Just Starting - HELP!!!! :(

firefly1090firefly1090 Posts: 29Member
edited August 2013 in Desktop

Hi I am in desperate need of some help.  I am in the "free trial" phase of YNAB still but am having some troubles.  I will let you know first that I am an Excel spreadsheet user, but it is overwhelming for my husband so we are trying out YNAB at the suggestion of our financial planner.

 

Here is the issue(s) I am running into and cannot  seem to come up with a solution.

 

In my budget I have 2 separate savings accounts (I have been living rules 1-3 for the last 16 years, imagine that lol) these accounts are where I put my Rainy Day Savings and I want to continue to move money out of my checking account and into savings, I get worried about the "green monster" inside of me when I see the register balance - remember I haven't "moved over" to being a 100% YNABer, even if we go with the software it will take some time for me to change some habits I have, they are great but they don't follow YNAB.......anyways    I want to move money out of my "budget" and into savings BUT I also want to see the balance amount in a certain category grow - example:

Sub Category:
daughters college rent (current balance is $4246.00)

I want to add $197.40 to that balance in the sub category (my budget) while also taking it out of checking and putting it into savings (moving money out of checking).

When I put the transaction into my checking account it reduces the category total by $197.40 instead of increasing it. 

Also I am wondering if I should put the balance I am "working towards" in the sub category instead of the current balance I have?

 

I am on day 29 of my free trial - I am sure this won't be my last question either :)

Thanks in advance - I appreciate any and all help.

p.s. I am hoping I can "learn" this program, remember I have an Excel brain, as it will help my husband be more involved in our finances, not that he is not a true champ already  mind you :)

Post edited by firefly1090 on

Comments

  • pattyantbpattyantb Posts: 197Member
    Ok, I'll take a stab at it even though I'm a beginner. I've spent a lot of time in the classes and watching the videos. 

    YNAB doesn't care what account holds your money, you can transfer money to your heart's content, but at the end, it doesn't matter where it is. As long as it is in a budgeted account, it will be available to budget.

    When you make a transfer, you don't need to categorize it, you just make your transfer. You already budgeted $197.40 to your daughter's rent, YNAB doesn't care if it comes from checking, savings or credit. 

    When you PAY the rent (also, it doesn't matter what account the money comes from) you categorize it and that's when you will see your category total reduce. 

    In short: Just budget your money to your category. If you need to physically move money from one account to another, don't assign it a category. Only categorize when money is leaving your accounts (making a payment). 

    Does this help?
  • TonyCTonyC Posts: 54Member
    I have a master category for the money in my savings acct. Then I have sub categories with goal amounts in the name. Helps me track the savings without mixing it with cash in checking.
  • firefly1090firefly1090 Posts: 29Member

    Thanks Patty - I think what you said may help I am just trying to "work it out" in my head, OY I am such a "visual" person LOL  I may have to do some poking around in the classes and videos.  Appreciate ya.

     

    TonyC - this is a great idea, I have about 9 categories that I have been paying a savings account for but on my spreadsheet I can see everything grow as I go, I wanted YNAB to help me do that also so I don't have to keep both a YNAB and a spreadsheet, seems like double the work.

    Thanks everyone.

     

  • pattyantbpattyantb Posts: 197Member
    You're welcome! It's hard getting used to the idea that it doesn't matter WHERE your money is, only what it is DOING (what you have budgeted it for - what job it has). I used to be afraid that I'd spend it if it was in my checking account, but now with YNAB, I look at my category balance instead of my bank account balance before deciding if I have money to spend on any given thing. 

    BTW, the savings categories idea is great. I have 10 master categories, which includes a Savings Goals categories. Savings Goals has 21 sub categories!! LOL! Anything from Buffer to Kids' savings, to new furniture, to a man cave, new camera, a juicer, family savings, investment fund. I am giving my savings very specific jobs so I have a clear picture in mind. I am not contributing to all at the same time, and some haven't even gotten started, but I know what I am working toward.  

  • firefly1090firefly1090 Posts: 29Member

    Right on Patty!!!  That is so awesome!!!  Seeing what you are saving for, all work and no play is such a drag LOL, is such a great things - reward for your effort!  I am an instant gratification girl, it's why I love to mow the lawn, instant reward for my effort :)

     

    So I think I may have "figured it out"  LOL  THAT could be scary!! 

    Here is what I did and my balances are right on with my spreadsheet (I am still keeping it through my trial period so I know I am right on the money).

    I did a transaction in my savings account that shows the payee as "the savings account" and my daughters rent as the "category" then I did an inflow of the $197.40 as I am physically putting the money into the savings account (much easier as she is at the same bank and not in the same town as I am so I can just transfer the money into her account at any given time)

    I also did a transaction in my checking account that shows the payee as "the savings account" and the "category" as "income for August" then I did an outflow for the $197.40.  I will note that the computer gave me a message asking if I really did intent to use the "income for August" category and did really want it to be an "outflow". 

    I figured that this is an ok way to do it as it really is taking the money from my August income and putting it into the savings account.

     

    If anyone can see a "problem" with this way I need to know soon - otherwise I will continue to do it this way.

     

  • KaydeeKaydee Posts: 2,517Member
    You are making a gigantic mess for yourself by using transactions for budgeting.

    When you receive income, decide how much of it you want to transfer to your daughter's account.  Enter that amount in the budget screen in the line for the "daughter's college rent" category.  Then transfer the money (no category, because both accounts are on-budget.) 
    Budget_Ninja
  • CarrieJuneCarrieJune Posts: 257Member
    edited August 2013
    I am a new convert from Excel spreadsheets (plus Quicken, plus cash envelopes, plus checking registers) to YNAB.  I also have a master category for some of my savings (emergency fund, home improvement projects, self-employment taxes), but I chose to consolidate my Rainy Day funds to my regular checking.  

    I highly recommend taking some webinars!  They are an excellent resource and will answer a lot of your questions. In Getting Started with YNAB, one of the key concepts is that you look at your Category Balance on the budget to know if you have money to spend, not at your bank balance.  

    I agree with Kaydee - you are making it too complicated.  Budget the amount for your daughter's rent and the Category Balance is increased by that amount.  Transfer the funds from your checking account to her account.  When the rent gets paid from her account, use the rent category and the category balance will zero out.
    Post edited by CarrieJune on
  • firefly1090firefly1090 Posts: 29Member

    Kaydee - Based on the video I watched about "savings" these is what I took away from it:

    Transferring only changes the location of the money (this does not affect the budget) - no category is needed as I am not spending the money I am only changing the location.  Categorizing it would remove it from the budget as if I had spent it and I didn't.  Transferring still affects my balances savings/checking but not my budget, the money is still assigned to jobs.

    that being said I am changing the location of the money, it is no longer in my "budget" so to speak but in my savings account BUT I do want to be able to see the "balance" grow so I know where I am.

    I am just new to YNAB and coming from an Excel spreadsheet, I also know that if I "see" a large balance account I tend to go to the "dark side" of myself LOL and think about spending - therefore I transfer all of the money for my "savings" category to a savings account - out sight out of mind - but I monitor how the accounts are doing on my spreadsheet OR in YNAB.  I haven't made the change/transition in my thinking yet to be able to leave it all in my checking account.

    Thanks for your comment, appreciate it.

  • firefly1090firefly1090 Posts: 29Member

    crowe thanks for the post.

    I get what you are saying but I am not at the place yet where I can leave all of the money in my checking account.  I used, quite successfully I might add :), a spreadsheet for the last 16 years, 12 of those years I was a single mom with 2 small children, I had to learn, the hard way, that if it was in my checking account I would spend it - hence paying my savings account every month for what I was allocating to my Rainy Day Savings.  Both my husband and I are trying to make the transition to seeing the account balances not the bank balances but until we are there, I will continue to move money to my savings account.

  • KaydeeKaydee Posts: 2,517Member
    "that being said I am changing the location of the money, it is no longer in my "budget" so to speak but in my savings account BUT I do want to be able to see the "balance" grow so I know where I am."

    If you want to be able to see the balance grow in a line item in your budget, not just in the account balance, then it is still in your budget.  YNAB gives you two views of your money -- the accounts view in the sidebar tells you where it is stored and the budget view in the main screen tells you what you intend to do with each dollar.  

    The weird hybrid thing you're doing now is telling YNAB that money is leaving your budget via one transaction and then coming back in through another.  It's as if instead of transferring the money from one account to the other you withdrew it in cash and then deposited it in the other account.  You can do that, but it's more work that way for no good reason. 
  • firefly1090firefly1090 Posts: 29Member

    please forgive me - but - I am getting confused - the reason I can see the money is because I have both my savings accounts tied to my budget therefore the balances "affect" my line items but I cannot spend it.

    forgive me again but I am such a visual person, if I see a huge balance on my check register my brain, at this point, will not stop to consider my category stuff.............I am a newbie who is a possible spreadsheet convert, I am still set in my old ways but trying to make steps to make change, sorry but I didn't become a new person just because I started using YNAB...............I am still in the process.

    Appreciate your info!! :)

  • ErinL79ErinL79 Posts: 259Member, Beta Tester
    It's okay if you want to keep the money in a savings account.  But you still shouldn't be using transactions the way that you are trying to use them.  You're making extra work for yourself.

    The transactions in your account registers should match what's actually happening to your money.  So if you are transferring money from your checking account to your savings account, just enter a transfer.  It won't have a category, and it will automatically show up in the other account too.  This is just how your track where your money actually is.

    To tell your budget that you are going to save that money, you go to your budget screen and find that savings category, and enter the amount you are budgeting to that savings category in the "budget" column for that category.  This is how you keep track of what you plan to do with the money you have.

    You will see the money grow on your budget screen when you look at the "balance" column for the category, which will go up whenever you add money to it (and down when you spend from it).
  • firefly1090firefly1090 Posts: 29Member

    Thanks ErinL79

    I think I should have mentioned that my savings accounts ( I have 2) are both at separate banks than my checking therefore I have to move the money out of my checking account, by check, and into the savings account. 

    Does that make a difference to what you said ErinL79?

    Also it would be most helpful if someone would or could either take the time to walk me through what you are saying in a step by step manner or direct me to someplace on the website that will............again I am a visual so it is hard for me to wrap my brain around the "concept" that is being suggested especially when I am not as familiar with the program as some.

    thanks again appreciate ya.

  • pattyantbpattyantb Posts: 197Member
    edited August 2013
    I had this long post typed up and it disappeared, so I am hoping this picture does most of my talking. Notice I have a checking and a savings for each kid (this is a fake budget that I use to run scenarios so ignore actual amounts). I also have a category for each kid. In month 1, I budgeted the full amount that was in their savings accounts to each of their categories so I didn't budget that money elsewhere. Then, each month I add money physically by transferring it on my bank's website from my checking to their savings. I do this in YNAB as a transfer with no category, but I do budget it because I don't want to accidentally budget it or spend it somewhere else. The account balance IN THIS CASE ONLY in July is the same as the category balance since I am not making payments from this account. In August, I budgeted the money I will transfer, but have not created the transaction yet in my Checking Account. 
    image
    Post edited by pattyantb on
  • firefly1090firefly1090 Posts: 29Member

    Thanks Pattyantb

    Do this for me.

    I started using YNAB on July 30th so all I did was take my savings account balances and "allocate" them to line items (as it was the end of the month and I was done with my budget for July) - to "reflect" my savings spreadsheet (does that make sense?) and put in my "starting balance" in the checking account.

    In July my daughters rent account balance was $4246 (in the savings but still showing in my "budget" as I have my savings attached and I had allocated all my savings dollars).  The total amount I "allocate" from our finances every month for her rent is $578.00

    Now in August I need to "move" $197.40 from my checking account to my savings account (remember separate banks) which will decrease my checking account balance, increase my savings account balance and increase the balance on my daughters line item

    AND

    do some "rearranging" in my savings account - moving $380.60 from line item "our vacation" to line item "daughters rent"  I am doing it this way for this reason - in June we went on holiday, $380.60 was what it cost us for the car rental, which was charged to our credit card - instead of having to get the $380.60 out of my savings account (I had saved for it) and put it into my checking account (remember 2 different banks - and I feel this is appropriate as you should never have all of your eggs in one basket) I simply paid the credit card from my checking account and deducted what I would have moved from my checking to my savings for daughters rent $578 by the $380.60 (578.00 - 380.60 = $197.40) then I need to "reduce" my savings account line "our vacation" by $380.60 and increase my savings account line "daughters rent" by $380.60 which totals $578.00 ($197.40 from checking + $380.60 moved from another line in savings = $578.00 for daughters rent.

    I am sure it all sounds confusing on paper but in the "doing" it is really easy - I want to know how to make it that easy in YNAB.......basically my means on the spreadsheet are still accomplishing the YNAB end -  but I am trying to make the total switch.

    at this point I am sure everyone is throwing their hands up in frustration ;)

     

  • ErinL79ErinL79 Posts: 259Member, Beta Tester
    I have accounts at two different banks, too, and I do move the money with a check sometimes, but I still enter it as a transfer.

    Step by step?  To do a transfer, on the account screen of the account you're transferring from, next to "add a new transaction" is a button for "make a transfer."  Hit that button, and select the account you are transferring to from the dropdown.  Skip the "category" box completely, (up to you if you want to enter a memo) and go over to the "outflow" column and enter the amount you are moving from one account to the other.  Then hit "save."  You can look at the other account and you will see the "other side" of the transfer there, recorded as an inflow.  Now you've told your accounts that you moved the money.

    To tell your budget what you're going to do with the money, go to the Budget screen.  Find the row for the category you are saving the money for.  Enter the amount in the "Budgeted" column.  Your "available to budget" at the top of the screen went down, and the money in that category's "Balance" column went up by the amount you entered.  Look at future months: it carries over in the "balance" column as long as you don't spend it.

    That's it!  

    Maybe attending a webinar would help?  It cleared a lot of things up for me when I took one.
  • ErinL79ErinL79 Posts: 259Member, Beta Tester
    To take money out of a category that you budgeted money to in a previous month, you just enter a negative amount in the "budgeted" box.
  • firefly1090firefly1090 Posts: 29Member

    Thanks Erin - look at my last post and give me a

    step

    by

    step

    on how to do both of those "things" money from checking to savings $197.40  and rearranging money in savings from one line item to the other $380.60 - daughters rent should go from $4246 to $4824.00

    and

    line item  "our vacation" should go from $3744.51 to $3363.91

    :)

    I truly do appreciate everyone's time and patience - I need to know for certain in 29 days if this is going to work for me and I am going to be able to make it work (without lots of time and frustration - currently that is not the case :s ), otherwise it makes no sense to buy the software.

  • firefly1090firefly1090 Posts: 29Member

    I just signed up for "making your budget work"  I have already done the getting started webinar.

    Thanks again for chatting I truly do appreciate everyone!!!

  • ErinL79ErinL79 Posts: 259Member, Beta Tester
    I kind of feel like I already broke down the transferring into steps.  Did you try it?  What step are you getting stuck on?

    To move $380.60 from Vacation to Rent in the budget, go to the Budget screen. Click in the box that's in the Vacation row, Budgeted column. Type "-380.60".  See the Available to Budget amount at the top go up, and the money in the Vacation row, Balance column go down?  Now click in the box in the Rent row, Budgeted Column. If it's blank right now you can just type "380.60." If there is already a number in it, type "+380.60" and it will add that amount to what's already there.  See the Available to Budget go down and the Rent row, Balance column box go up?

    I hope that helps!  If you can use Excel, I'm sure you can use YNAB with just a little practice.

    I'm going to bed but if you're still confused tomorrow and no one else has come along, I'll see if I can link you to a helpful video.
  • firefly1090firefly1090 Posts: 29Member

    Thanks Erin. I will work on this.

    Have a great night!!!

    ErinL79
  • firefly1090firefly1090 Posts: 29Member
    Hi Erin - I printed your instructions - remember I am visual :) - and worked through them  THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  it all seemed to go smoothly.  Have a great day!
    MRKlinkErinL79
  • firefly1090firefly1090 Posts: 29Member

    Patty I am curious, how do you create a "fake budget" in YNAB to run scenarios in? I am very interested in this as I do it on my spreadsheet all the time, create a new sheet in one workbook, I love it!!!!

    Thanks much for all your help too - I couldn't have gotten so far tonight without it or kept as much hair as I was able to LOL ;)   Appreciate ya!!!

  • AFK_MatrixAFK_Matrix Posts: 389Member
    I would think she went to File at the top of YNAB and clicked on New budget and then just setup some fake accounts and budget amounts.
  • pattyantbpattyantb Posts: 197Member

    Kaydee - Based on the video I watched about "savings" these is what I took away from it:

    Transferring only changes the location of the money (this does not affect the budget) - no category is needed as I am not spending the money I am only changing the location.  Categorizing it would remove it from the budget as if I had spent it and I didn't.  Transferring still affects my balances savings/checking but not my budget, the money is still assigned to jobs.

    that being said I am changing the location of the money, it is no longer in my "budget" so to speak but in my savings account BUT I do want to be able to see the "balance" grow so I know where I am.

    Yes, this!! I think you almost have it! 

    You're right on until changing the location of the money. Once you change the location, it is still in your budget because you assigned it to your daughter's rent. You don't have to worry about spending it on something else because you've already given it a job. 
    If you want to move it physically to savings to be Extra Safe, you can, but you have already budgeted it so you don't give it a category. 

    You will see your Rent for Daughter category balance grow as time goes on if you keep budgeting money to it and not spending from it. 

    I would recommend that you start a separate budget so you can play around with numbers without messing up your "production" budget. Try it the way we've recommended: Budget money to this category, transfer money to your savings without categorizing it, budget more money the following month. 

    Sorry to make this so long, but I wanted to post an example I used in another thread: 

    Each of my kids has a savings account and I add to these 2 accounts every payday. I have them as Budget accounts and I also have a category for them under our Savings master category. 
    In month 1 I recorded the starting balance:

    > Savings Goals
    >>M Savings: $338
    >>L Savings: $333

    On payday, I added $23.50 to each account so I budgeted

    > Savings Goals
    >>M Savings: budget: $23.50 outflows: $0 balance: $361.50
    >>L Savings: budget: $23.50 outflows: $0 balance: $356.50

    Every payday I transfer the money physically to M Savings and L Savings accounts to keep them safe. I record this transaction as a Transfer starting in my checking account screen:

    Add Transfer > Date > Payee: M Checking > Category: blank (Category not needed) > Outflow: $23.50

    This will make sure that the money is in their account and I don't accidentally spend it, and the category shows me the running balance. The category balance should match your account balance IN THIS CASE because you're not spending from it yet and you're just adding to the category and transferring the same amount to the account. 

    I think this is basically the same scenario as with your daughter's rent but you're just using different amounts and it's being used for a different purpose.  
  • pattyantbpattyantb Posts: 197Member

    Kaydee - Based on the video I watched about "savings" these is what I took away from it:

    Transferring only changes the location of the money (this does not affect the budget) - no category is needed as I am not spending the money I am only changing the location.  Categorizing it would remove it from the budget as if I had spent it and I didn't.  Transferring still affects my balances savings/checking but not my budget, the money is still assigned to jobs.

    that being said I am changing the location of the money, it is no longer in my "budget" so to speak but in my savings account BUT I do want to be able to see the "balance" grow so I know where I am.

    Yes, this!! I think you almost have it! 

    You're right on until changing the location of the money. Once you change the location, it is still in your budget because you assigned it to your daughter's rent. You don't have to worry about spending it on something else because you've already given it a job. 
    If you want to move it physically to savings to be Extra Safe, you can, but you have already budgeted it so you don't give it a category. 

    You will see your Rent for Daughter category balance grow as time goes on if you keep budgeting money to it and not spending from it. 

    I would recommend that you start a separate budget so you can play around with numbers without messing up your "production" budget. Try it the way we've recommended: Budget money to this category, transfer money to your savings without categorizing it, budget more money the following month. 

    Sorry to make this so long, but I wanted to post an example I used in another thread: 

    Each of my kids has a savings account and I add to these 2 accounts every payday. I have them as Budget accounts and I also have a category for them under our Savings master category. 
    In month 1 I recorded the starting balance:

    > Savings Goals
    >>M Savings: $338
    >>L Savings: $333

    On payday, I added $23.50 to each account so I budgeted

    > Savings Goals
    >>M Savings: budget: $23.50 outflows: $0 balance: $361.50
    >>L Savings: budget: $23.50 outflows: $0 balance: $356.50

    Every payday I transfer the money physically to M Savings and L Savings accounts to keep them safe. I record this transaction as a Transfer starting in my checking account screen:

    Add Transfer > Date > Payee: M Checking > Category: blank (Category not needed) > Outflow: $23.50

    This will make sure that the money is in their account and I don't accidentally spend it, and the category shows me the running balance. The category balance should match your account balance IN THIS CASE because you're not spending from it yet and you're just adding to the category and transferring the same amount to the account. 

    I think this is basically the same scenario as with your daughter's rent but you're just using different amounts and it's being used for a different purpose.  
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