allocating yarn/craft supplies

i have recently started (loom) knitting, and have started to build up a stash of yarn (mainly project specific, but a little to have on hand). So far I don't think it has gotten out of hand :)

I wanted to see if there was a better way of handling allocating the spending to different categories than I have done (I couldn't find a thread on it, although I find it hard to imagine no one has asked before)

I have created a category called '🧶yarn stash' to which I allocated all the initial yarn purchases and WAMed (mainly from my COVID times category 'freed up' where I shift any funds that aren't needed at the moment (like fuel for my car) and from there can be reallocated to cover whatever is extra is needed (like higher gas and electricity bills and donations, and new COVID hobbies). 

As I do a project I am then creating a transaction in the account 'wallet' (it made most sense to me as it isn't reconciled against anything) with no inflow or outflow, but with the cost of the yarn for that project in the note and the category that project goes against - 'christmas present', 'nice thing to do for people', 'birthday present' etc, with the vendor as 'yarn stash' and then i move money from that category to the 'yarn stash' line for the amount of that project, which reduces the category of the project, gives that category a note so in future we know why there was a reduction, and pre-funds future stash purchases.

Is there are better way to capture the costs of each project in YNAB?

As particular purchases and even balls of yarn can be used for multiple projects I cannot break it up at the point of purchase, and the project may not happen for months, which if changed retrospectively (when the project is known/done) then category it is changed to may have been empty when the actual purchase was made
The only other option I thought of to capture it was a stash was to make an account rather than category, but that felt messier.

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  • Welcome to the fiber club Green Boat ! 🎉 This is a really great subject. The most important questions to ask are:

    • What information do you gain?
    • Will it help you change something?
    • Does it create more work?

    Is the Wallet account used for cash spending at all? Using fake accounts or transactions can get dicey, because you can't trust your budget—those transactions don't exist in real life.

    I have tracked individual project costs in a spreadsheet but found my creative decisions are based on two things: Am I interested in making it? Can I buy it now, or do I need to save over time?

    For the budget, my primary concerns are: overall creative spending, and spending by craft (knitting, sewing, etc) to keep an eye on if my spending is in line with my priorities, and actions. A project can be $20.00 or $200.00!

    Like 2
      • Green Boat
      • Green_Boat.1
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Nicole i do use the wallet account for cash, but because i am not putting the amount in the outflow column, only in the note it isn't messing with the cash balance as at

      I was hoping that tracking the projects would make me more accountable, rather than building up a massive wool stash that just sits there, partly as well as I am only buying woollen yarn which isn't cheap and i want to buy with intention not just because its pretty - because there is oh so much that is pretty. My thinking was that I have prefunded it to an amount that seems like enough to have spent on yarn from general funds, and then that will get replenished as the stash is used by allocating it to categories. I guess I still want to make sure I am sticking to my christmas spending for example rather than making a heap of chirstmas presents and then thinking I still have money to spend on christmas when really I have spent the money on yarn (if that makes sense) and it came from my fun money. I also thought it would make me be honest about what a project is for - is it really a christmas present, or is it me doing something for fun which should then be covered by my fun money, or do the kids really need another beanie or scarf or whatever that it is being covered by that category, or is it for something else (I suspect we will be giving lots of knitted goods as birthday party presents when parties start happening again)

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    • Green Boat I find Ravelry really helpful for accountability with stash! And handy that I can pull up the yarn at home before shopping, kind of like checking the budget before spending. 

      (The moment when you realize YNAB principles have spread to more than finances. 🤣)

      Like 1
  • Personally, I track and categorize craft spending in the budget based on the intent at purchase, and keep things simple. A split transaction can be useful when throwing in an extra skein, or tools using fun money. Leftovers or shopping from stash simply reduce the cost of the next project. Full disclosure, I have a lot of yarn. 😉

    A few examples:

    • A friend is having a baby, and asked that I knit a blanket for the nursery. I'll categorize the yarn purchase as Gifts, and add a note in the memo field.
    • My husband wears only handknit socks. Sock yarn purchases for these are categorized to Clothing.
    • Yarn and tools for personal projects are Fun Money.

    I use Ravelry to track my knitting projects, and yarn stash. The stash pages allow you to add the cost of a skein (private), and record the amount of yarn used, so it can be a good way to gauge the cost of individual projects.

    Our team has quite a few crafters, and I've asked if they have any tips to share!

    Like 2
  • I don't track individual project cost and buy everything knitting related (in my case) from fun money. 

    Works for me 😊. Like Nicole  mentiones: cost is not really a factor in whether I'm going to make something. If I can afford it now is though. 

    Like 1
  • I’m a quilter. I quilt for fun, then give most of my finished projects away. Anything I spend on quilting comes out of my fun money category, because I do it for fun. Part of what I like about ynab is the ability to shift money into different categories. I’m strict about the electric bill category, internet, trash pickup or things like that, but I have no problem shifting funds between fun money, dining out, even clothes and personal care (hair appointments, makeup etc) since I rarely know what I’ll get into during the month. If I make a quilt to be given as a gift, the fabric costs come out of fun money. I don’t record it in the gift category, which just continues to build excess money. Does that make sense? 

    Like 3
    • Happygirl to me it does. And if you gave someone a quilt as a very special gift, if needed, you could easily take some money out of gifts, as you would't need to spend so much on gifts right now. 

      Like 1
  • It's pretty obvious from my name that I'm a knitter.  My yarn stash is off the charts, but we won't go into that here! I have a knitting category set up in my budget, with various subcategories such as: yarn cost, lessons/classes, supplies, books, trips (yes, I've taken knitting trips with knitting friends all over the world), etc. I budget a mostly fixed amount each month for the master category of knitting and then move money as I spend it into each subcategory. I have my entire stash listed in Ravelry, with the cost per skein of each item. I also have a project page for every project that I start (and sometimes don't finish - into hibernation they go!) for referencing yarn costs per project.

    I do it this way because I want to know how much I spend on my hobby in total, but I also want to see how much I spend on yarn specifically, as that's the subcategory where I spend most of the allocated money. (I almost fell over in a dead faint at the end of last year when I pulled up a report of my yarn expenditures for 2019.)

    I do knit for family members and friends but I don't count those under my gifts category. It all just goes under the master Knitting category. That way I have a pretty good idea of what it costs me on a monthly/yearly basis. For me, that's granular enough but everyone else's mileage may vary.

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