At what day in month does To Be Budgeted value go $0/green and rolls over to next month as either +/green or -/red?

Not sure title makes sense, but here is the scenario:

I get two/three paychecks a month, as I'm paid every two weeks. My wife gets paid continuously through the month since she is in private practice. I have noticed that towards the end of the month (this month, it's today, the 30th) as I'm adding money, but also paying bills with that money, that the To Be Budgeted amount automatically goes to $0/Green, and next month's goes +/Green or -/Red, even before I budget the current money down to $0. This does not happen earlier in the month.

Does anyone know if this is a bug or a feature, and if it's by design, what the algorithm is so I can anticipate this?


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  • If you budget funds in a future month -- as seen in the "Budgeted in Future" header -- it will change how the "To Be Budgeted" (TBB) mechanic works.

    Normally when you are over-budgeted -- i.e. you've budgeted more funds than you have available -- the TBB balance will be negative (red).  But if you have any funds budgeted in a future month, you'll only see that negative balance in the future-most month. The current month's TBB will remain $0/green.

    Some users refer to this mechanic as "Stealing from the Future." YNAB is allowing you to tap into funds that you previously allocated to a future month to increase your allocations in the current month. And it's not terribly obvious when it happens (you don't see any warnings in the current month.)

  • Ah, now it makes sense. I was paid Friday, and budgeted the mortgage in next month's budget. Since I did that on Friday, but added money today as well, I had forgotten that detail. If I don't do that, I assume the TBB value for this month would show the expected amount. Got it. Thanks for clearing that up.

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      • bret
      • bret
      • 2 yrs ago
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      • Reported - view

      You got it. 

      Personally, I find YNAB's budgeting-in-future mechanics to be a little awkward. If you're not careful, you could accidentally tap into funds that you intended to save for the future without realizing it. To that end, you might find one of these budgeting strategies helpful:

      • Once you've budgeted funds in a future month, avoid making any direct edits to the current month budget amounts. Instead, restrict yourself to only using the "Move Money" dialog, which won't allow you to "steal" funds from the future.
      • Use the YNAB Toolkit, a browser extension, which I think has a feature that makes it more obvious when a future month is over-budgeted.
      • Avoid budgeting-in-future altogether. Only budget in the current month and don't budget the next month until the 1st.  If you have funds you'd like to save for the next month (a wise plan!) then consider temporarily holding them in a category, e.g. "Funds for Next Month".
      Like 1
      • gobuzzgo
      • Salmon_Cyborg
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      bret That makes so much sense, and I agree, the mechanism is a bit awkward. I backed out the mortgage budgeting for next month, and since we're so close, I'm just going to record it on the 1st for August. Going forward, I'm going to look at using a "Funds for Next Month". I already do that in my real life accounts with a "Park" account.  As for the Toolkit, I use that, so I went into the settings and set that feature. Nice! Thanks!

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  • 2 yrs agoLast active
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