Pre-tax commuter benefit
Hello wise YNAB forum, I am writing for some advice as I try to pick up the pieces of a debtful holiday season. 🙈
I poked around for the answer to this but couldn't find exactly what I was looking for so hopefully this is not a repeat thread.
I work in NYC area so my employer offers a pre-tax commuter benefit which I receive in the form of pre-paid debit cards that I can use to purchase my monthly NJ Transit train pass and also my NYC subway Metrocard. The limits on pre-tax dollars are lower than what I actually need for all my transportation costs so I do want to have this on-budget to make sure I am covered. However, these debit cards are only valid for transportation so they aren't really part of my regular money, if that makes any sense?
For example, I had not yet received my new transit debit card prior to purchasing my Jan monthly, so I had to put that on a credit card but I can't "direct" my cc payment money in YNAB from my transit debit card because it just doesn't work that way - I can only use it to make purchases at transportation hubs, etc.
It gets a bit messy and confusing, to me. So, at this point I may just leave the transit cards off-budget and just have only the additional funds I'll need to cover beyond that, on-budget. Does anyone have any experience with something like this? Any advice, tips? Appreciate your time and thoughts!
Welcome to the pain that is NJ transit. Mrs. nolesrule uses it too. We have our Wageworks commuter benefit in the budget. Here's how we handle it.
When the Account receives new money, we treat it like income (technically it is since it's just rerouted from the paycheck). Then you can budget the money however you want, because money is fungible. If you need to budget it to your commute category, then that's where you'd put it. When we use the benefit, we categorize it as spending out of the on-budget benefit account.
In our case we use a single category for Commute costs and gas for the cars.