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Wednesday, December 28, 2022

High 10 Continuously Requested YNAB Budgeting Questions


So, you’ve determined that you simply want a finances and that is the yr you’ll lastly sort out your funds! You’ve signed up for YNAB’s free 34-day trial, then cracked open the app to get began in your shiny new private finances. That’s when it hit you: this new YNAB budgeting system appears a bit…nicely…totally different. And now you could have new budgeting questions, too. 

We don’t finances to the identical beat as the opposite guys. However these variations? They’re precisely why YNAB works so nicely—and why tons of of hundreds of individuals have lastly gained management over their cash.

YNABers who keep it up go on to attain superb feats (like retiring with out concern, turning their monetary lives round, and even quitting smoking). Heck, after simply one month with YNAB, one man had cash in his financial savings account for the first time in a decade. YNAB isn’t a typical finances plan, and that’s why the potential to fulfill your monetary targets is extraordinary. 

After all, as a result of we’re totally different, the budgeting course of takes some getting used to. It’s type of like that nerdy child in highschool that finally ends up changing into your finest pal. We’ve seen the place new budgeters get caught and annoyed, and we wish to allow you to keep away from the identical. 

Preserve studying for solutions to 10 of essentially the most generally requested budgeting questions that new YNABers ship us as they begin to put together a finances.

Budgeting Questions From New YNABers

1. How Do I Begin YNAB?

Step one towards long run monetary management is deciding that you must create a finances (nice work!). However how do you truly get began in YNAB? It may really feel a bit overwhelming to face your private finance scenario or to study a brand new app, so juggling each on the similar time is sure to really feel difficult.

It’s loads to absorb abruptly, so it’s no marvel that you simply’ve obtained budgeting questions. We’ve obtained a ton of sources that will help you get began, all relying in your studying type:

  1. In case you study by watching YouTube movies: watch this video. Study all the pieces you must know in your time. You’ll study the YNAB methodology, plus the best way to begin and use your YNAB finances.
  2. In case you prefer to work with an actual, dwell individual: be part of a free open Q&A session. Join one (or 10) of our dwell workshops. They’re quick, jam-packed with helpful info, and our superb lecturers all the time have solutions in your particular budgeting questions.
  3. In case you study by studying: Take a look at our Final Getting Began Information. While you’ve digested that novella, learn up on our breakdown of the 4 Guidelines.

Ben breaks down the method of making a YNAB finances on this step-by-step video.

2. How Do I Enter My Earnings?

In case you’re scratching your head and attempting to determine the best way to plan your month-to-month finances, or questioning the way you enter the amount of cash you are taking residence for the month, the next ought to assist:

YNAB Doesn’t Use Forecasting

YNAB helps you finances the {dollars} that you’ve proper now—we’re very intentional about that. A whole lot of new YNABers wish to plan out their complete month, budgeting all the {dollars} that they plan to obtain inside that month. In different phrases, they wish to forecast.

The issue with forecasting is that it eliminates shortage as a result of you possibly can cowl all your payments and bills with future cash—cash you don’t but have—and hypothesis like that may actually get you into hassle. Certain, you would possibly guess appropriately that you simply’ll get a paycheck in your normal payday, however what if you happen to don’t?!

YNAB’s methodology is about allocation, which implies assigning the {dollars} that you’ve in your checking account (proper now!) to the roles you’d like them to carry out, so as of precedence or significance. It’s referred to as zero-based budgeting, and though it’s an enormous shift from conventional forecasted budgeting, it might change the best way that you consider cash administration.

Virtually talking, because of this if you happen to solely have $500 in your checking account, you possibly can solely finances $500 in YNAB. You’ll have to attend till you obtain extra earnings to finances extra {dollars}.

Only budget the money you actually have right now.
Solely finances the cash you even have proper now.

In case you attempt to finances greater than $500, your “Able to Assign” quantity in YNAB will flip purple, like this:

If you budget money that you don't have, you'll be prompted to fix that.
In case you finances cash that you simply don’t have, you’ll be prompted to repair that.

To get out of the purple, you must prioritize. If the electrical invoice, water invoice and groceries are non-negotiables, then you possibly can solely finances $250 in direction of the hire till you receives a commission once more. This provides you a a lot clearer image of the shortage of your money, and helps align your spending together with your priorities. 

You Can Nonetheless Plan Forward!

So, if you happen to can’t forecast, then how do you intend for a whole month, you marvel? Isn’t this budgeting factor supposed that will help you anticipate upcoming bills and plan accordingly? Why, sure, it should! You simply want a finances template and a few financial savings targets.

3. Do I Should Anticipate Payday to Begin My Funds?

You don’t want to attend till payday to begin budgeting (and no have to really feel overlooked if you happen to’re not paid month-to-month). YNAB works for each pay cycle (weekly, bimonthly, month-to-month, quarterly and even variable earnings), and it really works every time you’re prepared to begin—and, it really works particularly nicely when you do!All you must do is finances the {dollars} that you’ve proper now. It doesn’t matter if in case you have two {dollars} or two thousand {dollars}, your mission is to allocate all of that money to an important, most pressing jobs in your finances. While you receives a commission once more, you’ll finances, once more. It’s monetary planning at its best!

Hannah reveals you the best way to finances on any pay cycle on this video.

4. What Occurs When It’s a New Month?

At some point, most likely extra than in the future, however lower than 32 days after you begin (okay, positively much less, positively), the month goes to “roll over.” And, with the brand new month, you’ll discover a couple of modifications in your finances:

Your Overspending Disappears

In case you overspent in money, the earlier month’s class stability will show in purple, however the present month will present a stability of zero. So, what occurred? YNAB robotically deducts the quantity that you simply overspent from “Able to Assign” within the new month.

In case you overspent in credit score, the earlier month’s class stability will show in orange, and the quantity that you simply overspent shall be added to your bank card stability. In case you can’t cowl the overspending in the identical month that it happens, you’ll have to finances on to the Credit score Card Funds class to pay again the bank card debt.

Assigned Quantities Disappear

With the brand new month, all your assigned quantities shall be empty. In different phrases, it’s time to finances, and there are a couple of methods you can sort out it:

  • Go class by class, working down your record of priorities and utilizing the Inspector as your Information. While you get to $0.00 in “Able to Assign,” cease!
  • Use the “Underfunded” choice in Auto-Assign to finances one class, or class group, at a time.
  • Use the “Assigned Final Month” choice in Auto-Assign to fill on this month’s finances with the identical quantities that you simply budgeted final month. Then, modify as essential for the present month.
  • And, once you’ve obtained extra historical past—no less than 4 months or so of YNAB expertise—check out “Common Assigned” or “Common Spent” in Auto-Assign. These choices depend on information that ties again to your precise spending habits.

You’ll additionally see that any constructive quantities (aka more money!)  left in your classes from the earlier month shall be sitting there, simply the place you left them.

5. Why Doesn’t My Funds Match My Financial institution Stability?

On the left-hand aspect of the display within the YNAB internet app, you possibly can see your account balances. The very first thing you need to do once you open your finances is be sure that these balances match your checking account. Utilizing the instance finances, under, you’d wish to log into your Acme Checking account and make sure that your stability is $500.

Check to make sure your bank balance matches your budget. Examine to verify your financial institution stability matches your finances.

In case your financial institution stability doesn’t match the account stability you see in YNAB, it’s time to reconcile.

Reconciliation is just the method of getting into all your financial institution transactions into YNAB in order that your finances is aware of how a lot cash is in your checking account. In case you attempt to finances with out reconciling, you’re working with incorrect information and your finances gained’t be proper!

Think about that you’ve $500 within the financial institution, however you see $600 in your YNAB account stability. In case you are within the behavior of reconciling earlier than you finances, you’ll spot the $100 transaction that’s lacking from YNAB and proper it. In case you don’t, you’d finances $600 and doubtlessly overdraft your account!

For an in depth clarification of the best way to reconcile, take a look at this assist doc to learn to reconcile.

6. Direct Import Isn’t Working. Now What?

Direct Import helps be sure you have all of your transactions in YNAB. Transactions import as soon as they clear your financial institution (which may take a day or two), so it’s finest to document your spending immediately. When transactions are imported, they’ll match proper up with those you entered (with out creating duplicates)—and also you’ll know you haven’t missed any.

Direct Import is superb, however there are fairly a couple of shifting elements, and generally the method wants a bit troubleshooting. In case you’re having points establishing a connection together with your financial institution, transactions aren’t importing, your connection stops working or your monetary establishment isn’t listed in YNAB, take a look at this useful information.And don’t overlook, whether or not you’re utilizing Direct Import or not, you possibly can enter transactions into YNAB your self! That’s proper, it’s completely OK to enter your transactions manually. Actually, a few of us choose it and even do each! (Right here’s why a few of us do each: we enter transactions manually to deliver consciousness to our spending after which pull within the direct import as an assurance we didn’t miss something. Better of each worlds!).

You don’t should depend on Direct Import to document transactions.

7. What’s with YNAB’s Credit score Card Cost Class?

While you spend cash on a bank card, you create debt. Whether or not you purchase a $35 shirt or a $0.35 pack of gum, you owe that cash to the bank card firm. The vital factor is that you simply reserve a few of your cash to repay that debt (as a result of we hate debt!), and that’s what your YNAB finances is designed to do.

For an summary of how bank cards work in YNAB, learn this.

About Credit score Card Funds

  • To finances cash in your bank card fee to cut back your beginning debt, you must allocate {dollars} to the “Credit score Card Funds” class. This quantity will show in inexperienced within the “Cost” column of your finances.
  • A purple fee quantity implies that you paid extra to your card than you budgeted for.
  • In case you made a budgeted buy—in different phrases, you deliberate to spend the cash—and you employ your bank card as fee, the cash shall be subtracted from the suitable class in your finances and added to your bank card fee class. For instance, if you happen to purchase $30 of groceries in your card, you’ll see a $30 drop out of your grocery finances and a $30 enhance in your bank card fee class. This manner, you possibly can repay the cardboard in the identical month that you simply purchased the groceries, avoiding debt and curiosity!

8. How Do I Categorize a Credit score Card Refund?

State of affairs 1

Let’s say that you simply cost $100 for clothes on December fifth, however then you definately resolve that swoveralls simply aren’t your jam, so you come your buy. While you enter your refund into YNAB, document it as an influx to your bank card account, and categorize the transaction based mostly on the suitable finances class. On this case, your clothes class.

This causes the next: $100 is added to your clothes class, and $100 is eliminated out of your Credit score Card Funds class. Accomplished!

… however, wait, there’s extra!

State of affairs 2

Let’s say that, after you charged $100 for clothes on December fifth, you pay your card in full on the twenty first. You don’t understand that swoveralls aren’t the brand new hotness till January (Egads, you’ve already made the bank card fee!). That $100 refund will present up, in purple, below your bank card class. Why’s that, you ask?

It feels a bit counterintuitive, however the purple quantity signifies that you’ve a $100 credit score in your card. (Bear in mind, if you happen to finances in your bank card fee, that determine is inexperienced. The inexperienced quantity is the quantity you’ll pay your bank card this month. Crimson is the other.)

So, how are you going to keep away from this complicated purple quantity? While you document your refund within the credit score account display, categorize it based mostly on the acquisition—on this case, you’d put it below your clothes class. Don’t want cash for garments, proper now? Then transfer the $100 to no matter class you want!

9. What About My Financial savings?

Per Rule One, each greenback will get a job—and that features your financial savings! It doesn’t matter if that job occurs this month or in twenty years. Create a class in your finances for no matter your intentions or financial savings targets could also be (e.g., job loss, trip subsequent yr, an emergency fund, a brand new bike, and so forth.). Right here’s the best way to assign your financial savings. Doing this can allow you to lower your expenses, so don’t skip this step!

10. What’s This “Age of Cash” Factor?

Rule 4, Age Your Cash, appears fairly simple—dangle onto your money so long as you possibly can earlier than you spend it (Watch the Rule 4 video right here to find out about getting old your cash). The longer you could have the cash in your checking account, the older it turns into. It’s a fantastic monetary scenario to be in, too, as a result of, once you don’t have to spend new earnings immediately, you’re capable of finances these {dollars} into the longer term.

While you first begin budgeting, you gained’t have an Age of Cash quantity. That’s since you don’t have sufficient exercise in YNAB, but, for an correct calculation. Give it a bit time.

How Is Age of Cash Calculated?

Let’s say that you simply begin budgeting at the moment. Let’s fake that you simply put all your present cash right into a bucket with the label “Bucket #1.”

Now, think about that payday is tomorrow. You place that cash into Bucket #2. Your associate will get paid this Friday, and increase! You’ve obtained Bucket #3. Subsequent week, your grandma sends you a birthday card with a money present. Yup, that’s Bucket #4. Each time you get extra money, you add a brand new bucket.

When it’s time to pay a invoice or refill your gasoline tank, you dip into your buckets, so as, beginning with Bucket #1. When a transaction pulls funds from a couple of bucket (e.g., it finishes one bucket and begins taking from the following), the age is a weighted common of how previous these buckets have been.

Each time you spend, your Age of Cash is recalculated based mostly on the common of your final ten money transactions. And that’s the quantity that seems simply above your finances. The older it grows, the much less you’ll fear about when payday arrives.

Extra Budgeting FAQs?

Between our Getting Began Bootcamp, dwell Q&A periods, and endlessly useful assist, we’re right here for all your budgeting questions.

Wishing you the perfect on this budgeting journey. Give that mirror an excellent bicep flex as a result of right here you might be, gaining whole management over your cash.


You’re already on a roll! Feeling impressed to realize whole readability round your funds and the emotions that have an effect on them?

Join YNAB’s Change Your Cash Mindset e mail sequence to get 5 quick, pleasant emails and a free downloadable DIY Funds Planner workbook that can change your relationship with cash. 

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