Overspent carry over next month

I read this in the help docs: If your category had been overspent in cash (negative red Available), that amount will be deducted from To be Budgeted in the new month.

I have a problem because it doesn’t do that.

I prepaid the vacation, so I had a negative red available in December, but in fact I have 3 months to pay for it, so I expect to budget money this money and to see the “available” money be the red amount from last month minus what I budget. But it is not doing this.

What am I doing wrong?

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  • You didn’t have the money in December so you did in fact overspend the category. That is literal fact. YNAB does not let you carry over negative category balances. There is nothing you can do to change this behavior in how YNAB works. If you paid out of a checking/current account then it did take it out of TBB. If any transaction in that category was on a credit card, even if it wasn’t the transaction that caused the category to be overspent, YNAB converted the whole overspend into credit card debt when the month rolled over. 

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  • YNAB is showing you your actual situation: you prepaid money on a vacation, and that money left your budget and now can't be used for other things. This really isn't a situation where you took on debt that can be paid back later -- if you paid using a checking account or cash, that's actual money leaving your accounts. 

    When you overspend using cash/checking, YNAB will reset that category to zero if it's unfixed at the end of the month, and remove that amount from your TBB. YNAB does not carry over that overspending to the new month -- that money has been spent. Every dollar needs a (single) job to do, and carrying over overspending means the money in your actual accounts has to do multiple jobs: do whatever you've assigned them to do, and also cover for your overspending at the same time.

    Going forward:

    -- I'd suggest adjusting your category balances, reducing your emergency fund or other categories to account for the overspending. This reflects the reality: you had more money leave your accounts than you had planned for, and you have to "roll with the punches" and account for it. You can rebuild your emergency fund over the next couple months.

    -- If you are in a situation where you need to pre-pay for something, make sure you either have the money available to pay for it, or at least can pay it using credit. If you use credit, you create debt that can be paid back over time. If you use cash/debit, that's actual money you no longer have access to.

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  • Why do you think you have 3 months to pay for it? Because you're not going to go on vacation for 3 months? If you used a CC, that may be true. If you used cash -- and YNAB thinks you did since the overspending is red -- that money is gone.

    I mean, you don't go to the grocery store and walk out with food thinking you can pay the grocery store $50 next week because you're not going to eat the food until then! Same thing for vacations. :-)

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