Confusion with budgets and biweekly payment
I'm a long time user, but struggle with a beginner style question, a "bigger picture" aspect of using YNAB. I am paid every 2 weeks, and of course YNAB is set up for budgeting a month at a time -- which is what I want to do anyway. I start budgeting with only what I have available, leaving categories unfunded or partially funded. And then when the next paycheck comes in I start budgeting the rest of the categories and amounts. My grasp of whether I am overspending/overbudgeting unintentionally goes grey at this point, as there does not appear to be a running count of remaining available dollars for THIS month, as the available and TBB funds YNAB shows now includes money I should be setting aside for next month.
How does anyone else use YNAB so that the numbers it reports on the side in the inspector and at the top are useful to the current month's budget? (I LOVE when YNAB says I have $14K available TBB, but also unfortunately I know that's nowhere near true!)
Thanks for suggestions, including any specific YNAB webinars where this would be a good topic to review.
Clean hands, clean heart! (--wash 'em)
Orchid Panther said:
My grasp of whether I am overspending/overbudgeting unintentionally goes grey at this point
I don't see how this is the case. If you are overspent, you will have a negative category Available. Overbudgeting will result in a negative TBB.
You can help remember how much you need to add to categories in this month's area from your second check using a Goal, a category note, or even how you name the category (e.g., "Groceries $250/chk"). Just go down the list, and anything left in TBB when you're done goes into next month.
Many people benefit from temporarily stashing income they don't need in the current month in a holding category until the month is over. (This is commonly named Income Next Month.) This gets it out of the way and keeps it safe. Ideally, this would grow each month until it consists of your entire monthly income. This allows you to budget all of next month in one shot, ideally with a couple clicks via goals/scheduled transactions.
You're right there. Some of the confusion comes in when I have a partially or unfunded category where the spending can be highly variable; categories that I will have to fund no matter the amount. For instance, if I have medical bills come in that are higher than usual, I will increase the budgeted amount accordingly, but start to experience category "creep" and be unaware that I am possibly using the portion of TBB funds that is really intended for next month. Since I haven't figured out a way to separate out the income I receive in my second paycheck (for current month versus next month's budget), I don't recognize when I'm dipping into funds intended for next month.
I'll attach some screenshots to try and demonstrate. In one you can see that in the current month (March) I still have funds in TBB of $5871.16 (which includes my 2nd paycheck and some savings), but in funding the remaining unfunded categories for March, I actually dipped into funds that should have been protected for April. So I'm trying out placing the extra funds into a NET MONTHS FUNDS CATEGORY, and doing this by clicking forward to the next month and funding this category in the next month. Switching back to the current month, it APPEARS to show more real-world values in TBB. Would this technique help me or cause confusion in other areas like reports, etc?