Savings account on-budget or tracking?

I read in a thread somewhere here that YNAB staff advised someone to move his savings account to ON BUDGET, where he had had it as a tracking account. When I set up my structure, following that advice, I set up one of my savings accounts as on budget.

I couldn't understand why the inspector panel kept telling me I had a lot more $$ available to budget than I thought I did. I finally realized it was including the savings balance. I do not budget from savings: only from checking.

Is there a way to "turn off" the savings balance in an on-budget account, so those $$ don't show as available? I just moved that savings to a tracking account, so that misleading total available (in my case) is now correct, but I wonder why the advice given to someone else was to move the savings to on budget.

For me, doesn't it make sense to keep that account as a tracking (off-budget) account, since I don't want to include its balance in my available? What am I missing out by not having it be on budget?

Thanks.

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  • Any on budget account is counted towards your budget.

    What you are missing is the clarity that can come with assigning a job to every liquid dollar (ie that's why IRAs and 401(k)s are recommended to be tracking accounts because they aren't liquid and easily accessible). What is that money for? Is it your loss of income pot? Your medical emergency pot? Then assign those dollars to those categories. But don't tie yourself in knots making sure that the balance in your savings account equals the balance in a specific grouping of categories.

    I have 3 savings accounts on budget and each and every dollar has a job. I certainly don't "spend" from my savings account. But I may move money out of it. For example - I'm replacing my HVAC. I've had the money saved up for months but don't plan to do the replacement until March. Now is all that money in my savings account? I honestly couldn't tell you. I have 3 checking accounts and 3 savings accounts. I will put 100% of the cost of the HVAC replacement on my credit card. And sometime after the statement closes, but before payment is due, I'll likely move some funds out of the savings account so that I can pay the credit card bill. But I doubt that 100% of the cost will come out of my savings account as I should be able to have most of it already in my checking account by not sending any money from my February paychecks to one of the savings accounts like I usually do. None of the individual balances on any of my accounts equal any set of categories because the location of my money has absolutely nothing to do with the purpose of my money. It's not like the $20 in my wallet has "2pm Diet Coke Emergency" written on it in Sharpie even though it is likely that's where some of it will go. But it could go on my credit card if I happen to do a CVS run tomorrow at lunch. Some time this week, I'll break that $20 and use $5 as a tip when I get a pedi I think, but can't guarantee. And the budget doesn't care!

    Like 4
    • jenmas I found this post after a search. Similar to my post on the old YNAB forum. This sounds like a complicated approach. IF, when you go to pay any bill (for example, the credit card bill to pay for your new HVAC) you transfer cash from Savings to Checking, THEN spend it (and categorize the transaction accordingly) WHY is it so important that the Savings account be on-budget?

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      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
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      Sea Green Hammer Because usually you don't. The idea that you have to is still based on the assumption of trying accounts to categories. Sure for something like an HVAC replacement, you might need to make a transfer, because that's loads of money. (Though note that jenmas is pointing out that she probably won't have to do that, simply by ensuring that funds build up  in checking ahead of the purchase.) But say I just want to spend $80 from my car repair savings category to get my oil changed and my tires rotated. Because I'm not trying accounts to categories, I just pay it from checking. If I add up all the money in all my accounts, it has now gone down by $80, but it doesn't actually matter which account took that hit. 

      It really does take a moment to understand the idea of not tying accounts to categories. But it is so worth it to make the effort to understand for both simplicity's sake and for the benefit to interest earning. 

      Like 5
    • WordTenor Then why not just have one account? With two accounts, a Savings and Checking account, there is the added hassle of moving money from Savings to Checking. It seems to defeat the purpose of having a Savings account, which by nature is designed to sequester money from your regular working account. In my mind, the Savings "account" is designed to be a place where money is stored (not unlike an investment account).

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 2 yrs ago
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      Sea Green Hammer I make about $60/month on interest in my savings accounts. Giving up $720/year to simplify down to one account is not the right fit for me. It might be the right fit for you. Also, my money is scattered across multiple banks for security reasons. I travel all over the world for work and have to use ATMs that are potentially shady. If a criminal cleans out Account A, I like knowing that I have immediate access to uncompromised Account B at a different institution.

      Like 7
      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
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       In my mind, the Savings "account" is designed to be a place where money is stored (not unlike an investment account).

      I understand that in your mind, that's what a Savings account is for. What we are saying is that there is a big benefit to changing the way you are thinking about this. When you use YNAB, Savings accounts cease being for sequestering money; you instead have them for the benefits of the account (security, interest). If you don't need those benefits, then you are absolutely correct that one only needs one account, because your categories sequester the money for you.

      Like 1
    • WordTenor  Duh! Your explanation did it. Thank you so much. I FINALLY get the concept. I kept seeing all my savings account monies in the "to be budgeted." Was totally confused. Now I get it! Ah, time for a glass of wine ...

      Like 3
  • You should budget your savings because Rule 1 is to give every follar a job, and Rule 2 is to Embrace your true Expenses.  What Rule 2 means is to break down your non-immediate expenses, the money you wouldn't necessarily keep in a checking account, and budget the money into categories.

    If you keep those accounts off-budget, then moving money to the savings account looks like spending in your budget. And then to actually spend it, you'll have to bring the money back into your budget when you transfer it to the checking account (another category) and then another category when you actually spend it. Moving the money back and forth becomes a budgeting/categorizing/reporting nightmare.

    But when all of the accounts are on budget, the transfers between accounts have no categories. It's just like moving a $5 bill from your left pocket to your right pocket... it doesn't matter what you plan to do with the money.

    You should read this:

    The Relationship Between Your Budget & Your Accounts: It’s Complicated

    Like 1
  • If you 100% didn't want to budget the amount in your savings account, you should leave it in tracking. However, it was and is recommended that you put your savings account in the budget group because the method teaches giving  dollars a job and PURPOSE. Saving is good. Saving with a purpose is better. It doesn't matter if the savings are for a new big purchase or if you don't intend to spend it, you should assign it a job.

    If you don't know what it is you're saving for, then might I suggest giving that some thought? By the way, Buffer, Emergency Fund, and other rainy day funds ( as they used to be called ) are all examples of budgeting categories that you would assign dollars to that you didn't really spend out of frequently (hopefully!). So, it remains valid that they can be on budget and not meant to be spent.

    Hope this helps! :)

    Like 1
  • Thanks, everyone, for the feedback. I'll transfer the account to on-budget for now, but seriously: How do I assign a job to dollars that have no job? What has become evident here is that I think of this savings account as an emergency fund -- DO NOT TOUCH THIS, JOE -- and having it out of the way, rather than still sitting in a visible account whose balance is lumped in with my available spending cash, is contrary to what I see as its "job."

    I'll give it a try and see if it works for me. Reading some of your replies makes me realize my situation is much less complicated than yours. I have never tied myself in knots over this: it's been easier than what has been described.

    Anyway, thanks again.

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      • eloquentz
      • Numbers Wizard (Accountant), Acoustic Artist (Musician) and Jill of all Trades (Wife & Mother)
      • eloquentz
      • 2 yrs ago
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      JoeDid Except that the dollars DO have a purpose.  It is your "emergency fund".  What circumstances allow you to draw on those funds?  Is it job loss?  Sudden house repairs?  It's great that you've moved them to a less accessible place, but the dollars still need a job, even if that job is hopefully to never happen.

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      • JoeDid
      • Remember: It is To Laugh
      • Purple_rain
      • 2 yrs ago
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      eloquentz As I said, I am now thinking of it as an emergency fund. Not for job loss (I'm retired, with a guaranteed income for life); I rent: landlord pays water, heat and air, fixes whatever breaks, replaces appliances, etc.; I live in a major urban area where a car is a liability, so I sold that 25 years ago; my health insurance covers every penny of my medical needs, for any meds and for any unexpected medical expense.

      The major problem I have with a category rather than a transfer to an account is that I can't assign a category to a transfer. If I merely assign the $ to a category, that category builds but my savings account (a real asset) does not show the incremental monthly increases. That makes it impossible to reconcile the account with the bank, which I do every month.

      How would I show that account balance growing unless I transfer the funds? And if I transfer the funds, how to I assign an Emergency category? As an off-budget account, I can assign a category; on budget I can't.

      All I can come up with for a "job" for these funds is UNKNOWN.

      More I'm thinking about this, more I realize that in my case, off budget makes the most sense. Thanks for making me think about it again. 🙂

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
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      JoeDid 

      JoeDid said:
      The major problem I have with a category rather than a transfer to an account is that I can't assign a category to a transfer. If I merely assign the $ to a category, that category builds but my savings account (a real asset) does not show the incremental monthly increases. That makes it impossible to reconcile the account with the bank, which I do every month.

       That's not a problem. You just aren't separating the purpose from the location in your mind.

      You will still need to create the transfer transactions in your accounts so the account balances match reality. That needs to happen regardless of whether the transfer has a category assigned or not. That goes back to my analogy of moving a $5 bill from your left pocket to your right pocket. What you plan to do with the money doesn't change, just where it's located.

       

      But the other reality is that the money has a reason for being in the savings account. Figure out what it's for. It doesn't seem like you have much use of an emergency fund, so maybe you don't even need it. If you don't need it, why is it sitting in a savings account and not working for you? Figure out the purpose of the money and all will become clear.

      Like 2
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
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      JoeDid said:
      When the automatic transfer from checking to an on-budget savings account occurs, when and how do I assign a category?

       You don't. Money is "saved" in YNAB by assigning To Be Budgeted money to a category and then not spending it. The account the money it is in doesn't matter.

      Did you read the blog post I linked to earlier?

      The Relationship Between Your Budget & Your Accounts: It’s Complicated

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      • JoeDid
      • Remember: It is To Laugh
      • Purple_rain
      • 2 yrs ago
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      nolesrule Thank you! The light finally lit up. I see that the funds entering my checking account go to TBB from which I assign X to the Savings category. After that, I transfer X to the Savings account (no category allowed, but it has already been taken care of.)

      Wow. Hey, don't get old. Things don't sink in as fast as they used to.

      I did read the post you linked to and I get the right/left pocket analogy. To me, that's the same as right pocket=checking; left pocket=savings/buffer/emerg. whatever. Looking forward to the value of this savings category,

      Anyway it makes sense now.

      Thanks again.

      Like 2
  • How do I make my savings account off budget..? Where do I click on the budget screen? I can't figure out how to do this

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      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
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      Maroon Drum Good! Don't make your savings off-budget. :) 

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      • JoeDid
      • Remember: It is To Laugh
      • Purple_rain
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      Maroon Drum Hey, Maroon, 🙂 this is probably the wrong thread in which to ask that question, given that the consensus here (to which I now adhere) is that savings accounts should be on budget. It took me a while to understand why savings should be on budget, but now that I get it, I switched them back on budget.

      Like 3
  • This is a really helpful thread. But I'm still trying to figure out the status of the $1,000 in my savings account right now. I put it there as my emergency fund and didn't think it was being factored into my budget. How do I reckon that $1000 as emergency fund within my budget now that I'm in the middle of a month and not starting out? Can I somehow set $1000 as the goal for that budget category and say that it has been filled? Or do I budget $1000 for it this month and then it'll just stay there forever until I use it?

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    • Hi BrooklynBoy !

      It's the latter. :)

      I don't see one in your screenshot, but if you have an Emergency Fund category move money from your other categories to get that $1,000 total. That $1,000 will sit in your Emergency Fund until the day comes when you need it. :)

      Like 1
  • I'm new, and this thread has been extremely clarifying. I understand now why savings are kept on-budget but I have one hang up.

    If I move my Savings Account on-budget then I can no longer use the reports to see what percent of my budget is allocated to saving. It would be nice if there were a report that presented a pie chart of your budget and not only your spending. I know it isn't the recommended method, but by keeping my savings account off-budget, I can easily see what percent of my funds are diverted for savings and drill down to see which savings categories received the most funds. Even though it is not technically "spent", I appreciate the graphic analysis of savings.

    Is my understanding correct, or is there another way to view the breakdown I've described with the savings on-budget? See screenshots for reference.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 mths ago
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      Ivory Stallion So how do you manage changing the different savings jobs when you need or want to?

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    • Ivory Stallion I like the idea of pie charts or bar graphs to visually represent the state of the budget . There could be one for available, and one for budgeted this month. And really, it might be nice to have them show up in the inspector (when no categories are selected) so that I could flip through the months and watch it change. 

      They only difficulty will be how to represent negative budgeting, overbudgeting, or overspending, especially in a pie chart...

      IN the Available graph, the amount of overspending could be it's own little moon, labeled "Money you don't have!!! Get this down to $0 so your budget is viable!" Cash vs. Credit could be delineated, with blurbs to explain the impact.  This could also provide some needed gamification to build savings in a more realistic way than AOM (mentioned on another post). Bonus: multiple category overspending should be graphed in the chart, and link back to the category to immediately fix the overspend with the move money tool.

      I'll have to think about the negative budgeting, though. It's not bad - just the math that supports Rule #3. I suppose all positive changes to budgeted values could go in the planet pie, and all negative changes could go in the moon pie. Planet pie could be labeled something logical, and moon pie could be labeled "changes in priority" with a net budgeted shown. 

      Overbudgeting should be added to the moon in both graphs, and labeled "fake money" with some directive about how to fix it.

      I'll have to think about this more before I put in a feature request. It seems that most people don't read or think about where their statistics come from (as evidenced by the people concerned with AOM), so I want to make sure the ideas are cohesive and not misleading before I submit. 

      But, this graphic representation could be very useful for the spatial thinkers and others who don't automatically see numerical relationships (or who have so many categories that they don't fit on one screen).

      How do these ideas relate to the OP and subsequent threads? While we all know that the best practice for saving is to just look at the budget screen, and that savings accounts should be on budget as explained above, the current solution (which we should keep) does set aside the ability to see a graphic representation of the budgetary, saving decisions. 

      It is not logical to represent savings in a spending report, but if there were a budget report, well, there's an idea.

      Like 1
    • nolesrule If it were a new saving objective then I might just create a new category reclassify some of the transactions. My primary checking is with SoFi, so Alternatively, I might create a new "Vault" and shift funds from one to the other. This would create new transactions that I could classify between Vaults and categories.

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    • Ivory Stallion In YNAB, you're welcome to transfer money among various accounts, but that has no bearing on the "job" it's being saved for. All savings is done by putting money in categories in the budget. The account the money lives in is only determined by where/how you need to access/store money. 

      Like 1
    • Move Light Sound Life 

       I think the crux of this and other related threads is that users want to see how much they're diverting to savings. As-is bringing my Savings account on budget makes it impossible to graphically see how much money in a particular month has been allocated or set aside for Savings. The way I use YNAB, I'm never "spending" from my savings categories, and if there are no transactions then those funds are totally omitted from the reports.

      I agree that having an option to add a pie chart to the inspector would be nice. My version of the implementation would involve being able to classify a category group as "Savings" or "Internal". It could be a simple flag on the category group banner.

      Essentially, this new report would be the same as the current spending totals charts except, it would insert a slice for Category groups flagged as Savings/Internal and instead of reporting on "spending" it would reflect available funds. So rather than a Spending chart, it becomes a breakdown or allocation chart. I could be missing something but there should be little "spending" from savings accounts. What's important for savings is how much money was budgeted and remains available in the given timeframe. This resolves the issue of overspending in other categories because if funds are moved to another category the available balance is reduced in the savings category which would accurately reflect the amount allocated to savings.

      To state that another way, the Savings section of the chart should filter to only funds made available in the defined period. This would filter out available funds from previous months and only show what you've saved during the current period, side by side with what you spent across your non-savings categories.

      One caveat is that the number reported for available savings should always be positive.  If no funds were budgeted or "available" during the reporting period the chart should always show 0 for that category, even if there is money available in that category from savings in previous months. For example, last month I budgeted and saved $1,000 in the rainy day category. This month I did not budget anything, but I still have 1K available from last month. The Allocation chart for the current month should show $0 for the Rainy Day category. If I move $100 from the available balance of the rainy day fund to cover overspending elsewhere, then the Allocation chart for the month should continue to show 0, not -100.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 mths ago
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      Ivory Stallion I kinda understand the want for a report like this, but at the same time I'm not sure I understand the need. The amount of money in your categories is defined by your priorities for your money. They are what they are. You are probably already funding savings categories based on a target balance or a monthly contribution amount. How will this report clarify things or bring guidance? How will it change your behavior in away that managing your budget does not?

      Like 3
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 mths ago
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      nolesrule said:
      I'm not sure I understand the need

      Nor I. It's a curiosity but non-actionable.

      I think the desire is more prevalent in those who haven't quite embraced Rule 2 and achieved a fairly consistent budget. When budget entries are driven solely by priority, scope, and expense timeline things are simpler. When budget amounts are fluctuating because of income timing or "borrowing", there's naturally going to be increased focus on those particular amounts.

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  • Good question. The suggested report surfaces the impact of my spending on my savings. I'd find it motivating to see the savings section of my report shrink because of overspending. I'd also be motivated to continue saving overtime. I could reach my initial target balance by routinely savings and grow complacent, but if I'm accustomed to looking at a report and feeling proud that 40% of my income goes to savings goals then I'll adjust my goal and continue so that I don't have a month where my savings plummet down to 15% because I hit my target goal. I see it as a moving target rather than an achievement. 

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  • Ivory Stallion said:
    If I move $100 from the available balance of the rainy day fund to cover overspending elsewhere, then the Allocation chart for the month should continue to show 0, not -100.

     This math does not make sense to me. The -$100 needs to at least be shown somewhere (the moon pie, in my example) as a change in priority. Even denoting it as previously saved money that had a change of priority seems really complex. Otherwise, the numbers will be unbalanced.  And if you budgeted $100 to the Forgotten Stuff category on the 1st, but moved $20 to another category to support the thing that forgotten, would you want $80 or $100 to show in that report?

    I have always wanted a pie chart of my current budget allocations and available. Now that I've learned the method, I don't think something that represents that information as it is on the budget page is contrary to the method, and could be helpful to see the current state of affairs. Although, I might find that looking at big pie slices slated for Loss of Income/Medical reduced the feeling of scarcity that I get currently for monthly/daily spending decisions. I might find that I want to filter those categories out...

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  • Ivory Stallion said:
    feeling proud that 40% of my income goes to savings goals

     I suppose the success of YNAB comes from being prepared for dollar amounts in specific jobs, not percentages of income in specific jobs. The electric company doesn't care whether their bill is 3% or 30% of my paycheck, but I have to be prepared to pay it.

    Likewise, if I have to replace my tires, the tire company isn't going to charge me based on my income. 

    YNAB is built to allow you to maximize handling real expenses, and that's why it's recommended that you create specific savings categories with specific goals (implied or in the software) that will support your needs. 

    Working towards a normalized budget will help you feel like you can confidently fund those categories sufficiently. If you find you're not able to maintain that because other things keep popping up, maybe those other things need to be included in your normal plan as well. 

    I think I have convinced myself that a Savings/Budgeted report is not good. We'll see if I change my mind. 

    It sounds like you would be interested in a "Budgeted/Available Over Time" type of report, which seems rather complicated, but could be interesting. 

    Bottom line is that the current reports are all based on spending, and if you try to game the system by putting savings off-budget to include them in the spending reports, not only are you creating a lot of extra work for you, but those same reports still won't quite be accurate and will get messed up when it's time to use the money.

    Best practice is described above: budget savings, use savings accounts on budget, and separate categories from accounts.

    Like 2
  • Ivory Stallion said:
    users want to see how much they're diverting to savings

    As soon as you realize that ALL categories are savings, this ceases to be a problem (or a need).

    Like 4
      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 2 mths ago
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      dakinemaui Was just coming to say this, thanks, I’ll show myself out now. 

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 mths ago
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      WordTenor Had my Red Bull and got in ahead of you this time. 😉

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  • Move Light Sound Life said:
    The -$100 needs to at least be shown somewhere (the moon pie, in my example) as a change in priority.

     It would be, as an increase in the spending category that you moved funds to compensate for - let's say Groceries. The report should compare what the user budgeted with what they truly did as a snapshot in time. I really like your idea of having a chart for Budgeted and Available. Another way to represent that could be using a two-layer pie chart, where one ring shows budgeted proportions, while the other compares shows spending activity and available savings. 


    Assuming the Forgotten Stuff category is flagged as a savings category, $80 would show on the report because  $80 is the amount available in savings. The report reflects spending activity and available savings. 

    Like
  • Move Light Sound Life said:
     I suppose the success of YNAB comes from being prepared for dollar amounts in specific jobs, not percentages of income in specific jobs.

     I agree; although, I don't think the idea is contrary to the YNAB methodology either since the Spending report already reflects your category groups are percentages. You're 100% correct that your bills don't care what percentage of your budget they are, but I'd argue seeing a Just for Fun category that totally dwarfs and Savings provide guidance. 

    Coming clean, I've only been using YNAB <1 month so my views could change. I appreciate your feedback.

    Like 1
  • dakinemaui said:
    As soon as you realize that ALL categories are savings, this ceases to be a problem (or a need).

     Fair point. If I could rephrase the goal of the suggested report, it would be to have a report that reflects my saving priorities. 
     

    Move Light Sound Life said, "Working towards a normalized budget will help you feel like you can confidently fund those categories sufficiently."

    I think the report I've mentioned would help users get to a normalized budget. Again, I'm still less than a month in so we have different perspectives here. As someone just getting started with YNAB, it is useful so to see what priorities are articulated by my budget versus my actions. I can see how using YNAB over time can lead to normalization, where very little shifts. Early on, I would find it useful to contrast my expressed priorities with my habits so that I can better align my budget to reflect reality or align my habits with my priorities. 

    It's possible that what I'm looking for would be better incorporated as a Toolkit Report. :)

    Like
    • Ivory Stallion So, when I started, I had a certain idea of what my monthly expenses were. Because I wasn't funded on my true expenses yet, I was unable to completely fund my categories to where I wanted them. YNAB was perfect for fitting all the puzzle pieces together tightly to avoid waste and maximize priorities.  I often was over or under spending and thought that's just what happened because there wasn't enough money to go around. 

      When I find the forum, the lovely people here asked me why I was trying to stick to something that didn't match reality - just use rule three and move on without guilt. So I did.

      I am happy to report that, over a year later, my "normalized guesses" were actually pretty good averages in most cases. Had I focused on sticking to the budget, rather than dealing with reality, I would still be playing whack-a-mole among regular, monthly responsibilities. 

      Follow the YNAB rules and give it a chance to work as intended. I'll be curious to hear what you think after 3-6-12 months.

      Like 2
  • Ivory Stallion said:
    Early on, I would find it useful to contrast my expressed priorities with my habits so that I can better align my budget to reflect reality or my habits to align them with my priorities. 

    This happens naturally when reallocating (ala Rule 3). Especially if you reallocate before spending. Identifying a lower priority category category with funds to take (or recognizing there's not one) really cements an understanding of one's inner/true priorities.

    Like 2
  • Ivory Stallion said:
    If I could rephrase the goal of the suggested report, it would be to have a report that reflects my saving priorities

    Isn't the budget itself that very report? I mean the budget entries completely reflect your priorities and (eventual) outflow and timeline.

    EDIT: as for whether Rent (or Entertainment or Transportation or whatever) is X% of your income, what does that matter? It costs what it costs, and lower priority demands on your money have to compete for the remainder of your income excluding that amount.

    Like
    • dakinemaui Yes, that's why I was thinking of a graphical report on the budget page that simply showed the info in a spatially-represented manner. But I think it would greatly reduce the feeling of scarcity most people get from a YNAB budget.

      This could be an interesting thing for toolkit people to play with, kind of like the "Balance Over Time" report - it's interesting to look at, but I don't really see a purpose. 

      I would probably end up filtering long-term savings categories out of the graph, and just have it show monthly allocations/available for daily spending. This would of course be opposite of what Ivory Stallion is wanting it to show.

      Like
    • Move Light Sound Life Exactly, dakinemaui , it is a graphical representation of the budget screen. The budget chart is pretty straight-forward. But, neither the Activity or Available columns tell the full story of allocation if represented graphically. The activity column would not show any savings that were successfully saved because there's no transaction. And, the available column alone shows what's remaining in your spending categories. In a perfect budget, all spending categories would be zero so a graphical representation would only show savings. What I'm looking for incorporates both what you spent (activity) and what you saved (available in savings categories).


      Move Light , I hear your point about wanting to filter out long-term savings stuff. I think that could be accommodated pretty easily. There should be a flag on the Category Group to classify the groups as Savings. Savings are treated differently since they track available balance rather than spending. So, if you have a long-term saving category group that is not flagged as a savings group, then the chart would only represent spending from the associated categories. In a month where you don't spend anything from a Loss of Income/Medical category, there is no activity so the categories would not be represented in the chart.

      dakinemaui , you're right that the alignment happens over time, but as-is there is no report that graphically represents that trend. You can look at the budget screen and compare line by line how your budget compares to your activity but I think there could be value in seeing that holistically represented.

      I like to think my suggestion is a little better than the Balance Over Time report. I don't find much value in that one haha.

      Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view
      Ivory Stallion said:
      You can look at the budget screen and compare line by line how your budget compares to your activity but I think there could be value in seeing that holistically represented.

      Perhaps my lack of imagination, but to what end? What insight would you gain that might induce you to do something different than you do at present?

      Ivory Stallion said:
      Savings are treated differently since they track available balance rather than spending.

      I have a very different outlook. As I see it, ALL categories are savings. Saving for the sake of saving seems useless to me. I'm always saving FOR something. That might be to pay my mortgage in 3 weeks or to pay for a new roof in 13 years.

      Like 2
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ivory Stallion Long ago, I suggested a Template goal type to YNAB. One that would simply fill in nominal values and then not nag you after reallocation. I can see utility in showing actuals minus the nominal (defined by the Goal) in each category. A string of negatives is highly suggestive of under-budgeting. Similarly, a string of positives means you're either spending less or frequently robbing it. Based on such a graph, you can take action to adjust budget entries. Doing so at present requires a lot of scrolling and flipping of screens.

      Like
    • dakinemaui I'm confused. 

      Say my nominal in Groceries is $500, but I spent (and reallocated to cover, thus budgeted) $550. 

      Conversely, my nominal in Household is $75, but I ended up with a budgeted number of $25 and moved the other $50 out (maybe to groceries). 

      Wouldn't the actual minus the nominal have positives designating spending that went over the nominal budget, and negatives indicating less spending? I think that's the opposite of what you said? Please clarify. I just like understanding.

      Like
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Move Light Sound Life you're right, I should have said actuals plus nominals, with the actuals typically being negative.

      Groceries: -$550 + $500 = -$50

      Showing a negative value to illustrate a shortage seems intuitive.

      Like 2
    • dakinemaui Ah. That makes sense. 

      I was thinking in absolute values with the verbiage indicating function, like saying spent $500 doesn't have a negative sign. I get it now, thanks!

      Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 2 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Move Light Sound Life dakinemaui Nerds! 😜

      Like 2
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