Personal Accounts in YNAB

We've struggled in nYNAB with the use of our personal accounts in nYNAB.  We each get X amount bi-weekly into our own checking accounts to spend however we please - personal, dining out, gifts for each other, etc.  The balances in these is small enough (usually) and we really don't want to overcomplicate it with budgeting - they are legit whatever we want to spend our money on without the other nagging what was bought.  😉

The only place where this does NOT work in nYNAB is say it's the end of the month and I have a hair appointment or buy a gift for my husband's birthday that exceeds the balance in my account (with the intention of "paying it back" the next paycheck).  Since I can no longer run a negative balance without consequence, we struggle with how to best handle this.  

We've tried the following...

* Adding our accounts to YNAB and just categorizing all as Morgan Personal or Craig Personal - the problem above stumps us both

* Adding a category of Morgan - Slush, Craig - Slush (similar to how we handled this previously in YNAB4) for the unpaid amounts - it gets over-complicated and confusing

* We're on the verge of disconnecting the two entirely because we HATE tracking personal funds but we're still a bit stuck with how we'd handle money transfers to and from our joint accounts

We really wish it were an option to float a negative balance for situations like this, it's the one old YNAB functionality we both dearly miss!

Thanks for any ideas you might have!


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

    Hi, Steel Blue Mainframe

    If you remove the accounts, then the transfers to your personal accounts could simply be entered as a monthly transaction to payees named Craig Personal and Morgan Personal. Select or create a category to record those expenses to. In the budget it will look like the funds are spent, and there is no need to account for your individual spending.

    One alternative you might not have considered is to honestly review the amounts you are allowing for personal spending and increase it. Don't keep holding yourself to an impossible amount that you cronically overspend. Face reality and adjust the category up.

    Or, you might just need a one-time  cash transfusion. If you are both running your personal spending categories so lean that you drain them completely every month and need to borrow a dollar or two with recurring frequency, I would suggest that you both need a cash transfusion for your anemic categories.  I actually did this with a couple of my discretionary categories early in my use of YNAB.  I found I was using all the funds too early in the month, then going for far too long a stretch of time without allowing myself any spending (like a penalty or something), only to do it again the next month as soon as the cash was available. A single cash transfusion to my personal categories with an extra month's allotment fixed my problem. I was able to go back to the funding amount I had been trying to maintain the next month, and I didn't overspend again for a very long time.  The next time I overspent, I reviewed the amounts  again to see if it was time for an adjustment to the budget or an adjustment to my spending habits or just a one-off.

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    • nolesrule
    • YNAB4 Evangelist
    • nolesrule
    • 1 yr ago
    • 5
    • Reported - view

    You need to take responsibility for running out of your personal spending money when you knew you had an upcoming appointment. I would suggest one of 2 solutions:

    Be more granular with your personal spending categories to prevent you from spending money you need to reserve for something or don't spend money from that category when there's no money in it.

    YNAB doesn't work if you're going to consistently overspend.

    A third option would be to rethink what you consider personal spending and what should be regular budget categories. Why don't you have his and hers haircare categories that are appropriately funded and don't impact personal spending?

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  • Hi Steel Blue Mainframe !

    I have a question about those personal accounts. If they're a small amount and you're budgeting those funds towards a category just for spending, if you overspend in that category is the account itself also overdrawn?

    We removed the red arrow feature because it made it easy to hide the fact you had less money than what was showing as Available. For instance, let's say you have $50 in an account and you budget $25 towards Dining Out and $25 towards Fun Money. If you spend $35 in Fun Money, your Fun Money will say -$10, but your Dining Out category will still say $25. If you were to then spend $25 in Dining Out, you'd overdraft your account.

    Instead of carrying over negative balances, budget for the full amount you spent. If you want to average things out, you can refer back to the previous month or use the Quick Budget options for reference. :)

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  • 1 yr agoLast active
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