How do I resolve this (budgeted cat + auto transfer)

When I first started YNAB, I had some accounts kept off-the-record (I don't use them, they are just holding tanks for escrow). I made a budgeted category so that I made sure to put the money aside - each week $250 is taken out of my main checking and sent to the savings account.

I've since added in this savings account and set up recurring transactions to transfer the $250 each week. As you can see in the pic, I still have the amount budgeted as a line-item so that I set the money aside.

How do I:

1) Fix this so that it properly reflects in my total account amount? I'm obviously off, now, since it's double-counting (maybe - with so many moving parts in this account it's hard to tell).

2) Simultaneously record a transfer while *also making sure* to budget for the money to be taken out, each week?

 

Thanks!

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  • If this account was only for your Escrow then when you added the account on budget, you should have assigned all the money to your Escrow category. And every week you will continue to add $250 to the budget category and the balance will build and build. Whether you continue to do the transfers from checking to savings is entirely optional. I'm not saying don't put money in your savings account, I'm actually saying maybe put more. If your average outgoings each month are $5000, I would say any money over $5,750 (or maybe $6000 if you like round numbers) should be in a savings account. If you have a big credit card bill to pay, you'll have at least 21 days notice to move funds back to your savings account.

    Reply Like
  • I don't carry credit card debt and I have several other accounts where this theory can apply to - I just posted one example. 

    I understand assigning all the money to the one category to start (more on that next paragraph)...but if I both budget and do the transfers doesn't that double count? Maybe not. It's really hard for me to see this with a birds-eye view. In essence that is what I am doing now but it seems off. In fact, the account has like 9K in it, but my "available" is 10K.

    So since I didn't do it that way to start, how can I fix this? It might just be best to delete this particular savings account and start over/re-add it back in as if it was new. But need to figure out my question above, first.

    Reply Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Lauren E Transfers between 2 on budget accounts have absolutely zero impact on your budget.

      Reply Like
  • I get that in theory - but the account ledger is off exactly the amount I've been transferring over. 10K vs 9K with one month of transfers ($250x4). So something isn't working right here (either how I'm looking at it, or doing something). 

    Reply Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Lauren E If the account balance represents all the money you have saved for your escrow, then do whatever it takes to make the budget match by moving money in or out of the category.

      Reply Like 1
      • Lauren E
      • Powder_Blue_Python
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas I'm not sure where to move it from? It's all too confusing, which is why I initially kept everything separate but then everyone yelled at me. :)

      Reply Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Lauren E 

      Lauren E said:
      I'm not sure where to move it from?

       You move it from whatever category you choose. You are the one saying that the savings account balance is the definitive amount of your budget that is allocated to Escrow. And if the amount of the category in $1 or $1000 less than what is in the account then that means you have too much money in your other categories. So pick which one(s) and move the money out and into the Escrow category.

      Reply Like
      • Lauren E
      • Powder_Blue_Python
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas these are not 2 budgeted lines. My main account shows more than my "available" line. I'd have to, in essence, transfer it in. Which doesn't make much sense. 

      (and I know you can't actually tell me where to move it from, I'm just saying I think this is more convoluted than how it seems)

      Reply Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Lauren E I'm afraid I don't understand what you are asking. What do you mean by "these are not 2 budgeted lines". I've only been talking about a single budget category - your Escrow category. What do you mean by your "main account"? I thought we were talking about your savings account.

      How much is in the Taxes/Insurance category right now? What amount do you want it to be? Once you know those two things, do whatever is necessary in the left hand column to get the right hand column to equal the amount you want it to be. Then if you are determined to keep account balances match your category balances, do whatever transfer is necessary to get that account to equal that amount (do the transfer in real life and in the account register).

      Account balances and category balances are 2 completely separate things. I have 3 checking accounts, 3 savings accounts, 2 cash accounts, 1 gift card account, 4 CDs, an I bond account, and 8 credit card accounts on budget. The sum total of these accounts equals the total of my budget but I literally could not tell you where the $2000 in my Home Maintenance category is. It's in all of the accounts simultaneously.

      Reply Like
      • Lauren E
      • Powder_Blue_Python
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas Thanks. I've only been doing YNAB for a few months but realize many of you have been doing this forever. "Account" is just a generic term I was using because it IS an account to normal people. But it means something different here.

      I think the last poster has it right - I just need to create a fresh account to fix the history, not just "make it work however you need to to make it match". Hopefully, going forward, all will align.

      I realize this is quite easy for you, however, I have money moving automatically from several accounts each week...lots and lots of movement... and the best I can say is that I can tell something is off, but being new, I cannot explain the why (yet).

      Thanks for your time.

      Reply Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Lauren E There is nothing wrong with being new. Everyone was new once. But I will continue to push people to use the YNAB terms because it makes answering question go much faster when everyone is talking about the same thing. If you are talking about what you see on your budget screen but using the word account, it gets hard to answer the question because the folks answering are talking about the accounts down the left side of the screen.

      Reply Like
  • Lauren E said:
    I don't carry credit card debt

     I pay my statement balance in full on the due date and if I wanted to I could pay the account balance in full at any moment in time because my credit card payment category always equals my credit card account balance (but with an opposite sign). But when I replaced my HVAC last year for $8K, I had to move some money around in my accounts because I don't normally keep that much in my checking account. A high credit card bill does not necessarily equal credit card debt.

    Reply Like
      • Lauren E
      • Powder_Blue_Python
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas I know, I just didn't want to focus on the whole "rounding up" right now until I figure this out.

      Reply Like
  • Hi, Lauren E

    I have done historical revision in my budget.   This is how I would proceed with fixing those transfers so that they are shown as going to the savings account that is now on budget.

    First:  create a new on-budget savings account.

    Second:  do a search for all your previous transfers to the off-budget account.  I recommend you do this in the register of the on-budget account (chequing?) and filter by doing a search for the category name.  Once you have those transactions grouped on your screen, open each one and change the payee to read Transfer: [name of your on-budget savings account].  This will strip out the category and make it a transfer instead of a transaction. 

    When you are done doing the revisions, the off-budget savings account register should be empty. If it is, at this point it is safe to delete that account.

    Make sure to reconcile your on-budget savings account when you're done.

    After you do this, when you click on your budget screen, you will see that all those transferred funds for escrow are sitting in the budget category waiting to be put to work, presumably to pay escrow eventually.  This is correct.  Until you actually pay the escrow, the transaction or spending has not taken place. Transfers to different on-budget accounts have zero effect on the budget screen.

     

    Trying to both budget by account and use YNAB is convoluted and advanced busy work.  I'm not surprised that you find it confusing.  You would benefit from reading this YNAB article.  Please bookmark it and revisit it a few times. It will help.

    https://www.youneedabudget.com/the-relationship-between-your-budget-your-accounts-its-complicated/

    Reply Like
      • Lauren E
      • Powder_Blue_Python
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance Thank you very much. I also think it's best to start this single account fresh and just clear it all out. 

      I've read that article many time and do understand it. However, if I have, for example, $5000 deposited from my paycheck to be assigned and know that in the weeks upcoming until my next paycheck that $500 will be automatically transferred (automatic from bank to bank AND scheduled within YNAB), how do I plan for that with my TBB money? I've been assigning it to a budgeted line dedicated for it so that it's "gone" and I don't budget those dollars elsewhere, but that's how I got into this mess, I think.  I know it's not physically spent but I need it somehow designated so I don''t assign it elsewhere.

      Reply Like
      • WordTenor
      • Arranged the menu, the venue, the seating.
      • WordTenor
      • 1 mth ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Lauren E You’re exactly right that you mean to sequester the funds, and that in YNAB, you must budget them to a category to sequester them. The difference is that when you are using YNAB, budgeting to a category is *all* you need to do. 

      Prior to YNAB, you set aside funds by moving them to another physical location. That’s great; it means you’re already good at not spending all your money, which is the foundation of all good personal finance. Now, in YNAB, the categories replace those separate accounts. 

      How does this happen? Imagine that you have $1000 and you want to set that $500 aside for escrow. But you don’t have any othe accounts. You budget the $500, and split the rest between say, groceries, gas, and eating out. Because you use your budget to determine how much you can spend, you’ll spend no more than $500 on groceries, gas, and eating out. Even if those three categories are at $0, there will still be $500 sitting in your account—the money you budgeted for escrow. 

      Reply Like 3
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Lauren E If you have $5000 in your To Be Budgeted assign the $500 to your Taxes/Insurance category right away, don't wait for the transfer. In YNAB the minute you assign the money to your Taxes/Insurance category the money is saved for Taxes/Insurance. If you spend according to your category balances you will never accidentally spend that money on shoes. Now you may have to move money from one account to the next before the payment goes out, but the money itself exists in your budget.

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

      Lauren E 

      Ah.  You are using automated transfers. Okay.  That's actually a cash-flow question and not a budget question.

      After receipt of income, I budget it to zero by allocating to my categories, and that would include putting $500 to it's category.

      After I've budgeted, I then assess the balances in my accounts and decide if I need to make some transfers to/from savings based on how much I need to leave in chequing liquidity for the upcoming month.

      I use a monthly formula to know how much I want/need  in chequing at the start of each month:

      • my average monthly spending (my daily living categories: fuel, groceries, rent, utilities, etc.) +
      • any scheduled irregular annual transactions (I would include any auto transfers here)
      • + $1,000.

      My formula tells me if the amount in chequing is sufficient. If there's a lot more, the extra gets transferred to savings. If it's a lot less, I transfer from savings to chequing to meet the upcoming requirements.  The amount needed is different every month because my annual irregular stuff is different.  

      Reply Like
      • Lauren E
      • Powder_Blue_Python
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor One minor nuance - I 100% understand that I use YNAB as my one source of truth. But these funds ARE indeed moving to another account (higher interest earned). And it happens automatically from checking to savings in "real life" and as scheduled in YNAB. How would that change the explanation, if at all, then? Thank you!

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      • Lauren E
      • Powder_Blue_Python
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance Thanks - I need to digest this a bit. Appreciate it!

      Reply Like
      • Lauren E
      • Powder_Blue_Python
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas This is exactly what I do. The issue is that I'm not spending/saving out of one account...like you, I have many. The money is automatically transferred from bank to bank in real life (weekly) and then I also have weekly scheduled YNAB transactions reflecting the same. I know I sound like a broken record, sorry! But I'm tracking with you..there's just still one piece missing.

      I'm basically doing:

      1) Receive income as TBB. Assign to proper category for savings (in this case, escrow)

      2) Bank automatically transfer weekly amount to another bank in real life. 

      3) YNAB has these ^^ scheduled. I also have auto imports. One account shows transaction as outflow, one as inflow.

      4) Budgeted activity reflects all this properly, or so it seems.

      5) Available budget, however, does not match account balance

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

      Lauren E 

      Lauren E said:
      But these funds ARE indeed moving to another account (higher interest earned). And it happens automatically from checking to savings in "real life" and as scheduled in YNAB. How would that change the explanation, if at all, then? Thank you!

       Nothing changes. When you receive the income you budget it to the category and it is saved. Whether or not you transfer it to a different account is not relevant to the budget. It's only relevenat to your account balances. You could transfer money weekly or every two months and it wouldn't make a difference.

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

      Lauren E 

      You bet.  Letting go of budgeting by account was particularly difficult for me.  I also had all these automated transfers like yours.  The auto-transfers were necessary when I budgeted by account, but I was not entirely convinced that YNAB would work for me, so I was not willing to let them go.  Not letting go of the auto transfers made it harder to transition to YNAB methodology.  I can tell you that it made for some long review sessions at the computer.  Eventually, with the help of other YNABers and the article I linked, I was able to just let go of budgeting by account, and that's when I came up with my monthly liquidity formula.  If you are between month # 3 and month # 8, you are definitely following in my pattern.  Good luck.  Keep asking questions.

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

      Lauren E 

      Lauren E said:
      5) Available budget, however, does not match account balance

       If the account balance is correct and the budget isn't where you want it, change the budget. if the budget is correct and the account balance isn't where you want it, move money to/from the account.

      If you are trying to match budgeting and transfers, there will always be time when they are different because the transfer may not have happened yet, or may have already happened. I recommend to not bother matching them. Instead just keep what you need in checking and move the rest to savings when checking has too much money in it. If checking gets too low because you have a big expense coming up, move money from savings. Often that won't be necessary, because the checking account is frequently being replenished with new income.

      As has been pointed out, movement between the bank accounts is a cashflow management issue.

      Read this over and over till it sticks, because you are getting stuck on trying to make categories and accounts the same amount:

      The Relationship Between Your Budget & Your Accounts | You Need A Budget

      Reply Like 1
      • Lauren E
      • Powder_Blue_Python
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas LOL, I don't know - all I do know is I'm off exactly $1000 which equals $250x4. I guess I just need to leave it at that, because I can't figure out the disconnect. It's telling me I have 10K as "available" to spend when the account is only 9K. If I spent the full 10K there would be trouble.

      Reply Like
      • Lauren E
      • Powder_Blue_Python
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule Available shows 10K. Account shows 9K. I only make 4 deposits each month so they should mostly reconcile/there shouldn't be much of a timing issue.  I honestly don't see why the accounts and categories shouldn't match. I want to only spend what YNAB tells me to spend, but when it's telling me the Available is higher than what's in the account, that's where the questions come in.

      Before I added the account to YNAB, I just budgeted the weekly amount to a budget line. Then, the activity matched it. Available netted out to $0.

      Only when I added in the account to YNAB and set up scheduled transfers COMBINED with budgeting to a budget line did this start to go wonky in my eyes.

      (I'm on full month 3. Many months from now, I hope to look back at this question and think I was being ridiculous)

      Reply Like
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Lauren E Forget the deposits for a minute. Do you want $9k saved or $10k saved? Make a decision and move on. There really isn't a discrepancy that needs to be fixed here, since no money is missing.

      Reply Like 2
      • Lauren E
      • Powder_Blue_Python
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule Of course. But I don't want to have to adjust it each month. I will make the adjustment today, in any case.

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

      Lauren E You won't have to adjust each month. What you'll have to do is budget $500 from every check.

      Also, keep in mind that $250 every week is not the same as $1000/month. There will be 4 months throughout the year where there will be 5 weeks. So after one year, you will have $13k, not $12k.

      Reply Like 1
      • Lauren E
      • Powder_Blue_Python
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule Yes, this month is one such month (I get paid bi-weekly).  I'm currently budgeting the amount needed to cover what is automatically taken out between paychecks.

      I've cancelled the scheduled transactions within YNAB and deleted out the past "budgeted activity" to this account which occurred since I added it into YNAB. I believe this was causing doubling. This immediately rectified my accounts and all looks OK right now. I'll update the thread in a week or 2 once I know if this works.

      Thanks!

      Reply Like 1
  • Lauren E said:
    WordTenor One minor nuance - I 100% understand that I use YNAB as my one source of truth. But these funds ARE indeed moving to another account (higher interest earned). And it happens automatically from checking to savings in "real life" and as scheduled in YNAB. How would that change the explanation, if at all, then? Thank you!

    It doesn't change anything. The transfers happen in the background. My only suggestion is that if you get paid on say the 10th and 25th of the month and $500 of each paycheck goes to taxes and insurances, stop doing weekly transfers of $250 and just do transfers of $500 on the 11th and 26th (so your check has time to clear) and that will leave the money in the savings account for longer earning more interest.

    Reply Like
  • Lauren E said:
    LOL, I don't know - all I do know is I'm off exactly $1000 which equals $250x4. I guess I just need to leave it at that, because I can't figure out the disconnect.

     I hate the threading in this forum; I have no idea what you are replying to and also I was trying to fix a quote issue in one of my replies and ended up with a whole new reply. Anyway. You are off by $1000. Assuming that your accounts (actual accounts) are all up to date and accurate and that you have reconciled (I mean actually using the reconcile button, not just looking at the numbers), then the issue is in your budget categories. Literally the only thing you can do is manipulate your various categories until the Taxes/Insurance category equals what you want it to equal.

    Also, now that you have both accounts on budget, you bank is going to import the transfers and transactions and you are going to have to edit the payee info to fix this. I do 100% manual entry so I have no idea how to do this and someone else will have to tell you how to fix this.

    Reply Like
      • Lauren E
      • Powder_Blue_Python
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas Yes it gets confusing. And I'm  not sure how to use the quoting feature here so it's partially my fault too. Ironically, I own forums for a side business I run and I can easily navigate those, quotes and all. :)

      Yes, I can use the reconcile button on the account being transferred TO - it matches. My larger, more busy checking account matched a few days ago, not sure if it can be reconciled as of today.

      I have no problems with the editing the payee info, I've done that many times. I'll figure this out!

      Reply Like
  • Lauren E said:
    Only when I added in the account to YNAB and set up scheduled transfers COMBINED with budgeting to a budget line did this start to go wonky in my eyes.
    (I'm on full month 3. Many months from now, I hope to look back at this question and think I was being ridiculous)

     As noted in a different comment, I think some of your transfers may have imported as transactions. Move $1000 out of the category and into other categories as you see fit.

    Reply Like 1
  • Lauren E said:
    not sure if it can be reconciled as of today.

    Accounts can be reconciled any day because you are only comparing cleared to cleared. I reconcile probably every few days.

    Reply Like
      • Lauren E
      • Powder_Blue_Python
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas I know. :) I'm just saying without looking at it, that I know one can be reconciled and not the other. My Bank of America, unfortunately, doesn't break out the total with pending and without, so I have to take a calc and do that. The other account is all cleared so it's easier.

      Reply Like
  • Thank you everyone! I'm going to leave this open and will report back if the fix I just established works longer-term.

    Here is what I did:
    I've cancelled the scheduled transactions within YNAB and deleted out the past "budgeted activity" to this account which occurred since I added it into YNAB. I believe this was causing confusion. This immediately rectified my accounts and all looks OK right now. I'll continue to assign $ to the appropriate budgets and I'll update the thread in a week or 2 once I know if that solved it.

    Reply Like 1
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