New inflow, yet To Be Budgeted remains $0.00

Hi there,


I'm having a very odd issue w/ ynab. I had $0.00 To Be Budgeted, and I just received a refund on my credit card and the direct imported transaction shows up as cleared. I set the category to "Inflow: To Be Budgeted", yet To Be Budgeted is still $0.00. If I delete the transaction, To Be Budgeted doesn't change, still $0.00. Oddly, if I change the category from "Inflow: To Be Budgeted" and apply it to one of my expenses, the "Activity" number changes by the corresponding amount of the credit card refund transaction.

What is going on? I've confirmed that I was not over-budgeted in any prior or next month, and I've followed the instructions here to make sure my account budgets match Total Available. I've also confirmed that my accounts are all reconciled.

This makes absolutely no sense. Any ideas where the funds could be hiding?

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  • Update: I even tried making another fake transaction to add another $100 of inflow. Still, To Be Budgeted is stuck at $0.00.

  • So, I tried an experiment. I noticed that the only number that changes at all with an inflow transaction to my credit card is the balance on the left hand navigation of ynab changes. So I created a fake transaction in my credit card w/ an inflow amount of $0.01 greater than my current negative creditcard balance, and finally $0.01 showed up in To Be Budgeted.

    I think I get what's happening, it's treating the credit card's total balance almost like a hidden budget category. But this is remarkably confusing as it means the "Inflow: To Be Budgeted" category doesn't behave consistent to the other budget categories. I suspect perhaps the "To Be Budgeted" at the top is almost treated like a special category?

  • No, nothing budgeted in February or further out yet.

  • If this a paid in full credit card? If so, take a look at your credit card payment category. Is it higher than the account balance? If so, reduce the amount there and it will go to TBB.

    Have you budgeted in February or March? The TBB has to be viewed in the month that is farthest out.

    Do you have credit card debt? Well then the refund reduces the debt.

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  • Yea I pay the balance in full each month. But there is still always a negative balance since I use it for most purchases.

  • But the available amount for my credit card is not higher than the current balance...

      • Vibrant
      • No more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars
      • vibrant
      • 5 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Beige Cobra what is the working balance on the credit card and what is the Available balance in your credit card payment category?

  • Hi, there! This is expected behavior.  🙃 Here's why:

    When you have a negative balance on your credit card and you receive a refund  that you categorize as To be Budgeted, YNAB is reflecting what is happening in real life: that your credit card balance is reduced by the amount of the refund. Essentially, due to this inflow, you have less debt owed.

    The inflow would only show up in To be Budgeted if you had a positive credit card balance.  When that happens, YNAB starts treating your credit card like a checking account and all available funds above $0 will be sent to To be Budgeted. It's at that point that you actually have dollars to give jobs.

    Credit cards can be confusing, so if you have questions about this, let me know! 🙂

  • The budget is the plan for your cash. Debt isn't cash you own. So a less negative balance on the credit card does not create more cash to budget with, it simply reduces debt.

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  • If you want to consider yourself a Paid in Full CC user, you need your CC payment category available to be equal with opposite sign to your CC account working balance at all times. If it is the case, when you have a refund categorised to To Be Budgeted, it will decrease your debt on your CC account and hence the CC payment category should now hold more money than necessary to pay down your card to $0. You can then move those funds to another purpose than paying back your CC debt. The amount in the CC category available will not have changed but because the account balance has changed, the category now contains superfluous cash.

    If your CC payment category doesn't cover your CC account working balance, you are not a paid in full user, you can not pay your CC down to $0 AND follow your budget as currently planned. If you want to be a paid in full user, you will have to change your budget plan and move money to the CC payment category in your budget.

    Edit: to add explanations nothing happens on the budget side in PIF case.

  • When you say "refund", what do you mean? Did you return something or otherwise have an earlier outflow with which this inflow is associated? If so, then recommended practice is to categorize refunds back to the original category. Your original question about TBB=$0 is addressed by the replies indicating the budget is a plan solely for your cash, so this is mainly just a heads up. FWIW, categorizing back to the original category keeps the CC Payment category from getting out of sync if it has paid-in-full status (enough reserved to pay the entire account).

  • Thanks, this all makes sense.

    To answer  dakinemaui , it was a refund for a credit card transaction that took place months before I even started using YNAB, so there wasn't a corresponding charge for it to cancel out. I've never had this happen before when using YNAB so the behavior was surprising because it was different than my previous experiences where I had a matching charge transaction to "revert" by having a refund transaction when I returned something.

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