New YNAB user questions

mysticknight232mysticknight232 Posts: 9Member

Hello, I'm new to the YNAB software having just participated in my first webinar last night.  I have used a budget spreadsheet for years, but have not accomplished the kind of financial freedom I feel that my wife and I should have given our income.  I have not set up my YNAB budget yet as I'm trying to understand a couple of concepts before I dive in.  Also, I am still using the trail software, but fully expect to purchase the product when my trial period ends. 

1. I am currently keeping checkbooks for multiple accounts at two different financial institutions including two DDAs, one SAV and one HSA account.  Upon initial set up, should I enter all accounts into my budget keeping each balance seperate or should I combine everything into one account to keep the tracking more simplified?  Is it personal preference?  As a follow up, if i create multiple accounts to match each of my real life accounts, do I then track inter-account transactions as I would in my checkbook?  In other words, if I xfer funds from one DDA to another DDA in order to pay a bill, do I mark that as a transaction from one account to another even though it doesn't directly impact my budget?

2. When I start my Day 1 budget, I will use the "cash balance" in my account(s) as of that specific date correct?  That is the money I have available to budget as of Day 1.  I don't increase my budget until my next paycheck right?  My wife and I get paid bi-weekly and on the same week as each other so our budget will be updated bi-weekly, while my transactions will be updated when they happen.  Am I understanding things correctly?

3. When using a credit card for routine purchases like gas and groceries, or even not so routine purchases, should I enter each transaction as they occur or should I wait until the end of the month when I receive my bill and at that time reconcile my account transactions?  I imagine I should input each transaction as they occur, but then I'm confused about paying the bill and how that actually affects my "account" balance compared to my budgeted balance.  With that being said, I am signed up for the Credit Card webinar tonight so perhaps that and more will be discussed tonight by Ronna. 

Thanks for your time...I know I had one more generic question but I can't remember it is atm.


  • KaydeeKaydee Posts: 4,039Member
    edited August 2013
    1)  Each account in real life should have a corresponding account in YNAB.  Treat your YNAB account register like a checkbook register.  Transfers between on-budget accounts do not affect the budget.

    2) Correct.

    3) Enter your CC transactions when you make the purchase.  When you pay the statement it is a transfer between accounts, which is a non-event as far as your budget is concerned because the money was removed from your category balances when you made the purchases.
    Post edited by Kaydee on
  • mysticknight232mysticknight232 Posts: 9Member

    Thanks for the quick response...taking things one step farther, should I also have an account for my Credit Card or would that only have a budgeted column.  Based on your answers, I imagine having an account for my credit card and then allocating my budget under that credit card i.e. groceries and gas always go on the CC so my transactions would be CC - Gas or CC - Groceries.  Am I continueing to understand this right?

  • AFK_MatrixAFK_Matrix Posts: 437Member
    Yes you should have a YNAB account for your credit card. You will look at your credit card balance and enter this as a positive number when you create the account. This will create a pre-ynab category in your budget. You then assign an amount to Budget to this category. 

    When you use your credit card you will assign it to one of your categories like groceries or fuel. You do not have to create a gas category just for the cc. 

    I would advise you to either watch the credit card video or go on the webinar as this will really help you. 
  • KaydeeKaydee Posts: 4,039Member
    edited August 2013
    Yes, you have an account for your credit card.  When you enter your purchases they go in the credit card account, to the grocery or gas category.  If you can budget for and pay the current balance on your credit card right now (and still have money for upcoming expenses) you don't even need a category for the card. If you are either carrying a balance on the card or depending on the float to be able to pay off the card every month, then you do need a category for the card, but only for past purchases, not for any you make from this point forward.

    Edit:  it doesn't matter which purchases you put on the card, you can spend with the card from any category.  Don't set up specific CC-gas and CC-grocery categories.  (This will all make more sense after the webinar.)

    Post edited by Kaydee on
  • ChucklesChuckles Posts: 10Member
    There's help topics relating to HSAs but one thing that worked for me was to make the HSA account off-budget. That's because it's really not money you can use for anything else and you can't move the money that's there to other places (at least not legally!), it's completely dedicated to your healthcare expenses.
Sign In or Register to comment.