Credit card positive balance

Hi!  I have a $338 credit on my Capital One card and would like to use that for groceries this month.  But when I enter a "test" expense, I see my amount budgeted for groceries go down. I'm going to end up in the red on that category even though I have the $$ on my CC. How do I deal with a credit card positive balance?

I've been searching the forum and find many similar questions but can't make heads or tails of the answer.

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  • A positive CC account acts just like a debit card on a checking account. It's a "cash" purchase, as it hardly needs to be paid back. Your Payment category should be at $0 Available.

    Gray Drum said:
    I see my amount budgeted for groceries go down

    Minor nit that may head off confusion in the future: The amount Available (or reserved) for groceries goes down. Your budget entry (1st column) doesn't change.

    Like 1
  • I guess I don't understand why Available/reserved goes down since my "To Be Budgeted" comes out my checking/debit account, not CC.  Available will eventually go red and then I'll have to cover from another category, right?

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Gray Drum YNAB treats all cash as one big pool of money. At present, that includes your checking AND CC credit balance. The amount on the CC is not "extra" or "off-the-books" money. Spending is spending, regardless of which account you pay with, which is why Groceries will decrease with every purchase categorized as Groceries.

      Yes, if you keep buying groceries but do not reserve (budget) additional funds for that, the Grocery category will eventually go negative. The goal is to keep that from happening by budgeting funds into Groceries so purchases never exceed the Available amount at that time.

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 5 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      When your CC account balance went positive, that amount was added to the To Be Budgeted area. If you haven't yet allocated that, you should and possibly to Groceries if it needs more money. If you already allocated those funds, you may need to move funds between categories to support upcoming spending.

      Like 3
  • Ah!  That's the part I wasn't taking into account.  Thank you!

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  • I had this same experience.  I followed these directions.  However, as I've been spending that money & the money moves from the allocated budget back to the credit card, it is showing as a money available for a payment.  If I try to schedule a "payment" to clear that, it doesn't allow me to "pay" capital one with capital one.   How do I reconcile it?

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    • Khaki Piccolo You can't pay Cap1 with Cap1. You have to pay from some other account (e.g., your checking), both in YNAB and in real life.

      Also, I'm not sure what you mean by "same experience". The OP had a credit balance on their card, in which case funds do not move to the Payment category. That seems quite different from your scenario. (Yours seems like normal CC usage.)

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    • dakinemaui , thank you for your help. Yes, I have a credit balance on my Cap1 card.  Looks like I was not good at explaining my situation.  When that refund posted, it became available money in "to be budgeted" and showed on my credit card as a positive balance.  The refund is for an expense that happened prior to be using YNAB.  I then budgeted those funds to there places where those credit funds would be used (example groceries).  When that grocery money is spent as Cap1 transactions, the budgeted money (which is actually a credit on Cap1) then moves from the budged category to Cap1 & shows up in green under the payments column.  That payments column rolls over month to month, but it is not money available to use as a payment - it is from the credit on the card.  How do I clear that from the payments column?

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    • I even checked to see if perhaps I'd done the refund wrong & accidentally assigned the credit to my checking or something when I did it.  But, in accounts, all of the balances are correct

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    • Khaki Piccolo Is it possible your grocery purchase was for more than the credit balance? If so, then only part of the purchase amount would have moved.

      At any rate, none of that matters, except for general education. You should fix the CC Payment category as follows:

      • If the account balance is positive, the CC Payment Available should be $0. (The quick-budget button is an easy way to achieve that.)
      • If the account balance is negative, the CC Payment Available should be set to the positive version of that amount. CC account = -$123, CC Payment category Available = $125 (green). Budget whatever is necessary to achieve that.
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    • dakinemaui I have done exactly that.  I only budgeted to groceries from the credited money.  The CC account balance is positive in YNAB and matches the correct positive as what the account website shows.  I thought it all worked exactly as you're describing above, yet here we are.  The CC positive amount was $343.69.  As I've "spent" from that credit, the credit on the account has decreased.  I've spent 146.60, so the credit now shows as $197.09.  But, in budget that 146.60 is showing like payment in green instead of having come from the credit when it was spent out of groceries (as seen in image attached above).

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    • I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate you trying to help me

      Like 1
    • Khaki Piccolo The YNAB account balance is positive right now, which agrees with the real world. Zero out the CC Payment category, and you're golden.

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    • Khaki Piccolo Looking at this screenshot, there is $0 activity -- suggesting that nothing moved to the category this month. Was the $146 purchase in Sept? You can verify it didn't (or did) move by looking at the CC activity detail in the month of that spending.

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    • dakinemaui correct, it was from purchases in September.  The credit also happened in September.  So, you're thinking that it is moving checking account money into the "payment" column & that is money I need to re-budget?

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    • Khaki Piccolo I'd have to see the Sept. Activity Detail to say with any certainty what happened. I do know you don't need to pay back a purchase made while you have a credit balance, so you hardly need funds reserved for the CC Payment.

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    • dakinemaui this included the purchases made at the beginning of September before the payment on September 4th, the payment on September 4th, the $887.08 credit that came later in the month, which canceled out the remaining balance and made a positive credit on the Cap1 account, and the 146 charge activity after that credit

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    • Khaki Piccolo Click on the -$795.78 value to bring up further details. Black-out any payees you feel should remain private.

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    • dakinemaui 

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    • Khaki Piccolo I think the excess is due to the budget entry to the Payment category, rather than purchases made while the account is positive.

      You can prove to yourself that money doesn't move while the account is positive by entering a test $1 transaction categorized to something with Available funds. The CC Payment Available should remain unchanged.

      Like 1
    • dakinemaui I will have to give this a try later.  I'll report back what happens.  Thank you

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  • Khaki Piccolo said:
    you're thinking that it is moving checking account money into the "payment" column

     If any money was moved, it is "budget" money. Whether that's checking account money is a bit immaterial. The budget lumps all of your cash from all cash-based budget accounts together.

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