rent payment / flat share / account share / internal transfers

Hi all,

This is quite confusing. I have no idea how to handle it. I have 2 accounts: my own and joint with girlfriend which we use to pay rent/bills/food. Direct debit for rent is paid from joint account. We transfer specific amount to cover rent/bills from own accounts so on ynab money is taken 2x (1x to transfer and 1x direct debit to pay rent). On the other hand money transferred from account to account is not really spent money? Please give me some ideas.   

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  • You seem to desire separation of funds, so the best thing is to have two budgets: one for your personal money/account(s) and one for the joint account. In your personal budget, you would have a category for "joint expenses". The real-world transfer is recorded in your personal budget as a normal transaction; this is not recorded as a transfer since the joint account should NOT be in your budget.

    On the joint budget side, you would record this inflow categorized as Inflow:To Be Budgeted. Budget this to various categories representing expenses.

    The only sticky point is probably going to be food. If you buy food from the joint account, then there will not be an issue. However, I'm going to guess you'll be using one of your personal accounts to pay. If so, then you'll need to track that as a reimbursement with the joint budget. (You'll have to track it in both budgets.)

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  • You are correct that money transferred between on budget accounts is not money spent. In the case of rent, money is only leaving once but transfers can be a pain when they are frequent. If you and your girlfriend need to keep finances separate, separate budgets would be clearer. This video will show you one way to handle reimbursements in YNAB. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1GQbytjj3s

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  • Thanks, that helps.

    I will create 2 separate budgets: my own and joint like you said. Then I will categorize money I transfer from my own budget to cover rent/bills as 'shared expanses'. Food is the same as rent/bills - we transfer certain amount each month to joint account and use this account to pay for groceries etc. 
    Forgot to mention we rent a room to someone and this guy pays to shared account to cover rent/bills. How do I categorize it all so on 'reports' it shows rent: 500(just me and my girlfriend) instead of 1000 (us 500 + tenant 500)?
    I live in EU and need to transfer .csv files manually/ynab is not linked with my bank accounts. 

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    • Beige Lightning In the joint budget, the typical thing is to record the inflows with the appropriate Payee (either you, GF, or the 3rd guy), categorized as TBB. There would be a $1500 outflow categorized as Rent. Money is money, and the landlord doesn't care who contributed to the account.

      However, if you want to explicitly track these joint expenses per person, you'd need to do a reimbursement approach for each person in that joint budget. That means you wouldn't even have a Rent category. Just a transaction with 3 split lines categorized to each person's category with a memo or payee of rent. I don't really recommend that.

      You may run into the situation where someone doesn't pay in advance. If you send the full rent amount without enough funds Available in the Rent category, that means some other category is overstated and not backed by cash. (A bad thing, especially if there's not much money in that budget.) It's going to be your call whether to a) reallocate from elsewhere (showing the true state of your cash on-hand) or b) leave it in the misleading state. When that person eventually makes their deposit, you would either budget it a) to whatever category you shorted or b) to the rent category (fixing the negative balance). This is further complicated if the month changes, as YNAB will force a correction to that misleading state.

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  • The money from your tenant is income, the transaction is categorised as To Be Budgeted. Then you move this money to the categories that need money in your joint account budget.

    If your only option is .csv file, you might be better off filling the transactions manually at the time they occur. I know you can't put in the transactions from your partner but that's doable. My husband never inputted anything in YNAB and I've been able to keep track with manual entries. Just check your budget and bank accounts often (every couple of days max.).

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    • Yeah, I wouldn't mess with a .csv format. Manual entry has always been recommended as the primary entry method.

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