Where do I begin? (5+ months behind)

My wife and I have gotten fairly far behind in keeping up with our budget since COVID. Although my wife tends to try to keep everything up to date, there are transactions I'm responsible for (on one of or credit cards) that have not been added. 

I'm ashamed to say that I've been paying the credit card bills by just scanning them for fraud and going ahead and paying the statement total without entering things in YNAB. 

I've kept records of all the payments, but haven't entered in the line by line purchases, nor have I entered the payments themselves into YNAB. 

Is there any guide available that can help walk me through the best steps to take to get back on track without having to go back 5 months and enter in / double check 'line by line' each purchase?

It sounds silly to say, but I have never reconciled in nYNAB before because it seems to 'lock' everything in the budget so it is no longer editable and we've had issues with that in the past in YNAB4. 

I also was trying to figure out how to import bank records manually with a downloaded file from our bank, but am worried it will mess up all the work my wife has done in the past. 

Any advice or walkthroughs available? 

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  • You can fresh start and start a new budget. That's the easiest. 

    If you’d rather not start a new budget, do a reconciliation balance adjustment to each of your accounts to make them equal to today’s cleared balances. Then, use the quickbudget tool to reset all budgeted amounts (you can do this en masse). 

    That basically completely restarts your budget within the same budget which has the older records. 

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    • WordTenor Thank you, these are both good ideas. I'll discuss with my wife

  • I recommend the file-based imports ! I use it all the time. It works great. But I would first follow WordTenor advice. When you have a "restarted" budgeted, you should consider using the file-based imports to keep up to date.

    My husband never opens YNAB, doesn't have the app, so I'm responsible for entering everything and checking with the bank records. The imports make that process very very quick. As well as reconciling routinely! Definitely need to reconcile in YNAB. After each time you have compared YNAB to the bank records. I use file-based imports each time I want to check if some transactions have cleared at the bank.

    My workflow is actually:

    1.  import file
    2. check cleared balance in YNAB and bank
    3.  reconcile (the cleared balances usually are in sync)
    4. go through the few transactions that may need to change payee or need a category or need deleted because the manual entry was erroneous and didn't match the import (easy to identify as those are uncleared). The reason I do the reconcile first is that it takes care of approving all imported transactions and all matches.

    To make it even faster, I make sure to export the files for all my accounts first, always in the same order (I have only 1 bank and my accounts at the bank are in the same order as in YNAB). Then import those one by one.

  • Just wanted to add that you can definitely edit reconciled transactions but it should be somewhat rare that you need to do that. 

  • fresh start. zero value in the history in this scenario.

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