Budget and TBB maybe are misaligned???

I've reconciled my budget accounts to the point that they're tracking my recent spending just right. However, I have an emergency fund category that's off by +$247.05. Do I subtract that $247.05 amount from that category, and then do another account reconciliation to zero out that surplus amount?

Thanks in advance!

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  • Read this a few times:

    https://www.youneedabudget.com/the-relationship-between-your-budget-your-accounts-its-complicated/

    If your account balances are correct then your budgeted amounts are correct. You don't need or want a one-to-one correspondence between categories and accounts. If you don't want an extra $247.05 in your EF category then move it to another higher priority category. Your account reconciliations are independent of budgeting. If they're right, they're right. Reconciling an extra time shouldn't change anything.

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  • Total money in the budget equals total cash on hand (in accounts). YNAB maintains this at all times and is the only "alignment" that is necessary. Trying to sync a category and an account balance is extra work and is confusing when you invariably make a mistake. (Hence your post.) It's recommended that you don't even try, and the above link will hopefully help with the details.

    Category balances (Available amounts) answer the question, "Can I afford this?" Account balances answer the question, "Can I pay from this account?"

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  • Hey! Thanks for patiently replying. That link was helpful reading; I kinda already understood the concept, and it helped a lot to read what Jesse had written. I'm just a few months into my YNAB journey, and suspect that part of my confusion stems from seeing things in my accounts and budget settling down without fully grasping the timing of the moving parts. 

    After I read your replies, I took a chance with my understanding and transferred money between my checking and savings account IRL to reflect what I saw in my Emergency Fund category. When my linked accounts cleared this morning, I ended up -$247.05 in TBB and there was $247.05 more in my EF category than yesterday. Once I recognized that, I subtracted the dollars from the category and got back to my zero budget!

    I think part of my stress was that I was thinking that the real EF savings category is the only category that can clearly match the savings account I setup to house the real money... my EF savings account currently doesn't exist for any other reason. So, when the EF category was higher than the EF account, I was lost. The exciting part that I gleaned from the tips you gave me was that the thing to do was try transferring more real money in my EF savings account, to get it matching the number in YNAB... that test transfer balanced out by this morning! In real life, I am barreling closer to my savings goal, thanks to YNAB!

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  • Graham Skardon said:
    When my linked accounts cleared this morning, I ended up -$247.05 in TBB

    It sounds like you didn't record these as transfers in YNAB (Payee field). Transfers between on-budget accounts should not impact TBB or categories.

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      • Grahamps
      • Taking one step each day
      • grahamps
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui It's possible that's what happened at some point? I sat in on a webinar that showed the transfer function, and I've been using it since then. The savings account is new, and it took more than a few days to get it linked. Honestly, I can't say exactly where I went askew? There's been a little bit of experimentation on my end, as I am trying to learn by doing. When I've tried things that didn't seem right, it's given me problems to work on understanding... like this one (even though I can't recall when the mistake was made). 

      Thanks again!

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  • Graham Skardon said:
    my EF savings account currently doesn't exist for any other reason

    It sounds like you used the account/category independence to facilitate synchronization. That's cool if it makes you happy, but I think it's limiting. I earn a fair bit of interest by having a savings account balance that is larger than my EF category. Anyway, just something to think about.

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      • Grahamps
      • Taking one step each day
      • grahamps
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui You're implying that I am using the Savings Account independently as a way of seeing a clear, separate number that is my EF number? At the moment, I think that's accurate. As I get a handle on my finances, and fully fund the EF, I then can start saving for other categories, and it's probably natural that more of my money will be deposited in that interest earning account, and I'll no longer be treating that account as a mirror of a single category.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Grahamps That clear, separate number should be the EF category Available. Sounds like you are on the right path.

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  • Grahamps said:
    it took more than a few days to get it linked.

    If you rely on import to enter transactions, it doesn't know the outflow in a given on-budget account corresponds to an inflow in another on-budget account. You would have had to actually edit the Payee field in one of the transactions to make it a real transfer, and thereafter the Payee renaming rules would remember that correspondence. 

    https://docs.youneedabudget.com/article/168-making-a-transfer

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