Starting a new category

Hi everyone,  I've decided to start a new category called "Subscriptions" which is meant to show me how much I am paying on things like "Netflix"; "Office"; "Dropbox"; "One Drive" etc.  I'm hoping it will give me a clear insight into how much it all costs over time and how much I am doubling up.    

I want to hoover up all of the old subscriptions that are scattered in different categories.  In the past (YNAB4) we used to be given a choice when we changed recurring categories from one place to another as a pop up.  This doesn't seem to happen anymore.  Any suggestions would be welcome and apologies if I have missed something obvious!

Martin 

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  • I suggest you make a Subscription group and keep the dedicated categories with a goal for each expense. It will be very easy to ensure enough money is reserved.

    It is possible to use a single combined category for everything, but figuring out what to budget is not trivial. Long term, you would need to budget 1/12 of the yearly combined total each month. However, as with most True Expenses, that is likely to be insufficient in the short term, because you haven't built up the category. You would need to cover overspending on top of that 1/12th amount.

    You can do the math to figure out the right contributions that will avoid overspending in the combined category, but it's not trivial. See this thread for more details:

    https://support.youneedabudget.com/t/y727d8

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  • Hi, Martin! I like the suggestion dakinemaui  gave you.  It's absolutely clear that they've thought through this big time! Love it!! :)

    Another idea (if you're like me and prefer to keep higher level categories instead of more granular categories) might be to set up a big category like "Subscriptions" and use Scheduled Transactions to keep on top of it. If you enter all of your annual/monthly/etc. subscription costs into your account register, you'll get a yellow reminder of upcoming Scheduled Transactions in your Subscriptions category; once you've funded your category, the reminder will go away.

    Hannah talks about using Scheduled Transactions in this YouTube video (check out Benefit #3):
    https://youtu.be/5oK0wpgWLQA

    I'll use a hashtag #subscription that is great for searching for all the Scheduled subscription Transactions I have planned for the year. After seeing them all in one place (All Accounts), I total them up, then set a monthly spending goal in the category for the total divided by 12.

    I don't mind having a little extra in the category throughout the year, and the scheduled transaction reminders will always tell me if the category is underfunded.

    Food for thought! It's so fascinating to see how everyone budgets! Will you let us know what you decide on? :)

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

      Martin, just be aware the implicit goal/reminder associated with scheduled transactions only works in a month which has an outflow and only for that amount. In other words, it's a last-minute reminder that you're short and doesn't help you save up in the months between now and then.

      The more proactive approach for a combined category is a goal for at least 1/12th the yearly total as well as the use of scheduled transactions. This at least saves up as you go and will warn you at the beginning of the month if that wasn't enough and overspending is imminent. Advance notice is always a good thing.

      Again, doing the math (drawdown analysis within the category) would give you the exact right amounts (i.e., the most notice), but it's probably more than most people want to do on their own.

      I think it would be incredibly useful if YNAB would implement a Goal to do such calculations. I do this outside of YNAB for subscriptions/memberships, electric/water/gas bills, birthdays, etc. Basically any category with multiple outflows that are not identical every month.

      If you think that would be useful, you might consider making a feature request for such a Goal.

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  • Thanks everyone.  Good suggestions and good video on "Scheduled Transactions".

    I'm still not sure how to proceed with the second part of my question which was how to deal historically with the subscriptions that I have already entered.  I will certainly use #subscription in the future.

    "I want to hoover up all of the old subscriptions that are scattered in different categories.  In the past (YNAB4) we used to be given a choice when we changed recurring categories from one place to another as a pop up.  This doesn't seem to happen anymore.  Any suggestions would be welcome and apologies if I have missed something obvious!"

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    • Martin Butler If you're talking about your scheduled transactions, select them all in your account registers and click Edit --> Categorize --> your category of choice.

      If you're talking about historical transactions, YNAB recently made a change to deleting categories, and may have nixed that pop up you're remembering.  It only changed transactions, not the budgeted dollars that supported those transactions, so many of us thought it was incomplete. 

      Another feature request could help show them you think that'd be useful if it were back (and completed).

      Edit: You can still change the historical transactions. Go to All Accounts --> search for previous categories --> select pertinent transactions --> click Edit --> Categorize

      Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Martin Butler What benefit are you looking for by dealing with historic transactions? I recommend you don't and simple move forward with the new approach today. Re-categorize (or enter) scheduled transactions and off you go.

      The point of YNAB is to plan/inform *future* spending. You should be able to come up with a reasonable budget estimate without corralling old transactions and budget entries.

      The alternative (if you can't get past the "because I WANT it that way" aspect 🙂) is the very manual process to move funds from the various categories in every single past month.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view
      Martin Butler said:
      I will certainly use #subscription in the future.

      I don't see the point of that . This approach is only useful when individual categories are employed and scattered across multiple groups. (That's the approach you're leaving behind!) It's redundant when using a single combined category or even multiple categories that are grouped under a Subscription umbrella.

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  • Martin Butler  - I don’t have answers to your questions but rather a follow up comment. I too have a “Subscriptions” category.  I used the note area to list the amount, due date, and description. It’s an easy reminder for me to keep track of what monthly subscriptions I have (see screen shot). this list pop up on the web app when I hover over the category. 

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