Your Budget Just Got Better!

Well, hello there, fellow YNABers! We have exciting news today…🎉

After many moons and many iterations, then re-iterations, we got a glow up! We’ve made some significant changes to the First Time User Experience, as well as some upgrades to YNAB as a whole—mobile and web. Check out our blog post for the whole story

 

While this update affects the new user experience drastically, there are also some changes to YNAB as a whole. The most obvious of these changes being to the verbiage—we hope these new terms will help clarify many questions that new users often have. 

  • To be Budgeted is now Ready to Assign

  • The Budgeted column is now the Assigned column

  • Goals are now Targets

  • Overbudgeted is now Overassigned

  • Quick Budget is now Auto-Assign

Perhaps the most exciting of all changes is the Stealing From the Future alert! When you have overassigned money in a future month, you’ll now see an alert in the inspector: 

 

For all the details, take a peek at this Help Doc. As you explore the changes, our team would love to know your thoughts. Your feedback is always appreciated!

And a big thank you to our Forum folks who were part of the Alpha and Beta groups. 

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  • I like the new changes! One issue I do have is that clicking "Reduce overfunding" does a blanket change. I can go into "Recent moves" and see what changed (thank you for that), but I would really like the option to preview what "Reduce overfunding" will do before it happens. For example, I have an extra $200 in my gifts category this month, because some extra occasions came up. Reducing overfunding takes that out. It's accurate in some categories, but not in others, and I'd like the option to see a list of checkboxes of what YNAB thinks is underfunded so I can override it.

    Like 2
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      kbgroover Agreed. I ended up changing some of my Target types because of this.

      Like
    • kbgroover Thanks for this feedback - I've definitely run into this in my own budget, too! Would you be up for getting in touch with our product team with your request? 

      Like
  • Marisa said:
    For now, a good workaround would be to also add a target to that category for the amount that includes the scheduled transaction.

     I wouldn't call that a good work around. So every time I update my scheduled transaction, I also have to update the Target amount? That would be a great thing to automate. Well, for starters I guess I will add Targets to these variable categories. At least it'll budget something there by default.

    Like 1
    • Superbone Ah yes - it does add a layer of extra work! I'm sorting out how to manage these in my own budget as well.

      Like 1
  • Seems like I asked for auto assign and poo poo’d… but you get a pass and a 🙌 because it looks smarter than Simple (progress bars are welcomed too) 

    Like
  • ❓does the new platform for mobile mean that API development will change? 

    Like
    • Black cat Hmmm - can you be more specific? I'll check once I better understand your question!

      Like 1
      • Black cat
      • Blue_Stallion.6
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Marisa geek question…the video mentioned that the platform was rewritten to use a different language that can be supported across devices instead of having to support multiple releases. There is a library of YNAB and user developed api integrations. I’m wondering if those are affected. There is one I want to use. If not when would documentation be published? 

      Like
    • Black cat Jumping in here with an answer informed by the dev team 😆! YNAB's API was already using the cross-platform framework, so it hasn't been affected by the update. Some API properties use old terminology, e.g. to_be_budgeted, but there are no current plans to change those (because that would break existing integrations).

      The Works with YNAB list should still be working as expected, so feel free to use any of those with your budget!

      Like 1
      • tekgy
      • Neuroscience & Technology
      • tekgy
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Rachel awesome! Thanks! 🤩

      Like 1
      • Black cat
      • Blue_Stallion.6
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Rachel great, thank you!

      Like 1
  • Hi, 

    In the Accounts view on Android can you make negative balances (i.e. credit cards) show in red rather than black please? Makes more sense to me that when I'm "in the red" it shows in red. 

    Dave

    Like
    • Thanks for that feedback, @Dave Allen! We decided to make that change after finding many folks (especially those with a lot of debt) found all of that red discouraging. We're not here to shame anyone and want to encourage folks to make progress in a way that fits for them.  Positive balances are green, so debt is now shown in a more neutral black.

      That said we know that it isn't a change that fits everyone's expectations! If you have more details on your preferences than what you've shared here, could you send those over as a Feature Request?
       

      Like
      • BeejPlease
      • I drank the YNAB Koolaid
      • beejplease
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Marisa the negative account balances are still Red in the web app though.

      Like
  • In the new release of the iOS app, is it possible to see by how much and entire month is underfunded? I like to take a look at the upcoming month and see how much the total month is underfunded by to be a month ahead.

    Like
    • Breau Those budget-wide options on mobile have been removed in the most recent update, but they are still available on the web! Our team is looking at ways to re-incorporate that information back into the mobile app without increasing confusion for newer YNABers 👍🏻

      Like 1
  • Marisa said:
    We decided to make that change after finding many folks (especially those with a lot of debt) found all of that red discouraging.

     Why does YNAB think it is better to sugar coat reality?  Negative account balances should show red to get your attention, that is the point.  YNAB used to advocate hard core budgeting principles, it seems like it is more concerned with feelings now.  Reflecting reality could help someone be more proactive in tackling debt.

    Like 5
    • ynaber2613 Reflecting reality could also cause people who find it discouraging to quit, because it feels like they'll never get the red to go away. Because emotions are so tied up into how we use/think about/manage money, having something that's discouraging can make people avoid doing that thing - even if they intellectually know it would help.  It's a balancing act - I'm guessing (hoping) that YNAB is responding to behavior, rather than just "it's discouraging."

      (YNAB, if you're not basing it on behavior and just basing it on "it's discouraging," then I'm adding my voice to wanting the red back.)

      Like 3
      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Fuzzball Meows I haven’t yet noticed where red doesn’t appear where it otherwise used to, but I believe you all it changed and I’ll come across it eventually. But to your point, shouldn’t red be something important to stare a new user in the face? I mean, yellow/orange is one thing, I’ve had months not even that long ago which could be mostly orange (or toolkit blue) for 3 weeks, but red is like, dude that money is GONE and you didn’t have it.  

      I’ve read this forum long enough to learn how many new users totally freak out and unfortunately give up when they start, but my tentative opinion is that someone has to draw a hard line somewhere, and red should be pretty much it. No reason YNAB can’t even add other colors to differentiate like the toolkit’s blue, or maybe something on the red-yellow spectrum to indicate over budgeting, ugh assigning, vs. real cash overspending. I dunno, just my morning thoughts.

      Like
      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 2 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      ynaber2613 I have such a strong memory of my first months using YNAB3 in 2009 and realizing after immutable bills are paid, we have about $25-$50 to eat out for the month, when we were spending at least $500.  That really hurt. I remember scrounging up a bunch of coupons to divvy up some take out sandwiches so we could have a night without cooking. I felt like some kind of money warrior, and for YEARS after that every extra penny of income (usually my unloading of junk on eBay) went straight towards Restaurants because I really like to eat.

      I still budgeted myself into a bunch of holes over the years, but I never had this budgeting nervous breakdown so many now seem to have. Makes me wonder what changed along the way… people? Societal expectations? The economy? Or just the software and on boarding approach?  Shower thoughts for me…hmmm. 

      Like 2
      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 2 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Black is a positive number. Red is a negative number. It's a standard markup convention. Why reinvent the wheel over feelings?

      Like 4
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 mths ago
      • 7
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule I agree with you but have you been paying attention to the younger generations? This is apparently the new way. Everybody gets a trophy. Also, apparently, nobody is in debt. They are just savings challenged. 😉

      Like 7
      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 2 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Superbone if everybody gets a trophy, I want the Stanley Cup.

      Like 2
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule Too soon. Let's not go there. My team that I've been following for my entire life just missed out on the Larry O'Brien trophy after a rare Finals appearance (3rd time in 53 seasons). Is one championship in my lifetime too much to ask for?

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

      Superbone can't win em all... although my teams have won two Stanley Cups and a Lombardi Trophy in the last year. Stanley is more impressive though.

      Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule I guess I need more teams in the mix. I've only got the one team that I follow. Oh, well. It took the Cubs 108 years between championships. Just gives me a good reason for longevity. It's all about the journey. At least that's what I keep telling myself. 😄

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Superbone I have one college, one NFL team, one NHL team, one MLB team (which may go halvsies with Canada) and no NBA team.

      Like 1
      • ynaber2613
      • ynaber2613
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Annieland On the iPhone mobile app in the accounts view negative account values show up as black with a negative sign, positive shows up as green.  The web app still shows red for negative but I'm sure they will cater to the weak minded and change red to black to avoid discouraging them.   My view is reflect reality to encourage discipline in budgeting not avoid discouraging someone.

      Edit: I have my credit card accounts set up as checking accounts so I'm not sure if this behavior is the same if they are setup as credit card accounts, I liked the YNAB 4 method of handling credit cards better.

      Like 1
      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 2 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      ynaber2613 Ah, so it’s accounts, got it.

      And I totally agree. It’s the older crowd and parents who I think are on the side of reality :). Don’t forget the play-dough and crayons for those rooms. 

      Like 2
    • ynaber2613 Good point.  Facts don't, "reality" doesn't care about feelings.

      Like 1
      • ynaber2613
      • ynaber2613
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Annieland LOL, you must have read my post before I edited the cry room comment out.  I removed it to avoid offending anyone, does that make me a coddler now too?

      Like 1
      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 2 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      ynaber2613 Bahahh that’s so meta. You deleted a lighthearted joke not to offend the even lighter hearted. So that would be a yes from me, dawg. 

      Like 2
    • nolesrule Not only are those standard conventions, but in my app it shows these numbers with colors:

      Total Amount in Budget = Black (positive)
      Credit Cards = Black (negative)
      Bank Accounts = Green (positive)

      Negative transactions within accounts show Black.
      Negative numbers while editing the transaction show Red (thank goodness, it's already a pain to select/toggle the field in splits on mobile).

      Positive transactions within accounts show Green.
      Positive numbers while editing the transaction show Green.

      The pattern isn't consistent here...

      The thing is, red and black are easier colors to see on a white background, but they're also easier to distinguish between each other than green and red.  I can only assume that YNAB, like me, doesn't really want our budgets to look like garish Christmas colors all year (forest green and deep red are beautiful, but anything brighter is not for me), which is why they chose to nix the red.  Oh, wait... Surely those who may have more difficulty distinguishing between green and red when only one color is juxtaposed with black would prefer relying on the standard convention.

      P.S. I am all for scaffolding and meeting people where they are, but if that scaffolding must be applied to everyone, regardless of whether it's appropriate, then maybe YNAB really should think of beginner/normal/advanced modes.  If you want to see how an app has done that really successfully, I would be happy to point to an example.

      Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Move Light Sound Life Interesting. I’m looking at my iPad YNAB app right now and the only colors in the Accounts screen are green and white on a dark background. Positive account balances and transactions are green and negative account balances and transactions are white.

      But then the total Budget balance and total Tracking balance (positive balances) are also white. Strange.

      Like
    • Superbone Haha, you're right - the inverse is true on a dark background. White and green are easier to see, whereas red is... almost dizzying, somehow. 

      I use dark mode for a lot of things, but not YNAB for that reason. The funny thing is that my husband likes the dark mode on his web app, and I don't, so we get to play the Don't Let It Refresh game when we're having the budget meeting. Oh, and we get to change that setting each time a new person (on the other device) looks at the web app.

      Regardless, my mobile device doesn't seem to have a dark mode available (there's color inversion, but it makes my background picture scary, so no) and YNAB took the local option away, so I couldn't use dark mode on YNAB app if I wanted (without destroying my background picture, which is a higher priority).

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

    So...I have all my income readyfor August, so decided to do a dry run of filling out my August budget in the mobile app.  

    Unsurprisingly, I Do Not Like It, Sam-I-Am. 

    The double whammy of not being able to select which categories you want to address with auto-assign *and* not being able to see category Available amounts in the auto-assign preview essentially forces you to either:

    a) overfund your Needed for Spending categories that may have rollover dollars, and then either manually hunt down and unassign those categories that you know will roll over, or wait for the first of the month and *then* manually hunt down and reassign dollars for the ones that rolled over (because Reduce Overfunding isn't a thing in the mobile app, right?); 

    *OR*

    b) desperately try to remember/make wild guesses at which categories don't need their full Needed for Spending amount assigned, edit the default assignments on the auto-assign page accordingly, and then go back to the main budget page, hunt each one down and check if you got it right.

    Making the Available amounts visible on the Auto-Assign preview page would be hugely helpful.

    (This doesn't even touch on the ongoing, known issue of categories with scheduled transactions being completely ignored if there are still available dollars in the current month. It strikes me as complete lunacy that my budget forces me to allocate dollars that I *might* spend (Needed for Spending targets) and completely ignores actual committed dollars in the form of scheduled transactions.  These priorities should be flipped, for pete's sake.)

    Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 1 mth ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Vibrant Ugh. I’m going to stick to the web app for my budgeting.

      Like 4
    • Vibrant I really appreciate the level of detail you've included here. Are you willing to submit it as a Feature Request? Lots of the feedback we get say something like "I don't like this" - but the details really help our design team understand user experiences!

      Like 1
    • Vibrant Reduce Overfunding is available on mobile, as a category-specific Auto-Assign option. Tap on a category, then Auto-Assign and if the category has more money than it needs—you'll see it visible (just not as slick as a budget-wide option). It may help in the meantime! Our team is already cooking up improvements to make this process smoother.

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

      Nicole thanks for the info! I'd not seen that option pop up yet as none of my categories are currently overfunded.

      Like
  • I dont like the auto assign, I use the mobile app on my phone and tablet and I liked to work down my budget and make decisions on what to fund next. I tried auto assign - but my funds just disappeared and i had no control. I have my categories set up - and maybe its they are not set up 'right' but they are set up so I can use them to assign funds as we get paid. I dont want to auto assign, and I dont't like the auto assign interface as I cant see the level of detail I used to see when looking over my budget and making decisions.  Please Please Please offer a manual as well as an auto option - and not not a manual looking and doing it all at once, but a manual one at a time that lest my brain and mind process each step . Please?

    Like 2
    • KnitKnitFrog I want to make sure I'm understanding how this would work best for you: when you use Auto-Assign, there is a Auto-Assign Preview. From there, you can edit the amounts in each category - but it sounds like you'd prefer to not do all of your assigning in one go.

      On the other hand, you can assign to individual categories by going down the list and adding to the assigned column - can you tell me what info you're missing when you go that route?

      Like
      • KnitKnitFrog
      • One transaction at a time
      • Tomato_Song.11
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Marisa thank you, auto assign preview makes less sense to me, i like to assign to one category at a time. Being faced with multiple categories, and having to make sense of auto-populated amounts and correct them,  then consider if that is what I want to do, is so very different to how i think about my budget. I have a priority list, know what is needed first and how to allocate. I am paid every second week, my partner every other week, we are not a month ahead - i need to work down my priority list and allocate based on what is needed next and where in the month we are and what else is planned.  Yes i can click and add -to a category on the app versions,  but that is a very different process to  the previous manual assign, clicking, typing an amount and typing a few letters to identify a category  is much more straightforward than hunting for a category amongst a few screen scrolls of categories. In the process off allocating i make plans for the next allocation - this is less part of the process when adding direct to a category compared to manually assigning an amount from a drop down list of categories.  This may work for those who like and want to automate their budgets - or to those with a set list of what to allocate  - I am not that person. 

      Like
    • KnitKnitFrog Ahhh - got it. I also really like to go line by line when I budget (albeit in the web app). I think I'll be able to rely on Auto-Assign better when I'm a month ahead. 

      Like
  • Vibrant said:
    Unsurprisingly, I Do Not Like It, Sam-I-Am

     Totally the words I thought when I started reading this post. 

    Like
  • Vibrant said:
    It strikes me as complete lunacy that my budget forces me to allocate dollars that I *might* spend (Needed for Spending targets) and completely ignores actual committed dollars in the form of scheduled transactions.  These priorities should be flipped, for pete's sake.)

     Haven't had to do a budget yet but this sounds AWFUL.  My budget funding was down to less than 5 minutes and I almost exclusively use scheduled transactions.  Why would I set up a goal for an amount AND set up the scheduled transaction - 2 things to do instead of one.  And if the scheduled amount changes, then I have to remember to change the goal aka target amount.  A scheduled transaction is the right treatment for recurring charges. A scheduled transaction is a known amount that I know/expect to be spent automatically or to which I have already made a commitment to pay in the future and most likely recurs at some predetermined interval.  A target/goal is "I think I am going to need about this much money for this category" aka an estimate. If what you say is true (say it isn't so), then this is F***ed Up.🙃

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

      MXMOM It is true, although this is not new. 😥 If I were use the Auto-Assign function (this was true under the old quick budget functions, too) to fill out my August budget today, it would skip over my Rent category because it still has $1700 in it for my rent that gets paid tomorrow, but would put $100 in my "Minor Medical" category because I might spend the $100 that's already in there in the next three days.

      If I wait and do my budget on August 1, none of the above is an issue. Despite nYNAB's open-month design encouraging people to budget month(s) ahead, the quick budget/auto-assign functions sure make it hard.

      Like 1
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Vibrant ah ok.  I don't budget a month ahead.  I use a "parked for next month" category which I release to TBB (whatever) and then I do the quick budget.  We are only 1/2 month ahead so I pick and choose which are quick budgeted selecting only what is going to happen before the next pay (eg. mortgage, property tax, etc. ) plus a portion of things like groceries etc.  Between goals and scheduled transactions the whole thing takes 5 minutes.  For the second pay, I usually have to go in and reduce some things because funding everything as set up would take us red. Fingers crossed it is still this easy. 

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

      MXMOM I use the parked for next month category too, but it's annoying if I have the time do my new budget on the 28th of this month instead of waiting until the month rolls over.

      Like 2
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Vibrant DITTO.  I think I will need a beverage!

      Like
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