TO BE BUDGETED negative balance
I am 3 months into YNAB (more of an art brain than a $$ brain) and I am completely overwhelmed by this point - I have plenty of money saved and properly linked in my accounts. I pay off my CC every month - and yet I show a gigantic TO BE BUDGETED negative number. I also see weird things happening, like a negative number in my budget with a huge number in the available. I feel like I am going round in circles on this basic step. Help?
Rule #1 is to give every dollar (that you have) a job. With YNAB, you wait until you physically receive money to budget it.
If you don't have enough to cover the whole month (most people don't when they start), remove money from categories until the red is gone. Think, "what do I need to spend before I'm paid again."
You're right - there should be no red in your budget at all.
Any negative numbers in To Be Budgeted or in category available amounts means your budget does not reflect the total amount of money you actually have, and you will need to make adjustments to your budget to correct this.
I also see weird things happening, like a negative number in my budget with a huge number in the available.
What negative number are you referring to? The Budgeted column? Activity column? A particular category? More details are needed to better answer this question.
The problem is with a negative To Be Budgeted (TBB), you have made a plan to use MORE than that amount of money. (The budget is your de-facto spending/saving plan.) That means your plan is infeasible and relying on such a plan for spending guidance may not be the best idea.
Move funds around in the budget to eliminate all red, both in TBB and categories. Then every penny shown in any category really is available to spend. Further, prioritize among the various categories so the money you have is devoted to covering the important things. Repeat when you get more money.