Using next month's budgeted money early

How would you handle this? I've kept to my grocery budget for this month. Next month starts on a Sunday. I need to buy some groceries for Sunday, but rather than going shopping on Sunday I want to go a few days early. I don't have enough in my budget for this month, but I do for next month - the month when the groceries are to be used.

I'm feeling proud about keeping within my budget this month, and don't want to go over, even if it is for next month.

Should I move money from next month's grocery budget to this month, so I can do this shopping early?

I want to stick to my budget and not overspend, but am I really overspending? Am I worrying about nothing? Is this just semantics?

My OCD is kicking in hard. Any thoughts on this?

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  • Forest Green Rain said:
    Should I move money from next month's grocery budget to this month, so I can do this shopping early?

    That could work.  If you have budgeted ahead for groceries next month, you can go into next month, move the amount of money from there to TBB, then go back to this month, and budget that money into this month's groceries.  Now, you have it covered for this month.  

    The thing to keep in mind is that when next month actually comes along, and you see a lower amount for groceries, you might be tempted to top it off to the amount that you normally start the month off with.  This is fine, if you have the extra money to do it.  If not, you just have to remember that you bought the first week's groceries, and that money is already spent.  If you have a goal set up for groceries then it will probably indicate underfunded, because it's expecting the amount you already spent...  This might also mess with your OCD...  If so, you can go into the next month, edit the goal, and save it, and it will no longer warn you for the current month.

    Like 1
    • Bruce I don't set a goal for groceries, because it is a necessity. Thanks for your advice. I'll be moving the money I spend early from November's grocery budget to cover it, and I won't be tempted to add it back to get that nice round number!

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      • Bruce
      • Software Engineer
      • Bruce
      • 10 mths ago
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      Forest Green Rain Hmmm...  Interesting.  I have a goal for groceries specifically because it IS a necessity.  I want to make sure I put a certain amount in there every month.  I know some people put the amount they want in the name of the category, in which case, I guess a goal wouldn't be necessary.  But I want to make sure I put a certain amount in at the beginning of every month.  In fact I have it set up as a spending goal weekly, by Sunday,  so if there are 5 Sundays in the month, it will budget a little extra automatically, and if it's the normal 4, it will budget what I normally need for the month.

      Anyway, I know we all think about it in different ways, but I just found it interesting that we are doing the opposite thing, for the same reason!  lol.  Certainly not saying your way of doing it is wrong.  Just that it's not the way my brain thinks about it.  That's what I love about the forum, so many different people doing things different ways, there's always something to be learned.

      Like 3
    • Bruce For me, groceries is something that must be funded every month. Like mortgage, car insurance, and so on. They get funded regardless of what else is going on, and that's why I don't use a goal. But I've never thought about it before. I guess to me these things are "supergoals" that must be funded each month, no exception. And so they are the first things that get funded, and in my mind, I don't need to set a goal.

      But you're right - we think about things in different ways but hopefully get to the result that works best for us. It really is interesting to see the differences in how we approach things, but end up with a similar (workable) result.

      Like 2
      • Krys
      • I like bacon and sarcasm
      • Krys
      • 10 mths ago
      • 1
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      Bruce Since the goals have been updated to include weekly goals, I haven't thought about changing my grocery goal to match my shopping habit (weekly), but it makes a lot of sense! Thanks for mentioning that this is what you do. I'm going to update my grocery goal to weekly now and see how that goes!

      Like 1
    • Krys I recently started using the Weekly goal for groceries, and it took some getting used to, but I'm really happy with it!

      Like 1
      • Krys
      • I like bacon and sarcasm
      • Krys
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Matthew I think this is going to work so much better for me than treating it like a monthly goal. No more "gaming the system!"

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      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 10 mths ago
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      Forest Green Rain I use a goal because I am lazy efficient and I use the goals to quick budget. 

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      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 10 mths ago
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      MXMOM 

      😄 - I like to think I'm efficient, too.

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      • PS
      • Maroon_Trombone.16
      • 10 mths ago
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      Krys It will identify a month with 5 weeks too, which is really handy.

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      • Krys
      • I like bacon and sarcasm
      • Krys
      • 10 mths ago
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      Paul Yes! This is what ultimately made me want to switch to weekly. So handy!!

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      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 10 mths ago
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      I really like the new goal feature of being able to budget for the month on a needed weekly amount:  very helpful for those frequent spending categories like groceries (which I base on Saturday frequencies) or spending money aka blow money (which I base on Monday frequencies).

      There are a consistent 4 months each year that have 5 weeks in them, and that recurring frequency makes it necessary to plan/budget for the extra rather than ignore and rely on gnashing of teeth or fudging of budget entries as the go-to way of handling them.

      Like 2
  • I think it is your OCD kicking in, and at this point you do need to do whatever is right for you. I would say move the money from next month's groceries back into this month. Depending on when you shop, and whether or not you use a credit card, it likely won't clear until next month anyway, so it may not really be as big of a deal as you think.

    And at the end of next month, you'll have to check in and see where you are with your grocery funds - were you able to make it to the end of the month, or were you in the same situation again. If you're in the same situation then it might be worth increasing your budget for groceries by just a little bit.

    It's all a grand experiment anyway, so don't fret over these kinds of adjustments. Just use it as information that fuels future decisions.

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    • farfromtheusual I think it is my OCD too. I think moving the money I've already funded for November's groceries will work for me, especially since I am using it to buy groceries for November. I'm really just doing my shopping early because it's convenient. The money is already there!

      Like 1
    • Forest Green Rain the month "break" is really a delineation so that it breaks down the numbers a little bit, and sometimes that means it "rolls over" at awkward times, so this kind of thing will happen once in a while. If you've already got November ready to go, there's no reason not to use it.

      Like 1
  • I do my grocery shopping on Saturdays, and this month ends on a Saturday, but I'll be buying groceries for next month, so I will be charging this Saturday's groceries to next month's budget.

    I will do this simply by changing the date on which the transaction clears my account to November 1, rather than by moving money in my account.

    Like 2
    • Krys That's almost exactly my situation, but I don't want to change the transaction date because that will really mess with my head! Thanks for your response!

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      • Krys
      • I like bacon and sarcasm
      • Krys
      • 10 mths ago
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      Forest Green Rain I understand! I wouldn't do it if it was more than a day - this month just happens to work out well. :)

      Like 1
  • If you use a credit card it might not clear until next month anyway.

    I get wanting to stay within our budget and not go over and I applaud you for that.  You are doing better than me.  I usually just borrow from next month when stuff like this happens and don't worry about it.

    Or you could just change the date to next month instead of this month when it comes in if you put it in before it syncs.

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