Budgeting future income
So far I have budgeted only when the income has hit my bank. This has worked really well so far. But I want to start getting ahead of the game and potentially budget for the entire month's income and expenses. What's the best way of doing this? Just create a transaction and eventually link it weeks down the road?
No. Don't do that. The entire philosophy that underpins YNAB is to only budget money that you actually have. Absolutely try to get a month ahead on income. But not by creating money in your budget that doesn't exist. One way you can get ahead is create a category called "Next Month". Bit by bit add extra funds to that category. At some point in the future, the available in that category will be enough for you to budget a full month. Let's pretend that you reach that point in June 2019. Flip over to July 2019 and empty that category and fully budget the month of July. Then all income received in July 2019 can be used to fully fund the August 2019 budget and so on and so on forever. (Caveat, if your monthly expenses each and every month are $X but you only make $X-$1,500 you will not be able to get fully a month ahead until you either increase your income or reduce your expenses).
A fundamental tenet of the YNAB method is to only budget with money that you actually have right now. Don't make plans for money you haven't earned yet.
If you want to budget for an entire month's of expenses all-at-once, then you'll need to have some money already set aside for that purpose.
A strategy I follow is to gather all of my "September" earnings into a category called "Income for Next Month". When October 1 arrives, I'll have a full month's worth of income saved up, which should be enough to cover all of my October expenses. I repeat that cycle each month. Some long-time YNAB users refer to that cycle as being "buffered", or "living on last month's income."
If you don't have enough financial reserves to pull that off -- if you still need some of your September earnings to cover your September expenses -- then you can "chip away" at that goal by setting aside only as much as you can afford, and trying to increase that each month.
As soon as you create the transaction, it will affect your budget. Don't do it.
What a lot of people do is have an excel sheet with their "master ideal plan". Then every time they get planned income, they know what it needs to go to. And every time they get windfalls, they can see what the priority is and budget towards that.
The way I am starting to get ahead was because I had a three paycheck month. (Biweekly pay) First, I budgeted for all my biweekly purchases (gas, groceries, spending money) and then used the rest to start funding the next month.
My forecasted income in my"master ideal plan" is also lowballed, this way whatever "extra" I make can also go towards next month. Slowly but surely I will be able to budget a whole month ahead. (My forecast says I should be fully buffered by around mid 2019)