Credit Card "Payment" negative after paying statement balance

I am having an issue I don't understand.  

At the end of every month we create a budget for the next month using the money we earned in the month that just passed.  This way we always know that we won't overspend our means.

There is a problem with the way YNAB (or we) handle the credit card section however.  All of our sections throughout the month are happy and green.  Except the CC section which turns red immediately after I pay off my CC statement every month.  From what I have read on these forums, that is because the money I am spending on the CC bill is not budgeted for in this month.  Which is true...I budgeted for those expenses last month! I thought that YNAB carried category funds forward into the new month and that this would not be a problem.  Is this not the case?  Does YNAB not understand that my CC bill payment would be pulling from the previous month's Green categories? 

Am I doing this wrong. 

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  • I'm having this same problem, or what I think is the same problem! I will pay off my credit card but often times YNAB will give me the below attached message. But this message is impossible. Every single purchase comes out of a category therefore it is impossible that I don't have the money budgeted! For every transaction I list a category, I have no uncategorized transactions. All of my categories have enough funds to support all of my transactions. Therefore how is it possible that my credit card payment was greater than what I had available in my budget. That doesn't make mathematical sense. Someone help please?

    Reply Like 1
  • This is a list of most ways your credit card account and credit card payment category can get out of sync if you are a "Paid In Full" credit card user:

    • starting balance on a paid-in-full card not budget for - category is lower
    • overspending in a spedning category - category is lower
    • uncategorized transactions - category is lower
    • outgoing transfers to other on-budget accounts (e.g., gift card account, mixed funding splits) - category is lower
    • purchase/cash-back rewards (should be categorized to TBB) - category is higher
    • categorizing item returns as TBB (should use the original spending category instead) - category is higher
    • reconciliation adjustment - category is lower for an outflow adjustment, higher for an inflow adjustment
    • taking the account balance positive - category should be $0 in this case

    There are also some additional issues with returns. If you've spent on multiple cards in a category and have a return, the algorithm will sometimes select the wrong card for the return.

    Also, if you make a return on a purchase that you've already made the payment on, it can cause issues as well.

    Reply Like
      • Zellman
      • Green_Clarinet.1
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule For the "starting balance" one, does that mean starting balance for the month? As in: to fix it I need to pay off my credit card balance on the last day of every month so that it is 0 on the first of the budget month.  

      Currently I pay my statement balance in full every time, but that means I am paying for the previous month's budget expenses in the new month. 

      So, is the solution to my problem to ignore the due dates and statement balances for my credit card, and instead pay the whole balance down on the last day of every month regardless? 

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Zellman No, that refers to the balance on your card when you started using YNAB. Any balance on the card when you first started using YNAB was before you had a budget, and therefore the purchases that made up that balance were not budgeted.

      So in order to reserve money in your budget to make the payment on that initial card balance, you would have to budget money to the credit card payment category.

      A Pay In Full credit card user should have the Payment Available amount equal the card balance at all times.

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      • Zellman
      • Green_Clarinet.1
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule Ok then that and the rest of the things you mentioned do not describe my situation.  

      In my budget, all of the expenses are covered, yet, because I am paying my credit card bill from last month in this month it goes crazy and thinks I've overpaid with unbudgeted money, which is not true, I budgeted for all of those expenses in the previous month.  This is very frustrating. 

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Zellman The month crossover shouldn't make a difference. If the money was reserved in the previous month for the payment, it will still be reserved in the next month and new budgeted purchases will only increase it.

      If the Payment amount doesn't match the card balance in the current month, then it's definitely caused by one or more of the items I mentioned above.

      Reply Like
      • Zellman
      • Green_Clarinet.1
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule I agree the month crossover "shouldn't" make a difference, that was my assumption as well.  But the way the math is working (see my post with the picture below) seems to indicate that the budget section of YNAB treats my CC payment for last month as applying to the current month's CC charges. 

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    • Zellman this is exactly my issue. Is there a fix for this? I pay my CC off on the 12th of each month for the previous month which has already beeb budgeted for from last month's categories. Grrrr. Frustrating because it is now affecting my ability to budget for April.

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  • can you post some screen shots?  I have never had this problem.  My green available is always = to my cc balance.  When I paid it, the green available goes to 0 and everything is happy.  If I actually carried a balance and paid more than what was available, it would yell at me because I didn't put anything into the budget column

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      • Zellman
      • Green_Clarinet.1
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      King Sure: 

      So those circled numbers appear right after I pay my CC statement.  I've done the math.  They are exactly the difference between what I paid for my last month's CC, and what I have put on my CC so far this month.  

      EX: On my quicksilver card, I charged ~627 to my card from Jan 29 through Feb 28.  I paid that amount on March 20th when I got my bill.  However, since Feb 28 I have put ~403 of budgeted expenses on my CC.  So YNAB appears to think I have paid $627 but only budgeted $403, leaving that -$223.54.  If I go to the store today and buy groceries that negative number goes down (??!).  This is confusing behavior since my CC payments for previous month's budgeted charges shouldn't be affecting this month's budget but should be applied to last month's budget (where those charges were actually covered by budgeted funds).  So, essentially.  It appears YNAB counts this money twice, once when I budget it initially, and again when I "overpay" my credit card.  

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Zellman Are you sure that you budgeted for your initial starting balances when you started using YNAB and first set up the accounts?

      What were the original starting balance transaction amounts for your cards, and how much did you add to the Budgeted cell in the first month?

      Reply Like
      • Zellman
      • Green_Clarinet.1
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule Hm...So looking back to when we started, I don't remember what our starting balances were, but that could have been it, I guess.  

      I'll try restarting our budget and be rigorous in budgeting for our starting balances.  It is probably time to do that anyway so we can incorporate what we have learned in the last 8 months.  Just turn it off and turn it back on again. 

      Reply Like
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 11 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Zellman 

      Assuming that the problem was not budgeting the initial cc balance to the payment line, and since you're thinking of doing a fresh start anyway, why don't you experiment with trying to fix this by adjusting your first month to see if that resolves the entire sequence of negatives?  Go back to the first month, and whatever your negative amount in the cc payment line is for that month, add that amount to the budget cell for the cc. This could resolve all the cc negatives through the months.

      Now, keep in mind that doing this will cause your first month to go overbudget because the amount that should have been budgeted to cc payment was budgeted to another category(ies).  So if you see the TBB go negative, that is not a failure to fix the situation. It just takes care of the first error.  The second part is to use the move money tool to reduce a category(ies) by the amount necessary to return the TBB to zero.

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  • Zellman  So I can think of a few scenarios where this might occur.  Unfortunately, look at your post payment screen shots isn't that helpful.  It would be more helpful to look at prepayment screen shots.  If you are a full payment on CC kind of person then this is the scenario that should play out

    prepayment

    CC Balance $100 | Budgeted:0.00 | Activity:-100.00 | Available: $100.00

    post payment 

    CC Balance $0 | Budgeted:0.00 | Activity:-100.00 | Available: $0

    now activity might not always equal because you have refunds...but available should not go red.

    So the first scenario where available goes red is the beginning balance thing.  To check this is easy, just look at the first line in the register

    If you have a beginning balance, it might look like

    prepayment

    CC Balance $150 | Budgeted:0.00 | Activity:-100.00 | Available: $100.00

    post payment 

    CC Balance $50 | Budgeted:0.00 | Activity:-100.00 | Available: $-50

    You've been carrying debt forward and it's negative.  To fix this, add the amount to budgeted.  Now if you don't actually have an old balance, here's another scenario that might cause this.

    Do you have any TRANSFER OUT from your CC.  

    Here's an example:

    You have a paypal account.  When you buy something you get a transaction hit on your paypal and then because you used CC as your payment you also have a transaction hit on your CC.  You record the hit on your CC as a transfer out to Paypal and record the spend hit on your paypal.  The Transfer Out results in funds not going to the AVAILABLE spot in your CC so when you pay it, it thinks you're overpaying.  Check for transfer outs and if there are any in your history, that might account for the negative.  

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  • Hey  Zellman !

    It looks like this may have already been answered for you, but in case it helps,  here is a video working through some reasons for a red CCP category! 

    Let us know how that fresh start goes. 😊

    Reply Like 1
      • Orchid Sun
      • Orchid_Sun.5
      • 2 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Jannelle This video solved my CC problems I've been carrying around for 2 years!  Thank you!!!!

      Reply Like 3
  • This CC thing is absolutely driving me crazy. I love YNAB but I don't know if I have the energy to keep messing with this (my son and his wife are having the same issue). The CC should NEVER show red--when I use my categories to buy and pay for things with the credit card. I never put anything on my credit card that I don't have in that category. UGGGGGGG

    Reply Like
    • HezthePez How long have you been using YNAB? The most common reason for the credit card category showing red is that you didn't budget to pay the starting balance on the card.

      Reply Like 2
    • HezthePez If you click on the amount in your Activity column it should tell you how much of your spending was budgeted for. If all of it was budgeted for, then it's most likely overspending in a previous month or not budgeting for the starting balance on the card.

      If you aren't able to find the culprit, I'd be more than happy to take a closer look! If you’re up for it, go ahead and enable Support Access for your account. Once you’ve done that, let me know—and mention whether you’d like to continue the discussion here or via email instead. :)

      Reply Like
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