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?

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  • 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!

    Like 1
      • JoeDid
      • Remember: It is To Laugh
      • Purple_rain
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      JC It's always been a fundamental rule that you do not budget money that you don't have.

      Like 4
      • mamster
      • mamster
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      JC The budget template isn't a fundamental feature. Some people set one up; some don't. It works fine either way. I would get to know the software for a month or two before you set up a budget template; it will put you in closer touch with your budgeting and also lessen the (admittedly steep) learning curve.

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      • JC
      • oceansurf
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      mamster I never said it is, I said it should be because it would help people like me and many others on this forum.  It is a feature YNAB has provided that helps many of us.  Why am I having to defend myself when all I'm looking for is help here?  😆

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      • mamster
      • mamster
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      JC Sorry if I came off harsh. Hope you end up having a great experience with YNAB.

      Like
  • 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.

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      • JoeDid
      • Remember: It is To Laugh
      • Purple_rain
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      JC I didn't mean to sound like I was admonishing you, only pointing out why what you did resulted in red figures. IMO the template, which is covered in training materials, is fundamental for someone who wants to budget ahead.

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      • JC
      • oceansurf
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      JoeDid And I guess we can respectfully disagree 😉

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
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      Wanting to budget future expenses is not outside the scope of YNAB, which is why they provide the feature of "Budgeting Templates".

      The point of a Budget Templates is merely to help remember values and save effort. That's why it's not a core promoted feature, because it's only useful once your budget settles down to a fairly consistent state.

      Undoubtedly, the concept of "budget only money you have" is a fundamental shift for most people, and Rule #1 addresses this concept.

      Like 2
  • Anyone who actually works at YNAB able to read my post?

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  • 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. 

    Like 1
  • WordTenor said:
    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?

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      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      JC I find the budget template actively harmful in the hands of someone who hasn’t yet grasped the fundamental fact that the point of ynab isn’t forecasting. I read both your posts carefully and in neither one did I see a user who understands the idea that budgeting only what you have is a valuable thing. 

      That’s fine. It is a big shift. If you really want to hear from a YNAB staffer, I’m sure one will be along shortly to tell you “That’s a great idea @JC! Thank you so much for the feedback. We’ll take it into consideration! In the meantime, have you checked out our classes? And these user guides?” 

      They work for the company, so they have to keep you happy, and so they can’t tell you bluntly that the thing you’re struggling with is central to the method and that the faster you grok that, the faster you’ll be on your way to killing it financially. The only thing the rest of us have on the line is our desire to help other people succeed at using this method that we’ve found revolutionary. So we just say, “hey, you’ve missed the boat.  But you can still catch the boat. Come catch the boat.”

      Come catch the boat.  How can we help you catch the boat?

      Like 5
      • JC
      • oceansurf
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor And here someone might have thought the French are patronizing or condescending!  

      Your answer is just another one like your first, "You're stupid, don't get it, and are wrong, there is no room for improvement."  Thanks for your opinion, monsieur!  Don't let me stop you on your boat of superiority as you cruise by all of us.  That is an attitude that sure helps us newbies!...

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    • JC I was on the way! Sorry for the delay (I'm usually around early mornings and late evenings)! :)

      First off, thank you for sharing! We see feedback much like you described - as a view from the other side, which helps us to know where we are and where we need to be - so thank you for taking the time to share your own experience!If ever you want to send your thoughts or ideas directly to our development team, you can fill out our Feature Request form.

      The Budget Template isn't headlined as a feature because we actually don't consider it one. Rather than a feature, the Budget Template is more of a recommendation on how to combine other features to help you build an outlook. Goals and Scheduled Transactions are features, the Budget Template is just a way we suggest putting them in action. 

      Our Onboarding process focuses on those features individually, so users can understand them separately and apply them as they prefer. Monthly Funding Goals work for Groceries, but some people don't prefer setting goals for fluctuating expenses. We don't want to force a Budget Template on new users, but we do want them to know it's an option.

      The Four Rules are our priority, and they can be applied with or without YNAB (but, of course, we prefer with!). They set the ground work for shifting that mentality of budgeting ahead, while the Budget Template is meant to help apply them. We actually prefer users start with our Learn the Four Rules workshop - once you know the rules, applying them can look just like what's outlined in the Budget Template or something else completely. :)

      I hope that helps clear things up! 

      Like 1
      • JC
      • oceansurf
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness Thank you, that was all I was looking for ;)  Such a simple thing to voice an opinion, usually, but a few people here would rather I didn't, apparently.  Anyway, I'm going to try YNAB again and see if the Budget Templates help me out; pretty sure I'm not the only one who wants to see a monthly recurring expense in my budgeting system, though (lots of confused people here and on Reddit).  I just think you might be leaving a lot of money on the table by not bridging the gap for users who like to know what they're facing in the coming months when it comes to fixed, recurring expenses.  I do "get it" how YNAB works, I just think there can be a bit of a middle ground (which Budget Templates seems to address), which is why I thought I'd suggest that you try to bridge that gap - it only means more money for you guys through less confusion from potential users...

      Like
  • 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. 

    Like 5
      • JC
      • oceansurf
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor I told you, I get it.  That's not even the point.  I'm simply offering feedback for YNAB.  Not you, clearly.

      Like
    • WordTenor : Excellent big picture type summary, thanks this helped me out too.  I'm new but constantly re-tweaking my budget to allow me to "budget in that order," and it certainly makes budgeting easier, and provides a far greater immediate feedback than traditional budgeting methods. I have been using nYNAB for 1-2 months now, and now have goals and scheduled/repeating transactions set up to give me an excellent forecast of a typical budget month as well as the specific budget requirements for the upcoming month.  Cheers!

      Like
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      WordTenor Some people don't want help, they want validation.

       

      Me, I appreciate your help.

      Like 4
  • bevocat said:
    WordTenor Some people don't want help, they want validation.
    Me, I appreciate your help.

     Oh, ditto!

    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 
    Like 4
  • Wow, what an awful, insular community.  Have fun chasing away other newbies!

    Like 1
      • JC
      • oceansurf
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      bevocat And you just proved my point.  I was defensive by standing my ground amid insults?  Hardly.  I was clarifying my position, which I was vilified and insulted for.  And for people to treat newbies this way you should be ashamed of yourselves.  I never intended to hurt or offend anyone, I just wanted help...  Sheesh.

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      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      JC I'm referring back to your description in your own words of "defending yourself".  I have scrutinized the language in this thread deeply, and I have yet to see one example of anyone vilifying or insulting you. In fact, I don't see emotionally-charged language at all in anyone's posts to this thread besides yours.  Are you, perhaps, projecting that behavior onto the rest of us? Or just really worked up because we're not responding with emotionally-charged language?

      Either way, we appear to be living in two different versions of reality.

      Like 2
  • Seems I missed all the insults. Did the moderators delete them?

    Like 2
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Herman To my knowledge, nothing has been deleted.

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