Setting up a budget for future months

Hi there, 

What is the best way to setup a budget for future months? I want to set the next 3 months or even a year, with goals as well. But I am struggling with having my budget $ be completely negative because my income transactions won't be received until days in the future, e.g. 15th and 30th of every month going forward.

My workaround is to set transactions today for future income, so that I can allocate the $ now and have it be green.  I don't love this approach because the risk is that I forget to delete a transaction for my salary when it comes in, and I allocate money I don't have.

Is there a better way to do this that I don't understand?  Any help is appreciated.

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  • Sounds like you're trying to use YNAB for forecasting and it's not intended to be a forecasting tool. One of the main tenants in YNAB is that you only budget money you have on hand today. Hopefully this link will help - https://www.youneedabudget.com/why-we-dont-forecast/

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  • The better way is to work with the money you have. Goals help allocate funds when they arrive, but until then, having category balances you can trust is critical.

    It's also important to split non-monthly expenses (what YNAB calls True Expenses) across the months between now and then. The future months will just be copies of this month. No need to fill in things N months in advance. Indeed, that just creates busy work to edit all those months when bill amounts invariably change.

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  • Your best bet is to use startup capital to cover the expenses between the 15th and the end of the month. You can then queue up ALL income received in the current month and budget the entire amount at once in the upcoming months area. With goals and scheduled transactions, this can be a one-click endeavor.

    If you don't have enough startup money to do that, you can work toward that over time. See the following for the mechanics of some efficient workflows.

    https://support.youneedabudget.com/t/60hx1cg?r=m1h8az1

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  • As others have said - only budget with the money you actually have sitting in your bank accounts right now.

    The YNAB method is one that takes some getting used to. I never used to think about budgeting in this way until I started using YNAB.

    There are some great tutorials on YouTube, from the official YNAB ones to Nick True: "Mapped out Money".

    Nick's videos really helped me get started, and the official videos helped me refine my approach.

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