Transfer between Categories

bammerbammer Posts: 4Member
edited January 2010 in Desktop
I consider the various categories as virtual envelopes containing money set aside for a particular purpose.

Is there a way to transfer amounts between categories? For instance, say I budget $200 for entertainment each month, but for several months I actually spend only $100, so the balance begins to accrue. So entertainment is overfunded. At the same time I budget $200 for gas, but spend $300. How do I transfer the overfunded entertainment amount to cover the underfunded gas category?
Post edited by Unknown User on

Comments

  • NaomiNaomi Posts: 21Member
    You can always change the amount you are budgeting, which will change the balance. For example: you have a $300 balance left over from last month. You budget $200 this month, but only spend $100. Your new balance will be $400. ($300 leftover from last month + $200 for this month = $500 available to spend this month - $100 actually spent = $400.) If you change this month's budget to $0, your new balance will be 300 + 0 - 100 = $200. You will then have an extra $200 that you can add to another budget category. Unfortunately, I don't believe you can budget a negative amount, so if you have a rather large balance, you may need to play with the numbers over multiple months.

    Alternatively, you could create a split transaction in a register. I haven't tried this, but I'm sure you could create one line of the split for the category you want to move it out of, and the second line (for the same amount, but negative) for the account you want to move it into.
  • gingerginger Posts: 652Member, Beta Tester
    Naomi wrote:
    Unfortunately, I don't believe you can budget a negative amount, so if you have a rather large balance, you may need to play with the numbers over multiple months.

    You can enter a negative number to remove money from the category balance. This is the standard way to remove previously budgeted money from the balance. If you budgeted $200 to a category in January, but you need to move $300 to cover another category, entering -$100 in the budgeted column will place $300 back into available. The extra $100 comes out of the balance that was rolled from December into January.
  • mrparsonmrparson Posts: 238Member
    bammer wrote:
    I consider the various categories as virtual envelopes containing money set aside for a particular purpose.

    Is there a way to transfer amounts between categories? For instance, say I budget $200 for entertainment each month, but for several months I actually spend only $100, so the balance begins to accrue. So entertainment is overfunded. At the same time I budget $200 for gas, but spend $300. How do I transfer the overfunded entertainment amount to cover the underfunded gas category?

    Here are some steps to move $100 from Entertainment to Gas.

    First, let me say the simple way if it is within the same month to just highlight the $200 you budgeted for Entrainment and change the figure to $100. This will give you $100 to be distributed. This a simple way to do it, but it gets more complex if you are month or two out from the original deposit, or (more likely) your amounts are not easy even figures.

    OK, now the steps.

    1. Navigate to the Budget screen
    2. Go to your Entrainment budget item.
    3. Click on the Budgeted column box.
    4. Click on the little Down Arrow (to the right of the box).
    5. Click on Show Calculator
    6. Type/Click in - 100. = then click on OK (this will deduct $100 from the account)
    7. Click on the Gas Budgeted column
    8. Open the Show Calculator once more.
    9. Type/Click in + 100. = then click on OK

    You just transferred $100 from one account into the other. You need to be sure to start with the minus - key to deduct money and always press the Equals Key then OK.

    There may be an easier way, but I do not know it. I am looking forward to the day that we can drag one Category on top of another and have a transfer dialog open up automatically. I hope this helps, or that someone can give us both an easier way to do things.
  • ckresgeckresge Posts: 24Member
    I'm new to YNAB (last week), but this is the way I would do it, and it seems to work: Just go to your checking account and enter a split transaction, with a zero amount.

    For example, if I wanted to transfer $100 from my Gas envelope to my Food envelope:
    Payee: Xfer
    Category: Split
    Memo: Xfer from Gas to Food
    Amount on first line: zero
    Second line: Auto:Fuel; Outflow of $100
    Third line: Personal:Food; Inflow of $100

    See attachment.
  • mrparsonmrparson Posts: 238Member
    ckresge wrote:
    I'm new to YNAB (last week), but this is the way I would do it, and it seems to work: Just go to your checking account and enter a split transaction, with a zero amount.

    For example, if I wanted to transfer $100 from my Gas envelope to my Food envelope:
    Payee: Xfer
    Category: Split
    Memo: Xfer from Gas to Food
    Amount on first line: zero
    Second line: Auto:Fuel; Outflow of $100
    Third line: Personal:Food; Inflow of $100

    See attachment.

    That is very nice to see.
    I am guessing this leaves a line item in the Register, correct? This seems like it would really inflate the check register with a lot of transfers.

    If a person does not mind that it seems like the best method for use, but I think I would like to keep the transactions within the budget itself.

    Thanks
  • WairereRoseWairereRose Posts: 5,882Member, Beta Tester
    If you don't want to clutter your checking account register, then set up a 'transfer account' register just for these transactions. You could hide it when not in use to save screen real-estate.
  • mrparsonmrparson Posts: 238Member
    If you don't want to clutter your checking account register, then set up a 'transfer account' register just for these transactions. You could hide it when not in use to save screen real-estate.

    Oh, Rose, that is very clever! Thank you that is a great idea. :)
  • WairereRoseWairereRose Posts: 5,882Member, Beta Tester
    I thought so - I was amazed I thought of it. Must be the only sensible thing I've thought of all week. :lol: I'm nearly over this cold, hooray.
  • gborlandgborland Posts: 752Member, Moderator, Administrator, YNAB Team, Beta Tester, Beta Moderator
    I'm new to YNAB and am trying out the beta for the first time. I have previously used Mvelopes and Moneydance.

    I am really disappointed that I can't open a register view of a budget category. I want to treat my categories just like accounts. I want to be able to see all of the transactions in a particular category, and transfer funds between categories without having to retrospectively tweak the budget amounts or use an intermediate "Transfer" account as suggested.
  • mrparsonmrparson Posts: 238Member
    gborland wrote:
    I'm new to YNAB and am trying out the beta for the first time. I have previously used Mvelopes and Moneydance.

    I am really disappointed that I can't open a register view of a budget category. I want to treat my categories just like accounts. I want to be able to see all of the transactions in a particular category, and transfer funds between categories without having to retrospectively tweak the budget amounts or use an intermediate "Transfer" account as suggested.

    You can, but only for the current month as far as I know. In the Budget screen simply click on the Outflows figure within a budget and an inline register will pop up.
  • gborlandgborland Posts: 752Member, Moderator, Administrator, YNAB Team, Beta Tester, Beta Moderator
    I just tried using the intermediate Transfer account suggestion as a way of transferring funds between categories. It gave the right end result, but man, it was tedious and fiddly.
    I have also tried using the calculator and just tweaking the budget amounts, but that's just wrong. A movement of funds from one category to another has to have a specific date and memo attached, just like any other transaction; otherwise, I'm just fiddling the numbers with no explanation.

    I really hope we can get a better way of doing this soon.
    arthaey
  • felisidifelisidi Posts: 35Member
    gborland
    I understand what you are talking about. moving money with no trail starts to feel too vague and meaningless. i can't quite articulate it but somehow it can end up seeming mushy

    partly for me that is the month at a time thing. the whole big month to muck around in.

    the old way i used to do it , i had a reckonning at the end of each week at least.....

    so i created an account called "end of the week" and each week i subtract what ever i have left to budget and add in back in the next day. bring it to zero. or subtract however much i am behind the next day.... i pay myself out of my savings account each week at the same time.

    that way i have a weekly record. this week i was behind. this week i was ahead.

    i may create the transfers account too, if i decide i need to. i actually did create it, and haven't used it so far
  • AthelasAthelas Posts: 135Member
    I REALLY LIKE the combination of Rose's idea, and ckresge's method. They are excellent :D

    I hope that one of these days a "Proper" way of transferring between categories will be a feature of YNAB, but until then this works for the few times I need to make such a transfer.

    Thanks to both of you.
  • TLBauerTLBauer Posts: 741Member, Beta Tester
    I am not sure that I like the method proposed in this thread for using a "Transfer Register" to move dollars around in the budget. It does NOT actually move budget dollars from one account to another, it is moving SPENT dollars from one account to another. At least, this is what it appears to be doing from tests that I ran on my system.

    Now, having said that, I requested a means to transfer and keep track of budget dollars a long time ago. But aside from making the product a whole lot more complex, how is the system going to keep things accurate if you sometimes use the Budget Transfer register to move dollars, and at other times you just +/- amounts in the budget columns directly?

    At any rate, I would still like to see a means to transfer and keep track of budget dollars added to the product as some point.
  • gborlandgborland Posts: 752Member, Moderator, Administrator, YNAB Team, Beta Tester, Beta Moderator
    TLBauer wrote:
    I am not sure that I like the method proposed in this thread for using a "Transfer Register" to move dollars around in the budget. It does NOT actually move budget dollars from one account to another, it is moving SPENT dollars from one account to another.

    I think you are misunderstanding. We are indeed talking about transferring budget amounts between the budget categories.

    In my particular case, it's all to do with the way I track cash expenditure. When I withdraw cash from the ATM, it comes out of my "Fun money" category. I try to make most purchases with debit/credit cards, so cash spending is really just fun money I don't care to track in detail.

    Occasionally, though, I do have to make a large purchase in cash. In this case I want to transfer funds into my "Fun money" category from some other category (let's say "Groceries"), to compensate me for this expenditure. I want this transfer of funds to have a specific date and a memo, so that when I look at the transaction history in my Groceries category, I can see that on this date, I spent this much on Groceries, and I paid cash from my Fun Money category.

    I could get the same final result from retrospectively changing the budget amounts, but that's like changing history and feels too much like cheating. It doesn't leave me with an explanation of why I had to edit the budget amounts, or when I made that decision.
  • PatzerPatzer Posts: 3,794Member, Beta Tester
    gborland wrote:
    In my particular case, it's all to do with the way I track cash expenditure. When I withdraw cash from the ATM, it comes out of my "Fun money" category. I try to make most purchases with debit/credit cards, so cash spending is really just fun money I don't care to track in detail.

    Occasionally, though, I do have to make a large purchase in cash. In this case I want to transfer funds into my "Fun money" category from some other category (let's say "Groceries"), to compensate me for this expenditure. I want this transfer of funds to have a specific date and a memo, so that when I look at the transaction history in my Groceries category, I can see that on this date, I spent this much on Groceries, and I paid cash from my Fun Money category.

    More globally, this is the issue of wanting to track an expense that is paid by a method that you don't want to set up an account for. I run into this with gift cards. For example, I get a $50 gift card from by boss for Christmas. I'd prefer to just deposit $50 in checking, recognize it as income, and be done. But either I can't deposit the gift card to a bank account, or it requires a physical trip to the credit union that I don't have time to make. I could fudge it by "depositing" it to my cash account, but then the cash amount wouldn't match the real cash I have on hand.

    My best alternative is to use the gift card for purchases that I would normally make, charging an expense to the appropriate category and offsetting it with income to net to zero as I spend down the gift card. So if my first purchase using the gift card is for $12.34 of groceries, I record a split transaction for a sum of $0.00 in my cash account. The split line items are a $12.34 outflow in Groceries:Food and a $12.34 inflow in Income Budgeted This Month. I then budget the Available down to zero. I keep track of the gift card balance offline, because I don't want to create an extra account for a gift card that will only be used for less than one month.

    Technically, I could put this split transaction in any account; I use cash because I have no financial institution to tie to so there is the least fuss about reconciling. Someone who does not keep a cash account could put a split like this in checking, in your case netting to zero with an outflow in Groceries and an inflow in Fun Money. That would recognize groceries as having been spent and cash that was previously "spent" on Fun Money as becoming unspent. (This assumes that you don't want to actually reduce the amount of cash you're allowed to use for fun just because you spent some cash on groceries.)

    Patzer
  • MalisaMalisa Posts: 6,140Member, Moderator, YNAB Team, Beta Tester
    Patzer wrote:
    My best alternative is to use the gift card for purchases that I would normally make, charging an expense to the appropriate category and offsetting it with income to net to zero as I spend down the gift card. So if my first purchase using the gift card is for $12.34 of groceries, I record a split transaction for a sum of $0.00 in my cash account. The split line items are a $12.34 outflow in Groceries:Food and a $12.34 inflow in Income Budgeted This Month. I then budget the Available down to zero. I keep track of the gift card balance offline, because I don't want to create an extra account for a gift card that will only be used for less than one month.

    Technically, I could put this split transaction in any account; I use cash because I have no financial institution to tie to so there is the least fuss about reconciling. Someone who does not keep a cash account could put a split like this in checking, in your case netting to zero with an outflow in Groceries and an inflow in Fun Money. That would recognize groceries as having been spent and cash that was previously "spent" on Fun Money as becoming unspent. (This assumes that you don't want to actually reduce the amount of cash you're allowed to use for fun just because you spent some cash on groceries.)

    Patzer

    As always, thanks for this Patzer. I have a couple gift cards hanging around and I was wondering what I'd do since I want to show the expense to the proper category.

    I know that you've seen the progression from no split transactions within YNAB to the set up in Pro (which I never had) to the current one in 3. The lack of detail following on the memo lines and the necessity to open up the split has been bothering me. I really find myself avoiding them whenever possible, so much so that I've been toying with alternatives.

    Is the only purpose of the $0 split part of the above scenario to 'link' the two transactions (inflow and outflow) together? When I've done something similar, I've just used a semi-unique payee (S#1, S#2, etc.) and entered the inflow and outflow as two separate lines in an account that I'm specifically using to test things out. (I keep changing the account name, right now I think it's called "Not Real" because I put a paycheck figure see if I liked having it in early...I decided I don't need it in there early.) Is there purpose for the split beyond grouping the two sides of the transaction?
  • PatzerPatzer Posts: 3,794Member, Beta Tester
    malisab wrote:
    The lack of detail following on the memo lines and the necessity to open up the split has been bothering me. I really find myself avoiding them whenever possible, so much so that I've been toying with alternatives.

    Is the only purpose of the $0 split part of the above scenario to 'link' the two transactions (inflow and outflow) together? When I've done something similar, I've just used a semi-unique payee (S#1, S#2, etc.) and entered the inflow and outflow as two separate lines in an account

    Yes, the purpose of the split is to link the inflow and the outflow. The provides me with a single transaction representing the debit card purchase, and the use of a split provides modest protection from a combined typo/eyestrain error resulting in two transactions that don't net to zero.

    In YNAB 3, there is no need to open the split to see the detail in the register; I can expand the view without actually opening the transaction. Also, the split parts will show up in the tooltips from the budget page. It is true that in the current version of YNAB 3, the memo that shows up is the memo from the total line of the split and not from the detail lines. Since I use very few memos, and the one I care about on this transaction is the total line memo of "gift card purchase," that doesn't bother me. If you really need to work with the memos from the detail lines, separating the split into two transactions to preserve distinct memos might be more important to you than keeping the split for the modest data entry error protection.

    Patzer
  • chrishchrish Posts: 2,308Member, Beta Tester
    Patzer wrote:
    I run into this with gift cards. For example, I get a $50 gift card from by boss for Christmas. I'd prefer to just deposit $50 in checking, recognize it as income, and be done. But either I can't deposit the gift card to a bank account, or it requires a physical trip to the credit union that I don't have time to make. I could fudge it by "depositing" it to my cash account, but then the cash amount wouldn't match the real cash I have on hand.

    It's always interesting hearing how other users choose to track certain things. Generally I 'deposit' gift cards (ones that I will use quickly/can use for a normally budgeted expense) into my cash account and track the balance of the card in the memo field. The makes my cash account balance the total of my cash and gift card. Some exceptions are a really large gift card I got for Christmas, it currently has it's own account. Once it is used up I may move all the transactions to my cash account and delete the current account or I may just hide it, not sure which yet. Another is an iTunes gift card I received, I don't usually budget for anything I could buy from iTunes, so that card sits outside my budget world, when I spend it I probably won't record anything, though I may go make $0 split for an inflow and outflow to some category.
  • sbdivemastersbdivemaster Posts: 24Member
    Mvelopes has a feature that allows you to 'sweep' budgeted money from one category into another or into the available to budget pot.
    It shows you all your budget categories, the budgeted amount, the category balance, and then a spots where you can select how much to add\subtract from each budget category, while keeping track of the net total change to your budget at the bottom. Its a fairly simple solution to transfer budgeted amounts from one category to another. There's a button in the interface that brings up the dialog for 'sweeping' money around.

    Personally, in YNAB, I just adjust the budget category amounts manually... subtracting a certain amount from one category and adding it to another. I'm not overly interested in keeping track of when or why I adjusted the amount, as long as my budget is working.
Sign In or Register to comment.