Budget monthly instead of as you go

I know it goes against the rules, is anyone budgeting for the entire month with YNAB instead of when your income is deposited.

I really like YNAB but would like to budget for the entire month instead of multiple times a month.

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  • It doesn't go against the rules if you're budgeting last month's paychecks this month. That's what I do. But no, you're not helping yourself if you're budgeting money you don't have. YNAB is at its best when used correctly.

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  • The "Give every dollar a job" has an implication that is not always stated - "You can't spend what you don't have" and this is the major change in thinking that brings YNAB users from paycheck-to-paycheck to living on last month's income. It was a major mental shift for me, and I'm a much better budgeter because of it.

    Like 3
  • I used to do the month at a time budget but now I do paycheque by paycheque. Here’s a link to my post that is about why I changed. 
    https://support.youneedabudget.com/t/y70azt?r=k9axj2

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  • Getting a month ahead used to be so important to YNAB that it was rule 1. You absolutely can budget a month at a time, and you should. But you should do it with money you have.

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  • Lots of us queue up paychecks and budget in month-sized chunks at the end of each month. I know I make better allocations compared to trying to budget piecemeal as income arrives to some subset of categories or with the Underfunded Goal warning bells blasting my eyes.

    The kicker is that we still only budget money that can be spent. This may be something you have to work up to.

    It's not against the rules and was once a core part of the methodology. Rule 4 used to be "Live on last month's income." Sadly, I believe YNAB no longer teaches it or has the mechanics automated because newbies had difficulty with the concept.

    Like 2
  • Thank you all for the comment.  By me asking about budgeting monthly, it’s not that I don’t have the money to budget, I do, it’s more about how can you do it in the app or web effectively.

    Since the app/web is based on budgeting as income arrives, has anyone used the app/web for monthly budgeting instead?

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 1 mth ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Alice Blue Mill The web app doesn't care. If you have a month's worth of money sitting in TBB*, you can fill in all your categories. Most people use a combination of goals/scheduled transactions with the Quick Budget Underfunded button or the Last Months Budgeted button to fill out the entire month in a few clicks.

      Normalizing the budget entries so the nominal budget values are mostly consistent from month to month also helps.

      * To get that much money into TBB, you can temporarily store your checks in a holding category as they arrive then move it back to TBB when you want to budget it all at once at the end of the month.

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      • Bree
      • Bree
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Alice Blue Mill  are you talking about forecasting? The app doesn’t work for forecasting 

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Alice Blue Mill I get paid on the 7th and 22nd. I have those as scheduled transactions with the category Income for Next Month. After my January 22nd paycheck clears, I will move the money from the 7th and 22nd into To Be Budgeted and budget all of February at once. I only budget money that I already have in my bank accounts.  I never budget money I anticipate having.

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    • Alice Blue Mill To streamline your process, check out this article (with video) on How to Create a Budget Template or take a look at the Set Up Your Budget workshop. Both will teach you how to use scheduled transactions and goals to outline priorities and plan for future expenses. Then use the Quick Budget feature, so you can budget for the whole month in a few clicks!

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  • Alice Blue Mill I prefer budgeting for a month at a time.   My goals are all around how much for the month and like you I like to see them completed/achieved.  It is better now with the monthly spending/funding rather than just a goal.

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  • I budget monthly but I also get paid monthly, so it's kind of like cheating.  This also means I never get those extra paycheck months everyone on bimonthly loves so much.  But it makes budgeting for the whole month easy even before you save up a whole month's buffer.  Maybe it counts as my "buffer" since I get paid at the end of the month and use the money the whole next month?  In any case, I'm hoping to get a month ahead eventually, even though I can budget monthly already.

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  • Rule One :give every dollar a JOB

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  • I do a monthly budget on the first of every month.  I am using last month's money, though.  When a paycheck comes in, that money gets moved from "to be budgeted" to a category I created called "income for next month."  "Income for next month"  doesn't get touched FOR ANY REASON, until the next month. 

    When the new month rolls around, I move that money back to "to be budgeted," then parse it out to all of my categories until every dollar has a job.  I stay fully buffered and have a good sense as the new month approaches of what I can and can't do that month.  Our income is variable, both in amount and in frequency, but it still works as long as you stay fully buffered for your recurring expenses.

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  • YNAB is somewhat geared towards moving from paycheck to paycheck to building capital.  For some who have a lot of money it might not make sense what the budgeting time interval may be.  For example if have 100k in savings, you can in theory budget out all your categories six months out and then each paycheck just goes into savings.  The choice is yours.  I like to do a one month rule.  My first paycheck clears my month.  The second paycheck covers the start of next month.  This way I am always on a rolling one month.  I find this method for me gives me the most flexibility for seeing variations in spending and income. 

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