How to get started when you have a NEGATIVE BALANCE?

OKorsOKors Posts: 14Member
edited December 2010 in Desktop
Question is in the title.

For years I let the wife manage our budget and forever it's been 'working' but lately I can't help but think it could be managed better. We are constantly in the hole, and the first couple hundred of every paycheck is used to get us out of the red. Whatever... this has become a very complacent cycle which I think is unhealthy and needs to be changed.
I'm stepping up and will be taking over our budget soon but I definitely can't do it without the use of software (I'm a geek I admit).
The scariest step for me is making the first step.

How do I start with a negative balance!?!

Spending is already cut waaaay back and we're constantly looking for other ways to cut. Hell, I even called Comcast and threatened to cancel our internet so they cut me a 6 month deal.

PS. Yes... I've watched the tutorials, numerous times.
Post edited by Unknown User on


  • bookman413bookman413 Posts: 1,578Member, Beta Tester
    I take it that either you have a favorable overdraft agreement with your bank or you are using a credit card, enabling you to spend into the red for part of the month.

    In either case,

    Just make a sticky note with the amount of your current negative balance on it and put it on your computer monitor for reference.

    Every week, budget whatever income you have until the budget page is at negative (whatever dollar amt is on the sticky note) OR SLIGHTLY LESS--in other words, attempt to move the negative balance figure a bit to the right on the number line every week/paycheck. Cross off the old figure and change the sticky note every week so you know what to budget down to next time.

    Before long you should be at zero instead of negative whatever and you can dispense with the sticky note and just start budgeting to zero.

    In the meantime you'll still have to watch your bank balance to prevent overdrawing.

    I'd suggest print ing or copying out a copy of your budget for your wife and for yourself so you can refer to it when making spending decisions instead of just relying on your bank balances, too.
  • chrishchrish Posts: 2,308Member, Beta Tester
    I would probably create a category like "Starting negative" and negative budget the amount you are negative to that, and turn off Rule 3. Then each paycheck, budget any money you can toward that negative to bring it closer to 0. Once it hits 0, congrats!, just hide the category.
  • debtbusterdebtbuster Posts: 273Member
    Do you literally have a negative balance in your bank account?

    What I would do is enter your current bank account balance. Then as you get a paycheck, enter that and budget it out. Likely your current balance will not take into account any pending payments, so make sure to budget for those. I only enter in money after it's hit my bank account. That prevents you from budgeting "in the red". If it's not in the budget category, it doesn't get spent.

    I would highly recommend however not "taking over" the budget. You need to work with your wife in a partnership to figure out where the money you have is going to go from each and every penny you bring in.

    Budget it before you spend and you'll get out of the hole pretty quickly.
  • kitesandmagickitesandmagic Posts: 1Member
    How do I work to not get over draft fees anymore while having a negative balance? It's not easy to chip away at a negative balance that keeps costing me $34 every time I overdraft. I'm in serious need of help.
  • Turf_HackerTurf_Hacker Posts: 8,669Member, Moderator, YNAB Team, Beta Tester
    Here's a link to our help video on starting in overdraft: http://www.youneedabudget.com/support/video/starting-in-overdraft

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