Student allowance - debt or income?

Hey so this a slightly complicated one - I'm from New Zealand where student loans are public and are interest free. I'm still studying, and each week I qualify for a "student living allowance" - cash that is put in my account that will eventually have to be repaid. I also work part-time, and so far have managed to live off my wages and leave the "living allowance" untouched. I'm unsure how to enter this money into YNAB, as technically each payment of x amount of cash is x amount of extra debt. How do I categorize money that is both debt and actual cash that I'm saving? 

My goal is to just keep the money as long as I'm studying and make the most of the interest as it accrues. 
 

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  • Just create a category called "student living allowance income" and let it sit there (Way at the bottom of your budget, so you don't stumble across it on a daily/weekly/whateverly basis.)  That way it won't be wandering wild through your budget getting siphoned off here and there.  It will earn you interest, like you said, and when it comes time to pay it back, you can just categorize the payments to that category, and the balance will go down.  I guess since it's at 0% interest, there's no real call to pay it all back at once, so this way you'll keep it longer, and earn more interest off of it.

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    • Vibrant
    • No more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars
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    I would create an "other liability" tracking account with a recurring transfer transaction that outflows from the liability account and inflows to your deposit account, categorized as on the budget side as Inflow: TBB. Then, as Bruce suggests, move it to a holding category. 

    ETA: the starting balance of the liability account would be either zero or the actual current (negative) balance, depending on whether your budget already includes the amount you've already received or not. 

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  • Thank you!

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