Credit Card Payment amount inaccurate

I've been using YNAB for 9 years and have never quite adapted to nYNAB. I even went as far as utilizing a different product for a few months in 2018/19 to see if there was anything out there similar to the old YNAB.  The product I found was similar enough, but missing a few key items like account reconciliation that caused me to reconsider YNAB. I've been back using YNAB full time for about 7 months.

My inability to understand the 'new' way of managing CC's in nYNAB is the issue.  I've read many posts and articles trying to understand how it all works behind the scenes and it still boggles my mind.

I do not pay my credit card off each month.  I cover all spending and interest charges (unless there is an emergency like a large vet bill), and budget an amount directly to the CC category to pay down debt when I can.  I have not been paying my bill based on what YNAB says I have available for a credit card payment because I don't trust it.  It was correct for the first couple of months since I started back using YNAB and then things went off track somehow. It never seems to be the right amount, currently way too high.  If I add up all my category balances and then factor in the cc payment amount, I'd be in overdraft if I paid it.  I'm not sure when or how this happened or how to fix it. Can you help?

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  • I don't use that feature of YNAB but I can tell you how it works. (I make my CCs checking accounts so they work the same as all previous YNABs.)

    1. When you initially set up a credit card, you need to budget to the payment category what you plan to pay on the card as of that moment.
    2. Every time you make a CC purchase, that amount will be subtracted from the category you purchased from and added to your CC Payment category.
    3. When it's time to make your payment, you can be confident that the amount in your Payment category is available for payment and make a transfer of that much from your checking account to your CC account.

    I hope that helps. Just keep asking questions until you get it and it makes sense to you.

    Like 1
  • Your first point, 'budget to the payment category' - currently I don't budget anything to the payment category unless I'm wanting to pay down some of my debt.  When paying the credit card, I categorize it as a 'Payment from: checking' and no category is required.  Am I doing this correctly?  

    I guess if I'm doing that part correctly, I just need to know how a credit card payment balance would grow so large that it's impossible I actually have that money in my account to use towards payment.  There must be something I did wrong a while ago, or something I'm not doing right.

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    • amers411 
      I would start by reviewing the transaction register of the Credit Card account. My guess is if the numbers are way off - that is where it would be coming from. 

      Every time you use your credit card as a method of payment for transactions in the current month, and then categorize them, the money will go directly from the budgeted category (eg. groceries) to the amount available for payment on your credit card. That should keep all spending within the current month up-to-date. Unless (and I may be wrong here, but I think it's what I've seen), when you spend with your credit card without sufficient money in the category to cover it - it doesn't move funds to the available section of your credit card. For example, if you spent $50 on groceries, using your credit card, but only had $25 in your grocery budget category - $25 would move to the available funds, and the other $25 would be highlighted in yellow with a card icon still within the groceries. When you fund that overspending of your groceries, it will move to the available funds for your CC. 

      It sounds like you are using the Budget category of CC correctly - adding in an amount there for making additional or interest payments. 

      In the credit card register there is also a button "record payment" - you just put in the date and amount :) I find it the easiest way!

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      • amers411
      • amers411
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Turquoise Snow Thank you for mentioning the 'record payment' button, I recall seeing it but have never used it.  My credit card is reconciled and up to date, no weird transactions to throw this off.

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    • amers411 
      I wonder if it would be helpful to just do a reconciliation - add a YNAB adjusted transaction, and let it start "fresh"?

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  • amers411 said:
    If I add up all my category balances and then factor in the cc payment amount, I'd be in overdraft if I paid it.

    1. Your CC Payment is already included in the sum of your category balances. If you don't have any overspending, that sum is given by "Total Available" shown on the right when no categories are selected.

    2. If you have multiple cash-based accounts (e.g., a savings account), those funds are included in the budget as well.

    3. Don't forget about any funds budgeted in next month's area.

    The easiest "proof" is to scroll all the way forward as far as you can. In that future-most budget area, this will be true:

    To Be Budgeted + Total Available = Total Cash in Accounts

    Bottom line is if the cleared balances in YNAB accounts equal the balances in the real-world and there is no red showing in the budget, then you really have every penny in the budget. 

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      • amers411
      • amers411
      • 1 mth ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui #2 is why this wasn't working!!  Thank you! I have another checking account that only gets used for a couple of things.  It currently has some money in it that I've written checks on.  I forgot to include it when trying to figure all of this out.  When I add up everything, it now balances and it appears I do indeed have the money needed to make that large credit card payment. I just don't think it's all in the right bank account.  At least now I know what the problem is and can manage it properly.  Thanks for your help! 

      Like 5
  • amers411 said:
    When paying the credit card, I categorize it as a 'Payment from: checking' and no category is required.  Am I doing this correctly? 

    Assuming you mean the Payee is "Payment from: checking", yes that's correct. There should also be a little sideways arrow to show it's a transfer.

    Like 2
  • Do you have a savings account on budget?

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  • One more thing. Most people don't realise this but if you don't want to make a payment to the credit card as large as the amount in the Available in the CC payment category, that's ok. And you can move money out of that category to repurpose it for something else. By doing so, you are simply saying you are happy to keep the debt longer and prefer to fund something else with it. 
    The important thing to remember is to not make a bigger payment to the CC company than there is in the CC payment category available. If you do, that's cash overspending and you would need to move money to that category from elsewhere. Same as for any cash overspending.

    Like 2
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  • 1 mth agoLast active
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