How do I carry over my budget figures to next month?

I took about a 9 month hiatus from YNAN and just recently came back.  Iremember that there was a way to carry over the budget to the next month so I don't have to start off with zero in every category and then adjust.  I've checked the settings and do not see a way to do this.  Am I missing something/

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  • Hi Whereforart !

    The option you're looking for is the Quick Budget feature! On the right hand side of your budget, in the web app, you'll see them listed there to auto-fill your budget with the amounts Budgeted Last Month, Spent Last Month, etc.

    In the mobile app, this is available by tapping on the lightning bolt symbol. :)

    Like 2
      • Whereforart
      • Mostly traveled.
      • whereforart
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness at YNAB Got it - thanks so much!  I was so frustrated - I knew there was a way to do it but couldn't find it!  😕 Happy New Year!

      Like
    • Whereforart You're very welcome! :)

      Happy New Year to you, too! Here's to leaving all budgeting frustration back in 2017! 😉

      Like 1
      • Baldylocks
      • Marketing Guy | Musician | Empath | Enthusiast
      • baldylocks
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness I budgeted X dollars for a category at the end of last month and need to move that figure to this month. Is the Quick Budget method the way to do this? My thinking was that I needed to move it to the TBB, then move my calendar to this month and allocate it back to the same category this month. I just want to be sure Quick Budget is the answer before I start clicking. THANK YOU!

      Like 1
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Baldylocks If on July 31 you have $17.15 in your Fun Money category, that same $17.15 will be in the Fun Money category on August 1 with no action on your part.

      Like 3
      • Baldylocks
      • Marketing Guy | Musician | Empath | Enthusiast
      • baldylocks
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      jenmas Thank you. But why the orange status? Shouldn't these categories with the carried over $ be green?

      Like 1
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Baldylocks If the category has a goal or scheduled transaction attached to it, that can impact the color. The presence of icons indicates you use goals which I don't so I can't give any guidance.

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      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Baldylocks 

      orange means a few things:

      • an overspend on credit cards
      • a goal you haven't met yet
      • a category with a scheduled outflow that doesn't yet have enough to cover the outflow

      If it's credit card overspending, add funds to the category if you can before the end of the month. If you can't add funds this month, in subsequent months you budget directly to the credit card payment category until the balance available to pay the card matches the amount owing on the card.

      If it's a goal target you haven't met yet, you can budget funds as you get them, live with the orange all month if you choose to not fund the category (so annoying), or go to next month and revise the goal there. That will turn off the orange in this month.

      If it's a category with an upcoming transaction, add funds when you can before the transaction date, and if it's cash-based (e.g. from your chequing account), that may mean moving funds from another category that has money in it.

      Like 2
      • Baldylocks
      • Marketing Guy | Musician | Empath | Enthusiast
      • baldylocks
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance Thank you. I'm still not understanding why it wouldn't appear as funded/green.  I budgeted the money last paycheck (last week in July) and since then, it's only time that has changed. My objective is the same as the rather cumbersome lifting of those dollars out from last month (July), placing them in the TBB basket, scrolling to this month (August) and placing them back in the categories. And, that's what I just did, in order to have it accurately reflect that that the only thing that's changed is the month. It should be green. I'm missing something, but living with the orange, like  you said, no way... that will drive me nuts. I don't see why this isn't more clear, why there wouldn't be a "Move To Current Month" type function. Perhaps in process, but this is more frustrating than it should be. 

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      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Baldylocks 

      YNAB is an allocation budget based on cash envelopes, so let's use a different visual.

      I have a paper envelope, identified as clothing spending.  In July I put $100 in it, then spent $50 from that envelope.  At the end of the month, there was still $50 in the clothing envelope.  There is no need to reassign the funds in August. The dollars are already in the envelope. They stay in the category until you move the funds to another category or until you spend.  That's how you build up money to pay annual expenses or emergency expenses or over years to buy a car.

      Goals is a visual reminder overlay that you can add to each seperate category. There are different types of goals.  All it does is change colour as a reminder.  An unmet goal will turn the category orange.

      Using my clothing envelope example, let's assume I have decided it's reasonable to add $100 to my clothing category every month.  The YNAB category will turn orange on the first day of every month as a reminder that I have a goal for that category. It will stay orange until I budget enough to the category to meet the goal.  If I budget multiple paycheques through the month, it might stay orange until nearer to the end of the month.  I'm paid once a month at the end of the month, so I used my July paycheque to fully fund all my August categories, so I have no orange.

      Releasing the money in July in order to budget it to the exact same category in August is unnecessary.  It's like taking $50 out of the envelope and then putting it right back in the same envelope.

      Like 1
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Hi, Baldylocks

      Goals are an optional add-on. They are a nice feature but definitely not essential to the process.  If you are finding the display confusing or annoying (the orange messes with my mind something fierce), you can remove/delete the goals until you get a better sense of how the software can work for you and how you like to organize your financial affairs.  The YNAB version I used when getting started did not have goals.  Most of us just included amount or date reminders in the category names.

      Example:

      • Clothing ($100/mo)
      • Utilities (15th)
      • Insurance ($1,000/July)
      Like 1
      • Baldylocks
      • Marketing Guy | Musician | Empath | Enthusiast
      • baldylocks
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance Boom. Thank you. That's what I needed. You rock. :)

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    • Faness Hi there. I have the same issue as above, so thank you for the answer. What is not clear to me is whether this feature can be used to automatically enter a monthly figure, or whether you need to go down line by line each month and click on the "previous", "average" etc for each item. Any ideas? 

      Thanks in advance for your help!

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      • WordTenor
      • Can we agree that goals are dumb and immature? Sure.
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Violet Cleric You can select any number of categories to apply any given quick budget option to all those categories at once. You can do this one by one, or category group by category group by clicking the checkbox to the left of the category. So you could select "mortgage, cell phone, internet" and choose "Budgeted last month" and then select "utilities, groceries, gasoline" and choose "average spent." 

      Like 2
  • I'm perplexed and frustrated that budgeted amounts don't move to the next month. I get paid at the end of the month, and following the YNAB rules, I give every dollar a job by answering the question "what do I need this money to do before I get paid again?" Consequently, all of my budgeted amounts are visible to me for a day or two, then inconveniently disappear when the month rolls over. 

     

    YNAB puts me in an awkward situation. It forces me to budget by month, so I have to look at the previous month to see my budgeted amounts. Yet it promotes the idea that your frequency of pay doesn't matter.

     

    I want to see my budgeted amounts in this month, but I can't just budget it all in the month after I get paid because I still need to spend some of that money in the last couple days of the month in which I am paid. I don't know the exact amounts, and I feel the tool is forcing me into an unnatural framework.

    If I were using envelopes, I'd know how much I budgeted when I look at the label on the envelope. The envelope label doesn't change to $0 when the month changes.

    Help?!

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      • Ceeses
      • Ceeses
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Cobra Why are your budgeted amounts important? The Available amounts are the numbers that will guide your spending. 

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      • Ceeses
      • Ceeses
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Cobra And to follow your envelope analogy, what is important, most of the time, is how much is in the envelope in total (Available column), not how much you have put in this month (Budgeted column).

      Like 1
    • Ceeses  I'm just trying to follow the YNAB approach and it seems like they put the budgeted amount front and center. It is a feature number in the user interface, and after all, I need a "budget". Can you help me understand why that number is not important? Why have it at all in the interface? Why not just have the available column? I'm very confused. A thoughtful and detailed answer is highly appreciated.

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      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Cobra There is a Quick Budget option to budget the same amount as the previous month.

      The Budgeted column is specifically about how much money you have already budgeted to a category in the current month only. If you haven't budgeted money to a category yet, then it will be zero.

      Like
      • Ceeses
      • Ceeses
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
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      Tomato Cobra OK, I'll do my best. Usually,  the best way is the envelope analogy. Let's go through the process if you had real envelopes. You would take all your money in cash and then envelopes. You need money for rent, so you take an envelope and write "rent" on it and put whatever you need in the envelope (e.g $100). Then you repeat the process for everything you need: groceries, saving for a new car, etc.

      Each month you repeat this. So you put $100 each month in the "rent" envelope and say $50 each month for the "new car" etc. Obviously, for some envelopes like "rent", each month you will be using the money you put in during the same month. So at the start of a month, the "rent" envelope will have $0 in. But for an envelope like "new car", you want to accumulate month after month, so month 1 the envelope will have $50, then month 2 there will be $100, etc. You will know when you can buy the car of your dreams when the envelope contains enough to buy it.

      So let's see the equivalence with YNAB:

      • the initial pot of money each month before you put it in envelopes is your To Be Budgeted.
      • the envelopes are the categories
      • the amount you put in each month is the number in the Budgeted column
      • the amount in the envelope is the Available column.

      As you can see from the envelope system, you can only buy something when you have enough in the envelope to buy it, the amount you put in each month is irrelevant to whether you can buy something or not. In YNAB, it means Available is much more important than Budgeted.

      The Budgeted number is important as it will tell you how quickly you will reach your goal: if you only put $50/month for a new car and want to buy a brand new car, you will be a long long time waiting for that car.

      It is also important because that is the only way to put money in or out of an "envelope".  Let's say at the start of the month you are planning on spending $50 on eating out and $100 on groceries and you start with $0 in Available in both categories. You will enter 50 in eating out and 100 in groceries. Then, towards the end of the month, an old pal comes by and wants to catch up. But your budget tells you you don't have anything left in Available in the eating out category. You really want to get out so you need to repurpose some money (let's say $30). Well, you decide you will eat cheap rice + beans for the rest of the month and can simply use some groceries money to go out. To do that, you take $30 out of the groceries "envelope" and add it to the eating out "envelope". In YNAB that means you subtract $30 from the Budgeted column of the groceries category and add $30 to the eating out category. That's what the Move Money tool do for you.

      This means, if you had some money available from a previous month in a category and decide not to add any money this month: Budgeted column equals 0 and Available is positive. Now, if you decide to repurpose money out of this category into another category, your Budgeted number will turn negative. That is absolutely fine, it simply means you took more money out of this category on that month than you put in. Nothing wrong with that. An extreme example could be, you've been saving to buy something and finally decide not to buy it. So you move all the money out of that category to other categories. Then you have a large negative number in the Budgeted column but it's fine, it just means you changed your mind.

      I hope it makes things clearer.

      Like 2
    • Ceeses Thanks for the detailed and thoughtful response. I think it clarifies some things, but raises additional questions.

      Foremost in my mind is that "month" is found 20 times in your response and 60+ times in this page, yet variations of "pay" and "paid" are not found in your response and merely 12 times in this page.

      This is what confuses me most about YNAB: all of the training material and viral hype about the tool promote the idea that you're not budgeting monthly, but rather you're budgeting according to your pay cycle. 

      This concept of giving every dollar a job (i.e. "budgeting every dollar") as you are paid really appeals to me and I thought that's what I was going to be able to do effectively with YNAB. But as I'm learning to use the tool, I have discovered that it forces me into a monthly framework, which seems to prevent me from budgeting by pay cycle.

      The tool seems to be forcing me to answer the question "what do I need these dollars to do before I get paid again, but not beyond the end of the month?" Now, the original question has become a loaded question. As a result, I have in past months attempted to estimate the amounts needed in each category for those few days at the end of the month after I get paid and then budget the rest into the next month, but this split budgeting requires extra effort that is inevitably inaccurate.

      Regardless, anything budgeted last month,  results in negative red numbers as I move things around this month, which leads into my second question.

      You mentioned that the negative numbers are fine. Remember that I get paid at the end of the month, so everything zeros out within a couple days. When those red flags start appearing it causes great anxiety for me. It doesn't feel fine.

      Perhaps, I just need to get over it, but I'd like to find an effective way to budget my money by pay cycle that doesn't make me feel anxious in the process.

      Is there any feature of the tool or some kind of "hack" that people use to deal with this concern?

      Am I just completely misunderstanding YNAB?

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Cobra You budget money as you receive it, answering the question of "what does this new money need to do between now and the next time I am paid?" This includes obviously things that must be paid before the next check, but also things farther out. You need to have money for that auto insurance renewal that comes up every 6 months, right? That means setting aside money every month, or maybe each paycheck so you'll have the money when you get there.

      The month thing is something you should aspire to, not something that just happens right away. The reason most users encourage it is because you think differently about your money when you get away from paycheck to paycheck living.

      It's not okay to have negative numbers in your budget, because it means that you are either budgeting money you do not have, or you are spending money that you don't have. It makes your categories unreliable.

      For a simple example, you have $200. You put $100 in gas, $100 in groceries. You go to the grocery store and you spend $110. Your grocery category is now a red -$10. Your gas is still $100. But you only have $90. You can't spend $100 on gas or you'll break the bank.

      So you need to eliminate the red in your budget, because YNAB is a plan for the money you have. Your categories tell you how much you can spend from them right now.

      Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Cobra 

      Tomato Cobra said:
      If I were using envelopes, I'd know how much I budgeted when I look at the label on the envelope

      Many users put the nominal amount in the category name (the YNAB "envelope").

      Like 1
      • WordTenor
      • Can we agree that goals are dumb and immature? Sure.
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Cobra said:
      I'm just trying to follow the YNAB approach and it seems like they put the budgeted amount front and center.

      They don't put the budgeted number front and center. It's off to the left; it doesn't get a colored pill around it, and until they screwed up enhanced the display on the mobile apps, it wasn't visible on the phone. 

      The number that matters is "available." You have to have the budgeted column because it's an easy way to input how much you are adding or subtracting from the envelope. But the software works just fine without ever referring to it--you can use the move money tool to move money from TBB to categories and from one category to another. So you're actually right that it's not necessary that it be there. The budgeted column makes the act of budgeting faster, and gives a reference point in case you made a mistake moving money, but that's its only purpose. 

      Have you taken any of the getting started courses, or read any of the materials about the method? It will help.  

      Like 1
  • About the negative numbers, I said it is fine to have negative in the Budgeted column. But you are talking about negative numbers in the Available column if it's turning red. That is not ok as nolesrule said.

    In short, it is ok to take more money out of an envelope than you put in during that month or paycycle. It isn't ok to take more money out of an envelope that it contains in total: that is creating debt.

    Can you expand on why you get red flags? Because it normally means you are spending more money than you have available. At best it's only more than you have available in that category, at worst it is more than you have available overall (creating debt).

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  • Tomato Cobra said:
    I have discovered that it forces me into a monthly framework, which seems to prevent me from budgeting by pay cycle.

    Two thoughts... 1) you don't have to budget across months if you don't feel it is as effective. You can budget all new money into the current month's area whenever you receive it if you like. It will be waiting in next month's Available column to handle any expenses that occur before you're paid again next month.

    2) Things get easier once you can budget in sync with your expense recurrence (which is some multiple of monthly for most people). To do that, however, you need to be in a position of not using any of the money you earn this month in this month's budget. That's at odds with my previous thought (#1), so the typical solution is to save up money to fund categories in a one-time transition month and then budget into next month's area thereafter. As before, no splitting across months.

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