3 Payday Months?
I'm new to YNAB (still a few days left on my 34 day trial...).
Things were going great and I was starting to understand how things worked. But...
March has 3 paydays for me. How do I deal with that?
Specifically, I have my car and house payments every 2 weeks. So they will get paid automatically. But the goal and budgeted amount will be different this month. Should I think about that at the start of the month when I set the goals?
What about something like groceries? I will use the March 30 paycheck to fund the next 2 weeks of groceries. But are those March groceries or April groceries?
or... do I just try to forget the entire concept of "Months" and just fund the next 2 weeks?
So I am in the exact same situation. I used my previous 2 paychecks to fund all of March and my next paycheck on the 30th is going all to rent and bills for April. Once I get it I am going to budget it in April but first put it towards any overspending I have in March (which will hopefully be none).
Both my wife and I are paid bi-weekly. In that scenario, we would just pull a paycheck back into March from April.
We budget monthly for groceries, however, and don't have any biweekly payments for anything - just a weekly daycare tuition. We used YNAB4 for several years though and have just found a good amount for categories like groceries and what not on a monthly basis and we treat our extra paycheck months as basically bonuses for the most part.
Try to live for one month on 2 paychecks in any category that doesn't require the fortnightly bill payment, rather than trying to live exactly 2 weeks per paycheck. Then anything remaining after paying the fortnightly bills from the third paycheck in a month (which will happen twice a year) really is extra funds that can be used to get ahead.
Find a way to make that 14 days worth of grocery money feed you for 15 to 16 days.
I am on a biweekly pay cycle - my three check month doesn't come until June so I don't have your exact issue, but as far as budgeting in general, yeah, I pretty much ignore months. I think of everything in terms of "how much do I need in X category to make it until I get paid again?" I have my monthly recurring bills listed in date order to make it easy to see what needs to be funded when. Once those are covered, I move down to the flexible stuff like groceries, gas, dining out, true expenses. I budget for two weeks, and if it's close to the end of the month I just know that the available balance will roll over from one month to the next.
For my biweekly/weekly items, I set my goal as Payment x 26(or 52 for the weekly)/12 to get a monthly goal. I am not yet ahead enough to just do this every month, so on the 3/5 payment months, I just have to budget higher right now. My husband and I are both paid biweekly on opposite weeks plus we have some monthly income that comes in, so that I just budget as it comes in.
Go back to the very basics of YNAB. What does my money need to do before I get paid again? Once you answer that question it is very easy to budget, no matter how often or how much you are paid.
I don't like budgeting in the next month, so I would go ahead and add the grocery amount in March. It will still be there when we roll over to April.
For me personally, in a 3 paycheck month it is usually the 1st check of the next month that is truly extra. The last check of March really funds the first half of April.
I am in the same situation.
I have group of categories I think of in fortnights and the rest I think of in monthly. To me the month is an arbitrary construct. I only take months into account where the software makes the month matter, like with goals and the zeroing of negative categories at the change of the month.
As has been said, I work with "what does my money do before I am paid again?". So my fortnightly expenses get filled first, then I work on the true expense categories and I use goals to help out there. So normally the remainder of the first pay in the month goes to one set of categories, then the remainder of the second pay to another set.
The 3rd pay of the month never bothers me, I just repeat the process. Ideally the 3rd pay (after topping up the fortnightly categories) get used for "fund if we can" categories, like increasing the emergency fund.
For me and my family, we see no benefit in trying beat our finances into a monthly frame set.