Copying or duplicating a budget

Is there a way to copy or duplicate a budget?  Sometimes, I want to try some what if scenarios, but do not want to mess with my active budget.  I have resorted to creating a new blank budget but often that is not enough since there is no history to test.  This is also the issue with the fresh start option as it zeroes everything out.

thanks.

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  • Yes, I would really like this feature as well.  It would be incredibly useful to add a new feature similar to the "Start Fresh" one that can be used for a what-if scenario.

    Like 3
  • They should allow you to load a previously saved export file, that way you could start a budget from any save point in the past.

    Like 2
  • Hi Grey Hagermaniac ynaber2613

    There isn't an option to automatically carryover that information. You can choose to Export Budget Data, which saves your budget in CSV form, and then Import that file into a new budget, as ynaber2613 mentioned. However, the categories won't carryover, so you'd need to clean up your transactions before starting those What-If scenarios.

    If you haven't already, take a second to fill out a Feature Request! Those go directly to our development team so they know what you'd like to see in the future! :)

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      • Eric
      • cire
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness 

      I’ve just submitted this as a feature request, but I figured I would post here too. Here is an alternative to allowing users to replicate their own budgets for testing things out: an official YNAB sample budget. Here are my thoughts in a reddit post: http://reddit.com/r/ynab/comments/8wve88/does_ynab_have_an_official_sample_budget/

      Any idea if something like this would ever be considered by the YNAB team? Seems like a no-brainer that YNAB would want to give their users an easier way to learn, test, and share. 

      Like 1
      • Grey
      • grey
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness I see where I can Export Budget Data, but I haven't found the Import function.  Does this exist?  I read ynaber2613's comment as "It's too bad, it is not possible to import the file".  If this feature already exists, it would definitely meet my needs.

      Like 1
      • Grey
      • grey
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Grey - edit:  Actually, I just noticed that I can import at the account level.  this is a start, although it was rather time consuming to address each account and then update all the budget categories.

      Like 1
    • Eric Thank you for sharing and submitting that feature request! We actually have talked about introducing a sample budget! However, this is still early in discussion - we don't have any concrete plans for implementation. The thread you shared has a great amount of detail - thank you for posting!  :)

      Grey I meant to include a link to the details on File Based Importing - sorry about that! As you mentioned, it's possible, but the clean up takes a while so it isn't the easiest process.

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  • You can start a fresh budget and it will duplicate the categories in a new budget. Then go into account and import the transactions.

    Like 1
  • Not sure if this has been answered yet but it looks like you can just bulk select the budget categories in the NEW month and look for the button that says "budgeted last month".   

    Like 1
    • Hi Sea Green Disk !

      Yes, the Quick Budget options are the best way to auto-fill your budget with amounts based on previous month's data. :)

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  • I would also like to duplicate / copy budget. If there's no feature to copy the existing budget, is there a way to "Fresh Start" so I've got a new budget with all my info, but still have access to the original? Hope that makes sense. Basically I want to take my existing budget and split it into two separate budgets, so I've got one for regular household expenses and the other for debt payments.

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    • Silver Inspector What do you expect to gain by separating your budgets? 

      There are other degrees of separation that are more useful: category groups, tracking accounts.  What are you not liking about your current set up?

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    • Move Light Sound Life hi, what I'm trying to gain is ability to budget the way YNAB seems like its designed to work, for people that have sufficient inflow to cover their expenses. The issue I've been having is that with a bunch of credit cards and a couple of loans I owe on, I can't properly budget for the things that are supposed to get the user on track. For example, I can't budget properly for immediate obligations, true expenses and quality of life when there's credit card and loan payments due too. I manually created a second budget for strictly debt, and I'll have a category in my primary budget for debt. It'll get funded with whatever's left over after budgeting for everything else. Then I'll enter that as inflow in the debt budget and distribute as I can across the debts. I'll try to operate it like a DIY debt management program.

      Having them all mixed together in one budget is not only confusing, but it makes it nearly impossible to budget for the things that are more important, (like housing, food, gas, etc), and the things that are proven to help age money and plan for true expenses. It would be super cool if the two budgets could communicate with each other.

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    • Silver Inspector If you want them to talk to each other, you can put the loans/CCs as tracking accounts on your main budget.  This will keep them separate, with your budget just for living expenses/true expense savings.  Your idea of having a debt category and then distributing that among your debt accounts is good.  The way you would distribute it is by making a payment from checking to debt account (category: debt), and this will show up in your reports as progress.

      I would get frustrated with your above setup (separate budgets - I would mess things up on one end or the other, through silly mistakes), but if it gives you calm sanity, go for it.  Once you feel more comfortable, try the tracking account idea.  I think you'll enjoy seeing your progress in the reports.  Good luck!

      P.S. If you need a tool to determine which debt to pay when, and how much, I'm not sure that a parallel YNAB budget can provide that (if someone else knows to the contrary, great!). I've heard good things about undebt.it, but I'm a spreadsheet kind of person. In any case, I'd reference some sort of outside list/data to determine how much of a payment to make to each debt. If all you need is a balance that reflects interest and payment changes, a tracking account will do that for you (I put in transactions manually, but I think you can link those).

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    • Move Light Sound Life thx. Yup that's how I've had the credit cards and loans setup in the main budget, but its way too confusing. The interest & fees category keeps growing and showing I need to allocate funds to it, then if I use a credit card but don't budget funds to it to pay it off immediately, I get notifications on my phone all day long from YNAB saying I'm overspent. Its how its supposed to work and I'll leave a couple of credit cards in the main budget to use that feature, but the software is really geared for people who aren't in debt.

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    • Silver Inspector 

      Silver Inspector said:
      The interest & fees category keeps growing

       If it's doing that, then your debt accounts are not set up as tracking accounts. They're budget accounts. 

      Try taking them off-budget.  Turn them into tracking accounts by making a new tracking account and selecting all transactions. Use the edit menu to move all transactions to the new, off-budget tracking account. If you've linked your institutions, you may need to unlink the old budget accounts and relink the new tracking accounts.

      Note: This is still in your main budget file in YNAB, which is how the reports will work right.

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    • Move Light Sound Life thank you so much! I didn't know that was an option, I just selected the credit card and line of credit options when setting up the accounts.  I'm in it now, but it looks like there's no way to take them off budget i.e.; can't change the account from budget to tracking. I'll need to setup the old accounts like new accounts I believe, unless there's another way to go about it let me know. Thanks again!

      Like 1
    • Silver Inspector Yes, you can't change the accounts themselves, but you can make new ones and then copy all the old transactions over, like I said above. 

      I do want you to know that it would be a bad idea to spend from a tracking account, as there's no budgetary accountability there. But, since you were trying to separate things, this will work better for you. Keep us posted!

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  • Silver Inspector said:
    but the software is really geared for people who aren't in debt.

    You keep saying this and I just don't get it. How is clearly identifying the categories where you are overspent proving that the software is not meant for people in debt? Right now your outgoings exceed your incomings and having red and yellow categories is merely a representation of that fact. It's telling you that the best thing to do is to cover those overspendings. Except you can't right now, which obviously isn't where you'd like to be on your financial journey, but it is the reality. So fine, ignore them. It's not like the software is locked until you have enough money to turn all the categories green.

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