Special savings account?

I'm new to YNAB  and I can't seem to find this in the help sections.  I have 2 separate savings accounts which have purposes.  One I call "education savings".  I put money in this every month that has been used to pay my kids private school tuition, and now extra college expenses.   I don't want it to be a linked account.   How do I put this in my budget?   I tried just creating an unlinked account, inflowed that balanced to TBB. Created a budget category called  "education expenses" and budgeted the balance to that category.   Is that correct?  I'm supposed to give the dollars a job, right?

Now let's say I have a $90 bill that I pay with my CC.  I categorize the transaction to "education expenses".  Ok great, reduces the category by $90.

Prior to YNAB, I would move $90 to my checking account to cover the charge.  So, if I do that I will get an inflow.  So do I then make it a Transfer from the unlinked education account?

When the money goes out of my checking account this month, how do I deal with that transaction?  Do I make it a "transfer to" the unlinked account?

Thanks!

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  • If the savings account is on budget (linked or unlinked), a transfer from savings to checking will have zero impact on your budget. 

    Now if you are importing transactions in your checking account, the import will classify it as a transaction instead of a transfer and you will have to adjust the payee to turn it into a transfer. Someone else will have to jump in on how you can get this to be automatic after the first time you rename.

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  • Also, I will drop this here.

    The Relationship Between Your Budget & Your Accounts: It’s Complicated

    In other words, put all your accounts in your budget, assign all your money to categories. The location of the money doesn't matter as long as you have enough money in the correct account to pay whatever it is you need to pay.

    With YNAB, setting up an account for a specific purpose is redundant and completely unneeded because your categories manage this for you. The only reason to have multiple savings accounts is for better interest rates at a different bank.

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  • Thank you.  I'm still finding this so confusing, so I've decided it just doesn't make sense to even have these other accounts in YNAB for now.       Not sure how I will categorize the transfer transaction when it comes through my link checking account.  Time to do some more reading in the help section...

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      • Jannelle
      • jannelle_ynabsupport
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Lavender Nomad Like the others have mentioned here, we think of savings a little differently at YNAB, so it's a bit of a shift in thinking. Before YNAB, you may have used multiple accounts to separate your savings goals. 

       

      However, when you're using YNAB, your accounts really just become containers for your money, because it's your Budget that's giving each dollar a job. When you transfer money between two budget accounts, nothing changes in the budget because money hasn't entered or exited the budget.  If you want your dollars to change jobs, you may want to move money from one category to another.

       

      When you want to save money for an upcoming expense or a savings goal you have, simply budget that money toward a category you've created for that expense. Here's a quick video to demonstrate this concept.

       

      To dig a bit deeper, here are a few resources to help :

      – Here's an articleshowing you how it all works.
      – Take a look at this 7-minute Whiteboard Wednesday about savings.
      – Attend a free workshop about savings called Reach your Savings Goals!

       

      Let me know if you have any more questions at all! 

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  • Thank you.  So this is where I get lost:  I've done all that budgeting.   Now I write a check to pay for that "hunting trip" I had saved for (remember I saved this BEFORE I joined YNAB, but I added that savings account to YNAB and budgeted $ to the "hunting trip").   The check transaction shows up and I categorize it to that "hunting trip" budget category.  Great.    But wait,  I just wrote a check out of my checking account, and the actual money is in my savings account.  Hmmm.  Now what do I do?      

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Lavender Nomad YNAB isn't magic and still requires you to do some work. It is up to you to make sure that you have funds in the right account. I saved up $8000 to replace my HVAC. I try to keep significantly less than that in my checking account because it does not earn interest. So before I paid the credit card bill with the HVAC charge, I transferred money from one of my many savings accounts to my checking account and then paid the credit card bill.

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  • Obviously I will move money to my checking account.  But, then what did those transactions to transfer money look like in your YNAB?  That's what I'm trying to understand.   How did you "categorize" them?  I have yet to find anything that shows this.

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      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Lavender Nomad 

      You don't categorize transfers. You only categorize money that is leaving the budget, and until you spend it on something, it's still in your control.

      Using the anology of lunch money in your pocket...

      If you have $20 in your left pocket to use for lunch today, and you move that $20 from your left pocket to your right pocket (still intending to use it for lunch), this is a transfer between accounts. There is no category placed on that transfer because you didn't spend the money in the act of transfering it between pockets.  You still have the $20. Categories are used to explain why dollars left the budget not where they are or were.  The $20 hasn't left the budget. It is still in your pocket. It's still for lunch (although until you buy lunch, you can always change your mind and make it for a Christmas gift). After the transfer and until spent the $20 is just in another pocket.

      Earlier in this thread a link to a YNAB article on the relationship between accounts and the categories was posted.  That is the best YNAB article.  It lays out an important concept, one that certainly freed me from the restrictive difficulties of budgeting by bank account.  I had to read that article many times for it to sink in..... because I had been budgeting by account for a very very long time.

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  • but what if I don't want the Savings balance to count as Funds in my budget so I can have a more realistic view of how much money is actually coming in and out every month?

    I never see anyone talking about Tracking Accounts when talking about this.

    I'm also new and still trying to figure out the best way to use YNAB..

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      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Taís Massaro 

      You can keep your savings in a tracking account.  It requires a few extra steps: transfers from your on-budget account, and you need to use a category to explain what you are spending. Setting up a category named "savings" will work.

      Most people who insist on trying the off-budget tracking for savings find they don't like the results of keeping their savings off-budget in tracking accounts, and I'll tell you why:

      1. money you move to an off-budget savings account shows up as spending in your reports  (which results in  follow-up posts asking "how do I stop YNAB from reporting my transfers to savings as spending?)  Typically, you don't need reports in the first few months, but after you get six months of data behind you, you start poking around in the reports, and that's when the flaw in the off-budget account comes to light.

      2. money you transfer back into your budget in order to spend or pay off credit card after spending on the cc -- been saving for four years to buy new furniture and now it's time to spend it -- it shows up as a lump sum of new income in the month it comes in (which results in posts asking "why is my income for November $5,000 more than I earned in November?  I just want my actual income to show up as income. How do I fix this?)

      3. you can't break down your tracking account balance to different categories. Only on-budget funds can be categorized.  (My emergency fund is broken into 5 subcategories: medical/dental, car repair, moving fund, circle of life, unknown crisis - if it was off budget it would be one big lump and I wouldn't know if I could handle more than one kind of crisis happening at the same time)

      Frequently, the reason cited for thinking off-budget for the savings account is what they want is that they don't want to see "savings" as available to spend.  The typical YNAB response is to just put the savings account on-budget, allocate those dollars to categories, and then use your categories to guide your spending.  If you don't want to spend savings, just don't spend savings.  The discipline to not blow your savings won't be affected by either method.  I have $25 left in my pocket money category this month and over $20,000 in liquid assets in my accounts, a significant portion of which is emergency funds. Trust me when I say, I will not be spending any of my emergency fund by accident.

      Like 1
    • HappyDance thanks a lot for your answer, it was very helpful.

      My reason for not wanting to see savings has more to do with being able to see the total monthly available balance than to the risk of spending (as I've given the money a job in the categories already).

      The points you made about how the app treats tracking accounts in the reports made a lot of sense, I'd seen that already and found it frustrating.

      I guess maybe I just need to get used to the idea of seeing the sum of all the accounts as 'Funds for [month]'.

      Like 1
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Taís Massaro 

      Your current lump sum of savings balance will not be added every month.  It gets added once, allocated to your categories, and then going forward the income this month, next month, and the month after etc., will consist of what you received in that month.

      Like 1
      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Taís Massaro 

      Taís Massaro said:
      I guess maybe I just need to get used to the idea of seeing the sum of all the accounts as 'Funds for [month]'.

       Actually, that's a start-up phenomenon.  If I start a YNAB budget with $30,000 worth of accounts today, it will show "Funds for November" as $30,000, plus whatever I recognize as TBB inflows between now and the end of November.  If I categorize all of that $30,000, it will not show up as "Funds for December" on month rollover; only the portion of TBB I didn't budget in November plus any TBB inflows I have in December will show up as "Funds for December."

      Like 2
    • HappyDance  Patzer 

      OOOOOH, now it makes much more sense!

      Thanks to both of you for the patience! :)

      Like 1
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Taís Massaro 

      You're welcome.  Just spreading the YNAB love along.  I was the recipient of some wonderful and wise advice on the old forum when I started.  It's kind of fun being able to continue the tradition.

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    • HappyDance just one more thing: when I transfer money to an account, is it better to categorize it as To Be Budgeted and then assign a category or can I just assign the category directly on the transfer entry? (or it doesn't matter?)

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      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Taís Massaro 

      Are you transferring between two on-budget accounts?  If yes, then there is no category.  YNAB will identify that transfer with a greyed-out category not needed in the category field.

      If you are transfering off-budget to on-budget, I would assign it as inflow: to be budgeted.

      Like 1
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Taís Massaro 

      Inflowing directly to a category will have a different result in your reports.  It won't show up as income.  Reserve the inflow direct to category for reimbursements and returns because it also neutralizes a previous expense.

      If I spend $100 for the office, and then inflow a repayment of $100 back to the category, YNAB shoes a zero spent in that category, and it doesn't increase my income by the $100.

      Like 1
    • HappyDance it was from the off-budget savings account to be assigned to savings categories.

      I didn't want it to count as income but I realised it had a different effect when I sent it directly to the category so I put it back as inflow before giving it a job.

      I only started using YNAB last month so I guess it's normal to have your first reports a bit messed up until you get the hang of it..

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      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Taís Massaro 

      Yes.  The first month is wonky from all the inflows. I exclude my first month in my reports for that reason.   You can date all your new account set up to last month to contain all the wonkiness to the same month.

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