We have an emergency fund account AND an emergency fund budget line item - they should match. Our EF acct was not linked to YNAB for a while and we did not update the transactions manually. I was finally able to sync the acct and download transactions and we need to reconcile the account. I'm now challenged with how to categorize the reconciliation amount (I do not want to manually add months of transactions). YNAB is automatically categorizing it as To Be Budgeted, but we don't actually have money to be budgeted because it's really sitting in the account. If I change the category to "Emergency Fund", it looks like I have too much money in my EF Budget Line. Is there some way to adjust the account balance without affecting either category (To Be Budgeted and Emergency Fund). So CONFUSED! Thanks
You think you need to sync categories to accounts but you really don't. This is the next step to taking YNAB to the next level:
Use your categories to define your purposes.
Yep, if you arrange for the category and account to agree, then one of them is redundant. When they invariably diverge, one of them is misleading until you notice and do the additional work to resynchronize.
Without a doubt, using an account to define purpose is a great idea if accounts are all you have. However, this practice is a holdover from your pre-YNAB days, and it just makes more work for yourself that serves no purpose.
I don't understand how you kept the EF category in sync with the EF account if you didn't keep the account up to date. I mean either:
- your EF category was in sync with the EF account in YNAB and thus not in sync with the account at the bank
- or it was in sync with the bank and not with the account in YNAB.
If it's 1, then the reconciliation should give you the money you need to bring your EF category in sync with the data at the bank.
If it's 2, then you have already sync'ed your category with the bank using funds from other accounts in YNAB (see the article shared in this thread by others). When you reconcile your EF account, you do bring "back" those funds in your budget as being available to budget for other purposes.
Lavender Orca said:
We have an emergency fund account AND an emergency fund budget line item - they should match.
Other's have given you more specifics but I want to emphasize one point. The quoted statement shows you are starting with a false premise. You may want to them match but there is nothing inherent in ynab that they need to match or any function that will keep them in sync. If this is important to you then it is 100% manual on you to make that happen.
Agree with others that in YNAB you do not need to worry about matching accounts with budget categories. When I first started using YNAB I did the same thing. I had about 6 or 7 sub-savings accounts targeted for special use. Once the light turned on and I realized this was redundant it was a freeing experience. It was a pain trying to keep account balances matched with categories.
One thing I'd like to add here, because (and I was guilty of this when I started YNAB, too) it's easy to hear "You don't have to keep your category and account balance in sync," and think, "Well, I'm going to do it anyway. How hard could it be?"
The answer is very, very hard.
There are a ton of different reasons a bank account balance might change: You made a deposit. You made a direct payment or debit. You earned interest. You transferred money to or from another account. You incurred a fee.
There are several reasons the amount available in a budget category might change: You made a purchase in that category. You moved money into the category. You moved money out of the category. And if you're talking about a category group, the likelihood of one of these things happening in one or more categories in that group is much, much larger.
Now, if you're trying to match a category (or category group) to an account, any time any of these things happens, you have to manually update it in the other place.
And that's why it's not possible to keep categories and accounts in sync. They're both built to change often, but not for the same reasons, and not at the same time. Trying to keep them aligned isn't just extra work (although it is), or unnecessary (although it's that, too), but close to impossible.