How to track an expense that recurs weekly but is paid monthly

As stated in the title, I have an expense that recurs weekly, but that I pay in advance for the upcoming month. Recurring transactions don't seem to work very well for this, and budgeting for it is also a bit problematic at best.

I'm wondering if it may be worth my while to set up this particular expense as if it were a separate account entirely. Does this make sense? And if so, what type of account should it be?

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  • How many transactions actually come out of your checking account or credit card? That's what should be reflected in YNAB. If you're paying once a month, what's weekly about it?

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  • This is how I imagine it. Let's say I had a housekeeper come weekly but I pay in advance. I would the full monthly amount to the housekeeping category. Whichever account it is being paid out of, I would create a weekly recurring outflow. 

    So at the beginning of November, for example, I'd have a fully funded housekeeping category of $200 let's say.

    Then, each week, there would be an outflow transaction in my (checking or credit card... you pick) account for $50.

    Meanwhile, through the month of November, with each paycheck, I'd fund my housekeeping category for December. 

    I hope this helps.

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      amp97 YNAB should match reality: if there is only one actual outflow, your budget shouldn’t have fake outflows. The money is gone when you hand over the $200 pre-payment.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      amp97 YNAB isn't accrual accounting. All that matters is you have enough money in the category when you need to spend the money.

      If you have something weekly, then you will want to budget 4 and 1/3 weeks each month so that when you hit a 5-week month you have the money in the category (52 weeks divided by 12 months). Since the lengths of months are irregular and a 5-week month may not happen exactly every 3 months, you will  need to keep an eye on the category to make absolutely sure you have enough.

      The other solution is to budget for 4 week months, and in the 4 months where you have to pay for the extra week, budget 125% of the monthly amount instead.

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    • amp97 That's basically the situation:  it's a service that happens weekly but that I pay in advance once a month. I was hoping to be able to automate the amount to some extent so that I don't have to think about it (ideally just look at the amount in YNAB and then write a check for that amount), but I guess budgeting 4.33 weeks is about as automatic as it's going to get.

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      • amp97
      • amp97
      • 2 yrs ago
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      Sea Green Elk If you pay once a month, then there would only be one outflow transaction like the others have commented. So with the same housekeeping situation mentioned above, you would fund the account for the $200 and when it is time to write the check, you'd make an outflow transaction for $200.

      I've been using YNAB since YNAB3, and this is what I do. Each payday, I fund a little bit (equal amounts) to my bill categories for the following month so that next month it is fully funded and I don't have to worry. 

      You are correct that recurring transactions don't work well for this (it only would if the outflow was actually weekly). You can put a note in that budget category of how much to budget each payday to make it easier to remember how much to fund.

      Personally, I hate budgeting off numbers ... $4. 33 for example. I prefer to budget whole numbers, so I would budget $5. Then, with the leftover "change" after the transaction occurs, I move it to a fun category (vacation, fun money, etc.).

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