How to Catch Up
I have fallen off the wagon over the last couple of months and haven't entered transactions or budgeted since the first of February. What is the best practice here? Should I just do a fresh start? Or is there another way to efficiently catch up?
You can go about it a couple of ways. If you want to capture all those interim transactions, and you've got direct import enabled, you can just import everything, check it against your balances/reconcile to make sure they match, and be back on track with minor adjustments fairly quickly.
But if that sounds too much like work then the fresh start is always an option! (And if the direct import doesn't work for you for whatever reason, I'd definitely do a fresh start. Two months is a lot of transactions to enter by hand.)
Ultimately I think it's about what's easiest/most satisfying to you. I did a fresh start at the beginning of the year just so I wouldn't have to look at all of last year's baggage, and it was a really good choice for me. Good luck!
As others have said, you *can* attempt to import old transactions and categorize them and adjust your budget to match ("budgeting" after the fact just to catch things back up to present). There may be enough satisfaction gained from this to make the extra steps worthwhile, in some cases.
However, if this feels at all overwhelming, and especially if that is causing you to hesitate and put off jumping back on board - then I'd really encourage you to take a deep breath and allow yourself to do the fresh start. :)
It may feel like you'd be doing something "wrong" by not filling in that missing data, or missing out on useful insights you could gain by analyzing that data - but YNAB really encourages us to look forward, rather than getting stuck the past. Also, keep in mind that the data you'd be "missing" is likely less useful in the long run anyway, since your purchasing decisions during that time weren't guided by your budget, unlike the data you'll accumulate going forward!
In some ways this is another form of rolling with the punches... :) Accepting that you lost track of things for a while, forgiving yourself, and allowing yourself to move forward guilt-free.
(Also - when you Fresh Start, a copy of your existing budget is archived, so if you work with the fresh budget for a while and the decide you REALLY do want to go back and fill in the missing data, you can always go back and do that, but in the meantime you can try moving forward with the fresh start right away!) :)
I like the idea of a fresh start however we are also "looking backwards" in order to record what the historical patterns were.
I really also appreciate the idea of doing a mini restart.
I totally see that if this overwhelming feeling is keeping us from moving forwarding with budgeting then we are not getting anywhere by getting stuck in what has not been done.
I will decide soon what I am going to do. I have been thinking about redoing our total budget. I do like that YNAB is flexible and I can create as many budgets as I want and go back if I decide to.
We are planning to retire soon and would really like the historical for "real" numbers of what actual spending has been so .. lots to think about.
Thanks for all the great ideas and encouragement.
This is very helpful.