Having trouble with timing expenses
I love YNAB and want it to work for me, but so far the timing of income vs expenses is confusing me.
I try to budget for something before I get income and it makes it "red", over budget.
For example, I want to budget all my expenses for this month before the money comes in. But if I only have a few dollars left in my account before the income, then most budget items turn red. Why can't it know when I get income and factor that in so it doesn't go red?
I looked at "Budget Templates", but those are more complicated than the basic YNAB system itself. Why should I have to learn a system more complicated than YNAB's core basic system just to accurately account for inflow/outflow timing?
I should be able to put my income into the budget, forecast at a certain date in the future, so the later date expenses will know to deduct it from that. Seems like that would solve the problem? There should be an overall simpler way to handle this... Is there?
Well, I re-read the page on creating a Budget Template, and I think it addresses what I'm looking for. But, I also see now that a Budget Template is, in fact, completely essential on how to use YNAB, except you don't say that until we hit this hurdle (and, after searching these forums and Reddit, I see a lot of us do) - especially when coming from any other way of thinking about personal finance management (which is most of us). I'd advise you guys make Budget Templates a core part of YNAB on main sales webpages and on boarding experience (it isn't there at all right now) and in what you teach with "Getting Started". I know you want to try to "keep YNAB simple", but the problem is that you've kept is *too* simple and are actually undermining yourselves and not representing the entirety of the system. Simple is hard. This is a good example of why it is hard.
I tried YNAB about a year ago and gave up for this reason. This time I'm trying again. You need to expand your "4 Simple Rules" to include this Budgeting Template stuff, or else you're going to continue to get more confused people like me, which is what I see a lot of people have trouble with, both here on these forums and on Reddit. This means it is costing you guys money. I do see the potential and power of YNAB, which is why I'm trying to help by sharing my feedback. I'm not upset at all so lease don't get me wrong here. I know what it is like to work at a company where everyone "gets it", and looking to the other side where people "don't get it" can be hard. What you guys think might be a reason for people "not getting it" might actually not be the reason why people are "not getting it", because you're too close to it.
The other thing is to add is a "date" field when viewing your Budget if you have a Budget Template item set up for it. For example, if I set up a Budget Template with $100 for something on a certain date in the future (especially when I view it before I've budgeted for it), please allow us to see that date in the row for that budget item, on the budget page. Or at least make the date viewable in the budget row item via a mouseover of it, please.
I do love YNAB, and I only share this feedback because this has been a major roadblock (I guarantee you that you are losing money because confused people just won't sign up because they don't "get it" - like me). Thankfully, I think I get it now, but I still need to practice with these Budget Templates, which is a bit of work, to be honest. I know I'll get the hang of it, but I also know there are a lot of people (and I'd say most) will just throw their hands up instead of taking the time to investigate it and post on here. It's like they say, for every person who posts on a forum like this, you can be sure there are dozens of people who haven't posted online but are experiencing the exact same issue. In the long run, this just means a lot of people give up and don't sign up for YNAB, which is a shame, because I do see the power of it and am looking forward to getting used to it. Thanks for reading this and I hope it is helpful. Looking forward to practicing and getting more used to YNAB!
And I'm saying it is a big shift for many people, as evidenced on these forums and on Reddit that this concept of not budgeting money that you don't have, is a new one for new YNAB users, hence the need for conveying this information as a part of learning how to use YNAB.
Wanting to budget future expenses is not outside the scope of YNAB, which is why they provide the feature of "Budgeting Templates". That this should be clarified, is my opinion. Looking for help here, not an admonishment to not use a feature of YNAB that the company themselves provide.
Sometimes the fact that something takes awhile to understand doesn’t mean the person explaining it has done a poor job explaining it.
YNAB is an envelope budget. Understand that, and everything else will make sense. The most difficult part of using the software is getting over your predefined understandings of what a budget is. For some people, this takes minutes. Others get angry at the software after using it for years and only then realize that they never understood how it works.
Be on the “minutes” side.
The most difficult part of using the software is getting over your predefined understandings of what a budget is.
And this is exactly my point, and why I am offering the feedback. To help make it easier for newbies. (how dare I do such a thing!?). Feedback is okay, right? Even for we plebeian fools who "don't understand the software" or aren't on the "minutes" side? :( Sacre bleu! I do understand YNAB now, btw, if you re-read my post...
I'm sharing this in an attempt to potentially make YNAB a bit better. I'm only trying to help, believe it or not... To fold Budget Templates into the forefront of the getting started process might help prevent the confusion of those who come from different budgeting backgrounds (and there are many of us, obviously). Is this really so outrageous and offensive? Being open to improvement is actually a good thing, last time I checked.
Still no YNAB people... Such a shame. Faness ? Anyone?
Another way to look at this...forget the goals. Forget the template. Each time you have money, you need to ask, “what does this money need to do until I am paid again?” There are three big jobs it will need to do: pay for fixed expenses which will happen before the next paycheck, pay for variable expenses which will happen before he next paycheck, and sit in wait of bigger expenses that won’t be due before the next paycheck but which will come due eventually. Every new pot of money you get has these three jobs. No one can tell you what the right allocation is among the three, although ideally the third one will be the biggest. But you budget in that order. Budget to zero, and then quit budgeting. That’s really it. Goals and scheduled transactions are just designed to support this, not to replace it.
WordTenor Some people don't want help, they want validation.
Me, I appreciate your help.
I must say that this was a cringe-worthy exchange. For the record:
- WordTenor is neither a monsieur or French (the Tenor, I believe, refers to a musical instrument and not the human voice)
- the French YNABers (those individuals who reside in France and consider themselves of French nationality) who also participate on this forum and are interested in budgeting are neither condescending or patronizing, in my opinion. At least I've never seen any lack of courtesy in their posts.
- The YNAB forum is a place to engage with other YNABers for technical help, solutions, advice, encouragement, and general discussion (as advertised on the YNAB site)
- if all you wanted was to provide feedback to YNAB, OP, on how they could improve the software without engaging with other YNABers on the public forum, here's a link to the feedback submission page Feedback Submission Link