Can credit cards be entered as "tracking accounts"

If we are not using credit cards to make purchases and we do not want to budget for interest/fees, can we simply make the credit card be a tracking only account and budget for the payment? I have done this in the past so I know we literally have the ability to do this. I'm just wanting to know if it's advisable and, if not, is there a particular reason? I find it much easier to log interest/fees in credit cards and categorize them as "to be budgeted" on the credit card account rather than needing to budget ahead of time for the interest and fees. Interest and fees almost always hit the credit card before the paycheck where the payment is due so if I budget it that early, I won't have funds for other needs. I understand that once the debt is paid down and the paycheck to paycheck cycle is broken, this will no longer be an issue. But for someone with an embarrassing amount of credit cards and credit card debt who is still getting out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle, I'm looking for a way to simply handle these in the budget. Also, I would like to look at a monthly report of how much I'm spending on credit card payments and it seems that the credit card accounts do not allow this. As a side note, I do earn enough to pay all the bills and hope to be out of debt within two years using YNAB.

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  • Yes, you don't even have to create tracking accounts for them if you don't want to, you could just creat categories for the payments. This would also allow for the reports you want to see. You could try it that way, if you don't like it, you can always create tracking accounts for them later. And, if you ever need to bring them on budget, you can do that later too.

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  • Flyin'Brian  thanks for your input. At this point I just want to put all my efforts into making payments to get rid of the debt and I think the categories will work for me. Too much effort is being spent on tracking these accounts when I don’t use them anyway. After all, it’s about paying them off, right?

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    • Jon Correct, that will be the easiest way to handle them if it works for you, no interest transactions, no approving transfers, just making those payments till they are gone.

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      • Jon
      • YNABer
      • Sky_Blue_Thunder
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Flyin'Brian I ended up adding the credit cards as tracking accounts. This way I could easily see how much is left to pay and a quick glance tells me which one to snowball any extra money towards. thanks for all the advice and input. Greatly appreciate it! happy budgeting!

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    • Hey Jon !

      I second Flyin'Brian 's suggestion of categories, but if the Tracking account option works better then that's fine! Those accounts are being looked at more like loans then credit cards at this point. :)

      The Tracking accounts will allow you to keep the credit card categories you'd like, so reports are still an option, and then view the account balances like you mentioned. As long as you enter your payments correctly (as transfers) and don't make purchases on those accounts, you should be good to go!

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      • Jon
      • YNABer
      • Sky_Blue_Thunder
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness at YNAB thank you for your reply. I spent last night updating my budget to do the tracking accounts and I think it’ll be much easier to handle that way for what I’m wanting to do. 

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  • With my January fresh start I did exactly this, too!

    I received a salary increase shortly before the end of last year that will allow me to FINALLY start making headway on my cards and stop cycling expenses on them every month, and I was realizing that having them in YNAB as regular credit card accounts was getting cumbersome, and accounting for the interest in my budget was just getting depressing.

    I ended up switching the cards to Tracking accounts, set up scheduled recurring transfers for all the automated minimum payments, and creating a SINGLE "Debt Snowball" category so I can easily see how much total I'm throwing at debt payments each month. The "upcoming transactions" panel lets me see when & where the individual payments are happening, but I can budget for them all at once rather than individually budgeting for each debt payment, which really helps simplify things for me! :)

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