My To be Budgeted field is not going negative when I overbudget

It is my understanding that once "To be Budgeted" amount reaches zero, anything budgeted past zero should turn the "To be Budgeted" amount to a negative number, and the field should turn red. However, when I am budgeting, YNAB allows me to continue budgeting in excess the To be Budgeted amount, but does not go negative, and does not turn red. It just stays 0.00 and stays green.

I am new to YNAB, so I don't know if I am misunderstanding something, or if this is a bug with the app. I am using the desktop version of YNAB on Chrome.

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    • Vibrant
    • No more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars
    • vibrant
    • 4 wk ago
    • 3
    • Reported - view

    If you have anything budgeted in a future month, the red negative TBB is shown there. It's a flaw in the system that's colloquially known as Stealing From the Future.

    Like 3
  • One workaround is to leave $1 in TBB, as a guard against the possibility of SFTF. This indicates the future TBB is also positive, assuming no cash/red overspending.

    Others simply check the future TBB often or use the Move Money dialog to ensure offsetting adjustments within the same month.

    Once you know about it, it's fairly easy to deal with. Sadly, it has been confusing new users since launch, some of whom have had nasty shocks to see a large deficit after it was too late to easily correct.

    Like 1
  • Mine has never done this before but started doing this the last week. It used to work the way you expect in your first sentence, but now it's working the way you stated in the second part. 

    I have no transactions in August, but that's where my negative TBB is showing up.

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      • satcook
      • satcook
      • 4 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Bestcee have you budgeted in August?

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      • Vibrant
      • No more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars
      • vibrant
      • 4 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Bestcee it doesn't matter if you have transactions in August, only budgeted dollars.

      Like 1
      • Bestcee
      • bestce
      • 4 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Vibrant satcook Nope. No budgeted dollars in August.

      Like
    • Bestcee in the August budget header, next to To Be Budgeted, what does the Overspending line show?

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      • Bestcee
      • bestce
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui I got support from customer service. Apparently, you can overspend in YNAB with no warning until the next month. The red TBB is only for budgeting, not if you overspend.

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 3 wk ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Bestcee Yep, non-affectionately known as SFTF (Stealing from the Future). It's only been since release (going on 5 years) without a fix. Luckily, the toolkit gives a warning. Google "YNAB toolkit" if unfamiliar. This is a must-add in my book if only for this fix alone.

      It is unfathomable to me why YNAB has not, at the very least, added the toolkit's warning.

      Like 2
    • Bestcee said:
      The red TBB is only for budgeting, not if you overspend

      Just wanted to touch on this... Overspending can result in next month's TBB being negative. 

      And yes, overbudgeting is another way, with SFTF being the lack of visibility that you've done so.

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      • Bestcee
      • bestce
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui That was the point of my whole issue. The TBB makes it look like I'm doing fine this month, unless I intentionally move to the next month. I could, in theory, budget my next paycheck ( two week cycle) and not realize I'm overspent in July because there is nothing on the current month view that indicates this besides checking each category. 

      I would rather have TBB turn red or yellow for overspending in the current month. I don't understand why I would have to use credit cards to get the yellow warning on TBB. I think that should show up for cash or card, both options are spending money you don't have. Otherwise, it's a subtle push to use a credit card instead of cash. 

      Like
  • When you budget in a future month, then continue budgeting in the current month (budgeting more than you have), that overbudgeted amount causes To be Budgeted in the future to become negative.

    You're using more money in July, so you have less for August and need to make adjustments until it's $0.00 again. I know it can be confusing, and it's something our team is looking to improve and make more visible!

    Like 2
      • Bestcee
      • bestce
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Nicole I think this is where my mindset may differ. If I use more money for food in July, in my mind, I need to account for that in July. Waiting to account for that in August defeats the purpose and is kicking the can down the road. I don't understand how I am rolling with the punches if I don't see the adjustment needed until the next month. And, I was sad to be told that if I used a credit card it would turn yellow in the current month. It makes it feel like a punishment for using cash. 

      Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 3 wk ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Bestcee if you overspend a category in July, the category will show up as negative in July, even if you have budgeted to that category in August so you know right away. You are supposed to check category balances before spending.

      Like 2
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas Yeah, but then you can't use TBB as a passthrough for covering the overspending if you have money budgeted in a future month, and that's the heart of the problem.

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 3 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule yeah, but Bestcee 's stated issue is that they don't want to have to look at their categories to know if they are overspent which is kind of not the YNAB method. That might not be what they meant, but I did choose to address the literal comment.

      Like 1
  • Nicole said:
    it's something our team is looking to improve and make more visible!

    It's only been 5 years, Nicole. I know it's not your fault so don't take this personally but it kind of makes me angry. If you take away the multi-month view, then it is imperative that there is a warning at the very least.

    Like 4
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 3 wk ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Superbone They just need to acknowledge that the overbudgeting occurs in all months from the current one when this happens and adjust the TBB calculations accordingly. It's not like they've never been shown how to adjust for this.

      Like 3
      • Herman
      • herman
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule I still have the last attempt they made to fix this.  Frankly it wasn't perfect but it is good enough.  I'm not sure why they didn't roll it out to all.

      Like
    • Superbone Not taken personally at all! It's one I'd like to see as well.

      Like 1
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