Budget and bank account value out of sync...

Hey everyone,


Somewhere along the line I messed something up and my available budget greatly exceeded the available funds. I added some money to the account I track in YNAB, but if I record the transaction it will update the budget as well. How can I get them back "in sync"? I want to update the value of the account without updating the available budget as well, is there any way to do this?

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  • First, are all your on budget and tracking accounts reconciled between YNAB and the reality at your banks?

    If yes, then when you transfer money from an on-budget account to a tracking account, you are taking money out of the budget so it needs to be categorised and it will count as an expense for this category. A common example are investment accounts. Most people keep their investment accounts as tracking accounts. So one needs an "investment" category to record transfers from on budget accounts to investment accounts.

    If you give more details on why it's bad that the budget changes when the transfer is done, we might be able to give more specific help. Also, I'm not sure what you mean with:

    Daniel said:
    I messed something up and my available budget greatly exceeded the available funds.

     That's not possible, YNAB ensures the money in your budget is always equal to the money in your accounts. https://docs.youneedabudget.com/article/203-unpacking-ready-to-assign

      • Daniel
      • Pink_Rhythm.13
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Hey Ceeses , thank you for you reply

      First of all: my YNAB accounts are not connected to my bank accounts. I try my best to keep them in sync (I sometimes fail, apparently).

      I have no idea how the disconnect happened. I remember a situation in which I spent from categories that I didn't have any budget for and budget all the expenses using the "To Be Assigned" fund. I then add more money to my account to bring back the "TBA" category to 0, but even this gross misuse of my budget couldn't have caused the out-of-sync situation.

      Ceeses said:
      why it's bad that the budget changes when the transfer is done,

      It's not bad, it works as designed. It's just me who has this problem now and I wanted to fix it that way.

      I'm now going through my transactions to see what I missed in the past (the budget is brand new, I started fresh two months ago). If all else fails I'll just start a new budget.

      • Ceeses
      • Ceeses
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view


      Note: I'm still not sure you and I are talking of the same thing when you say "keep them in sync". Because your explanation afterwards has nothing to do with your accounts ledger matching your real-life bank ledgers. It has nothing to do with the budget side of things, overspending or overassigned. It's only due to transactions not being recorded correctly in the accounts ledgers.
      But I'm going to continue as if what you said meant your cleared balance in YNAB for some of your accounts isn't the same as the cleared balance at your bank(s).

      I can't and won't link any of my accounts either. But I use the file-based imports. That's very quick. Here is what I do:

      1. Connect to my bank and download the transactions for all the accounts there.

      2. Go to YNAB, go to the first account, drag the file for that account from the download manager in my browser to the account screen.

      3. Check the new cleared balance on YNAB with the one at the bank. For me, it matches 99% of the time.

      4. Have a look through the imported transaction (don't approve them) to check the payees and categories. Remove manual or scheduled transactions that didn't happen or didn't match for some reason.

      5. Hit reconcile button, say "yes" if it agrees. This will approve all the new transactions.

      6. Do that for all accounts. It is faster to do than typing the instructions :)

      This way you don't let your accounts in YNAB get out of sync with your real accounts. It's really bad when that happens since then your budget is not real.

  • Is your credit card payment category fully funded?

    Like 1
  • Hey Daniel! The cash in your budget is inextricably linked to the cash in your accounts, although you might need to move money on the budget side. Here's what I'd suggest:

    1. Reconcile each of your budget accounts, so that the cleared balance matches the bank, and uncleared balance is limited to transactions that will clear in the near future.
    2. Do a Budget Audit - this merely helps you to see how the cash matches - it won't change anything in your budget.
    3. Double check the budget side of things: cover cash overspending, cover credit overspending if you plan to pay off of those purchases without paying interest, check your Credit Card Payment category - if you pay in full, it should be a positive match of the amount you owe on the card.

    Once you follow those steps, how do things look?

  • It's only due to transactions not being recorded correctly in the accounts ledgers.

    That's what I mean by "in sync". And I think it has something to do with the way I use YNAB in general:

    - once a month I get my paycheck

    - I record the amount as "inflow" in YNAB. This also updates the available amount in "To Be Assigned"

    - I assign money to my categories until there's nothing more to be assigned. Note that sometimes I do have "green" categories when I get my paycheck so I don't touch those.

    - during the month I record every transaction as soon as I make it and assign it accordingly, either to one or more categories.

    Recording every transaction is a pain (especially since my bank has this "round-up" feature that automatically puts a little money in your savings account with every transaction) so with every transaction, I need to register that as well.

    You use the file-based import to match your recorded transactions in YNAB with the actual ones from the bank, did I get that right? You still need to record every transaction in YNAB as it happens.


    Thank you!

      • Ceeses
      • Ceeses
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Daniel Yes it's always best to record every transaction as it happens but the file-based import makes sure to catch any I missed. And my husband doesn't enter anything so this way I don't have to scroll through the ledger at the bank to see what he spent money on.

      In your description above, you don't talk at all about how, when, how frequently you compare your YNAB ledger with your bank ledger. That's the important step. Especially when doing manual entry. There is bound to be some entry errors from time to time as you are only human. So what do you do to ensure all transactions are in correctly? As I said before, I usually do so once a week or about. I know people who do so every other day.

      Like 1
      • Daniel
      • Pink_Rhythm.13
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Ceeses I usually record every transaction as I exit the store :). If there's a larger transaction, say a supermarket receipt, I wait till I get home to split it into different categories.

      I usually compare my YNAB transactions with my bank once or twice a week. If I missed some transactions I add them using the bank statement.

      I think I'm going to start a new budget after my next paycheck (that's around Dec 23) and try to pay very close attention when the available amount in my budget and the amount in my bank account start to diverge.

  • Daniel said:
    "round-up" feature

     Turn this off. Your YNAB life will become 50% simpler, and you don't need it. With YNAB, you don't need to "hide" money from yourself in a savings account because you don't make spending decisions based on your checking account balance, you make them based on your category balances. So YOU get decide which of your dollars are for spending and which are for saving, and YOU decide how much money you need in your checking account to make your life run smoothly and how much is safe to put in a savings account to earn a few more pennies in interest. 

    Like 2
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