How do you track your cash?
Sunday with groceries I get a extra 30$. Monday spend 10$ at lunch. Tuesday chips and couple packs of gum 5$. Tuesday coffee and McDonalds 5$. Wednesday Lotto 4$. Thursday gave a little girl a 1$ for lemonade. Friday wife took 3$. Saturday 2$ left.
Do you break the 30 down to put each one into a category? Or do you put the 30 in a category like my cash, spend it and not track it?
Really want find out how you do this.
We have a cash account in our YNAB. If we make a withdrawal or use cash back it's logged as a transfer from the bank account to the 'piggy bank' - is is essentially what's in my husband and mine's wallets.
We'd categorize the $10 on Monday to Dining Out category. The $5 on Tuesday for chips and gum to Fun Money (aka Treats), the $5 for coffee and McD's to Dining Out again. The $4 on the Wednesday Lotto to Fun Money (or a lottery line in your budget). The $1 lemonade on Thursday to Fun Money. The $3 your wife took, would be tracked and logged in an appropriate category if spent. And then when we reconciled on Saturday we'd be right on the money with $2Reply
We do it three different ways, depending on the situation.
1 — we have a “tracked cash” account on budget and track expeditures there as with every other account EXCEPT no “jingle change.” If it’s $5.32, I either scrounge up the 32 cents and log five bucks or log six bucks and throw the change in one of the places change lives around here.
2 — Free money. If we know we just don’t want to deal with it, we categorize it when it comes out and don’t track anything else. This might come from the “Husband Anything” or the “Other Spending” category. This is useful, for instance, on vacation, because we catch everything in a “vacation” category — so if we pull out $100 at the beginning of the trip, we have it on hand but don’t have to keep track of the $5 tip here, $2 coffee there, etc.
3 - (really I guess this is just 2 again) We give our kids a weekly allowance, but we give it in $1 bills so they can divide it among “spend,” “save,” and “give” jars. For this, we pull out about $50 at a time from “Kids’ Allowances” and keep that bank envelope in a dresser drawer. I’m not saying we’d NEVER use it — in a cash emergency, we wouldn’t hesitate to grab it and sort out YNAB later — but we don’t touch it other than to give them their allowances.
(In case anyone’s reading this and wondering, when they spend money, we just pay for it ourselves and have them pay us back in full-dollar amounts. So a $9.27 item at Target gets categorized as $9 out of their allowance category, then they pay us back with ones that we recycle into the envelope. Eventually we’ll move to either RoosterMoney or into their own YNAB categories, but for now we prefer the tangible and concrete nature of actual cash.)Reply
Hi Reecemj !
We cover how to handle cash spending in our Help Docs. You have two options:
1. Set up a cash account and track your spending there
2. Treat cash as a category and record it as spent as soon as it is withdrawn from another account.
Handling cash comes down to personal preference. You can either create a cash account and track each individual transaction that adds up to that $30, or you can categorize the transaction as the full $30 (usually to a "Spending Money" or "Fun Money" category).
Spending from a cash account allows you to track every dollar of your spending. The more cash spending you do, the more important it is for you to use this method–otherwise your budget won’t reflect significant portions of your spending.
Treating cash as a category treats cash withdrawals as immediately spent from your budget. This allows you not to track cash spending if you have difficulty maintaining that level of detail.Reply
We also use a cash account. Recording a transfer of £30 when you get the cash out is essentially like moving it from one bank pocket to the other. You've changed the location of the money but not actually spent it. We then record the spending as normal.
We're not big users of cash and can have periods of being a bit rubbish at recording it. We get round this by reconciling cash at least weekly and just posting a reconciling adjustment** then where I categorise the cash to the most likely categories or personal spends* if we absolutely can't remember where it went.
This was our compromise. Recording cash as spent when we took it out just felt wrong to me and it confused our thinking when using it for categories such as groceries (the veg stall) but analysing our navel over every penny also felt too onerous.
* quite an incentive to remember anything that isn't personal spends!
** not a YNAB reconciling adjustment which takes it out of TBB. I just record a transaction with the payee 'rec' and split the categories as best as I see fit.Reply
Treating cash as a category treats cash withdrawals as immediately spent from your budget. This allows you not to track cash spending if you have difficulty maintaining that level of detail.
This may be what I will do. Most of my cash is spent on food (lunch,snacks) and I know somewhere I will lose track. Thanks to everyone for your help.Reply
I have done it both ways. I have Cash in Pocket and Car Cash, once I pull money from that category I am finished tracking it. To my tracking $20, every couple of months is not worth the time and effort. That said if I was pulling $20.00 every week or two I would be tracking what I am spending it on, just to decide if that is where I want to spend my money.Reply
I just have cash as an account and record transactions in and out of it like any other account.
I'm confused by the idea of cash as a category. Genuine question, just want to understand - how does this work when you give every dollar a job in your budget? Do you say something like, this month I expect $100 will go to small purchases in cash, and then not worry about details?Reply
We do mostly debit and CC transactions but we do make ATM withdrawals which I tend to put as "fun money" or if I know that the cash will be spent at a restaurant (we have a favorite that is cash only) I go ahead and mark part of that cash withdrawal as 'dining out' while the rest stays as 'fun money' or something else that I'm certain it will go toward. It isn't totally accurate but ballparks the amount. I guess part of what you will decide is how precisely do you want to track your spending. Will a ballpark amount satisfy you or will you be trying to figure it out to the penny? :) It's all about comfort level with your spending and spending habits in regards to cash I think.Reply