Catching Up after 5 months?

Hello, I started using YNAB in January 2020 and right when quarantine started I paused and have not touched it for 5 months. I have 2 kids under 5 home full time so my 'computer work' time is limited.

I'm wondering what the best way to catch up and continue is? Do I need to somehow backtrack and do the work of the past 5 missing months? Do I do a 'fresh start'? Or is there something in between to do?

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    • Melissa
    • Routinely questioning every assumption I have about my budget, my spending, and my savings habits.
    • todays_mel
    • 1 yr ago
    • Reported - view

    I'd suggest a Fresh Start, unless you really want the tedium of trying to catch up on 5 months of inflows and outflows... And since tomorrow is the beginning of a new month (Sept 1), you can start from the very beginning of a calendar month which is a nice bonus! 馃檪

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  • Another vote for a Fresh Start!

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  • 3rd for fresh start. It's a great feature! (1) Give jobs to the money you have today (2) Check the budget before you spend (3) Record transactions right away. 

    No guilt, leave the past in the past. Welcome back!

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  • I suggest you simply reconcile accounts and make a plan for the money you have moving forward. (Do this in the current and/or future months as appropriate.) I agree it's rather pointless to worry about the past, but that is not synonymous with a fresh start.

    In my view, this is better than a fresh start because that is basically a best practice that you should be doing at least monthly. You might as well learn how to do it!

    Another advantage is it keeps past transactions in the working budget. Seeing the Net Worth graph from when you started YNAB sure is motivating.

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      • Luneta
      • Dance
      • luneta
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui would you do an adjustment if necessary to reconcile, otherwise I feel I would have to go back and clean up 5 months.

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    • Luneta Yes, make a reconciliation adjustment. (I consider that to be part of reconciliation when you can't -- or don't want to -- find the transaction(s) that are missing/wrong.)

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      • Luneta
      • Dance
      • luneta
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui thank you. got it.

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      • JollyB
      • jollyb
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui I hear you and get your point, but I think a fresh start is better because your data will be completely accurate from that point forward.

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  • I would go for a fresh start but make life easier in the future by doing two things.  Firstly use YNAB to enter regular payments.  This means that you only need to approve these each month rather than enter them.  Secondly use a mobile app on your phone as well and enter each transaction as you make it; do the groceries and enter the transaction in the car park before you drive home.  The mobile app is also easy for approving transactions and takes less than a minute each day and your phone notifications will let you know if there are any transactions to approve.

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  • Thank you all. I have to re connect my accounts because of the Plaid change within YNAB. So I'm trying to re link all of the accounts first. Aiming to do it today so I can have the September 1st start date. 

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  • If you have put a lot of work and planning into your goals that have dates attached to them, you might want to rethink the fresh start idea. When I get behind, as I am now, here's what I do:

    1. Enter and categorize bank and credit card transactions through today.
    2. Reconcile accounts.
    3. Go back to the first month you didn't do the rollover. Move money to cover overspending and fund your goals-by-date.
    4. Repeat for the following month, until you are all caught up.

    It is a tedious process, but you will be glad when you are completely up-to-date and your goals are properly funded. It will also motivate you to get in the habit of daily transaction entry, which makes the monthly rollover easy.

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      • Luneta
      • Dance
      • luneta
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Granny Bogle Thank you!

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      As an alternative to fixing all the past months, you can focus on moving forward. Any overspending has an impact all the way to the current month. A reconciliation adjustment is a quick way to reset account balances so YNAB agrees with the real world balances you have today. Just make the current month budget (possibly part of next month's, too) as you see fit.

      You wind up in the same place with an up to date budget, but it's quite a bit faster.

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      • Granny Bogle
      • Still Workin'
      • Grannybogle
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui So what happens to all your goals?

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Granny Bogle 

      You only have the money that you have NOW, which mandates the total of all category balances now. Category balances would be identical, even if you edited the previous months. Identical category balances mean the same impact to goals.

      Therefore, any goal revisions that would be necessary for them to remain feasible would also be identical. They tell you exactly what they need in order to be satisfied. Shift funds within the current month until the required contributions (moving forward) are within your income constraint. Possibly revise some to extend timelines or reduce scope to reduce contributions. Again, you would have to make these revisions regardless.

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