I Need So Much Help

Hello, I am trying to work with YNAB and have hit a wall. I need an expert to help me figure things out, perhaps with screen sharing. Are there such people one can hire that won't cost an arm and a leg?

I have linked all my accounts (checking, money market, and credit card), and have imported all the transactions for 2021. I have reconciled all the accounts, although I had to change the starting balance in one of them to make YNAB's cleared balance match the bank's cleared balance. 

I added Categories: Personal Income, Personal Expenses, Art Hobby Income, and Art Hobby Expenses, each with multiple Sub-Categories, and there's a Category  called Credit Card Payments. I assigned a Category to every transaction. 

1. Here is  one of my problems. My plan has always been to save $200/month for Christmas. Of course if I had begun at the beginning of the year, this would be easy, and I would just start saving $200/month until I reached $2400 at the end of the year. The problem is that I started YNAB now, even though I have already saved $1800. I entered a Spending Target of  "$2000 by November 1," and I guess I'll add another $200 each when November and December come around. Right now it tells me my Christmas category is "Funded," there is $2000 in Assigned, and $2000 in Available. I have no idea if this is correct. 

2. Sometimes I use my husband's credit card to make a purchase. I set up a non-linked account called To Reimburse Husband, and I enter such purchases in that account. When his credit card statement comes in, I figure out what I owe  him by looking at the To Reimburse Husband account, and pay him that amount, from a checking account Spending Category called Reimburse Husband - Credit Card. I zero out the To Reimburse Husband account and start the process again. Of course when I enter a purchase in that account, I categorize it so the Categories will be up to date. But I just write him a check from my checking account. How should that be categorized?

3. I transfer $50 every month from my checking account to my Money Market account.  I named the spending category in my checking account "Transfer to Money Market" and the category in the Money Market account "Keep in Money Market." I'm pretty sure that is wrong, but I don't know what to do with these transactions.

4. A certain monthly payment that is my husband's to cover (health insurance) is taken monthly from my checking account because that was the only way it could be done. I set up a Personal Expense Category called "Reimbursable - Personal" so that when I pay it I know to subtract it from what I owe my husband. This, again, is probably not right.

5. Here's the big thing. After I set up Spending Targets and assigned money to my Categories, I got a big red message at the top that says "-$5319 You assigned more than you have. Fix This." I don't get it. I have $6257.68 in my checking account, more than enough to cover the Spending Targets. I don't know what I'm missing. 

I've watched YouTube videos, read YNAB Help Documents, and Googled all my questions. I have spent hours on this problem. Where should I get help with all this? I would appreciate someone telling me where to go and what to do. :-)

22replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • I’d be happy to help and walk you through via phone call or screen sharing, no cost. 
    first I’d recommend watching “mapped out money YNAB for beginners” YouTube video 

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xPVEB759gkU

     

    second, it’s much easier to set up on the computer instead of phone. 
     

    third, YNAB works with the money you have on hand right now. So starting back from the beginning of the year is going to mess you up. 
     

    feel free to write back or if there’s a way to PM, I’ll PM you my email address 

    Like 2
      • Cobalt Blue
      • Artist
      • cobalt_blue
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Bree Wow, this is a generous offer. I will watch "mapped out money YNAB for beginners," and if I still need  help, I will contact you.

      I am setting up everything on my computer. 🙂

      Oh, no, I went through all the trouble to get all those 2021 transactions in YNAB! I don't quite understand why it would not be valuable to know what all the 2021 transactions are, especially when I am trying to figure out finances for my "business" (Art Hobby). 

      Thanks again!

      Like
  • Cobalt Blue Have you tried reaching out to YNAB Support? They are apparently able to login into your YNAB - if you're willing to give them access - and give you some one-on-one support for free.

    Like 2
      • Cobalt Blue
      • Artist
      • cobalt_blue
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Yes I can , thanks, this is a great idea. There is a YNAB employee who emailed me and welcomed me to YNAB, and I will ask her about it.

      Like
  • To answer your question.

    1.

    Cobalt Blue said:
    I have no idea if this is correct.

     Why not? The only thing you need to know to do your budget is how much do you want right now in the Available for each category. If you want $2000 available in the Christmas category right now and the category shows $2000 in the available then it's correct.

    2. You don't really need to create an account. Create a "Reimburse to Husband" category. When you spend from your husbands credit card (CC) account do the following:

    1.   Enter a split transaction in your checking account with a $0 amount.
    2. In first split, put the category for what you have bought, and how much it costs as an outflow
    3. In the second split, put the category "Reimburse to Husband" and the same amount as above but in inflow.

    The money won't move from your checking but it will show as spent in the category for your spending and it will increase the available in the "Reimburse to Husband". When it's time to pay the bill, pay what's in the Available for the "Reimburse to Husband" category.

    3. You don't need categories to transfer money between budget accounts. When you do so, you change the location of your money but not it's purpose. Your budget is the plan for all your money in all your on budget accounts, no matter what account holds it. Let's say I have $10 to buy a beer in my right pocket. If I move it to my left pocket, I still have $10 to buy a beer. If I have $10,000 to buy a car in a savings account and I move it to my checking account, I still have $10,000 to buy a car. So in your budget when the money is in the savings account, you put it in a category "new car". If you move the money to the checking account, it's still money to buy a car and just stays in the "new car" category. Nothing changes in the budget. To change the purpose of your money, you move it between your categories, not between your accounts.

    4. With the reply from 2, you can just use the same category for that expense.

    It's getting too long, 2nd post to come.

    Like 1
      • Cobalt Blue
      • Artist
      • cobalt_blue
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Ceeses Wow, you are my hero (heroine?)! I'm going to work through all this and see if I can do it. Thank you!

      Like
  • 5. A lot of things could happen there. Don't forget part of your cash needs to be reserved to pay for your credit card balance.

    How much cash do you have in total in your on budget accounts (not just your checking, all your on budget accounts)? How much have you assigned to your categories so far? To know that, on the web, on the budget screen with no category selected, look at the inspector on the right and expand the Available in October menu. You'll see an "Assigned in October" line. How do the 2 numbers compare?

    Like
      • Cobalt Blue
      • Artist
      • cobalt_blue
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Ceeses It says: 

      Available in October $15,457.10

      Left Over from Last Month $9,802.80

      Assigned in October $6,440.45

      Activity   -$786.16

      Like
  • To amend my reply to the first point. To make your budget you need to know how much you want in Available for each category. AND then to make sure you don't assign more money than you have.

    If I want $10,000 to buy a car but only own $2,000, I can't assign $10,000 in the new car category. So to make your budget, you start with a guess of how much you want in each category. You assign the money to each category as needed. You stop when you reach $0 in Ready To Assign. If you reach $0 before you finish funding your categories, you either leave the last categories unassigned, or you reduce your targets for some categories to free some money for other purposes.

    Like 1
      • Cobalt Blue
      • Artist
      • cobalt_blue
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Ceeses This is where I am really stymied. Why isn't it giving me more to assign? Why does it say I have assigned $5319.49 more than I have? I have $6257 in my checking account. Why won't it let me assign that? 

      You don't have to answer this right now unless you know right away what is going on. I can see I need to do more research and learning to figure this out. But I will probably come back to you. 😉

      Like
  • You might be riding the credit card float unknowingly: https://www.youneedabudget.com/are-you-riding-the-credit-card-float/ 

    A lot of people do when they start YNAB.

    Like
      • Cobalt Blue
      • Artist
      • cobalt_blue
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Ceeses Wow, this is blowing my mind. I sure need to study this! 

      Like
  • Cobalt Blue said:
    3. I transfer $50 every month from my checking account to my Money Market account.  I named the spending category in my checking account "Transfer to Money Market" and the category in the Money Market account "Keep in Money Market." I'm pretty sure that is wrong, but I don't know what to do with these transactions.

    Accounts are where your money lives, categories are their jobs. I get paid twice a month into my checking account. The day after my paycheck deposit clears, I move money to my savings account. This is a transfer between on budget accounts and does not require a category and has absolutely nothing to do with my budget (payee is To/From: 'Account Name' - if you are relying on transaction import, you have to change the payee from whatever the bank imports to the To/From payee). It's moving money from my right pocket to my left pocket.

    Now, because I've been YNABing since 2014, I know how much money I need in my checking account to cover everything for month plus have a 10%-15% cushion. Anything in excess of that amount gets moved to savings for the higher interest. My savings account isn't "for" any purpose in my budget (i.e., it's not my vacation money, or my new car savings, or income replacement); it's for maximizing interest. So as long as I have that amount in my checking account on the 1st of the month, I know I'm good to go. And if worse comes to worst, I'll move money back from my savings account to checking to cover a short fall. I have at least 3 weeks from receiving a credit card bill to paying it (autopay statement balance 3 days before due date), so it's no rush to move the money.

    It's pretty likely that you'll need 6-9 months to figure out how much you need to keep in your checking account. I'm also assuming you mean a Money Market account that functions very similar to a savings account in that it has a limited # of withdrawals per month as opposed to a Money Market Mutual Fund. I'm also assuming the Money Market is an on budget account. I have tracking accounts too, like my Investment account. Every month, I send $X to that account. But I also have a budget category called Investments that I fund, because transfers between on budget and tracking accounts require a category.

    Like
      • Cobalt Blue
      • Artist
      • cobalt_blue
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas Goodness gracious, this is a whole new way of thinking. I hope I can understand it someday. Thank you for  your help. I will work on knocking it into my brain. 🙂

      Like
    • jenmas I wonder if the $0.14 / month I get for similar money moves is worth it.  Even at a small hourly rate for one's salary, seems like it might be wasteful from an opportunity cost perspective.  Though, I equally do the same thing.  Ah well.  Better than inflation.  Wait, darned.

      Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Saish Dawg yeah, I make about $125/mo in interest in my liquid accounts and another $50 in my I Bonds so it's worth it for me.

      Like
    • jenmas Awesome income in this market, cheers!

      Like
  • Well, I think I'm going to start over. I'm going to keep my budget into which I downloaded and categorized all 2021 (to date) transactions so I will be able to look at that history. But then I'm starting over with a new budget now, which will be the one I use.  I'm going to make sure I make use of all the info I've learned here when starting my new budget. Thank you guys so much! ❤️

    Like 4
      • Yes I can
      • yesican2020
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Cobalt Blue That sounds like a good idea.  The history will be useful to help you set targets and work out all the items which you need to create categories for. 

      Try this YNAB video  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFXIJcyv-Pc  Its based on the recent major update of YNAB, which was designed to make it easier to learn to use.  It included a few changes in terminology so using this version will make it the same as what you see.  

      And use your desktop not the app, even though the video uses both

       

      Like
      • Cobalt Blue
      • Artist
      • cobalt_blue
      • 1 mth ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Yes I can thank you so much! I am watching the video now. I am getting more relaxed as I get everything set up properly. Yahoo!

      Like 3
  • It looks like you've gotten some great advice! I wanted to offer my own solution to #2: Treat your husband's credit card as if it were your own. Add the credit card as an on-budget account, but unlinked so that you don't pull in any of his other purchases. Whenever you make a purchase on his card, add the transaction to YNAB under the appropriate category (e.g. clothing, groceries, etc), so that available funds from that category will move over to the credit payment category. Then when you reimburse him, you'll enter a payment from your checking account to the credit card account. The reimbursement balance will zero out, your checking account will have the correct balance, and you'll have a more accurate view of your available category amounts on a daily basis rather than trying to remember to update at the end of each month.

    Like 4
      • Cobalt Blue
      • Artist
      • cobalt_blue
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      mandiferous Thank you for more great advice! Yes, I will definitely do that!

      Like 1
Like Follow
  • Status Answered
  • 1 mth agoLast active
  • 22Replies
  • 200Views
  • 8 Following