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!
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.
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.
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!
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. 😁