How to handle reports, split checks and sanity

Hi everyone,

I found a lot of resource about how split with friends, but they don't really work as I want.

I'm going to write you a life example so I could understand how to process money transaction effectively.


1. My SO and I took the bus and I bought two bus tickets (8$)

2.  My SO bought two tickets for the science museum (30$)

3. Eventually we went to a pub and I spent 12$ for beers.

Everything is split equally. In this situation I need to:

- split every transaction I did (so I spent 8$ but 4$ go to "transportation" category and the others go to "loans" category)

- She bought me the museum but I want to note it into YNAB because at the end of the month I'd like to see that I spent 15$ in the "museum" category (but I don't really spent them!)

If I chose to put 15$ IN and 15$ OUT to "museum" category I didn't resolve my loan with my SO.

How to manage to have a -15$ in the museum category but maintain the "inflow" correct and pay my SO with the 5$ in the third step?


I hope that my question is clear to you, otherwise ask for explanation!

Best Regards,

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  • Easiest setup in the budget is to make a category for your SO's purchases and offset it enough to keep it positive. Budget $X to the category at setup and put that right in the name. If the balance is lower than $X, you are owed money, and vice versa.

    Transactions are exactly as you described:

    1. In whatever account you used to pay, record a split transaction: Net: $8 outflow; Split 1: $4 outflow categorized to Bus or whatever; Split 2: $4 outflow categorized to SO.

    2. In any on-budget deposit account, record a split transaction: Net: $0 (no money came into your hand, right!); Split 1: $15 outflow categorized to Culture or whatever; Split 2: $15 inflow categorized as SO.

    3. In whatever account you used to pay, record a split transaction: Net: $12 outflow; Split 1: $6 outflow categorized to Bars or whatever; Split 2: $6 outflow categorized to SO.

    After these three transactions, the SO category will be $5 higher than starting. If you had offset the category with $20 to start (i.e., the "we're even" point), Available would be $25, meaning you owe $5.

    Like 2
    • dakinemaui That's awesome! I tested it and it feels very good! Thank you very much!
      I have just another question about the second transaction:

      - how do you came out with that?

      - is it like you transfer money from "culture" to "SO"?


      Again, thank you very much!

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

      Gold Unicorn Transactions should be based in reality. The fact is no money entered or left your accounts -- Net must therefore be $0. You also want to reduce what SO owes, so you know their category must increase. Since the Net is $0, you therefore know some other category must decrease. A category decrease is spending, which you would have done if SO hadn't done it for you, so there you go.

      Like 1
  • I feel a bit idiot but that's awesome!

    From this month finally I will have peace in my reports ahah, thanks!

    Have a nice day :)

    Like 1
  • This doesn't answer the YNAB aspect of your question but have you looked at the Splitwise app? I used it last year when traveling abroad with my sister and her family. It worked pretty well. 

    • Stacey K. I'm not a fan of SW and YNAB because of the additional data entry. It's great if no one is using YNAB, but otherwise I think it's redundant (and more work).

      It's strength is as a communication aid. However, receipts in a folder do that quite well, too. YMMV, of course.

      • Stacey K.
      • staceychev
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      dakinemaui That makes sense. Last year when we traveled, I wasn't using YNAB. My sister still isn't. 

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