I've been using YNAB since January and have a question I can't seem to find answers for. I am paid every two weeks on Fridays. So I'll get paid again on 7/6 and then 7/20 and so on. Until this month, I've been following the rules and budgeting based on what I had every two weeks for the "month". For some categories, I would budget the full amount for the month and for larger expenses like my mortgage, I'd budget half and the the other half when I get paid in two weeks.
So two things were happening. First, for some months, my paycheck would come towards the end of the month but I would budget that money for the next month since the 1st of that month would occur between paychecks. This meant I needed to go more than 2-weeks with by budget categories. So for example, if I budgeted $300 for groceries for that period, but then got paid on the 25th, I would actually need to make that $300 last 5-days longer since I was putting the money from the paycheck on the 25th towards the next month.
The other thing was I wasn't budgeting my categories properly it seems and would find myself short and unable to fund certain categories the way I wanted to. Meaning since I wasn't splitting the outflows evenly, I had a hard time tracking what I had for this two weeks and what I needed for the next.
So to resolve this, I decided to list out all my categories and how much I want to put in them each pay period. Since my pay is equal each pay period, I then took the total for each category and divided by 2. This allows me to easily budget each two week period which is nice. So for example if all my monthly categories total $5000, I would split that in half and budget $2500 each pay period.
The effects however are I'm not budgeting by month but rather paycheck to paycheck. Second, I appear to be building a buffer in categories but it is hard to tell based on this method as it's reflected at a category level and not a total available to budget level (buffer).
I don't feel that I'm doing this quite right. It's nice to know I have money to cover everything, however it seems I'm not able to see the buffer I'm building. I am paid pretty well but it seems we never have anything at the end and my buffer has not grown at all.