Why is current 'Total Spend' for the month not available?

'Total Activity' is shown on the budget page, but it's not as useful as it includes credit card payments. I'd like to just see how much I spent in the current page which should be front and center.

 

I can generate a report, but that seems unnecessarily complicated.

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  • Just select all categories, then de-select your CC categories. Two clicks.

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    • Move Light Sound Life Opposite of front and center

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    • Gray Keyboard I wouldn't give up the accuracy for all situations just to show one situation prominently. 

      When I was paying down debt on the CC, the Total Activity included  that debt payment, which was part of my spending in the month. If I didn't want to include my debt payments in the number, I'd have had to uncheck my student loan, and CC, and other loan.  Why would YNAB do that automatically?

      Now that I'm done with debt and PIF on CC, I don't need to see how much I spend each month - as long as I'm within my categories, I'm good.  That's how the magic of YNAB works.

      Perhaps what you're wanting is a budget report that persists in your choice of categories.  Make a feature request if you want.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 13 days ago
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      • Reported - view

      Move Light Sound Life said:
      as long as I'm within my categories, I'm good.

       I'd submit that's the case even when someone has CC debt. 

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    • dakinemaui You're right.  My communication is foggy today!  I think what I was trying to say was that, even when I had debt, I wanted the total activity to include debt payments, because they were part of my spending - planned for in my categories.

      Thank you for cleaning it up!

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  • What does it matter what Total Spend is? Realistically, your budget entries are both savings and "eventual spending" at the same time. (No point in saving for something you'll never spend.) This viewpoint neatly sidesteps the messiness that comes with non-monthly recurring outflows.

    It's not uncommon for spending to exceed income in some months -- that's the very reason to save in the first place. However, looking at the normalized, monthly equivalent outflow amounts will smooth that out -- which is exactly what you should be budgeting.

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    • dakinemaui I mean, that's a pretty common number in budgeting apps. Knowing how much you've spent in the current month gives you a sense of how far you are from your budget at a high level -- and then you can dig into the categories. I mean, the sidebar includes Total Budget, Total Activity, Last Month's spend, and yet it doesn't include current month's spend???

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 13 days ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Gray Keyboard Without a doubt, it's a common number in budgeting apps. That doesn't mean it makes sense in the context of a zero-based budgeting app. IMHO, all those metrics you mentioned are pointless. (One metric that would be useful is a summary of overspending in the current month.) Honestly, this sums it up pretty well:

      Move Light Sound Life said:
      as long as I'm within my categories, I'm good.
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    • dakinemaui I disagree. I'd like to know THE EXTENT to which I'm within my categories (e.g. total spend vs total budgeted). It matters a lot if I'm $10 underbudget and I have two weeks left, or $200 and one week.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 13 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Gray Keyboard And how do you reconcile the fact outflows will often greatly exceed what you've budgeted in a given month?

      As for your example, if you had spending, to see the extent to which you're within your category, you would subtract it from budgeted... which is exactly what Available already does! So yes, looking at $10 Available in Groceries with two weeks would be stressful compared to $200 available with one left. My point is that is already available at a glance.

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    • dakinemaui Sure per category, but not at a high level, which is nice to have before digging into details. 

      Just seeing the spend number gives me a general sense of how far I am with my budget -- how far I am given the stage of the month (have I spent A LOT and it's only week 2, even if I'm still "under" in all categories?). 

       

      I'm literally suggesting a single number that would be useful (as is used in nearly all other budget tools) not a redesign of the app, given the way people are reacting

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    • dakinemaui Maybe I'm not understanding because 'Total Available' is not useful as it includes CC by default

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 13 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Gray Keyboard Total Available is just related to your cash on hand (since TBB should be $0). No, it's not useful as a "general sense of how far I am with my budget [overall]". Again, a single "overall" summary number is precluded by the fact actual expenses do not occur neatly every month in the same amount.

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    • dakinemaui But that's fine? I'm in charge of my own budget so I know if the current month had a one-off charge. I still would like to know how far along my spending is overall.

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  • Gray Keyboard said:
    Sure per category, but not at a high level

    And that's what groups are for. I just refinanced my house and my total spending is incredibly negative this month. At a "high level" I must be doing terribly based on the metric you want to use. But nope, that expense was planned, I'm within my categories, so I'm good.

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    • dakinemaui Then ignore it that month. There are so many metrics as it is that I ignore because they aren't useful -- like 'Total Activity'

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 13 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Gray Keyboard You'd probably ignore it EVERY month. :-)  I get that's what you've done in the past, and it is two clicks to get it if you want it. It's just not necessary with YNAB, which is the answer to your opening question.

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    • dakinemaui I'm just contributing my two cents and pointing out that there are use cases for showing 'Total Spend' and it seems conspicuous given all of the other metrics that are displayed... even 'Last Month's Spend'

      Like 1
    • Gray Keyboard Agree with both of you. It’s just as useful a measure as the other ones displayed there.

      However I would suggest dakinemaui’s advice is solid. The way in which YNAB’s methodology is built means most of these measures are not particularly useful at a glance and, to be honest, probably distracting from things that actually are worth focusing on.

      Like 2
  • We had this exact conversation on Reddit. The OP wants the Expenses part of the Income and Expenses report. But it's not a relevant number on the budget screen, because there's nothing useful to compare it to on the budget screen. Every month will have some sort of non-monthly spending which will make any comparisons to the monthly Budgeted amount useless.

    For that matter, it's not really useful to compare that number to anything, and for exactly the same reason. I don't know how many times we've had to explain to people why they can have a negative net spending in a month, but it's because of Rule 2. I don't think I've ever had a month where I didn't spend some Rule 2 money, and it's never the same from month to month.

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  • How is Total Activity useful

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