Fresh start vs new budget

I recently bought a house and I ended up with spending money on things like a lawn mower, moving expenses, etc. As a result I am struggling with how to much to allocate for categories because a number of the average amount budgeted amounts are quite large to what I will be spending now that I am moved in and somewhat settled. I cannot seem to get a handle on how to fund some categories and looking at my past spending is not helpful because it does not represent how I should be spending now. I also get a bit freaked out when I see the average spent, even though I try to remember there are some outlier expenses that will not be happening again.  And from a statistical point of view, outliers play havoc when calculating averages. I am thinking I should just start over, but I am not sure if I should do a Fresh Start or a New Budget.

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  • I know how you feel CMK. my lifestyle has changed so much over the past 18 months that it looks nothing like it did then! I thought about doing the same as yourself but then I decided to stick to one of the YNAB rules of "roll with the punches" I just adapt my YNAB and catagories to keep it up to date. I don't look so much at the average spent etc, but I do tend to look at the Reports section. Namely Net worth. As long as that's headed in the right direction I stay happy :)

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  • Just stop looking at the past averages.  Make your best guess at what you need to budget for those categories going forward.  If future experience shows you budgeted too much, you can reduce the monthly amount and move the funds to somewhere that you need them more.  If experience shows you budgeted too little, you will be in the familiar position of having to both increase the monthly amount budgeted (and figure out what else needs to be reduced) and find funds in other parts of the budget to cover the expenses you underestimated.

    There is no good way for software to help you with this.  You just have to do the best you can on your own, and make corrections as soon as you see which direction your initial estimate is off.  This will be true regardless of whether you start a new budget or continue with your existing budget.

    You would continue with your existing budget (or do a fresh start) if you've done a lot of customization work for your particular situation and much of it still applies to your new lifestyle.  You would start a new budget if you envision it looking radically different than your existing budget and it seems easier to build the new vision from scratch than by modifying what you have now.

    Good luck!

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  • Thank you. I was trying to get a sense of a budget that captures what is aligned with my new budgeting needs, but you are correct, I can figure that out without doing a fresh start or creating a new budge. Rather like learning to use your budget categories as a guide to spending, not what is in your checking account (especially when you set aside money each month for a large bill you know is down the road and you know your checking account can only tell you how much is in it and not where it is being allocated). Anyway, thank you again.

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