjusted to the income for next month, so I'm in the process of figuring out which of the myriad methods shared on the forums works for me.

    Anyway, I'm also still feeling out the categories, but I have a long-standing method of bill payment, that is a joint-to-sign bank account, where ALL automatic regular bills (insurance, loans, phone, internet, power, etc.) come out of.  This is from my early days as a reckless youth who would spend everything the day I got it. So, the main customisation to categories i have implemented is that all of these auto-pay bills are in one category. At all times, this category will match the balance of that account and will be the first to be budgeted each pay-cycle.

    I only implemented this change a day or two ago, when I realised I was budgeting money YNAB said I have, but I actually can't (easily) get access to.  I had to adjust everything and reduce a lot of my categories to $0.00, but now I'm confident in being able to manage the money I CAN access to build up that one month buffer!

    Like
  • I set mine up in such a way that I can see what I can quickly get rid of in case of a job loss, and I need to slim down quickly. My main category groups  and example categories are: 

    Anything with the word immediate has a set monthly payment: 

     

    Savings (Income replacement, emergency fund, vacations)

    Immediate Obligations (set monthly bills--or near set--) mortgage, HOA, car payment, utilities)

    Immediate Essentials (I keep these set and carry over if I don't spend it all) groceries, auto fuel, sundries) 

    Immediate Non-Essentials (Netflix, cable, cell phone, gym, Sirius, and what I call crazy cash--cash that I withdrawal to just do whatever I want with. Dining, gambling, going out money etc)

    Sinking Funds: Bills that accumulate for future payment (YNAB, amazon prime, self care -- haircuts, self-help books etc--, clothing, medical, home improvement etc)

    Gifting: This is a sinking fund but I wanted to keep it separate for clarity. I have everyone I buy gifts for with a budged amount. I set aside money monthly according to when their birthday is, and Christmas is always the same) 

    Wish List: just a list of things I think I want with no budget for them

    Wish Farm: I move wish list items to wish farm when I'm ready to save for it. 1 small, 1 medium, and 1 large just like in the blog post. 

    Like 1
  • I'm still new, but the top-level categories I have set up are Autopay, Needs, Wants, and Savings. 

     

    Usually I only have Needs (Buffer, Car, Gas, Health & Wellness, Princess [my cat, who needs prescription food because she's so special she pees crystals] and Work Food) and Wants (Books, Dining Out & ordering In, Fancy Coffee & Cheap Booze, Giving, Hobbies, and Miscellaneous Entertainments) visible.

    Like
  • It’s fun seeing others’ category ideas. Great topic!
     

    I have 138 categories broken into master categories according to function and reporting. This is a lot compared to some, but it has worked great for us for the 7 years we’ve been YNABbers. Our master categories are:

     

    Contingencies — Easy access for WAMing

    Food

    Household expenses — mostly monthly expense categories like health & beauty, consumables, durables, and the like.

    Clothing and accessories

    Recreation — child’s activities, family outings, movies, etc.

    Fun money — For the wife and I  I used to our this in the Recreation master, but these accumulate over time  in recreation, I like to know at a glance what we can spend for the rest of the month  the fun money categories always made me feel we had more to spend than we did.

    Child allowance

    Entertainment Subs & Passes — annual memberships 

    Pets

    Home & property — mortgage, insurance, home repair, home improvement, etc.

    Transportation

    Health & medical

    Utilities & bills

    Celebration & giving — Christmas, birthdays, tithing, misc giving, etc.

    Vacation & travel

    Education & Student Loan

    Investments

    Reserves — our emergency funds.

    Misc Financial — refunds, disputed transactions, etc.

    Reimbursements

    Deferred Income — we keep next month’s income in a separate category due to the problem with allocating it directly to next month’s budget. 
     

    I also operate an LLC that has 109 budget categories broken down into tax reporting master categories. 

    Like
  • So I have two budgets, the first is the flat account which I share with my partner (we rent at the moment, and we are building a house (I've collapsed that category seeing as its pretty location specific). The second is my personal budget. On both budgets, I tend to list the fixed/obligatory costs first and by date, as we both get paid in the middle of the month, so that if we are running short I can at least fund the first half of the next month. I also tend to list whether the bills will come out automatically or need manual input. Groceries on the flat account are budgeted weekly because over the years I've found that if I set a monthly budget then I tend to overspend the first couple of weeks. While I know I could set goals for some of the capped costs, I simply find it's easier to write the cap in the description. While my personal budget is sort of all-encompassing, the flat account is mostly instrumental, no savings going on there, and any un- or underspent categories are collapsed into the buffer after their due date.  Oh and btw I live in Norway, hence the funny money :D 

    Like 1
    • kiwegian I am very curious what black eye expenses are in variable expenses!

      Like 3
      • kiwegian
      • kiwegian
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Navy Blue Pegasus Ha! sorry, haven't logged on for a while - its my category for 'roll with the punches' type unexpected expenses 😂

      Like 1
    • kiwegian I wasn't sure if you were a boxer or if those were medical expenses, but I love this take on rolling with the punches. 😂

      Like 1
      • kiwegian
      • kiwegian
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness sometimes its exactly what those unexpected expenses feel like. My bike slipped over sideways the other day and scratched up  my son's daycare teacher's car. Cue US$215 in insurance excess fees. DOH! 👊😭

      Like
    • kiwegian 😂 very creative.

      Like
  • I want my budget to reflect me and my sense of humor, so I have some interesting category names:

    BUFFERINO - Income For Next Month 

    My Oxygen Mask - includes savings and That Guy, Murphy! (Emergency Fund)

    Credit Card Payments (this was automatically added by YNAB when I put my cc on budget. If I could rename it, I'd probably call it Plastic Fantastic.)

    Month In, Month Out - Recurring monthly expenses

    Nickels and Dimes of Life - True Expenses

    From Me To You - Holidays, gift giving, charities

    Treat Yo Self - All the fun stuff: dining out, entertainment, travel, etc.

    Wish Farm/Wish List - Haven't thought of catchier names for these yet. Suggestions welcome!

    Like 1
      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 3 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Violet Rain Ha, I call my E-fund "Murphy Repellant" with one of those flashing lights and SOS emojis.  

      Like 2
      • Violet Rain
      • ElectroNecroMancer
      • Violet_Rain.3
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      PhysicsGal Love it! 😆

      Like
  • HI everyone,

    We very recently did a renaming of our budget categories. We found the default YNAB ones helpful to get us started and keep on track. But we wanted to be able to look at our budget and figure out how much our home cost us, or the car or giving. So we regrouped and everything is below. All of our children are adults and living on their own. One will become a mom in about a month! So, any money we spend or loan them go through it. The mobile home belongs to one of the kids in theory (we pay the mortgage and other costs for which they reimburse (over time....sometimes a long time), it's complicated LOL) 

    One side benefit I found the other day is that I thought that I should look within the category first to WAM. If there isn't any money there, then i can move to another category based on its priority. It changed my perspective and I liked it.

    Like 1
  • I’m coming from a different program so I’m used to different category groups.  So I modified them a bit.  I just prefer to see related buckets on reports rather then grouping them together.  (Sub categories are within these groups):

    Credit Card Payments

    Debt Payments

    Food

    Giving

    Household 

    Housing Costs

    Interest and Fees

    Leisure

    Miscellaneous

    Personal Care

    Reimbursements

    Subscriptions and Memberships

    Transportation

    Savings

    Emergency Savings

    Like
  • I tried to get a little creative with my category names:

    Dragging me Down - CC and LOC interest, bank fees and annual CC fees

    My Four Walls - mortgage, home insurance, utilities

    Pride and Policies - life insurance, RESP, RRSP

    Fill Our Bellies - groceries, dining out, school lunch program, alcohol

    Wheels on the Bus - car payment, insurance, maintenance, registration, parking 

    General Stuff - household consumables (toilet paper, lightbulbs, batteries, etc), household durables (sheets, towels, small appliances, etc), banana stand (things I only buy once in a  while that don't have a home)

    Improve the Body - toiletries, clothes for me, haircuts, gym, prescriptions

    Kid Stuff - child care, activities, clothes, school, books and toys

    Fur Babies - cat food, supplies, vet fund

    Enjoying Life - categories for hobbies (gardening, sewing, movies, books, family activities)

    Subscriptions - YNAB, Netflix, Apple Music, Costco, etc

    Office Space - supplies, software, new laptop fund

    Choose Kind - church, birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, miscellaneous gifts, random giving

    Holidays - Easter, Halloween, Christmas, everything else

    To Infinity.... - sh*t happens (emergency fund), fix it up (home repairs), new iPhone fund, any other long term savings goals

    Like 2
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