Question re: Past Months Showing Negative "To Be Budgeted"

I started using YNAB on February 1, and I've liked many aspects of it. 

As I was wrapping up April and preparing to budget for May, I looked back at my Budgets for February and March, and I was shocked to see a very large negative "To Be Budgeted" balance in those two months. The amount is almost the same, and I can't figure out what's causing it. The amount essentially disappears in April (i.e., April's "To Be Budgeted" is normal, and May is starting off accurately).

I've reconciled these previous months, and I'm fairly certain I had zeroed out the "To Be Budgeted" before advancing the months. Are there common screw-ups that I'm not thinking of that could have caused my first two months to now show a very large negative "To Be Budgeted" amount?

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  • As I'm exploring this further, I think I may have found the problem. It appears that when I reconnected to my accounts with Plaid, a series of Certificate of Deposit (CD) accounts that I keep on Budget now show an initial balance date of April 24th (the day I switched to Plaid) rather than February 1st (the day I added them to YNAB originally). Thus, it would appear that I budgeted those amounts without having funds in February or March to cover that budgeting. -- I'm hoping if I go back and chance the "initial date" on those CD accounts to February 1st, then the issue should go away. (Fingers crossed.)

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    • Doctor J Sounds reasonable to me.

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      • Herman
      • herman
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Doctor J Did plaid actually change the date of your starting balance transactions on those accounts?  They would be a little scary.

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      • Doctor J
      • Doctor_J
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Herman Yes; this was the issue. Perhaps because the CD accounts don't have any transactions during the year, the Plaid update caused the "Starting Balance" date to change from the original February 1st (when we began using YNAB) to April 24th (when we updated the Direct Import for Plaid). In doing this, February and March were "robbed" of those CD amounts and felt 'under-funded' for the amounts I had budgeted.

      Once I went and fixed the "Starting Balance" dates for those CD accounts, things evened out and all is well in the world again!

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      • Herman
      • herman
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Doctor J Thanks, Faness or any other ynab person, this could be pretty serious if direct import is changing dates of already entered transactions.  I'm not on plaid as far as I know but no thank you if this is happening.  

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    • Doctor J Was the starting balance the only transaction in the account when you relinked it to Plaid?

      If the account in YNAB doesn’t have any transactions other than the starting balance, it will automatically be adjusted if the balance when relinked, if the amount we receive from the bank is different. That sounds like what happened here.

      Once interest earned is posted to the account, and you have more than the starting balance transaction it won't happen again! Sorry for the confusing situation there. I've passed this on to our importing team!

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    • Herman If the Starting Balance is the only transaction, is expected that the balance/date will update when unlinking and relinking the account. It's the same for all import partners. I do agree that it can create confusion, and asked our importing team to take a look!

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      • Doctor J
      • Doctor_J
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Nicole Yes, these were CD accounts that accrue/compound interest annually, so there were not transactions except for the starting balance. There was one account that rolled over in April, and that one had an extra transaction for interest being paid in April - that account's starting balance and date did not change. It sounds like your suspicions are correct; accounts with no transactions except for a Starting Balance may have their dates adjusted with the move to Plaid. I'm fine since I figured this out on my own, but others may be thrown off by this, so it might be worth either fixing or alerting users about.

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      • Herman
      • herman
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Nicole thanks for checking. It seems a fairly edge case but I don't think import should be changing the date.  Based on the scenario I don't expect this to impact me though.  

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      • ARAwtry
      • ARAwtry
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Nicole i think i may have a similar problem, but i dont know how to fix it.  all my previous months were reconciled through March of this year.  however, after the plaid update, i note that my april "to be budgeted" is now -$3854, even though the only contributions to that line item are income transactions.  

      i see in the checking account the "starting balance" but i am not sure how to go about putting in the correct value?  what date do i use for the starting balance?  can you help me?

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    • ARAwtry Was there any other transaction history in your checking account before the update? The account mentioned above had only the starting balance.

      You mentioned reconciling in past months, that makes me think you had more transaction data. 🧐  Are your account balances in YNAB correct?

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      • ARAwtry
      • ARAwtry
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Nicole yes, i have been using YNAB since Dec 2019 (maybe not correctly), but i make sure my expenses match my income each month.  do you not see that?

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    • ARAwtry Hi there! Rather that try to go back and fix your starting balance, I'd recommend reconciling all of your accounts (checking your current cleared balance in online banking for each account). Let YNAB enter a balance adjustment as necessary, and To be Budgeted will be adjusted automatically in May—which is the place it matters.

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