Setting Goals?

I'm only a couple weeks in with YNAB, so I'm wondering, should I have set goal amounts for categories like clothing, knitting, books, etc., or should I wait until I have better understanding of our money. February is about to end and I have "underfunded" categories. Do I ignore the underfunded amount and see if I can get it covered next month? 

Also, I've made an error and realized that a car bill is due tomorrow, but we don't get paid again until next Friday and I only budgeted until the end of February, so basically I need to pull funds from things I thought I could budget for, but in reality can't, right? 

Is it bad to have categories that are in the "yellow", or should I just remove the goals I made for those since I think some of them may be unrealistic. I started YNAB near the middle of the month, so I feel like it will take a couple months to get in the swing of things, right? 

Thanks!

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  • I think it's totally fine to ignore the "underfunded" categories for Feb and move forward to March, adjusting goals as you get a better sense of your numbers, as you say!

    And you're also right about that unexpected bill, see where you can pull budgeted money to cover it now - an example of "rolling with the punches"! As you get the hang of your upcoming expenses you'll get better and better at predicting these things ahead of time, but it's totally normal to have a few "forgotten" things come up, especially in the first few weeks/months.

    Sounds like you're off to a great start, keep at it, and keep asking questions! :)

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    • Resistant Punch Roller wonderful, thank you! 

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  • I would start only with goals of long term bills or things you KNOW you need to fund by a certain time.  For example, is that car bill due again 6 months from now? (like my insurance is?!) That I would set a goal for now so that you are not in the same position next time.

    But, I think you're right. For things like knitting or even groceries I would wait until you get a better handle before you start setting monthly goals. It took me at least 6 months before I had a good "budget template" like YNAB recommends (guarantee a YNAB rep will chime in with a link 😉) and even after 2 years I'm still tweaking that plan.

    After a couple of months you can better see your average for any category and get an idea of what your goal should be. I kept setting a really unreasonable goal for groceries and when I finally set a more attainable budget amount it felt like the whole thing fit into place more.

    Good luck! It's really worth the time and effort you put in in the beginning!

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    • ChicagoFlyer thank you for the feedback!

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    • For future readers I believe the article on Budget Templates ChicagoFlyer was referring to can be found here.

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