Budgeted/Activity/Available amounts going haywire - what's happening??

I've been using YNAB for about 3 weeks and have started a budget,  then relaunched with a new, improved budget when I learned more by:

  • Reading the articles (srsly, all of them)
  • Participating in the workshops (or found recorded versions online)
  • Watching videos from YNAB users on YouTube
  • Contacting YNAB support and had lengthy exchanges 
  • Searching the forum and finding  wise insights and helpful info from YNABers and support staff
  • Playing with my budget  to see if I could problem solve any issues on my own

So I totally get the theory behind YNAB, I'm on board with prioritizing money within a scarcity mindset (my spending habits have already changed). But some of the things happening in my budget are bizarre, and I can't figure out if it's me or if it's buggy.

For example, the Charity category, for which I don't think I assigned any dollars this month, is now showing -$50 in budgeted.  When I cleared it out to $0 the TBB changed to show -$50. Whaaaa? Why would there ever be a negative amount in a budgeted category? Why would resetting a negative amount to $0 make TBB go red??

Meanwhile, my Gifts category shows $50 budgeted and $100 available. When I move $50 to TBB it shows the budgeted amount as $0 and the available amount as $50. There has been no activity in this category. Is this a math concept that I'm not getting (wouldn't be the first time), or is something amiss?  Why wouldn't the available amount drop to $0 (with a nice gray button) when I move $50 of the $100? 

I want to love YNAB, and I'm willing to take time to adjust, but I need to be able to trust the amounts are correct in each category. :/

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  • The budgeted column resets to zero every month. It just shows you the net change in funds moved into or out of that category, this month.

    I'm betting that on December 31 you had $50 available in Charity and $50 available in Gifts, and that sometime after January 1 you moved $50 from Charity to Gifts.

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  • Hi Hot Pink Yeti -

    Wow! You've really done a lot of hard work and research in such a short time! I'm happy to help clear up any lingering questions.

    Negative budgeted amounts are nothing to be concerned about—it simply means you moved money out of the category that you budgeted into it in previous months. Here's a quick video that explains why that happens.

    Example 1
    When you started the month, you had $50 Available in the Charity category. At some point, you moved money to another category, and the -$50.00 in the Budgeted column is there to show that money moving out.

    Changing the Charity category to $0.00 instead of -$50.00 means you are changing your mind and adding $50.00 back to the category, if your To be Budgeted was zero—going negative/overspent by $50.00 is correct.


    Example 2
    It looks like you started in December, did you budget $50.00 to Gifts as well? Positive amounts in your Available column will roll over, building up the amount over time. If you budgeted $50.00 in December and $50.00 in January (with no spending), your $100 Available is correct.

    We have an article about what happens when the month rolls over, so check it out and let me know if you have any other questions!

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    • Nicole at YNAB  Eureka!!! 💡!!! Ok, now it makes sense. THANK YOU for the clear explanation and the very helpful video!! 

      I'm sure I'll be back, because as soon as I think I've got it . . . I don't got it. 😕 But this helps immeasurably!

      Reply Like 1
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