Budgeting half a budget

My partner is not ready to YNAB yet. His income varies a lot because he is a freelancer. I don't know his income and don't have access to his accounts either - so I don't have a clue as to how much he spends on what categories. But we have a shared account for the biggest of our shared obligations. Can I still make a budget that makes sense? What is the best way to take this into account?

For now I have turned his different accounts into spending categories, (I call it The Dark Side because I don't have access to it).

 

What is your experience and advice on this subject?

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  • You can YNAB on your own. It will probably be better, since you have no  insight into your partner's finances, to just leave their spending categories out of the budget entirely. When your partner puts money into the shared account, record it as income TBB with a payee that indicates it's from your partner, and then budget it to the relevant categories. 

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  • Hi Spring Green Admiral !

    If that shared account is only for the big expenses, you shouldn't have any trouble keeping track of it in YNAB. You'll categorize everything as normal, but only budget those funds towards your shared expenses. If you put $500 in the account and your partner puts $500 in the account, they should both be categorized as Inflow: To Be Budgeted. You can then budget the full $1,000 towards Rent (or any other shared expense) and once you pay the expense, categorize it to that category. :)

    Reply Like 1
    • Faness the shared account can only be used to transfer money between our private accounts and for paying recurring bills like rent (something called Betalingsservice/ Payment Service we use in DK). What do I do when he transfers money to his own account (for daily expenses when he doesn't have an income) - then I don't know how much he spends on what? Can I add his accounts, even though I cannot reconsile it? When he transfers money to his account it is money not accounted for in the budget.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
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      Spring Green Admiral Why is he transferring money out of the shared account? He should only be transferring money into it from his private account in order to contribute to his portion of the shared expenses.

      If there is going to be no oversight then you need to maintain stronger control over what happens with the money in the shared account by keeping his private money out of it.

      Reply Like 1
    • nolesrule  He is a freelancer and doesn't always have an income. So he transfer money from our shared account to his own to be able to cover ordinary daily expenses.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
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      Spring Green Admiral

      I'll be honest, this isn't really a YNAB problem.

      As a freelancer, he needs the budget more than anything. How can you be sure he's using that money only for needs? If he doesn't have any income, then wants are out of the question and he needs to learn to set aside money in months of plenty for use in lean months.

      I urge you that unless he gives full transparency, the shared accounts should be one way, and that he should hold all of his money in his private accounts except when contributing toward the shared expenses. This will keep his private money from screwing up your budget and keeps you from funding his personal expenses because he's not saving enough of his income.
       

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      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 1 yr ago
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      I agree with nolesrule   

      Practically, in the budget, if you want to keep things as they are, you’ll need a category for “Partner’s Draw” and you’ll need to fund it, preferably conservatively, from the money you are adding to the shared account. When your partner withdraws money, you’ll categorize the transaction there. It will probably open your eyes very quickly to how much is being removed vs. put in by your partner. I would guess it is the case that because he doesn’t feel he needs to track anything, that he is spending when he’s flush and continuing to spend when he’s not flush, which is an unnecessary drag on the household. 

      Reply Like 5
    • Spring Green Admiral If he's going to transfer funds out of the shared account, the "Partner's Draw" or whatever you prefer to name the category, will be necessary. That way you know what he's "spent" without asking him about every single transaction (though, that isn't a bad idea).

      I know you said he isn't ready to YNAB, but if there's anyway you can get him to take a few moments to consider budgeting, have him take a look at our Variable Income Blog Series. :)

      I really think YNAB would help him budget for his True Expenses, which would mean less drawing from the shared account in the future.

      Reply Like 1
    • Faness  Thank you very much - I will send him the link straight away and check it out for myself as well. To sum up your advise: the best way to handle this situation budget-wise is to make a "Partner's Draw" spending category for when he withdraws money and to mark his contribution to our shared account as income "To be budgeted" with him as Payee? 

      Reply Like 1
    • Spring Green Admiral That's exactly it! :)

      That will allow you to keep things accurate in your budget. Any ideas or tactics to help him get on board, or begin budgeting so that he's taking less from the shared account, are also a plus! 

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