Bi monthly paycheck, two budgets per month?

This is my 3rd or 4th try with ynab....I had the original pc based one as well.  I get paid on the 15th and the last day of the month.  Budgeting only for money I have now...would I need to make a 1-15 budget and a 16-31?  If I don’t the numbers are always in the red, ie My budget requires 5k monthly but I only have 2.5k on hand....once things get all wonky and don’t add up for a few weeks I get aggravated and quit.  

Really want to make this work


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  • No, one budget, one set of categories. You'll add more to the categories when you get the 2nd check, not before.

    • nolesrule  so essentially put all the categories just Leave the 16-31 categories blank or The categories that cover both such as groceries....budget for 2 weeks then add two more weeks to it at the next pay date?  Makes more sense....I would budget for the month andd always be in the red

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  • Until you can get a month ahead, you'll need to budget 15 days at a time, Rule 1: Give Every Dollar a Job (But not more! Red is Bad!). Every time you get paid, you have to figure out what those dollars have to cover until you get paid again. Those will be the categories you fill. Like you said, sometimes you have to split categories in half like mortgage/rent, half the first paycheck and the other half the second paycheck.

    Some people put their categories in the order of when they're due to make this easier to visualize.

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  • Until you're in a position where you don't need to budget funds into the current month, I favor budgeting half of each category from each check. Others will identify a check-specific subset of categories to completely fund when they get that check. Some use a mix (subset of categories, but split the large expenses like rent).

    As others have said, just budget until the funds you currently have are completely allocated. Repeat when you get more. This keeps categories backed by spendable cash, so every penny they say is Available really is available without impacting anything else.

    PS: if you have an emergency fund or other savings, consider using that to allow you to push all income into next month's area. It greatly simplifies things when you can budget with month-sized chunks.

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