To Fresh Start or not to Fresh Start...

...that is the question and I know it's been discussed before on the old forum and here. But it seems like a good time of year to start the discussion again.

I've been using nYNAB for two years now without a fresh start. (I had done it a couple of times before with YNAB4, mostly becuase I never stuck with it as much as I have with nYNAB). I have a budget template that is mostly working for. I've never done a fresh start, mostly becuase I find no greater joy than looking at my net worth report 馃槃

So, what does everyone do in the new year? What are the pros and cons? Do you fresh start on Jan. 1 or not? Why or why not?

TIA! And happy 2018!

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  • Not even under threat of violence!  馃檪  I value the historical information and enjoy seeing my steady improvement in the net worth graph and the age of money or days of buffering. I would lose all of that with a fresh start. But if my life should change significantly: if I retired, bought a house, moved to some place tropical, adopted a family from Lower Slobovia, I wouldn't hesitate to do a fresh start since the historical averages wouldn't provide valuable guidance and the new numbers would be muddied by dragging along a year's worth of averages on spending that was no longer relevant.

    Reply Like 2
  • I am tossing around the same question.  I actually ordered Jesse's new book for my daughter recently, and read it myself, which got me thinking of the "fresh start."  Not because I'm frustrated, or the budget isn't working, because it is.  But, it seems like it's on autopilot, making me feel like I am leaving $$ on the table.

    Like Michele, I am NOT a fan of completely starting over and losing my transaction history.  I love financial analysis (it's my job after all), so losing those data points would drive me insane.   SO...I was thinking of simply zeroing out ALL my budget balances, then my wife and I would sit down and re-prioritize all our dollars.  We would look at some of those "black holes" in our spending (for example, a Miscellaneous category...) and see if we need to break it up into separate budget lines.  

    Still deciding whether to do this, or just make some tweaks.

    Reply Like 1
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Dan S 

      I can see a fresh start being an interesting exercise if using it as a means to engage in a values review and goals discussion with your spouse.

      Edited to add:  I gave myself a stretch goal on the 2018 savings challenge.  I know it will mean having to squeeze a category or two along the way all year to meet that stretch goal.  That's one way to challenge my complacency.  I'm a single, so I worry about robo-spending and life-style creep.

      Reply Like 1
    • Dan S It sounds like you're planning on a "Mini Fresh Start". This is a fairly new feature, but you鈥檒l see two options in the Quick Budget section (Set Available Amounts to $0.00 and Reset Budgeted Amounts) that will allow you to zero out your categories in the current month.

      These are great options when you want a fresh view of your budget, but a Fresh Start feels like too much. :)

      Reply Like 2
      • Dan S
      • ddskiend
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness at YNAB thanks for the heads up. I haven鈥檛 completed the "mini fresh start" yet, but was going to soon. I did not know the feature you pointed out was available.  I will give it a try  

      Thanks!

      Reply Like 1
      • amp97
      • amp97
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness I didn't know this was a feature either. I did a fresh start January 1st of this year, but I think I'd prefer this method for next year, or even sooner (I have some dollars that I can't figure out where in the budget they are).

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    •  Faness the mini fresh start link has expired, can you repost it?

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    • Faness Thanks for this! I was planning a fresh start, but I didn't want to lose my historical data. 

      Reply Like 1
    • Cirrus
    • Living mobile and solo
    • Hot_Pink_Case_654489023
    • 1 yr ago
    • 1
    • Reported - view

    It can be good. I got rid of my hidden categories and did a complete rethink. I had sold my house and started a new phase of life.  I waited for the finances to settle down from the transition then did a fresh start. Dont think i鈥檇 fo it annually.  But maybe. 

    Reply Like 1
  • I pulled the Fresh Start lever on January 1st. I accomplished a number of financial goals in 2017 and re-doing my budget allowed me to switch things around and focus on new priorities. Paid off my car? Got rid of the Auto Loan category in the new budget. Changed account transfer rules? Removed an old account from the new budget.

    While history is great, I prefer dividing it between the years. I did This in 2017 and This in 2016 and now is 2018's turn. :)

    ( btw I'm going to move this over to the Tips & Tricks discussions board to hopefully pick up more traction!)

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      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      After I smacked down my car loan in December 2016, I repurposed the category by renaming it Next Car Purchase and positioned it under my savings categories. I set a five year goal to be financially capable of voluntarily replacing my current car with another of similar value and 2022 would be (hopefully) the earliest I would consider needing/wanting to do that. My hope is to never finance again.

      Reply Like 3
    • Faness I love this idea! I might use this in 2020 or when we become debt free. I hate having hidden categories. 

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    • eloquentz
    • Numbers Wizard (Accountant), Acoustic Artist (Musician) and Jill of all Trades (Wife & Mother)
    • eloquentz
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    I am considering it, but for now I am leaving my budget as is.  There are some categories that I don't really use (but have used in the past), so I may rethink some categories and start fresh.

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  • I just 5 minutes ago pulled the fresh start lever. It is probably the 5 time since starting YNAB way back it 's very first days of inception. Why this time? Well, I made a mess of things with credit cards when for some reason my mind got off track on how to log them. It was far too much to fix so I just started over. I reorganized some things to better track this year. Saved the old data after saving PDF reports so I could still see the financial past and enjoy all of the goals I hit. I also decided to walk away from a job which changed many aspects of my budget and thinking. Onward, with a fresh clean start.

    Reply Like 3
  • I did a fresh start this year.  My previous data was from Nov 2013 to Dec 2017 and there were a lot of closed accounts and hidden and categories.  I did a fresh start for 2 reasons, to simplify my budget and to increase the speed of launching the budget.  I think I had so many transactions in my history that it was taking too long to load.  I will keep the previous budget for history.

    Reply Like 1
  • I've just done a fresh start. I wasn't going to do it as I like to see the historical data, but as I use another application to keep all my historical data I decided to do it for a number of reasons:

    1. A general tidy up. Some of the categories and accounts are from before I retired and priorities were different. Doing a fresh start has enabled me to get rid of some of the old accounts and unused, hidden categories.

    2. Doing  fresh start, in a way, safeguards the data that has accrued in the original budget as it has been archived and I feel comfortable doing that every couple of years. I do feel a little nervous sometimes of screwing up the budget and with no backup option, archiving it seems to be a good way to get around that, although I appreciate it is no substitute by any means.

    Doing the fresh start was easy enough, just had to put in all the starting balances and set the budget values as they were in at the close of the old budget and Bob's your uncle. :-)

    Reply Like 1
      • ChicagoFlyer
      • Making the best of what's around
      • chicgoflyr
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      alexmidd I honestly had to look up "Bob's your Uncle" as I have never heard that phrase!!
      Seriously, I was like how do they know I have an uncle Bob? (two actually) 馃槀馃槀

      Reply Like 3
  • Had to look it up also.  Interesting, had never heard it before.  

    Did a fresh start when coming over to nYNAB last year, because it was my only option.  Overall, was happy with the results.  Today I also like watching the progress graph and would hate to lose that information.  When I get to a point of feeling too comfortable, or things get slow, or to clean up would probably do a fresh start.  It's a personal choice and I chose to stick with what works.  

    Single here and liked your idea of using this as an opportunity to get your wife on board with the budget.  That alone might be a good reason to do a fresh start.  

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  • Instead of doing a Fresh Start and losing all historical data (I didn't know it wiped it, so glad I havent' done it yet!) 鈥 what about just making another budget for the new year?  Would that keep all historical data and allow me to see LY transactions while putting all of this year's in a new budget?

    Reply Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Nina Birnbaum That's basically what a Fresh Start does. It doesn't wipe out your data. A fresh Start just creates a new budget of the same account and category structure but without any transactions. The old one still exists with all the data intact.

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  • nolesrule many posters above and elsewhere have said they lose their historical data with a fresh start, so now I鈥檓 confused. How does it work? Are all transactions saved, but you just can鈥檛 edit them? what about monthly budget numbers?

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Nina Birnbaum The historical data is not in their new ongoing budget when you do a Fresh Start. So from that point of view they lose the continuity of the historical data. The data itself is not lost, it's just in a different budget. And you can still access the old budget and the transaction data and reporting, and they are editable, so you could always go back to the old budget and continue if you change your mind about a fresh start (though the longer you wait to go back, the more work it would be to make up the data entry).

      Reply Like 3
  • For those doing a fresh start make sure your open the archived budget and delete all scheduled transactions.  If you do not do that and say open the archived budget several months later then all of those scheduled transactions will be there waiting for you approval.  I made that mistake when I did a fresh start at the beginning of the year.

    Reply Like 4
      • pepperpat
      • pepperpat
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      ynaber2613 Thanks for this tip! I'm planning to do my first FS and cancelling the recurring transactions would never have occurred to me.

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  • Thank you ynaber2613 ! Does a fresh start maintain all your budget accounts and any postive or negative balances in them? And does it transfer the balances in all your money accounts, or do starting balances have to be entered for everything?

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    • Hi Nina Birnbaum !

      When you do a Fresh Start, your accounts will have a $0.00 balance. You can reconnect direct import or manually change your starting balances to get things back up and running! :)

      Reply Like 1
  • How do you make the fresh start budget the primary budget, so it is the one that automatically pops up when you log in?  Right now, my old budget automatically populates.

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      • Jannelle
      • jannelle_ynabsupport
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Hi Khaki Keyboard !

      That typically happens if you have a bookmark set up to point directly to a specific budget. Try logging in directly to https://app.youneedabudget.com. That should bring you straight to your most recent budget (if you have that setting enabled in My Account). 

       

      Then you can bookmark that link instead. 馃槉

      Reply Like
  • I fresh start on Jan 1. I just like the idea of starting fresh each new year

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  • My budget was no longer inspiring me and I wasn't assigning spending to the most accurate categories. After reconciling last month, I sat back and realised that I no longer understood what was happening with my money anymore. So I started a brand new budget with brand new categories, and kept my old budget for the stats. It's been fantastic!!! Feel renewed and refreshed to start aggressively going after all my goals again.

    Reply Like 2
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