Fresh start problems on a PIF credit card payment amount

I made a fresh start on Jan 1, no problems. My PIF CC had a different starting budget than what was really accurate, due to pending purchases. I entered all of my pending purchases and changed the starting balance which made everything line up that day. 😬 Now I'm not sure I should have done that.

On my budget screen, it says I have $5,312.98 activity and a red -$5,312.98 payment bubble. (You've overspent this category by $5,312.98. Cover this overspending or you can't trust your budget balances!)

In the PIF account screen, every processed transaction is accounted for, as is my 1/7 payment of $6,400.18 (which covers last month but none of those transactions are in this fresh start).

How can I rectify this payment discrepancy? The cleared/working balance is correct. I'm betting the problem lies in either me changing the starting balance or the 1/7 payment. I just can't get the math right to change the starting balance correctly. 

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  • 1. Budget for any negative categories in your budget, which will correct any overspending due to entering pending transactions.

    2. Then budget enough to bring the CC payment category to $1,802.02. 

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  • Nothing to do with either of the transactions you mention. The CC Payment category (same thing as the "Payment" in the register) is how much of the cash you currently have is planned to go toward the next CC bill. YNAB doesn't assume you will pay any of the starting balance off. Your assertion that this is a PIF/paid-in-full card means you need cash reserved to... well... pay the account in full. :-)

    The only reason to change the starting transaction is if the cleared balance doesn't agree with the CC's website. You could also make a reconciliation adjustment transaction, which will automatically do the math for you. The point is that the YNAB account agree with the real-world account as well as possible. (YNAB may also include pending transactions if you've entered them manually, not marked cleared of course.)

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    • Marketer, Art Director, Creative Director
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    • 1 mth ago
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    I have no negative categories. everything is fully funded in January and February.

    The YNAB working balance is the same as my real CC balance.

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    • bets That's great. Now just make the relevant CC Payment Category Available also equal the working account balance, and you'll be good to go with PIF status.

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      • Marketer, Art Director, Creative Director
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      • 1 mth ago
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      dakinemaui sorry i don't understand what that means I should do.

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    • bets Hi there!

      If I may jump in, what you'll need to do here is budget for the starting balance on your card. This tells YNAB, "Hey, you know that stuff I charged before this Fresh Start? Well, I'm planning to pay that balance in full." (In fact, you already did make that payment, but because you didn't budget for it, your Credit Card Payment category ended up overpaid.)

      So how do you actually budget for the starting balance? The same way you budget in any other category: click in the Budgeted column of the Credit Card Payment category for this card and enter a number. You'll need to budget enough to bring the Available amount up to $1802.02, your current balance.

      This is something you only need to do once after a fresh start, a new budget, or adding a new card that has a balance on it. Going forward, as long as your spending is budgeted, your Credit Card Payment category will stay in sync with your card balance automatically. 

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      • Marketer, Art Director, Creative Director
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      • 1 mth ago
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      Matthew thank you. I tried this, which meant I budgeted $7,115 to the CC payment (a seemingly random amount, i don't owe this on the card, nor does it make sense with anything in YNAB). This now causes me to be overbudgeted $2,786.54 in January and $7,115 in February! That can't be right. 

      I'm going to scrap this entire Fresh Start and go back to my old budget. maybe start again.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 1 mth ago
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      bets Presumably your old budget had enough in the Payment category to cover the entire account balance, but you just budgeted it elsewhere in this new budget. Reduce one or more categories until TBB is no longer negative.

      OTOH, you may have been riding the CC float in your old budget without realizing it. Meaning, you cannot afford to have paid-in-full status for that card. That doesn't mean you have to pay interest (avoiding interest is the entire point of riding the float), but you are still in debt more than you realized. If you are riding the float, there are certain things you have to do to be successful at it (i.e., to avoid interest), so perhaps check into that as a follow-up topic.

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    • Marketer, Art Director, Creative Director
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    • 1 mth ago
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    I have not been riding a float. I am sure of that. I worked that problem out years ago. 

    I may have budgeted incorrectly when I did the fresh start, because I changed up a lot of categories and tried budgeting into the next month instead just having excess money in each category. But there are too many categories and too many random numbers to try to undo it all now.

    I'm going to do the fresh start again and see if I can get it right this time, or I'll just go back to my original budget.

    Thanks for the help

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    • bets In that case, verify your old budget has the Payment category equal to the account balance (as a positive number). Then immediately following the Fresh Start (if you do another one), budget an amount equal to the account balance to the Payment category in the new budget.

      It's not clear to me why you did a Fresh Start in the first place. YNAB can handle way more than a year's worth of transactions.

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    • Marketer, Art Director, Creative Director
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    • 1 mth ago
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    Yes, everything in my old budget was equal. everything was positive, there were no negatives or overpayments.

    My budget was on autopilot and I had stopped thinking about how it could serve me better. It was made in 2015, and my needs have changed. So, just like YNAB suggests, "Fresh starts are a useful (and dare I say invigorating?) way for seasoned YNABers to see their money with new eyes. They offer you the opportunity to shed your old budget, like a snake sheds its old skin, to reveal the newest, healthiest version buried beneath."

    I'm going to try again with Matthew's info about budgeting the starting balance on the card, I think that will get this one going correctly.

    Thanks for the concern. I think i'm good now.

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