Account Balance Doesn't Equal Money in Budgetted Categories

Hello, 

 

All figures hypothetical..

Every payday, I review my earnings. For example, my balance left over before pay day is $500 and I get paid $3000.

I review my bank account and YNAB and see that my previously budgeted $500 is still accurate and then I begin to budget dollars from my new pay to my categories. 

I have several post-dated, recurring transactions that occur bi-weekly in YNAB such as Mortgage payment, Electric, Gas, Car Payment etc...

I enter in the total amount I'm paid, subtracting the previously budgetted amounts (Becuase this money already has a job) and then begin to allocated  these dollars to my recurring payments and regular categories such as Mortgage, Electric and Gas bills etc...

I do this until I reach $0.

To recap, not only should my previously budgetted categories have dollars assigned to them becuase I haven't touched that money yet, i should also have matching balances for what i had just budgeted within my categories and the amount I calculated as pay  in my checking account correct?

The problem I often find is that the amounts stated in my YNAB categories do not match or equal the amount in my checking account. I don't budget money in the future and I live strictly within the monthly pay periods.  When using the credit cards I usually assign a budgeted category to any purchase thereby allowing YNAB to set aside those monies for the repayment of my credit card.

I have several categories where it seems like there is money  budgetted but a quick tally  of the most imporant YNAB categories such as Groceries, Transportation and Insurance  etc..shows me that I've already reached the balance stated in my checking account while further down my categories list there is money still  budgeted.

 

If I'm using YNAB correctly, which I believe I am, then how is it that I'm left with these funded categories which are not reflective of my actual checking balance? As stated, I have not budeted any money into the future nor have I overpurchased items on my credit card without assigning it an appropriate category.

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    • nolesrule
    • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
    • nolesrule
    • 2 yrs ago
    • Reported - view

    The amount of money assigned to categories + the amount of money unassigned (still in TBB) will be equal to the sum of all your positive balance budget accounts.

    Also, if you have any cash overspending, it comes out of TBB in the future.

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  • Sea Green Tugboat said:
    I enter in the total amount I'm paid, subtracting the previously budgetted amounts (Becuase this money already has a job)

     Why do you subtract the previously budgeted amounts? Either I have misunderstood or you aren't entering the transaction for $3000 (your actual pay), but $2500.

    Either I've got the wrong end of the stick, or that's the problem. Probably me.....

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      • JoeDid
      • Remember: It is To Laugh
      • Purple_rain
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      lindsay_g I'm wondering about this, too, Sea Green Tugboat

      Like 1
  • Hey Sea Green Tugboat !

    To trust your budget, you can check to be sure that the Total Available matches the total amount in your cash (positive-balance) accounts:

     

    Here are the steps you can use to verify that the amount in your account(s) matches exactly with your budget in YNAB – no more and no less.

    1. Advance to next month's budget. (The math is easier there, because all overspending is covered.)
    2. In the right sidebar, when no categories are selected, you’ll see your Total Available amount, which is the sum of the Available column.
    3. Add that to the amount you have left To be Budgeted and any amount Budgeted in Future, if applicable.  Let’s stop here for a minute, just in case your To be Budgeted was negative. If it is, you would need to subtract it from Total Available, because that means you’ve given jobs to funds you don’t yet have. Preferably though, you would go back to this month’s budget and budget less in a few categories until To be Budgeted is back in the green at zero.
    4. Now, add up the cash in your accounts. That includes checking, savings, and cash accounts, plus any positive balances on credit cards if applicable.
    5. Your totals in step 3 and 4 should match up exactly.

     Let me know if you still have questions, I’m happy to help!

    Like 1
    •  Chrissy I used your method above, and the amounts are still different by a wide margin. Here's what I got (Numbers are changed, obviously):

      1. I advanced to the next months budget

      2. total available amount in next months budget is $6.11

      3. amount to be budgeted is 0. amount budgeted in the future is 0. 

      4. cash (from positive balances in "Budget" accounts) is $5.80. This does not include any accounts under "tracking"

       

      Would appreciate your help getting to the root of the issue!

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      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Aquamarine Inspector Go the farthest future month you can access. That may be beyond next month. it should be one month past the last month that has any money budgeted into it.

      Additionally, when adding accounts together you would include any cash-based accounts with negative balances.

      The formula in the farthest future month you can access is:

      Total Available + TBB = Sum of all cash-based accounts + credit accounts with positive balances

      Note that TBB can be negative, in which case it would be a subtraction.

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    • Aquamarine Inspector This Helpdoc might also help! :)

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      • Louise
      • Beige_Case.14
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Chrissy - Wow!  This answer really helped me - I did not think to check my available to the total of my accounts!  When I checked, I matched.  I did not include my “tracked” accounts, which I am still unsure are correct, so will keep monitoring.  You made my day!!  Louise😅

      Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Louise You would not include tracking accounts because they are not part of the budget.

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      • Louise
      • Beige_Case.14
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule I did not include them in my available amount.  Thanks for checking in!

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  • Sea Green Tugboat  My husband and I feel your pain. We can't make the totals in the "available" categories come out to what is in our checking account. In fact, when we predict cashflow in our checking account (outside of YNAB) we're short for the month despite having money available in our YNAB categories. 

    Chrissy We used your process, and our total cash on hand (including savings accounts) is consistent with the amount in the "available" column. However, we don't want to be going into our savings to pay for our day to day expenses. Honestly, we're not putting money into those savings accounts now, so I'm not sure how it is that money that was allocated is there.

    So, Sea Green Tugboat , I'm going to guess that somehow you ended up in the same place that we did -- somehow we have money that's allocated ("available") in YNAB  that is actually in a savings account (which we don't consider "available"). It exists, but you don't really want to be using it the way that it's been allocated.  I'm not sure how to fix it for either of us. 

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    • Khaki Trombone You need to be giving that savings account money "a job" by putting it somewhere in your budget. Even if that budget category is "General savings", and you don't touch that category to ever spend it, that is fine. That way it is accounted for.

      Like 3
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Khaki Trombone there is nothing to fix. YNAB works differently than other budgeting systems. Is YNAB right for you? Maybe not. That's a separate issue. But if you are going to use it, I suggest fully embracing the YNAB methodology. That means all savings accounts on budget and understanding that the location of your funds is separate from the purpose of your funds. Read this over and over until you get it. What are you saving for? "The Future" is pretty darn vague and how will you know when you have saved "enough"? And even if you think you have enough, how do you know you aren't double counting your savings - do you have enough if you get laid off the same week your car dies on the side of the road? So think in specifics - I'm saving to replace my car in 8 years. Okay, make a category for car replacement. I'm saving to have an income replacement fund in case I get laid off. Okay, that's another category.

      I'm saving up for lots of things from short term (I want an immersion blender) to long term (I have successfully saved up a 6-8 month income replacement fund for if I ever get laid off). 6-8 months of income is a big chunk of change. I have no idea what account it is in (3 checking and 3 savings). I move money into accounts based on cash flow needs and interest rates, not based on a purpose.

      Like 4
      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Khaki Trombone Figure out how much you need to keep in checking on a regular basis and manage to that number. Keep the rest in savings.

      Like 1
    • jenmas Thanks. That post is very helpful.

      Like 1
    • Khaki Trombone If you want to predict the cashflow in your checking account, use scheduled transactions for all of your upcoming payments and inflows.  Make sure you check the box to see the running balance.  This will allow you to make sure that you have enough money in your checking account.  

      As others have mentioned, this is separate from making sure that you have enough money in your BUDGET.  As long as all of your spending is done from categories that are funded, you are within your budget.  The scheduled transactions just makes it easier to run a lean checking account and move the rest of your money to an account that can earn a little bit of interest.

      Like 1
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