what if you've budgeted everything and then get a big bill

So I've completed all my categories and have separate pots for vacation, auto repair, new phone etc - and then get a big bill for an injured pet.  More than can be covered by this baby budget I've done.  What's the best way of tackling this?  In the past (and I'll have to now) I've put things like this on my CC (at zero%) and done my best to pay it down later.  

Whats the YNAB best practise for this situation?



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  • Reduce the amounts in lower priority categories as much as possible. If that still doesn't cover it, well, that's the reality of the situation. You let the vet category turn red and then when the month turns over, the category will zero out and it will become credit card debt  - ie the available amount in your credit card payment category will not match the working balance on your credit card account (list of accounts on the left) and the difference is equal to your amount of credit card debt.

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  • Hi Violet Viper !

    This is Rule 3: Roll With The Punches. We change our schedule all the time--it's normal! Your finances work the same way. Since something has come up, your original budget isn't the best at the moment, try moving money to cover as much of that expense as you can. What's left that has to go on the credit card, try adding a Credit Card Goal to help you pay it off over time. 

  • jenmas said:
    You let the vet category turn red 

    Slight correction, the category turns yellow, signifying you don't currently have a plan in place to pay that debt off. 

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  • And once you've paid off the CC debt, you start a new category or start funding some kind of Vet Care category.  No body wants their animals to get sick but vaccinations are an expected expense, so vet care should be a true expense that you fund when you can.  Initially you'll likely feel you're constantly trying to cover bills due very soon without being able to fund them over a long time, forget fundin true expenses, and rolling with the punches of unexpected or forgotten expenses.  Hang in there; it does get better eventually.  

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