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)

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Hi Dakinemaui,

    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? 

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    • Orchid Panther I think you're on the right track—you've hit on exactly why we don't recommend leaving money in To be Budgeted.

      Your reports won't be affected by this strategy at all, because reports are based only on your transactions, not your budgeting decisions!

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    • Matthew 

      Thanks for the clarification Matthew, that I shouldn’t see any real complications with this approach. The only thing I see so far is that since I am choosing to earmark this months paychecks for next months spending, my income and expense reports don’t know that; and the reports are a bit off since the show actual income and expenses in the same month. I can live with that for now. 

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      • Ceeses
      • Ceeses
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Orchid Panther Why switching to next month to segregate the funds for next month? You can do the same thing with budgeting to the Next month's funds this month.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Orchid Panther The reality is you receive a check on March 20, then it is March income ("coming into" your budget then) and shows as such in reports. It is a bit irrelevant that you don't need to spend any of it until April.

      TBH, because money fungible, you cannot possibly know when you received any dollar that you spend. More importantly, it just doesn't matter.

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    • Ceeses   I haven’t considered this approach, and I’m not grasping what you are suggesting. Could you clarify?

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      • Ceeses
      • Ceeses
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Orchid Panther Now you do:

      • receive income
      • switch to next month, budget part to next month category
      • switch back to current month

      You can do:

      • receive income
      • budget part to next month category (in current month)

      Same result at the end that you won't be using this money to cover overspending but less clicking around. In both cases, the money will be there in Available in April for you to take it out of the category and recategorise as you wish.

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    • Ceeses I tried what you described (I think correctly); I removed the funds from next month's budget and placed it into this months line for my future budget savings.

      This approach is confusing for me, as now the TOTAL BUDGETED AMOUNT lists $14,089.75 and $7,309.07 available. (Unless of course I'm doing something wrong or not understanding how to interpret the YNAB numbers correctly.) 

       

      See new attachments. 

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      • Ceeses
      • Ceeses
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Orchid Panther Well, you have budgeted all your funds for March and the $5871.16 is available. It doesn't mean you have to spend it. Just like the money you categorise to savings categories: it is available, it doesn't mean you will spend it this month. And that's actually true of all categories, just more easily understood from savings categories.

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    • Ceeses ok that is making sense, along with no need to jump forward to the next month for placing money in a savings category. I just need to focus on the budget numbers and not let YNAB’s calculated numbers on the right confuse me.  

      The way my brain works I’m prone to be “distracted” by extra information which clouds the “big picture” for me, and sometimes struggle when not seeing the big picture.  (Adult with ADHD)

      I’ll work on these suggestions, and On developing some “guides/reminders” for myself. 

      With that in mind, do you think there might be any interest In a thread specifically for
      “YNABers with ADHD” ? 

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    • Orchid Panther A thread is a fantastic idea! 🙂

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