Who Is Crazy?

Please explain me this:

It's Jan. '20 and my wife (who has her separate YNABn) was entering transactions in her credit card account which occurred in Dec. '19 during our vacation. Before doing this her TBB amount for Jan. '20 was -$370. She entered perhaps $1,000 worth of Dec. transactions all categorized to her 'Vacation'  budget category and when she checked her Jan. '20 TBB it then showed $54.19 To be Budgeted!

Wait, it gets better. As a test she then entered a $20,000 faux transaction in her CC account dated Dec. 2, '19 categorized as 'Vacation' and when she checked her Jan. '20 TBB it said she now had another $20 (for a total of $74) To be Budgeted! Since YNABn was making no sense at all, she entered another faux Dec. 2, '19  $20,000 transaction categorized as 'Vacation' which resulted in her Jan. '20 TBB now having another $15 for a total of $94.

Question: How is one to take YNABn seriously when things like this happen, for no apparent reason?

Am I crazy? Is there really an explanation for this happening?

Next, she deleted her 2 faux transactions and her Jan. '20 TBB was back to this mysterious $54.19.

Since there was seemingly some Cosmic game taking place here she tried another experiment to see if she could figure out what was going on. With her Jan. '20 TBB showing $54.19 she created a new faux $20,000 Dec. 2, '19 transaction categorized as 'Auto' (another of her existing Budget Categories). This then caused her Jan. '20 TBB amount to be $118.22. Well, this is fun. She created yet another faux $20,000 Dec. 2, '19 transaction categorized yet again as 'Auto' and this time the Jan. '20 TBB amount remained at $118.22...no change at all.

Finally she did a third faux Dec. 2, '19 transaction of $20,000 categorized as 'Vacation' which now caused her Jan. '20 TBB amount to be $132.38.

I gave up budgeting in YNAB 4 seven years ago because I just could not make sense of it and just used it to track my money flow. My wife did the same. I know that some of you managed to keep budgeting with YNAB 4 and my hat is off to you. With dread in my heart I purchased a subscription to YNABn as did my wife. I whined here in the Forum about my being unable to Budget in YNAB 4 and I received a ton of support  in helping me to get started anew with my new YNABn.

Honestly, I am about to ditch YNABn because I can make no sense of where the TBB amounts come from. I also have no love for the Report function of this program and am troubled by there being no way to print a report other than cutting and pasting which is a complete pain in the a** (exporting as a CVS file does not serve my purpose). I have several other difficulties with this YNABn which are too numerous to list here.

I know that this post is ridiculously over-long but we are seriously looking for some explanation of what is taking place in my wife's Jan. '20 TBB. Does anyone out there on this very helpful Forum have any clues at all?

Thank you for taking the time to read through all of this.

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  • Hi there!

    It sounds like there's a lot going on in this budget, and the easiest way to figure out what's going on would be to take a look at your wife's budget—with her permission!

    If you’re up for it, go ahead and ask her to enable Support Access for her account. Once you’ve done that, let me know—and mention whether you’d like to continue the discussion here or via email instead.

    I can say off the top of my head that when she entered those December Vacation transactions, if that made her January To be Budgeted go up, there are two possible causes of that:

    1. The Vacation category was negative in December, and the net total of the transactions she entered represented an inflow to that category.
    2. (more likely, I think) The Credit Card Payment category was negative in December, and entering those transactions moved some money into the Credit Card Payment category, which resulted in less money being deducted from To be Budgeted when the month rolled over.

    Please let me know if you and she would like me to take a look at that budget!

    Like 4
    • Matthew Hi Matthew. Thank you for responding to this, we very much appreciate you taking the time to look into this. My wife has a very busy week right now and I don't know if she is going to be able to devote the time needed to figure out what you are suggesting but I want to let you know that we have discussed it a little and that we appreciate your help.

      Regarding your thoughts:

      #1-The vacation category was most certainty negative in December. Neither of us understand your comment that, "the net total of the transactions she entered represented an inflow to that category." We can't even begin to understand how to make sense of this. I don't understand how expenses in a category can represent an inflow into that category. It makes we believe that I really, really don't have a grasp on what YNAB is doing. I'd like to understand this statement but I don't.

      #2. The manner in which YNAB handles credit card transactions is still a mystery to me. It seems that I need to do some work to understand how YNAB takes transactions in a credit card category and then moves 'some' money into the Credit Card Payment category, which then results in less money being deducted from TBB when the month rolls over. I'm certain that you understand this but it is a mystery to me. Might you have a specific page I can go to which explains this? I appreciate the volume of help articles YNAB presents but I find it difficult to string them together in a coherent manner. 

      Again, thank you very much for taking the time to help us out. I do find this a bit overwhelming at this point. I think it should make sense but I haven't gotten to that point yet and I find it frustrating.

      Like 1
      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 9 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      FirIslander 

      #1 While most inflow transactions should be categorized as “Income: TBB,” you absolutely can categorize an inflow to a category. If you do that, your category balance will increase. So if the net total (the amount added up) of all the transactions in that category was a positive number, the category balance would go up and the negative balance next month would go down. 


      #2 It’s always helpful to remember that YNAB is an electronic version of cash envelopes. Most of the confusing parts are much less confusing if you imagine your categories as an envelope with cash instead of trying to abstract away from that reality.

      In the case of credit cards—you go to the grocery. But instead of using your grocery envelope, you use your credit card. So now you owe money to the card to pay them back for the groceries. And you have that money, in the grocery envelope. So you take the exact same amount you just spent, and you take those bills and put them in the “pay the credit card back” envelope instead.  


      YNAB does this for you. But what if you spend more than is in an envelope? Do that, and there’s no money to be moved. Again, imagine cash—if you have a twenty and a ten in the envelope and you spend $40, when you open that envelope, the most you could remove is $30. So that’s all the more that moves and YNAB notifies you that you spent $10 more than you physically had. 

      Like 6
    • FirIslander Okay, keep me posted! If she would like us to take a look, we're happy to do it.

      Like
    • Matthew Thanks, Matthew. We definitely need some help and very much appreciate your interest and your suggestions of what is probably going on. We are both very busy with things right now but please know that we mean to take you up on your offer of help.

      Helpfully Spider Plant sent us a link to a credit card YouTube video and I am studying that, which is going to take a while. I am very thankful for this suggestion.

      Thank you again.

      Like
  • Concur with Matthew #2. Rule 3 is a rule for a reason.

    Like 3
    • dakinemaui Boy, this isn't very helpful. I don't know how to roll with the punches when I don't know where the punches are coming from, nor what they mean.

      Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      FirIslander It means move money in advance of spending that would make a category negative. Failing that, move it afterward to zero out negative categories.

      Sorry to have been a bit terse earlier. I'm sure Support will get you sorted.

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      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      FirIslander The punches are coming from any category with a negative balance. You just need to review your budget and you'll find them.

      Like 2
  • Support is awesome and hopefully will help get you sorted. It took me a bit to really figure out credit cards in YNAB, but it's worth it. If they fit your schedule, I've found the live workshops to be incredibly helpful. And if schedule is tight, this video they posted on YouTube about credit cards has some great, clear info that I've found very helpful all around. Best of luck!

    Like 2
    • eloquentz
    • Numbers Wizard (Accountant), Acoustic Artist (Musician) and Jill of all Trades (Wife & Mother)
    • eloquentz
    • 9 mths ago
    • 2
    • Reported - view

    If you are entering the vacation charges on a credit card, the software is prioritizing cash transactions first then credit. So the reason your TBB isn't moving around is because a credit transaction that isn't covered creates more debit. A cash transaction that isn't covered makes an adjustment to next month's TBB.

     

    Even if you had transactions that were previously covered on credit, adding more credit transactions make the cash covering the cash ones move around.

    Like 2
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