Using Goals for a Monthly Template

I am relatively new to YNAB and although I've done a lot of reading in the forums and watched many videos, there is still the chance I'm not doing something right, thus my frustration. I am trying to use goals to create a monthly budget template per the instructions in a YNAB article about this. Until now, I've kept my template in a spreadsheet and it would be nice not to have to refer back to that each month to set up my budget. So, I created goals for each category -- mostly monthly goals, but a few are target, etc. The problem I have is when I move funds around during the month to cover a category where expenses where higher this month (i.e. take $25 out of groceries to cover the extra cost of fuel this month due to extra travel, etc.), then the category I took the money from goes orange. This gets confusing because now it is mixed up with categories that are orange because they are truly not fully funded (i.e. waiting for the next paycheck as I am only 1 paycheck ahead, not a full month). So when paycheck #2 comes in and I want to distribute that, looking at my orange categories, I need to remember if it is orange because I intentionally reduced it to cover something else, or if it just wasn't fully funded yet and needs funds now. I can see how using goals as a template works if you never need to move money around, but that then is not really in line with rule #3 of rolling with the punches. It would be nice if there truly was a template, that was just that... a baseline for starting the monthly budget, before making any adjustments for varied expenses during the month. Or, am I just doing it incorrectly?

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  • Yep, a lot of people feel the way you do. Make a feature request with the link on the main support page.

    One tip in the meantime, you can turn off the nagging for intentional moves by re-establishing the goal in next month's area (Edit the goal and immediately hit OK). However, I would NOT do this for any Spend By goals, since the timeline will be reset resulting in higher than desired contributions.

    Like 3
      • Owlette
      • owlette
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui Thank you! Resetting the goal in the following month is the answer! To minimize WAMing I'm using the "Stuff I forgot to budget for" category to hold $100 to cover small overspending through the month. I apply a monthly spending goal so it resets to $100 on the 1st of every month. Tried entering the movements with a $0 net split transaction, SIFTBF stays green, but then the actual spending isn't recorded accurately. Had decided to just live with the category being yellow half the month, but now I don't have to :)

      Like 1
  • If you use the Toolkit for YNAB, you can change the color for this situation to blue, preserving the real meaning of the orange blocks.

    Like 1
  • I’ve requested a feature to have a budget template.  It’s funny how they have an article to create a budget template but nothing in the program to really manage a budget template.  I doubt they will actually create a feature that their clients are requesting.  It seems like it would be good customer service but I guess there aren’t enough of us that would like this feature.  

    Like 2
  • I have just made the same feature request as it bugs me every time I budget it bugs me
    at a minimum allowing us to budget to our goals would be good, instead of 'underfunded' which seems to be the closest, but means I have to then go through lien by line to find where it has put in weird amounts

    Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 11 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Green Boat If Underfunded is putting in "weird" amounts, perhaps you don't have the Goal or scheduled transaction set up right on those categories. A monthly funding Goal, for instance, should add the same amount to the category every month.

      Can you describe what happening when you hit Underfunded and why you regard that as weird? Hopefully we can get things working better for you.

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      • Green Boat
      • Green_Boat.1
      • 10 days ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui 
      i think it is because it includes upcoming transactions it budgets for those, so yesterday when I did june (as the May pay came in) it had budgeted a few thousand dollars to 'further education' because the reoccurring transactions told it there was a term of university fees due in June, but I didn't want that budgeted for as that will be covered by the work reimbursement of the previous subject which will come in before the fees are due. there are just always things in there that make sense in that way because that is how underfunded works, but that I don't actually want to budget for from my template (if that makes sense) those are then things I would deal with purposefully. 

      I would rather i could budget my template then have it tell me if there are categories that are somehow underfunded, so I can purposefully deal with them. The things I have goals for are the ones I don't need to deal with each time

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      • Green Boat
      • Green_Boat.1
      • 10 days ago
      • Reported - view

      although I am wondering if I have misused goals slightly, as i am not sure I made a distinction between spending and savings goals when I was setting them up

      it would be great if you could just view your goals - so the list of categories and what each month goal would look like without actually budgeting it

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 10 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Green Boat the 3rd party Toolkit Extension adds this capability to the web app... and a slew of other useful features.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 10 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Green Boat you could only check certain groups to apply the Underfunded. I'm not sure that saves any effort over just deleting the undesired entries.

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