How I Evened-out my Irregular Expenses
Depending on when you start using YNAB you might find yourself initially confronted with fast arriving due dates for irregular expenses you haven't had time to buffer for.
That's what happened to me when I started in March of this year. Almost immediately I was confronted with $1,200 of irregular expenses coming due within a month!
One of the major reasons I adopted YNAB was to reconcile my irregular expenses with my highly variable freelance income. I had to even-out those irregular cash flows as soon as I could. This is how I approached the problem for my HOA dues .
My HOA dues come due quarterly in April, July, October and December and the amount due is $600 per payment.
I set up each due date as a separate sub-category under HOA and funded each as follows:
April pmt: $600/2 = $300/month
July pmt: $600/5 = $120/month
Oct pmt: $600/8 = $75/month
Dec pmt: $600/10 = $60/month
When the April payment came due I paid it off and the following month (May) I started budgeting for April's payment for NEXT year (2019), funding it as $600/12 = $50/month. I will do the same when each of the other payments comes due.
I did this for all my irregular expenses categories.
It will cost me several thousand dollars out of my emergency fund and take the rest of 2018 to accomplish but I believe the goal is a worthy one and decided to bite the bullet now.
Starting in 2019 I'll be able to collapse the HOA account into a single sub-category of True Expenses funded at ($600 X 4 pmts) / 12 = $200/month.
I'm curious why you did it that way. You should be able to budget $200/month for HOA, once you get past the first quarterly payment, which you have now done. You seem to be saving too much up front for this quarterly expense, while needlessly depleting your emergency fund in favor of having too much in your category.