Making sense of the credit card payments category
Hello. I don't understand the credit card payments category at all, and the Discover line never reconciles cleanly for me. I don't know what number to put in the budgeted column to make this zero out. You'll see the Visa section in the photo zeroed out; since there are fewer charges I understand this (I started the year w/$382.46 in charges and I paid them this month. Easy peasy.) But I can't don't remember how much Discover debt I started with and don't know what to put in the budget line. Can someone please help?
Having a very similar problem. I just started YNAB in January and still getting my head around it in general. My AmEx charging period spans over the course of two months and so I'm not sure how it's ever going to reconcile. I pay it off each month so maybe it will catch up eventually and I'll figure it out, but I am definitely confused right now.
Hi Gray Crab !
The Available column is the amount of money reserved for your credit card payment. It includes:
- the amount left Available at the end of last month
- all of the budgeted-for purchases you've put on the card
- anything you've added to the Budgeted column
- minus any credit card payments which should be entered as transfers (outflows from your checking account and inflows to your CC account)
Every time you make a purchase with your card, assuming that purchase was budgeted for, money from that category will be moved to the credit card payments category. You only need to budget there directly if you are "catching up" on paying down other debt on your card (like your Starting Balance or credit card overspending from previous months).
Here are the two best resources to help you understand how the Credit Card Payment category works:
- The Help Docs section on Credit Cards & Debt
- The workshop titled Master Credit Cards with your Budget
Let me know if you still have questions! I'm happy to help!
Totally honestly? I have watched the videos, I have read the forums, I have futzed and shifted and examined and discussed, and the bottom line is that the way YNAB now handles credit cards MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL to me. I simply CAN.NOT wrap my head around it and make the numbers work for more than a single static moment in time.
The second I make a charge or a payment, all of my carefully categorized budget items shift around and numbers that I don't want show up where I don't want them, and it is SO INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATING that it means I almost never open YNAB anymore, because I feel like I can't trust any of the numbers.
Which obviously defeats the entire purpose of the program.
Yes, I understand *in theory* what is happening, but it simply does NOT make sense to me IN PRACTICE.
I budget $X for my credit card payment.
In the meantime, I charge $Y on the credit card. That amount has not yet shown up on a statement, so I am NOT GOING TO PAY IT THIS MONTH.
But now my $X that I have budgeted to pay the card in full is wrong, and I have multiple "orange" balance areas, NONE OF WHICH ARE useful, because they are "warning" me of a problem that does not exist.
Apparently now YNAB wants me to pay my credit card the second I charge something on it, instead of waiting until the bill arrives and paying it in full.
Which (have I said this already?) MAKES NO SENSE.
Sorry. I have strong feelings about this.
I know my credit card is pretty much paid up in FULL with the exception of a couple of things I put on it... There is alot of goals I have set up in my budget that are targets for things in the future that I don't always have money for..... so I leave those...so perhaps that is why it's showing such a large deficit!!!
I just want to be able to trust my budget .... and know what I look at to be true.. and really just learning ... I restarted my budget 4 times each time learning more.... but I'd actually like to figure this stuff out so I could actually get some real long time data to know what is happening..UGH
I've signed up for the credit card workshop. Again. I've gone around and around with this through three trials now, and frankly, it just does not make sense. I THINK it makes sense, but then I have to do some freaking calculus equation every time I try to do my budget, and the end result thus far EVERY TIME has been that I use YNAB as a transaction tracking tool instead of a budgeting tool, BECAUSE I CANNOT FIGURE OUT THIS CREDIT CARD THING.
Despite my advanced degrees and decades of accounting experience, I can't make this work for more than a brief snapshot in time. As soon as I make another purchase on a credit card or make a payment, the numbers go cuhrayzeee again.