Annual Cumulative Budgetting
I would like to carry my balances, positive or negative, forward month-by-month for the entire calendar year. This would allow me to see how I am tracking actual to budget, year to date.
Is there a way to do this on YNAB?
I had to wait until I got a positive balance in all the categories to start doing this. Before then you can check the reports to see how you are doing in any category, it can give you year to date and average spending. Until then, I used the averages to get me closer to where I wanted to be. YNAB does not tolerate negative balances well and I like that it doesn't.
You cannot carry negative balances forward from month to month automatically in YNAB. You can do it manually, however if the negative balance was caused by credit card spending then it creates additional issues.
The primary principle of YNAB is to give every dollar a job. When you have a negative category, it means that your budget contains some positive category balances for money you don't actually have, and therefore those positive category balances cannot be trusted.
Hi Steel Blue Gazelle !
As mentioned above, there isn't a way to carry over negative amounts in your budget. We want you to always be able to trust your budget and if you're carrying over negatives, it means some of the positive amounts in your other categories actually aren't there.
The reports in the web app are a great resource to track actual spending. The Spending report will show exactly how much is being spent in each category, and the Income vs. Expense report will show you an overall of funds coming in vs. going out.
Hope that helps! :)
I find the inability to carry forward negative category balances very limiting. A few years ago my primary concern would have been reimbursable expenses from business trips. I may take the trip in January, but I know my company will pay me back in February and bring things back into balance.
Now in retirement, I am going to have to deal with this in my medical category. I am about to undergo a surgical procedure. I know that it will max out my maximum out of pocket for my policy and I have budgeted for that amount, but it is over the course of the year. Since my income comes from a pension and withdrawals from my retirement savings, I have a very high probability of meeting my budget. I want to carry forward my negative medical balance until it becomes positive later in the year. I know that I have enough funds in my accounts to cover the other expenses throughout the year. (If I am not in balance by the end of the year, I'll have to find the money from somewhere else in my budget.)
Discussing this with my wife today, who knows Excel but is not a YNAB user, she suggested: "Why can't you just set an exception for a category?" That makes sense to me. I would never want to run a deficit on my mortgage payment, but in a reimbursable expense or one that I know I will cover, I should have that flexibility.
I understand YNAB's philosophy of giving every dollar a job. But, the real world is complicated and they really should give users the flexibility to make their own decisions based on their situation. Direct them, guide them, cajole them in the direction you want. (The "right" direction") but please let us decide how to run our own budget.
Has anyone found an effective workaround for this "limitation?" I understand YNABs position, but I am the one using the product and I should have the flexibility to use it as I see fit. Having to move money around from category to category every month just to keep everything positive is just busy work.
Any workaround would be appreciated.
I'm starting to look at the Toolkit. It's free, developed by users, plug in to Chrome and Firefox. . Go to https://Chrome.google.com/webstore , search for YNAB, and choose Add to Chrome for the Toolkit for YNAB. And read about the features here: https://github.com/toolkit-for-ynab/toolkit-for-ynab
There's a running balance feature that might solve this situation. I'm going to check it out.
So, to me, if you don't have the cash to pay something today, then it's an account/loan/bill. When I owed for a knee surgery, I created a "hospital" account that I believe I set up as a "line of credit" because that's really what it is. The hospital (or another in my budget is my horse vet) is extending credit to you to let you pay off the bill over time. I set the starting balance to the amount due and budget my monthly payments to the category that is created. You can set a goal on the category to "pay off X by date" and it'll help you determine how much you need to budget/pay each month to have it paid off by the end of the year. You could also use a tracking account but in my case, like the vet, I will probably have more bills in the future, so I liked line of credit. Of course, once paid off, I am now saving up funds to cover future bills, so hopefully someday it just becomes an expense and not a bill.
That reflects the reality - I owe a large bill, I can't pay it today, and I want to pay it off over time. Carrying it negative in my budget doesn't actually do anything that an account for the bill isn't better suited for. Your budget is how you spend the money you have. The accounts are how you track the money you owe.
Same for reimbursables - either create an account or pre-cover them with cash.
The budget should simply tell you how you are spending or saving the money you have and you should never introduce fake money into it by going negative in a category.