Is there a way to track changes in budget amounts?

SatcplSatcpl Posts: 44Member
edited April 2013 in YNAB 4
Is there a way to track changes in budget amounts other than making a note. I would like to print up a report that shows changes in budget amounts. How can I do this?
Post edited by Unknown User on

Comments

  • JoelJoel Posts: 9,528Member, Beta Tester, Beta Moderator
    You can not do that.

    Can I ask what you would like to know that information for? Perhaps there is a way to get what you want some other way...
  • SatcplSatcpl Posts: 44Member
    Joel, I began YNAB back in January and started with estimated amounts in each category. Each month I have had to revise different categories and cannot remember which ones and what revisions have been necessary. I would like to analyze these changes to better understand any patterns.
  • Turf_HackerTurf_Hacker Posts: 5,260Member, Moderator, YNAB Team, Beta Tester
    Actually, the most useful source of information to understand your spending patterns is your outflows each month. This is the true information on how you are spending your money. The fact that you changed certain budgeted amounts has extremely limited, and I'm tempted to say zero, value.
  • SatcplSatcpl Posts: 44Member
    Makes sense
  • RandomHandleRandomHandle Posts: 599Member, Beta Tester
    +1 to turfhacker

    The fact that your budgeted amounts changed from your initial expectation proves that your crystal ball that predicts the future is broken (just like the rest of ours). :)

    You can add category notes or ideal amounts in the category description to help you figure out your ideal monthly budget - but when life happens and you change your budget you're just rolling with the punches.
  • JoelJoel Posts: 9,528Member, Beta Tester, Beta Moderator
    Actually, the most useful source of information to understand your spending patterns is your outflows each month. This is the true information on how you are spending your money. The fact that you changed certain budgeted amounts has extremely limited, and I'm tempted to say zero, value.

    Turf hacker beat me to it. Budgeted amounts are almost always never right. Your outflows will show exactly what you have spent. I usually evaluate each category using the higher amount of last month, last 3 months, and last 12 months. Then I think logically about how many weekends are coming up, what plans I have, what my work schedule looks like, etc and see if I need to adjust the amount from there.
  • SatcplSatcpl Posts: 44Member
    Good advice and I understand why the program is designed the way it is. I just like to compare my "crystal ball" with reality. I can tract the changes outside of YNAB.
  • RandomHandleRandomHandle Posts: 599Member, Beta Tester
    I understand, but think you'll find tracking those changes provides limited utility.

    I've found that most significant items that have caused me to alter my initial numbers were beyond my control and (somewhat) unpredictable.

    A small example: a few months ago we had a few weekends in a row, toward the end of the month, where we had company come visit. We finalized plans mid-month, but at the beginning of the month we did not know about it. As a result, we modified our budget to allow us to entertain our guests.

    Had we predicted this, we would have been more conservative in our entertainment categories the first two weeks of the month. But the beauty of the system allowed us to modify our budget as our goals for the month changed.

    As for tracking your ideal budget, many of us store our ideal values in the following month. Right now, it shows me overbudgeted for May, but by the end of April that will change to zero.

    Before I tweak Mays numbers, I will quick-budget June with May's ideal. And on and on it will go through the year.

    If I want to see how i modified my budget, I can compare it to my current "ideal" and see where the significant changes arose.
  • BidimusBidimus Posts: 60Member
    I can see where Sat is coming from though. I'm an info junkie myself and this would be interesting information and make for a very revealing heat map. If I could see over a few months which categories I had to make the most adjustments to during month, then those are the ones that could use the most refinement. I could ask, why am I regularly adjusting my grocery budget by as many as 12 times a month for a variance of $200 from my original projection when most categories rarely see more than two adjustments a month if any.

    Just a thought. :)
  • MCSosaMCSosa Posts: 26Member
    I was going to ask something similar... for example, this month I had budgeted $180 for gas. and $120 for groceries. I have not spent all my grocery $, however, I did need to put gas in my car. So I did - and now my Gas is negative. In my mind, that $ came from the leftover grocery $. Do I reflect this on my budget amounts and change the Gas amount so that I don't have a negative number as my outflow??
  • JoelJoel Posts: 9,528Member, Beta Tester, Beta Moderator
    MCSosa wrote:
    I was going to ask something similar... for example, this month I had budgeted $180 for gas. and $120 for groceries. I have not spent all my grocery $, however, I did need to put gas in my car. So I did - and now my Gas is negative. In my mind, that $ came from the leftover grocery $. Do I reflect this on my budget amounts and change the Gas amount so that I don't have a negative number as my outflow??

    Yes!

    It's best to make this adjustment immediately so you can rely on your category balances.

    Budget a negative amount to groceries, it will become available to budget, and then you can budget it to gas.
  • MCSosaMCSosa Posts: 26Member
    Joel wrote:
    MCSosa wrote:
    I was going to ask something similar... for example, this month I had budgeted $180 for gas. and $120 for groceries. I have not spent all my grocery $, however, I did need to put gas in my car. So I did - and now my Gas is negative. In my mind, that $ came from the leftover grocery $. Do I reflect this on my budget amounts and change the Gas amount so that I don't have a negative number as my outflow??

    Yes!

    It's best to make this adjustment immediately so you can rely on your category balances.

    Budget a negative amount to groceries, it will become available to budget, and then you can budget it to gas.

    Well I'm not sure if I did this right ... but what I did was change my budget amount to $90 for groceries which is right under what I had spent. and then gave the $30 to gas to cover the $25 that I put into my car. so now i don't see any red numbers in my outflow. and i know that I"m ok with groceries until I get paid again Thursday.
  • JoelJoel Posts: 9,528Member, Beta Tester, Beta Moderator
    That sounds right to me.

    Is your available to budget 0? Are there no overspent categories?

    If the answer is yes to both, then you did it right!
  • MCSosaMCSosa Posts: 26Member
    Joel wrote:
    That sounds right to me.

    Is your available to budget 0? Are there no overspent categories?

    If the answer is yes to both, then you did it right!

    Yes I'm at zero available to budget. I have $ in my acct still that I have assigned to pay my cell phone bill + 1 credit card. Both have a due date after I get paid again, so I have not technically paid those 2 bills to make sure that I did not run out of $ before I got paid again. but have not used that, since it's accounted for already to pay for those 2 things.
  • JoelJoel Posts: 9,528Member, Beta Tester, Beta Moderator
    That sounds right. It's perfectly normal and expected to have category balances roll forward that don't need to be spent yet
  • RandomHandleRandomHandle Posts: 599Member, Beta Tester
    MCSosa wrote:
    Joel wrote:
    That sounds right to me.

    Is your available to budget 0? Are there no overspent categories?

    If the answer is yes to both, then you did it right!

    Yes I'm at zero available to budget. I have $ in my acct still that I have assigned to pay my cell phone bill + 1 credit card. Both have a due date after I get paid again, so I have not technically paid those 2 bills to make sure that I did not run out of $ before I got paid again. but have not used that, since it's accounted for already to pay for those 2 things.
    Perfect. As you are working toward a buffer, you should have more and more bills being budgeted well before they are due. Eventually, you will be so far ahead that you don't touch a full paycheck until after you are paid again. And after that, you will be so far ahead that all paychecks are allocated toward the next month. That's all a buffer really is, the ability to designate a full month of income to be used in the following month.

    Good luck. Sounds like you're getting it.
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