Money does not move to credit card payment category when purchase is made. Why?

About four months ago I did a reset of our YNAB budget because of an error we had made. We put a hold on our spending and waited for all transactions to clear so that we would be certain of starting with the correct balances. For several months everything continued to reconcile. About a month ago for no apparent reason there was suddenly about $200 less in the credit card payment category than the balance on the card. I could not find a solution and finally made a manual adjustment to the amount.  It happened again a few weeks later to the tune of about $175. Today when I went to reconcile the credit card payment account was $45 less than the balance on the card. 

What is happening? Where is the money going? It seems like when I make purchases it must not be moving into the credit card payment account as it is supposed to. 

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  • This is usually due to overspending. Only budgeted money can move, which makes sense if you really dial in to the idea of your budget as cash envelopes. You can’t move more money from an envelope than was in there to begin with. 

    Any time you overspend a category in which you’ve used credit, YNAB will preserve your cash position by assuming you intended for that overspending to become carried debt. You have to correct it when it happens, and preferably before.  

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  • When I overspend a category it is usually added to a little yellow box next to the amount in the payment category. I can then add the overspent amount to the amount in the payment category and it will match the balance on the card. Then I can go add money to the over drawn categories and the payment amount matches the balance. This is not what is happening. There seems to be no record of the money missing from the payment category.  

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    • Spring Green Sidewinder I don't think I quite understand what you mean by "carried debt." Or how to "correct it." Would you mind clarifying?

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      • WordTenor
      • Can we agree that goals are dumb and immature? Sure.
      • WordTenor
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Spring Green Sidewinder You’ve described the procedure for correcting overspending. So the question is instead what else you’re doing. There are some other reasons it can diverge, like buying cash-based items (gift cards, cash advances) with your card. Are you doing any of that? 

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    • WordTenor No, I have not. 

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Spring Green Sidewinder Are you relying solely on import of transactions rather than manually entering and matching? If so, what could be happening is that there is no overspending in your budget on the last day of the month so you think it is all good, but on the 3rd or 4th of a new month, old transactions from the previous month are imported and take a category negative in the past, but you don't notice it because YNAB zeroes out overspends when the month rolls over and just creates credit card debit. So take a look at past months so see if anything turned negative and you missed it because you have been focused on the current month.

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  • jenmas  that answer makes sense since it has happened to me a few times. I too just load transactions from accounts and rarely enter manually. Yet I've learned that any late month expenditures need to be entered manually or what you describe will happen again. I have a similar problem now though in that my credit card "available" for payment exceeds my credit card account balance and I can't figure out why.

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  • It sounds like you pay your credit card in full on a monthly basis. Is that right?

    When you turn on your Running Balance in your credit card account register, do you see your credit card balance going positive in the months in which you see this discrepancy between the balance and the Credit Card Payment category? Or do you see credits that put your card in the positive?

    If so, when the card is positive, YNAB will stop automatically sending budgeted spending to the Credit Card Payment category until the card is negative again. The positive balance is treated more like a checking account, in that it's added to To be Budgeted. The solution here is to simply budget that money to your Credit Card Payment category.

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      • WordTenor
      • Can we agree that goals are dumb and immature? Sure.
      • WordTenor
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Dela a positive card wouldn't cause the problem the OP is seeing. Money wouldn't move, yes, which is what the subject line says, but if you read the description of the problem the problem is that the credit card category balance and the account balance are diverging. A positive card would simply not move money until the moment it crossed $0.00, at which point the money would start moving again and keep the two numbers in sync. 

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    • WordTenor A card that's going positive repeatedly can definitely cause the gap between the balance and the Credit Card Payment category to diverge. But I suspect what's going on here is missing transactions resulting in a balance adjustment, which then requires adjustment of the Credit Card Payment category.

      Spring Green Sidewinder If you haven't already been in touch with support directly, we'd be happy to take a look at your budget and confirm what's going on. Just let us know!

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    • Dela Oh, wow. That was interesting. I did not know that I could turn on a running balance on my credit card account. I will have to check into that. Nor did I know about how YNAB handles a positive balance on a card. 

      And Yes, we do pay it off in full every month. 

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    • WordTenor It is the credit card PAYMENT category and the credit card balance that do not match. The Credit card balance in YNAB and the balance on the card do match. 

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      • WordTenor
      • Can we agree that goals are dumb and immature? Sure.
      • WordTenor
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Spring Green Sidewinder Yes. I'm using older terminology, sorry. Older versions of the software used to call the thing that is now called "available" the category balance, distinct from the account balance. The number in the category and the number in the account register are diverging over time. 

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  • Thank you to everyone who gave input into this issue. 
    I just made an important connection but I am not sure I fully understand where the money is going or why it does this.
    March just ended and I had overspent categories with my credit card. My credit card payment category matched the balance on the credit card at the end of March. When the month rolled over there was suddenly a $700+ deficit in the credit card payment category. I went back to March's budget and added money to the overspent categories and the payment then matched the card balance. I'm assuming that when the month rolls over YNAB takes money out of the credit card payment category instead of the to be budgeted category to catch up those overspent categories. Is this correct? Why doesn't it take it out of to be budgeted instead? It's not like the charge on my card is going to disappear, I'll still need the money in the payment account to pay the bill.  

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      • satcook
      • satcook
      • 8 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Spring Green Sidewinder With overspent categories the available bubble and the account balance wouldn't have matched in March. .....

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  • Spring Green Sidewinder said:
    I'm assuming that when the month rolls over YNAB takes money out of the credit card payment category instead of the to be budgeted category to catch up those overspent categories.

    When the month rolls over, any categories with credit overspending's available columns will reset to zero, but those amounts aren't covered from To be Budgeted, or anywhere else. Instead, the overspending is represented by an increased shortfall in the Credit Card Payment category. This means there would now be less in the Credit Card Payment category than is needed to pay the card's balance to zero. 

    It does sound a bit odd that your Credit Card Payment category matched your card's balance before covering the overspent categories. I'd love to hear a bit more about what you experienced, and what you're seeing now, if you're up for sharing! 

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