Credit Card Budget Does not appear to be updating correctly
Hi - I'm running into a strange problem where my credit card payment budget is not matching my working balance.
Over the past couple of months, I have found a couple of nuances in YNAB that made me realize I needed to watch a few things more closely to ensure everything reconciles. So now, every week when I reconcile my balances, I always check to make sure that my account working balance = payment budget.
However, for the 2 cards I use the most - they get out of whack pretty quickly. For example, a few weeks ago I noticed that my working balance was about $150 higher than what was budgeted, so I added in $150 to cover it. Today, when going through to reconcile that account, I'm showing a balance that is $420 higher than the working balance...
I realize I am not supposed to be budgeting money in/out of these budgets, but I think there was an issue when I originally set up my budget that I didn't properly account for my balance. However, now I can't seem to get this to stay reconciled...
Any idea what's going on here?
Almost certainly overspending. It'll be yellow and NOT included in the Overspending header line in next month's area. (That's only for red/cash overspending.) This is very common if you rely on Import for transaction entry; something will import dated for last month after you've already moved on to this months budget.
The fact you made them agree once eliminates the other common cause of not budgeting for a starting balance. Less common things that leave the category short are outgoing transfers (e.g., to gift card accounts or immediate reimbursements) or reconciliation adjustments.
I have never liked how CC work in YNAB (Maybe I don't understand it). I tend to just zero it out each month to make my life easier.
I have had issues in the past where they would not sync properly and have had to go back and fix things from the previous month, though I think that is with syncing as sometimes it is a few days late.
Frank K - exactly what dakinemaui says, check previous months and I have also seen this with hidden categories. Sometimes a transaction will import to a category that I no longer use or have consolidated categories to a single, easier to manage set. Since you have not budgeted to a hidden category, this could cause your issue...
Frank K said:
once it's balanced it should stay in balance - correct?
In general, no. There are a number of things outside of overspending that will throw off the category/account agreement. For example, purchase rewards redeemed as a statement credit.
The only way to absolutely force agreement is to drop the stock CC handling and represent your CC with a checking account. (Make a "payment" from a new account to switch.) This simplifies things for a paid-in-full (PIF) CC, since the full account balance is ALWAYS implicitly reserved. No Payment category is used, as it would be redundant.
The only potential issue is you cannot float anything with this representation (which is exactly the point, right?). Reimbursements, for instance, should use a method appropriate for cash transactions (pre-funding the category). If you do need to finance something, just make a simple balance transfer back to a real credit-based account, and then balance transfer to the checking representation when PIF status is restored.
Hi! I found this post because I was baffled on this same topic. My TBB should match my balances. I put in a manual split entry with 4 splits, and it was complaining I didn't have enough funds. What I think (now) it was telling me was that since "Groceries" was overspend, it wasn't going to move the money to TBB to cover the transaction. But where I thought it was odd was that it was off by an odd amount that had no bearing on what I was entering, AND my CCP CC Balance was higher than the actual balance (back to the original point of this post)
What I ended up doing was moving the surplus funds around, removing the transaction to force the balances to agree, and having enough funds in Groceries to cover. Then, when I entered the transaction, it stayed in balance.
So where I'm struggling to understand....
1) Transaction gets entered to Overspend Groceries by $50
2) It throws my Credit Card Payments (CCP) section in Yellow
3) I can move money around to cover, but should it not *always* balance to this formula, or am I missing something?
- Sum of CCP + Sum of Bank Account = Total of all Budgeted Envelopes
I'm becoming less convinced that I'm actually in balance, and should probably run the numbers through Excel. If the CCP and Budget Sections get out of balance, how do you find the error...?
Stephen Kirven said:
it wasn't going to move the money to TBB to cover the transaction
TBB = To Be Budgeted, which is the number at the top of your budget screen showing you how much money still needs to be put in categories. Most of the time, it should stay at $0. When you get income, you need to put it in categories until it reaches $0.
It has little to do with the Credit Card handling.
Stephen Kirven said:
I'm becoming less convinced that I'm actually in balance
It's impossible to be out of balance, as it's literally the fundamental computation in YNAB. That said, negative money is a bit useless, so ensure there is no red anywhere so the numbers are meaningful in the real world.
Paid-in-full status on the CC requires that the Payment category exactly cover the debt (negative account balance).
Stephen Kirven said:
If the CCP and Budget Sections get out of balance, how do you find the error...?
It's either a yellow category (so move funds there to cover) or something else (so move funds directly to the Payment category). The full list of "something else" is above-thread.
Stephen Kirven said:
since "Groceries" was overspend, it wasn't going to move the money to TBB to cover the transaction
It never moves money to TBB for a spending transaction. It will, however, move to the CC Payment category IF funds are Available in the spending category.
dakinemaui Yea, I did an export just now to cross check, and then I realized my "over" was my actual TBB balance. :) And I had to pull the "Budget for future" number into the mix too....
So maybe it's sort of a two-pronged thing. The money being short in the CCP section just says "Hey dummy, feed me" by turning it yellow. And the Budget goes Yellow also with a "feed me" too.. But the available funds up to 0.00 get moved to the CCP folder...
I think I get it.
After getting into some pretty serious budgeting trouble at the end of last year, I “made a fresh start” this year and have been keeping a careful eye on ynab. It looks as though my credit card balance is not registering on my budget page, even though it is a budgeted account. Therefore my actual funds available is much lower than what shows on my budget. I just reclassified my credit card to a checking account, and the balance owed shows red on my budget. I hate that, but the balances finally match!! This is a recent phenomenon for me, it has never been an issue in the past. It seems to be happening to quite a few people and it frustrates me that ynab support seems to classify it as user error and not a possible bug in the app update which will cause major issues with the main reason why people are using the app.
I'm super frustrated, too. I have been doing YNAB for (11? 12? years?) I should be better than this! But the cc feature is ever elusive for me, I guess, ever since I went to the online version.
I did a fresh start 1/1/21. All my categories that have transactions in the cc are in the green. But it's telling me I don't have enough to cover it.
I don't know what to do. I had this before, and would just put money in the budgeted category for the cc, but after a while the numbers get out of whack again (even within the same month!)
I don't understand what is happening.
Currently there is only 1 "pending" item on my cc for $18. Also, my deficit on the cc that says I overspent $112.52. So...do I put budget cell $112.52 or $120.52?
These are two separate things.
What is your account balance currently, including pending transactions?
If you just reconciled, that exact working balance should be displaying on the account sidebar on the left.
My "starting balance" was +$577.01 (I had made a pmt at the end of December knowing about 2 of the transactions coming.)
If I understand this statement correctly, you seem to be in the habit of pre-paying your CC. That is to send more money to the CC that is currently owed knowing some future transactions are coming. This will wreck your CC payment category in YNAB if you are not careful. When your CC account has a positive balance, YOU need to manually adjust the budget. Your CC payment category will go negative (you sent more than was currently reserved) and your TBB will go positive. YOU need to budget the new money in TBB to the CC payment category.
Alternatively, don't send the CC company more than what they ask for and earn interests for yourself on the money you hence keep for longer. And reduce the amount of work you have to do on the budget.
I do have the habit of paying what I know I owe before transactions post to my CC account, I'll stop doing that.
Yes, that was my first question once you're squared away.
I used to do the same thing as you until someone on here asked me why I was doing it. So, why are you paying your credit card bill early?
To avoid interest charges, all you need to do is pay the statement balance on the due date, which usually comes 3 weeks after the statement closes.
Doing this helps prevent your CC from ever becoming positive in YNAB, which helps avoid much of your issue (the full list of diverging CC catalysts is somewhere above in this thread).
Since you're using YNAB, you know you can pay it off at any time (category balance always equals account balance, but positive). You can hold onto that money and earn a bit of interest on it yourself.
This brings me to the other point you brought up...
I want to move the "extra" to savings, but don't like sending it to that account (at the bank, not just YNAB) and then find out I need to bring some back again.
Many people find great success by not trying to sync categories to accounts. Turn on the running balance in your registers (checking, especially), use scheduled transactions for anything you can, and look at your cash-flow to decide how much to put in savings.
The fact is that since you're using YNAB, you're probably going to have money in your categories that you're not going to spend immediately.
Some people decide that a cushion of one month's expenses should sit in checking and the rest goes to saving to earn more interest. Some people look for the low point to be a certain dollar amount.
Happy Dance posted a formula on here.
There's an article to read about this on the blog.
I can come back with those links, but my video finished loading and I need to finish my work for a while! Maybe someone else will post them before I come back.
Sorry, and good luck!
If you only had $5 in the budget
Then identify something less important from which to take $5. If you can't find something like that, then don't buy the thing. It really is that simple.
Note: if you feel maintaining your CC debt is less important than that thing, then take the $5 from the CC Payment category. Sometimes it comes to that.
One other question - Remember, I started this fresh start with a positive balance on this cc.
I found this on another thread with the answer about a similar problem, YNAB Lover said one of the common problems is
- "You had a positive balance on your card, which ended up in To be Budgeted and got budgeted somewhere other than the Credit Card Payment category. You can verify this by turning on Running Balance in your credit card account register and looking for a positive balance."
Did it take my positive balance and put it in my TBB?!?!?!?!?!