Target Category by Date (True Expenses)


So I have a few of the above category for things like car or home insurance that I know are due this year.  However they are not working as I expect. For example I know that I need to raise £246.87 by the end of July 2019.  (bit late for this now I know!).


If I was to allocate £100 to it for July's budget, it is already saying I have budgeted "£141.15". Which I assume it is getting from previous months.


But the reality is that I don't trust it as I didn't have a spare £141.15 at the start of the month.  Not sure what I am suppose to do with them to be honest now. 


Also is it a good idea to create a saving goal to put these into? (Monzo and Starling bank) offer this.



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  • If you can't trust your available amounts, you need to fix that first:

    1. Check that your TBB = 0.  If it's not, make it so.

    2. Reconcile your accounts (I mean make sure all transactions in YNAB match your bank's records; the "adjustment transaction" is supposed to be a last resort).

    3. The money in your savings accounts is included in your budget.  If you want to use it for specific savings, like an emergency fund or car repair category, make sure the appropriate amounts are in those categories.  If it turns out that you then can't fund other things in your budget because there's not enough, you have decide what is more important (probably the insurances that are due).

    4. The Target by Date goal looks at what's available from previous months (it must be correct) as well as what you've already budgeted this month to determine your progress.  If it's due at the end of July, and you don't have any available from June, you'll likely have to budget the whole thing in one go.  But then you can set it up for the next bill (6 months? 12 months?) and have a much lower monthly contribution.

    5. Don't worry about your accounts matching your categories.  When I transitioned to using YNAB, I tried to maintain the alignment because I was trying to see if I could trust how YNAB worked.  I can. :)  Think of the categories like an overlay of all your bank accounts.  If you have to pay a $246 bill from a category that is "savings," but you have $2000 in checking and only plan on spending another 1200 before your next paycheck, you don't even have to move the $246 from savings to checking.  The money pays the bill, and you know you won't accidentally take from another category.  For more info, read this.

    6. If you're still having issues, ask again!  Hope it helps.

    Like 2
    • Move Light Sound Life Thanks I understand most of that but what does TBB mean?

    • Sky Blue Hail thanks for your help but there must be a really basic way I can look at my current Checking balance (which is correct ) then look at the true expenses and work out if I actually have that money saved surely? 

    • Sky Blue Hail I would rather have the money for True Expenses in a different savings account. 

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      Sky Blue Hail 

      Sky Blue Hail said:
      thanks for your help but there must be a really basic way I can look at my current Checking balance (which is correct ) then look at the true expenses and work out if I actually have that money saved surely? 

       You save money by budgeting it to a category and then not spending it. Account balances don't tell you anything about whether you've saved money, they just tell you where the money is.

      So as long as your categories are accurate and not negative, and your accounts are accurate (because your budget is made of the same money that is in yuor accounts), your budget will tell you exactly how much you've saved.

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    • Sky Blue Hail 

      TBB is To Be Budgeted. 

      When you start, you tell YNAB how much money you have in your accounts. YNAB puts that money in the Inflow: TBB category, and that number appears in green at the top of your screen to show you that you have that money available to make a plan with.

      Then, you make a plan (budget, give dollars jobs) by filling up your categories to match your priorities. The basic way to do this is by typing in the budgeted column of each category. Whatever money you put in the category sits in there as "available" until you spend it or move it elsewhere. 

      Sometimes that spending happens in the same month: you budget $200 for groceries, and each time you buy groceries, your available amount in groceries decreases. 

      Some categories (like 6 month insurance premiums) are not intended to be spent until a certain date. In that case you put your $50 in each month, and it rolls over since you're not using it. The available amount should always equal the previous month's available, plus whatever you budgeted this month.

      As you budget the money that's available To Be Budgeted (in the top banner), the goal is to make the TBB number zero, which would mean you have a plan for what you're going to do with every dollar you have. 

      Then, when you get paid, TBB will show the amount of your paycheck. You repeat the process of making the plan and using it.

      Is that better? I learned by watching some of the videos - that might help you if you can see the mechanics while someone is using the terminology and explaining the effects in the software.

    • Sky Blue Hail If you're used to saving for specific things by having an account for that purpose, you can certainly structure your accounts however you like. You MUST, however, have a category for each of the things you're saving for. You look at the category balances to determine how much you saved (and how much should be in the savings account, subsequently {see how much extra work this is?}).  YNAB is all about the categories. 

      As I said, you can do it that way, but it's a royal pain to try to match accounts to categories. It's also not as efficient for workflows or earning interest. I did it that way for 3 months while I figured out how YNAB worked. I needed a check in place to make sure I wasn't forgetting anything and that YNAB was working as expected. 

      Please read the article I linked above. It will make your life so much simpler. Just make sure you're using the categories and TBB correctly!

  • What makes you think you don't have that 141.15? As long as there is no red in the budget (either categories or TBB), you do, in fact, have it.

    That's the entire point of YNAB -- to make a plan for every one of your dollars. In fact, there should NOT be any "spare" money, because it should all be in categories that define an intended purpose (e.g., car insurance, Rent, Groceries, etc.)

    (I'm assuming your YNAB accounts match those of the real world. If not, then fix/reconcile that first.)

    Like 1
  • If you budgeted in June or previous money, that money rolls over and is seen in available.  You can still budget in July, but the July budgeted is just added to previous months.  So if you budgeted 100 this month and the total available is 141 and change, previous months budgeted should total 41 and change.  

  • Sky Blue Hail said:
    work out if I actually have that money saved surely? 

    Money is saved if it's in the category. Move it to a savings account if you want, but that doesn't change the category.

    Spending is a 2-stop process when you have more than one deposit account on budget:

    1. Can I afford this? Check the category balance. If not enough there, but it's a priority, then move from a lower priority category.

    2. Can I use this payment method? Check the account balance. Transfer from other account(s) if necessary or pick a different payment method.

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