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?

N.

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    • MsTJ
    • YNAB has given me back my future
    • Believer_in_YNAb
    • 2 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    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.  

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  • 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.

    Like 2
  • 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! :)

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  • 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.

    Regards,

    Like 1
    • dannveld dannveld I thoroughly agree. It would save me a huge amount of time that I have to spend manually if the YNAB system had a provision to carry forward negative balances from month-to-month through the year. N.

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      • dannveld
      • dannveld
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Steel Blue Gazelle (3c48b9397126) 

      Having to "balance" at the end of the year would be manageable, having to do it on a month-by-month basis does not match my reality, and I've been using software to manage my budget since Andrew Tobias' Managing Your Money in 1985! It was a double-entry accounting system. Talk about making rules!

       Steel Blue Gazelle (3c48b9397126) 

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      • MsTJ
      • YNAB has given me back my future
      • Believer_in_YNAb
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dannveld As I stated earlier, I believe in the way YNAB handles negative balances, by not tolerating them.  Regarding your medical expenses, could you enter it as a loan?  They truly are a loan.  Services provided and billed.  Then your job, besides healing, is to pay the providers back.  Just a thought that might or might not help.  

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      • dannveld
      • dannveld
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      TryingToGetAhead 99 percent of the time, not running a negative balance is absolutely the right thing to do. It's that 1 percent that grabs you. But, thanks for the idea of setting it up as a loan. That might be an elegant way of handling this. It would really be a loan from myself, but if I can make it work, that would be great.

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  • 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.

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  • I'm seriously considering ditching YNAB because of this. I used to use Mvelopes which allowed this. I love the support and tech for YNAB but this feature really kills me.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Barnacle Just realize that carrying overspending over month to month is effectively lying to your self about how much money you have available for different purposes.

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    • nolesrule  kind of. But if you carry that logic to it's conclusion, you should NEVER allow a category to go negative, even in the current month, because you're "lying to yourself."

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    • Tomato Barnacle ...yes. In an ideal world, you should never allow a category to go negative because you'd be lying to yourself.

      2019 me can overspend on something small I know will be reimbursed in a week or two (same month) without covering the funds from elsewhere because I know the categories I'm stealing from are long-term goals that are heavily cushioned. This isn't a good, effective use of the software, but it works in the short term when you have extra money you know won't be spent that is in essence covering that deficit.

      2016 me, however, who made half as much and had just started using YNAB, could not do this. I didn't have enough of a buffer to justify a category being negative for even a single week. I had to know were it was coming from. I had to take money from medical to cover something from X that I'd be reimbursed for in two weeks, and then put the reimbursement into medical.

      However short the term, your money is, at least temporarily, double-budgeted.

      Like 3
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Barnacle I was close to an Mvelopes user. I was still on CMMFS, desktop software before Mvelopes. Yes, it was last updated in 2007. Yes, I've been running it anyway I could, in compatibility mode, in a virtual machine, etc. But it was time to move on. I landed here. I'm very used to catching up negative envelopes the next month. That's not the thinking here and you'll find it baked into the software and the user based very well. After trying workarounds for 2 months, I gave into the YNAB thinking. It was a wake up call. I still think it's going to be too restrictive for some, but definitely makes you very aware of your spending in ways that floating negatives does not. I'm here for at least a year, but please let me know if you've found something else you like better. I looked at Everydollar and wasn't impressed at all. I cancelled my free trial the same day. 

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Barnacle Per YNAB Rule 3 you should be covering your overspending from other categories as it happens, or  preferably before you even pull the trigger on the spending in the first place. The software self-correcting at the month changeover is a last resort functionality to enforce the rule for people who don't do it themselves.

      Like 3
    • Ben K. I've started messing with Tiller which is a glorified spreadsheet that auto imports transactions. Their "mvelopes" style spreadsheet allow negative rollovers.

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      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Barnacle ok, thanks. I was looking at the free budgeting template in Google sheets recently, but it doesn't have any rolling that I saw.

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      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Barnacle Tiller looks very promising. How's their support response time, or do you get Google's support? I'd like to hear a detailed report, you can always leave me a message on my study tips website: https://studyjar.weebly.com/

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    • Ben Khaki Storm I got a support reply in about 24 hours.

      Like 1
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Barnacle I looked over Tiller. Things I like:

      1. Tiller seems to handle being paid every week and every two weeks with their newest template. 

      2. Tiller seems to be listening to their customers, based on some youtube videos. It appears they can also respond to customer requests faster by building different templates. If you don't like to budget by method A, then try this new template for method B, or modify either template to fit your needs. The main difference, is I didn't see a function to allocate your income into envelopes (aka the YNAB style of budgeting). There are categories and income, but it seems like set your budget (not a YNAB idea of budget, before everyone corrects me) based on regular income and set allocations once. Then you adjust those if needed as time and expenses happen. Anything not spend in the category rollsover to the next period (week, fortnight,  month, etc.). 

      3. I like the articles and videos. They are simple (aka short) and to the point.   

      4. The 60 days money back offer is very generous. 

      Things I didn't like:

      1.  Spreadsheet aficionados might like Tiller, but my wife said that looks confusing, especially on the Google Sheets phone app. I could overcome the phone app, by making a google sheet with only the information she's interested in and link it to the Tiller sheet. However, the desktop interface is still a large spreadsheet, which she didn't like. 

      2. There's no user community. In the Tiller articles they mention a Google sheets user community and an Excel user community for support. Those don't seem as family like as the YNAB community. What would I do without the community?

      3. Common customer review is something like, "power user of Excel, needing lots of flexibility and customization, I like Tiller." Again, going back to Tiller is just a really smart spreadsheet and doesn't have the simple design of a customer designed app, like YNAB, but it does have the ability for power users to change it to their own liking. 

       

      I extra thing I liked in Tiller: Since it's your spreadsheet, as long as you don't change their behind the scene scripts, you can change things like page titles and descriptions. This was just something rolling around in my head. I go to a church with many Spanish speakers, many of whom migrate with the planting/harvest cycles. The children are bilingual, but some of the adults are not. However, I need to ask more questions to determine if anyone is open to a budgeting class and using an app to budget with before pursing using Tiller for that purpose. (That thought stated since YNAB said no other languages are in the future for them at this time.) 

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    • Khaki Storm
    • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
    • Khaki_Storm.1
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    What are looking to learn for this exercise? 

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    • Khaki Storm
    • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
    • Khaki_Storm.1
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    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. 

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      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Ben K. No luck, it's just an account running balance, like seeing your checking account value rise and fall with transactions. Not what I was thinking. 

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  • 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.

    Like 3
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