Best way to start a new Budget in YNAB

I've had occasion to start new Budgets and don't think I'm doing it very efficiently. I'd appreciate ideas on how best to transition from an in-use budget to a new Budget. i.e transferring balances, how to reconcile balances between old and new budget, and any other suggestions to make the transition easier and to ensure that I don't overlook anything important during the move.


8replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • I guess it depends on what you are transitioning from, and why?

    As for overlooking something, I guess what you would need:

    * Current balance of everything you want to track. (Includes counting change in your pockets.)

    * A list of all your expenses, as accurate as you can get it.

    Then it's just a matter of entering it all in YNAB, organizing your categories and groups as you like them, and assigning money to them.

    I also spent a few hours adding emoji's to all my categories but that's just me. 馃槅

    Like 1
  • For me when I transition to a new Budget I try to use it as a complete fresh start.

    So when I started my new budget I checked what my balance would be after all pending transactions and this was the starting balances I placed in my accounts. I then considered what those balances needed to do prior to the next time I got paid. For example, if I'd paid the electric bill in the old budget I didn't fund it in the new budget.

    I also set my goals to start the next month. Using the electric bill example, if I've paid the bill for November I set goal or upcoming transaction to begin in December. This meant that I would remember that it needed to be paid but also that it wouldn't show as an underfunded category in November.

    As I tend to use the computer when changing budgets one thing that was also helpful were screenshots. I expanded all the categories so that I could have a reference in the new budget and know what remained outstanding for payment as well as what I had allocated to savings etc.

    As Sea Green Deer 馃槉 said as well when setting up the new budget it is also important to remember why you are setting it up so as not to fall back into the same habits. 

    I found that in my old budget I was specifying every new thing as a category and so I generalised as much as possible in my new budget and made use of the Memo field to specify which company  was being paid. (i.e. General Category - Subscriptions; Memo - Amazon).

    I also have a separate budget for what I want to do with my savings so that my main budget doesn't extend unreasonably. For example, if I were buying a house I would create a separate budget for this and after doing some research would set the category groups as the different phases needed to buy the house. The individual categories within the group would be what was needed to complete the phase. My available balance would be what I had in my savings with goals set so that I could have an estimate of what each category would cost and allocate my savings appropriately. As I add to my savings in the main budget I would also do an inflow in my secondary budget and allocate it again. Then when the items were fully funded I could pay the required amount and do an outflow in both budgets.

    Sorry for the really long message. 

    Hope that it helps.

    Like 1
    • Thank you your detailed reply. I do some of the things but this is also a reminder for some things I overlooked.

  • Our wonderful teacher, Dave, has a lot to say about this! Check out "The Mythical Perfect Budget" for more on how to truly start fresh! 馃

    • Jen - YNAB Team I looove the template system with the budget. I was feeling some kind of way about  not being able to put all my bills for the month end. Then I got an email about using the budget template. Simply genius !

      Like 1
Like1 Follow
  • 4 yrs agoLast active
  • 8Replies
  • 1458Views
  • 7 Following