Budgeting money for next month

I am 2 weeks in... no, 10 days in... and I'm already in a financially stronger position - Holy Moly! But I'm not sure how to budget the "spare" money in the budget so that it's not available for the coming month but for April (!!!! Wow!) Do I budget in April?
I have met all my financial obligations for March, and I need to know what to do with the balance of the money. Help! Thanks!

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  • Many of us use a category called "Next Month Income" or some version of that name. Basically, you put it in this holding category until the next month and then release it so you can budget it the next month. 

    https://support.youneedabudget.com/t/83hxl5w/get-a-month-ahead-no-income-for-next-month-like-in-classic

    One thing to be aware of with budgeting in future months is a bug called "Stealing from the Future". If you have budgeted in a future month, and make adjustments in the current month that require pulling money from the future month, then YNAB will pull it and you will show a negative in the future month. It is not easy to spot as a new user (or even as a seasoned user). You can search for it on the forum for tons of info. For that reason, it is highly recommended to use the holding category.

    Like 1
    • Navy Blue Pegasus As a new YNABer, can I ask why you put Next Month Income in its own category? Why not for instance add it to your regular budget categories. So you may for instance end up with twice your expected rent payment in your rent category, which you would spend half of this month and half of next month.

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      • nolesrule
      • Been waiting 5 years for the Stealing From the Future fix...
      • nolesrule
      • 1 mth ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Harp That works okay for fixed expenses, but fails for discretionary spending categories, because you could accidentally spend, for example, next month's grocery money this month. I don't know about you, but about 30-40% of my budget is represented by these types of categories. So rather than having to figure out which categories can be safely funded this month versus needing to be funded in the next month to keep from accidentally spending it this month, treat both types of categories the same and keep it simple. Then when it comes time to populate next month's budget the whole thing can be done in a couple of clicks.

      Like 4
    • nolesrule Thank you that makes sense.

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      • MadDog
      • Navy_Blue_Pegasus.2
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Harp Yes, similar reasons as nolesrule to have a holding category. I want to see build up in categories where I need the money in the future and not in ones I am going to repeat such as groceries and even the mortgage. And, it helps me to get a better understanding of where I sit for the entire month all at once. My husband and I are trying to get a month ahead this month and next due to some good fortune. We are about 3/4 of the way and even today when we budgeted out the month, it was a different experience. 

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    • Navy Blue Pegasus Don't want to derail the conversation but I don't understand why people keep referring to TBB being negative in the future month a bug because to me it seems like it's the only way it could work. 

      If I have $500 cash and budget $500 to this month and $100 to next month, it's in next month's budget that I'm budgeting money I don't have. Why should it make a difference if today I budget $400 to the current month and $100 to next month today but then come back tomorrow and budget the "extra" $100 to the current month? In either case, TBB of the current month *should* be zero because it is not overbudgeted. I do have the $500 cash to cover the current month's $500 budget. It wouldn't make sense at all if YNAB said I didn't. 

      I completely agree it's easy to overlook because you only see one month at a time and if you *think* you're completely funded in the future that can cause real problems, but that doesn't make it a bug.

      I think you just need to realize that TBB refers to the budget for the month you're viewing and not your entire budget overall. 

       

      But that said, wouldn't you easily avoid this by only budgeting $ when TBB has those funds available? If TBB is $0, why would you increase a budget category? There are no unbudgeted funds available to budget. That seems like the real issue rather than a bug.

      Like
      • WordTenor
      • Can we agree that goals are dumb and immature? Sure.
      • WordTenor
      • 3 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Gray Network The issue is the lack of warning that a future screen has gone over budget. And no, experienced people don’t budget when TBB is $0 but it’s absolutely possible to fat-finger an entry and not know you did so because the warning happens in a future month. Plus newbies get caught out by this all the time...I want to say the last thread on this was about 4 or 5 days ago. It’s confusing, and the company was told it was confusing long before the software was released, and 5.5 years on, they still have ‘t fixed it. 

      Like 1
    • WordTenor Got it! Thank you for clarifying. Yes, 100% agreed that not having some kind of obvious indicator on every possible screen that across all months you're overbudgeted is definitely a UI flaw.

      I honestly was just confused by the use of the term bug. I've seen it described this way a lot and wasn't really getting why since it's not actually a glitch--it is working correctly. Wanted to make sure there wasn't a piece of it that actually was glitching that I wasn't understanding.

      Like 1
      • MadDog
      • Navy_Blue_Pegasus.2
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Gray Network exactly as explained. maybe we need to be more clear that the bug is no warning in the current month that you are overbudgeted in a future month. 

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      • nolesrule
      • Been waiting 5 years for the Stealing From the Future fix...
      • nolesrule
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Gray Network
       

      Gray Network said:
      Don't want to derail the conversation but I don't understand why people keep referring to TBB being negative in the future month a bug because to me it seems like it's the only way it could work. 

       
      It's a bug because when you are overbudgeted, it's not just in the future-most month you have money budgeted in in which you are overbudgeted, but actually in all months from the present to the future-most month simultaneously. As such it should be reflected in the TBB calculation from the month in which the budgeting created the overbudgeted state through all future months.

      Or to put it another way, if today is March and I have money budgeted out to March, April and May and TBB is zero (all money is budgeted, no more, no less), when I increase the amount of budgeted money in March, then March, April and May are all overbudgeted and it  should be indicated in all of those months, since it can be corrected in any of those month from the month in which the overbudgeting takes place to any month in the future holding budgeted money. But YNAB would have it only show in May.

      So it's a bug because the TBB calculation is wrong.

      A proof of concept TBB calculation was provided to YNAB 5 years ago for them to implement a change to correctly handle overbudgeting in TBB, but they have chosen not to implement it.

      Like
  • DaisyChain This is the best problem to have! Oh - and welcome to YNAB, by the way! If all of your categories for March are funded, you can absolutely toggle forward to April and start budgeting there. Navy Blue Pegasus makes a great point, though:

    It's important to note that once you've budgeted in the future, your most up-to-date To be Budgeted amount will always be in the future-most month. You can read more about stealing from the future here. I'm a big fan of the "Funds for Next Month" category, too, so let us know if you have any more questions about that! 

    Like
  • nolesrule said:
    Or to put it another way, if today is March and I have money budgeted out to March, April and May and TBB is zero (all money is budgeted, no more, no less), when I increase the amount of budgeted money in March, then March, April and May are all overbudgeted and it  should be indicated in all of those months, since it can be corrected in any of those month from the month in which the overbudgeting takes place to any month in the future holding budgeted money. But YNAB would have it only show in May.

     Yes! If I put money in April's grocery category (because I have to eat before I get paid in April), I expect it to be safe there - just as I expect money in this month's fun money to be safe there. 

    However, if I end up overbudgeting, I would NOT want to take from the future groceries. I'd pull from this month's fun money. 

    The future is part of my current plan for my current money, but YNAB doesn't believe me with its SFTF implementation. So, I don't allow it that power. 😁

    Like 3
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