Reconciliation threw off my budget

So I have been using YNAB for about a month, and I'm noticing some drift in my account balances from reality. I cannot pinpoint it, it seems to have all of my transactions, but for whatever reason there is drift. Maybe because it got the dates wrong from some old transactions that cleared after I started, but I decided today to reconcile and move one. I reconciled my checking account, which YNAB was showing as having exactly 500 more than I really do. I couldn't find an uncleared or innacurate transaction, so I allowed it to add a Balance Reconciliation transaction. YNAB automatically categorized this as "Inflow To Be Budgeted" and now my budget is in the red for 500 bucks. It says I must choose a category for this transaction. What do I do? I can't delete it, and no matter what category I pick it puts me in the red. I want both a balanced budget and no little orange flags threatening me that I need to add categories.

 

Help.

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  • If you have less in your checking account than YNAB thought you had, then your budget will also have less when you fix the checking account, because the money in your budget is the same as the money in your accounts.

    You'll need to remove money from multiple categories (negative budget) in order to bring your budget back to zero.

    Like 4
  • I don't like your answer. It may be true, but I  don't like it.

    I thought reconciliation was more like an error to be fixed. I still have all of the money that I thought I did, I still paid all of my bills, and I still have the same amount left to save. But YNAB lost track of something. I can't really take money away from my other categories because I've already spent them. I have already moved the unspent funds for the month into savings. I guess what I'm saying is that I just want to "reset" my checking balance and not do all of budgeting again from scratch. Is that an option?

    Like 3
  • Forest Green Storm said:
    I have already moved the unspent funds for the month into savings.

     ...it's February 7th! What do you mean "all the unspent funds for the month"?

    Your savings account should be on budget anyway, so it shouldn't matter what you did with that money. Your checking account balance being that far off means you budgeted $500 you don't have. It's impossible that it's not in your budget; the budget doesn't work that way. You have $500 of positive money somewhere or $500 worth of overspent categories or you couldn't be $500 overbudget. 

    Like 2
      • SudoJim
      • Forest_Green_Storm
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor Yes, I get paid at the beginning of the month, and monthly. So yeah, I'm basically done. I don't know why that needed to elicit such a judgmental tone. 

      Anyway, I have no idea why the balance is off, but I don't have money budgeted for anything that I haven't spent, aside from the savings, which I moved to a different account that is not affiliated with YNAB. 

      YNAB thinks I have 500 more than I really do in that account. I can't just subtract 500 bucks from other categories, because those transactions have cleared. I honestly can't explain why it thinks there is extra money, but I just want it to take it out without screwing up everything else. Is that not an option?

      Like 1
      • WordTenor
      • I'm the oldest and the wittiest.
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Forest Green Storm 

      Are you not eating the rest of the month? Shopping? Going to movies? Buying cups of coffee or gas? I'm headed to a coffee shop in 20 minutes, so I'm going to need to draw down my "Dining out" category. Probably going to stop at the post office on the the way home and buy some stamps, that's "Shopping."  

      The tone is to draw you attention to this statement because this is the source of the problem, I suspect. You aren't done spending for the month (or at least, not unless you're *really* weird), so your budget shouldn't be zeroed. (And according to what you're saying, it's not zeroed.) So whatever you think you've done to zero it you didn't do, or didn't do the way the software expected you to.  The budget probably isn't set up correctly if you think it can be zeroed 7 days into the month. The result is that you're overbudget. We need to know what you think you did to find the source of the problem.

      Like 2
  • I don't know why my whole lifestyle needs to go on display, but here we go.

    I bought mail order meal kits and did my grocery shopping already, freezing many items. I don't need stamps. I bought my wife a valentine's day present and purchased a gift card to the restaurant we're going to. I bought 3 digital movies on iTunes.  I don't have any budgeted funds that haven't been removed from my checking account.

    I'm done spending for the month. I'm sorry that makes you feel uncomfortable. I'm sorry that I'm *really* weird. 

    But none of that explains why my real checking account has 500 dollars fewer than YNAB thinks it does, when all of my transactions appear to be accounted for. Like I stated, I have only been at this for a month, and I think YNAB missed something from the start that I can't find. I don't need my budgets to be changed, they are grayed out at zero. I don't need my TBB to go red. I need to reset the balance of my checking account.

    Like 1
      • WordTenor
      • I'm the oldest and the wittiest.
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Forest Green Storm if your household is truly done with every cent of spending 7 days into a month, it's an *extremely* unusual spending pattern.  That's what I mean by really weird. Surely you know that, as it sounds like this is a system you've already been at awhile. Further, in YNAB, best practice is to keep savings on-budget. So even if you have nothing in your spending categories, you would have money in your savings categories. If I were to spend every cent I plan to spend this month this afternoon, I would still have thousands of dollars in other categories because I have lots of things that are being saved for. 

      When you brought your checking account on budget, its balance was $500 too high. You put that money into your budget, and you can't take it out of your accounts without removing it from your budget.  It's not possible for that $500 to not be in the budget somewhere, either in the form of positive category balances, or in overspending, or possibly as debt incurred on a credit card. But it's somewhere. It's not possible to decouple an account from your budget. 

      Like 2
  • Forest Green Storm said:
    I don't need my budgets to be changed, they are grayed out at zero. I don't need my TBB to go red. I need to reset the balance of my checking account.

     You can't have one without the other. The money in your budget is equal to the money in the accounts you have on budget. So if your accounts were wrong and you had to edit the balance to make it lower, you now have to go back and make the money in your budget lower. The balances are inextricably linked.

    If you have money in your accounts, then the money is in your budget somewhere.

    Besides your checking account, are you using credit cards? And are they on budget? The only way you can have money in your checking account and no money in your budget would be if you're using credit cards (as the money in your checking account would then be reserved for a credit card payment). Perhaps there was a timing issue when setting up your accounts for the first time and you entered an incorrect starting balance as a result.

    Like 4
  • Ok, well I think I'm done being called weird for the day, so let's quit harping on my spending patterns. 

    I also had to credit cards that needed reconciliation as well, so that's likely where the money went (although it didn't add to to 500, so who knows). Either way, using multiple reconciliation and transfer transactions, I managed to balance all of the account balances. The only thing that is messed up now are the credit card payment amounts, but they were never accurate to begin with. (Even when payment is applied and balance on card goes down, the payment never changes, it just keeps going up).  So if I just hide the credit card payments section, everything is good.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Forest Green Storm You need to get your credit card payment categories in alignment. You can't just ignore them. Otherwise you aren't going to be able to budget properly.

      Like 2
  • Forest Green Storm said:
    (Even when payment is applied and balance on card goes down, the payment never changes, it just keeps going up)

     Hmmm. This is a problem. When you make the payments are you entering the transaction in YNAB as a transfer between your on budget checking account and your on budget credit card? If you are and the credit card payment available amount is not going down, you should contact YNAB support because there is a glitch.

    And yes, I agree with nolesrule - you cannot just hide categories that you think are wrong. All of your categories are interconnected so if one category is off, it means that you cannot rely on the information in all your other categories.

    Like 3
  • Well like I said, the CC balances do go down appropriately, and the checking account balance does as well, its just the CC Payments are never going down once the payment is applied. Perhaps that is the source of my woes?

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Forest Green Storm yes - if your account balances are doing what they should (and again I'm assuming the accounts are both on budget) but the category balance isn't budging there is something wrong and you should contact support so that they can try to fix it.

      Like 2
  • Forest Green Storm Hi! I'm glad you wrote in here so we can help get to the bottom of this. I'm wondering what is listed in the payee field of your credit card payment transactions. Does it say "Transfer: [Account Name]" or something else? If those transactions aren't set up as true transfers it could cause some issues with your Credit Card Payment categories. 

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      • SudoJim
      • Forest_Green_Storm
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Janelle at YNAB  Yeah, I always use the Transfer transactions for my CC payments, and as I stated, the CC balance does go down, but the total amount to be paid to the CC does not. My CC payments always exceed the amount on the card, because payments aren't causing that to go down, and so I just started ignoring that function.

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    • Forest Green Storm 

      First, I want to start by saying I think it's really impressive you can map out the whole month in just the first week! I read weird above, but I'm tagging that as a talent!

      Secondly, I was going to send you an email so that we could take a look at things, but I see you already wrote into support and did the self audit steps to check those account balances. Has everything been ironed out? If not, let me know and we can take a closer look! :)

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  • The amount in your accounts is the same as the amount in your budget.  If one of your accounts was overstated by $500 then one of your categories was also overstated by $500.

    Like 1
  • When you sent your "unspent" money to savings, how did you record that transaction in YNAB?

    If you are sending money off-budget (to an account not in YNAB, or to a tracking account in YNAB), that money needs to be categorized (to a category called "Savings" or the like).

    If you happened to send $500 to savings but didn't categorize it, that might explain it!

    Another thought: any chance you have a $250 transaction that was accidentally entered as an inflow instead of an outflow?

    Like 1
  • I am having a similar issue (I think). My checking account has less than what YNAB thinks even though (I checked them one by one) every transaction that is listed on my bank account are also in YNAB and vice-versa. It is as if YNAB does not add and subtract all the transactions correctly. 

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