I'm so confused on credit card debt

My wife spent $1000 on one credit card, $2000 on another, paid $1000 to one, $250 to another, and now I see positives, negatives, needs a category, doesn't need a category, inflow, outflow, and I can't possibly put into words how confused I am now.

I now see one credit card account with about $1800 in debt, and another with about $6000 in debt. And then in the budget section of YNAB, I see the first credit card has $180 "activity" and $180 "available" and it's yellow. The second one has $480 "activity" and $810 "available" and is green. Huh? What does this have to do with the credit card debt? What do the "available" numbers mean and why is one yellow and one green? What do I do with the payments she made to them, with one negative and one positive and one not needing a category and one needing a category?! I don't have the slightest idea what I'm supposed to do with all this, and to be honest I've kinda given up budgeting because of these, because I'm so confused now.

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  • Have you looked at any of the support material? If not here's a recording of a class that might help as a start:


    There's also plenty of material in https://docs.youneedabudget.com/category/135-credit-cards-debt

    We can help with specifics here but if you're not familiar with these, they will help first.

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      • lindsay_g
      • Beige_Banjo.3
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      monkeyhanger Silver Pegasus Silver Pegasus, monkeyhanger is quite right - go and watch and read the support stuff first.

      Credit cards confuse many people at the start but really they are very easy once you are following the system. If you watch the video and read the page you are suddenly going to have an 'ooohhh!' moment where it turns out you had just clicked one wrong thing.

      And then it will all be fine. :)

  • It shouldn't be asking for a category if you're paying from your current/checking account to the credit card. Are you putting it on as a 'Transfer' or a 'Payment'?

  • I also recommend Nick True's youtube videos for YNAB, in particular his credit card tutorial.  I'm not affiliated with or related to Nick, I just found them useful when I started YNAB earlier this year.

    Like 3
  • Hi Silver Pegasus !

    There's a lot packed into your post and I think the links everyone posted are a great place to start! 

    The Available amount in your credit card category is how much you have Available to pay towards your credit card statement - if the Available amount is yellow, you most likely have a goal in place that hasn't been met. Did you set a goal to pay off your credit card by a certain date?

    As for those payments, it's important to choose the right Payee.

    To record a credit card payment yourself:

    • Click on the credit card account in the account list to view your Register.
    • Click Record Payment.
    • Select the date, the account the payment is coming from, enter a memo if you’d like, and (if needed) change the amount. By default, the inflow field is populated with the amount you have set aside for the Payment.
    • Click Save and you’re done! The payment will be reflected in your Credit Card Payment category just as you’d expect. If you have your account set up for Direct Import and this payment imports later, it will automatically match with the one you entered. Easy peasy.

    If you have any questions about importing payments—or any type of transfer—we have answers.

    If you post a screenshot of what you're seeing in your accounts, we can help iron things out! :)

    • Voracious Reader
    • YNAB broke is not the absence of money, but rather the judgment that it has something more important to do.
    • Orange_Cheetah.3
    • 1 yr ago
    • 1
    • Reported - view

    Hi Silver Pegasus, welcome to the forum! (Great name by the way, I am envious!!)

    You've already gotten perfect advice on dealing with the software, so here's some free extra  input from a single person.

    It sounds like you and your wife are acting independently of each other and at least part of your frustration and panic seems to be that you either don't HAVE a plan, or if there is one, your wife hasn't clued you into what it is. She will of course know you far better than anyone else, so she may be able to explain to you what she's doing and why and what the ynab interface is reflecting. Ideally, of course, the amount the two of you send toward your debts would be a joint decision. Maybe you could sit down together and talk it through instead of trying to reconstruct what she's doing like some kind of forensic accountant?

    And if she doesn't have a fixed plan either, then the two of you could join a few of the free YNAB webinars about credit cards, logging them in ynab, and making a plan for dealing with them. That might make you both feel more informed. 

    To me, YNAB represents understanding not only of my money and where it goes, but of why it goes there and what it's doing for me. It's a powerful and addictive feeling the first time you can articulate what your life looks like now and where it's going and the tools you're using to get from now to then. I think you and your wife deserve to both have that peaceful, easy feeling.

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