When you're saying you're overbudget, do you mean your "To Be Budgeted" is sitting at a negative number?
Undo that right now by unbudgeting everything. That's not how YNAB is supposed to work. Budget only the money you have right now. If that doesn't go very far, so be it. When your To Be Budgeted amount hits zero, stop. That's the reality of the situation you have in front of you.
You're riding what's known as the "credit card float" where you're essentially paying last month's expenditure with this month's money. That article gives you two options on how to deal with this.
If you want to break the credit card float cycle quickly, you need to stop paying off your cards in full, and instead treat them like any other debt. Whatever your credit card balance is right now becomes your debt. You stop using the card completely. When you get your monthly income, you budget that money to your bills, etc. and spend from your debit card, and whatever is left goes towards the credit card bills. This will incur interest. But it means you'll be working only with money that you actually have and you can actually budget properly. The debt will get paid off eventually.
Breaking it slowly would mean still riding the float, but it means you cannot budget money the proper way. It means you'd need to budget money towards making sure your credit card is fully covered, and budgeting whatever is left wherever it needs to go. It means your YNAB will have a lot of "overspent" categories.
Understandable! We all hear you, and were all there ourselves, at some point. It’s a lot to deal with at first, and it may not end up being for you. But the whole mass of people that you have read about, for whom it works, will walk you through absolutely ever step, if you feel like giving it another chance. Also, remember about the live chat feature in the app and on the website, the official support should be able to walk you through any issues. And lastly, there are a few people here who volunteer to tutor people via chat, myself included. Reach out if you need specific detailed help (but there is no question that is too stupid, and this sub is great for all of it!), or even just to gripe!
A lot of it is changing your mindset along with learning the app, so maybe the people at r/personalfinance might be helpful for some other issues, or even some other methods of managing everything. Good luck!
PS, check out the YNAB Forum, maybe doing a journal might help you get it all out and see how far you’ve come, in a bit.
PPS, did you look at the budget template? you shouldn’t have to necessarily feel overwhelmed with your priorities, they are yours, you can choose to put some on hold, and it works just as well that way.
Watch this video. Seriously.
It has helped many, many people understand how YNAB functions.
It's a different way of thinking about budgeting. It's an envelope system. You have a pile of dollars (real dollars - these are all the dollars you own, right now, in your accounts), and a pile of envelopes. You begin stuffing dollar bills into envelopes - some into the bills coming due before you get paid again, some for groceries until you get paid again, some for gas until you get paid again, and with the smaller pile of dollars after those needs are taken care of, you begin to stuff dollars into your True Expenses - things like Car Maintenance, Insurance Payment, etc. When you run out of dollars, you STOP.
You stop, because you can't put imaginary dollars into envelopes.
YNAB is all about the now - about giving jobs to the money you have. Not to the money you might have later on. It is a different way of thinking, but once you make that mental shift, it comes clear and works beautifully.
Watch the video and see if it doesn't help things.
Also, read the How To Create A Budget article. It explains setting up goals for categories, and scheduled transactions. (That's how you plan ahead for dollars you don't have yet. You can make a goal for a category you don't yet have dollars for, but you can't stuff dollars into those envelopes until you have those dollars.)
You are still thinking of 'budgeting for your credit card payment.'
Don't do that. Stop.
What you are supposed to do is budget for the things you are buying. Groceries. Clothing. Fuel.
So, you budget $100 to Groceries. This is real money, real dollars that you have, in your checking account.
You spend $75 on groceries, using your credit card. You enter that transaction in your credit card's ledger as Payee:Grocery Store, Category:Groceries, Outflow:$75.00.
Now, you will see a green $25 in your Groceries category, and a green $75 in your credit card Payment column. That's because the $75 you spent 'moved' from having the job of paying for groceries, to having the job of being reserved to make your credit card Payment. You will need to pay your card for the amount you borrowed from them - so YNAB helps you by setting aside the money that you 'spend' on a card, so you can make your payment with that money.
This article gives some tips for getting off the credit card float - when you don't have enough money to budget for your month's expenses, AND pay your previous credit card bill in full. You can either stop paying in full, but budget properly for your expenses, and budget an amount to pay down your card, or you keep paying in full, but trim your spending back as much as possible, so you're overspending your budget categories less and less over time. (I prefer the option to stop paying in full - it's painful, but debt always is, and that pain makes you move faster. The option to trim expenses and keep paying in full instead requires a lot of discipline, plus, you aren't really using YNAB 'properly' in the meantime, and that habit can be hard to break after a while.)
Start out with a 4-month free trial:
Watch YouTube videos (Nick True's are great), and sign up for YNAB's free classes. (It's fine to take the same class more than once.)
The first month is tough, confusing, and often discouraging. YNAB is almost certainly different from any budget you may have used before. Stick with it. Ask for help. Four months should be long enough to see whether YNAB is going to help you feel more in charge of your money and whether it's worth the $111(?) Canadian. Best of luck!
You WANT to budget your savings. Really!
You're probably thinking of your 'budget' being your 'spending plan', and you naturally don't want to 'spend' your savings, so you think you don't want it on-budget. But that's the wrong way to think about it.
YNAB is all about giving your dollars a job. ALL of your dollars. And one very important job for some of your dollars is savings.
So, what you do is, you create some savings categories, and then you allocate ('budget') your savings dollars to those categories. THIS is what keeps your savings dollars safe from being spent on anything else, and giving those dollars jobs in categories is the magic of YNAB.
Here's an article that explains it, and here's another article about the relationship between your budget, and your accounts.
Tracking accounts are only really recommended for things like investments, where the value regularly fluctuates, and/or for money that is not liquid, and you will not need to use it for a LONG time (like, decades...i.e., investments).
Tough love time; YNAB isn’t the problem here. You are.
YNAB is telling you exactly how you’re doing. You don’t have enough money to cover your bills in the first half of the month and buy groceries.
If when confronted with that reality, you throw your toys out the pram and start ignoring your budget, how do you expect YNAB to help?
It’s not YNABs fault you’re overspending. That’s on you. Nothing anybody says here will help unless you’re prepared to start paying attention to your budget, even when it tells you things you don’t want to hear.
Once you’ve done that you have a couple of options,
Spread the bills due dates across the month so they’re not all due from one pay packet.
Once you’ve paid off your mid month credit card debt with your second pay check, put some of it toward bills the following month, so you’ve got a little extra to play with next time. Then budget the remainder to the things you need in the second half of the current month and stick to that budget militantly.
YNAB's Wish Farm article has a technique that I started using. It's towards the very bottom.
Create a category for your specific trip, but before you spend it, transfer the balance into a more general category, like Vacation. Then spend out of your Vacation budget. Then delete the now empty category for the specific trip.
You get the benefit of seeing a specific goal in your budget and watching it fill up, but when you spend it it'll show up in a more reasonable way in your reports.
Make an account for cash, not a category - and budget the cash just like you would your checking account.
When you withdraw, make a transfer to the cash account, and record the spending as usual. They recommend rounding up to the nearest dollar so you don't lose your mind when trying to reconcile.
Yeah, these massive companies have massive codebase which require massive staff count to develop and maintain too.
YNAB only has 21 employees on LinkedIn.
And YNAB is not even comparable to 1/1000 of Excel in terms of complexity.
You don't want to delete a category that has transactions attached to it. Hide it instead.
Or, move the transactions to a different category, and then you can delete it. Normally I'd say don't bother, it isn't worth the hassle.....but if you've had this category for one month, it's probably do-able.
Normally, the best way to handle categories that you know will be a one-off, is with the wish farm method. Basically, let's say I want to buy a fancy new garden rake. I create a category for Fancy New Garden Rake, and I save up for it. BUT. I don't use that category for the transaction when I purchase the fancy new garden rake. Instead, I move that money to my Home Maintenance category, and then I buy the rake, and assign the Home Maintenance category (maybe putting Fancy New Rake into the memo field). This way, I assign a category that I'm keeping around for a while, and I can now delete, or rename the Fancy New Garden Rake category, with no ill effects.
> Do you just set the "Target Category Budget by Date" every year?
Yup. In fact I have a whole category group just for non-monthly bills. I set goals on these categories, due the month before the bill is due.
But I treat it like a Wish Farm in that I don't spend out of these categories. Instead, when the bill is due, I move the money in them to a more general category, then reset the goal.
For example, my car insurance is due next month (I pay every 6 months). I will move that money into Car Maintenance, and pay my insurance out of there.
This way, if I stop having one of these bills in the future (unlikely with car insurance, but maybe I'll drop Amazon Prime or AAA Evernote some day) I can just delete these categories without losing any history.
Save for specific things like that in a category, but then move the money to a more general category before spending it. So in your example, I'd save in an "Apple Watch" category. But then when I was ready to buy it, I'd move the money to my "technology" category and categorize the transaction there instead. Then you can freely delete the apple watch category and you have more accurate reports.
Check out the wish farm blog. It's a good method. - https://www.youneedabudget.com/wish-lists/
Sounds to me like you're living the credit card float.
You're not using your savings to pay for your bills, so YNAB doesn't care that you have money to cover your bills in that account.
>However, that made it so I didn't put anything towards my savings goal
Your savings goal should be a part of what you budget for each month. Enter it in, just like a 'bill'. The Budget Template should help you with arranging for this.
Your money will naturally age, as you put away more and more of it that you don't spend for a while. This includes savings for a down payment (if those savings are on-budget). If you send money off-budget for any reason, then the age of your on-budget money will naturally (potentially) drop. (It depends on the calculation of the last 10 cash-based transactions.)
Regardless, Age of Money is a slightly weird metric, easily gamed or manipulated in all sorts of ways, both deliberate and accidental, and you shouldn't make trying to increase it a goal - rather, just do your budgeting thing, set money aside for the future (however you do it), and your AoM will naturally increase as a result.
I started out in Feb 2015 with a pile of student loans and a pretty big vehicle loan. I tried a few methods of budgeting in the past with varying levels of success, and had all my credit cards paid off by then, but nothing really got me going until I bought YNAB4 off Steam. I read Total Money Makeover and decided to apply Dave Ramsey's concepts in YNAB; eg. keeping about a $1000 emergency fund, paying the minimums on things other than the one particular debt I was focusing on, etc. I ignored the YNAB4 concepts of creating a full buffer of each category, instead I just stuck with the Baby Steps. Since I'm someone who uses credit cards for their rewards, I've found YNAB (which is not credit card averse) was a better fit than EveryDollar for me.
Now that I'm on YNAB i'm very meticulous with all my money, every penny has to be logged (I even bought a coin pouch for my pocket so I'd stop losing change which would mess up my cash account). Whenever I buy something, it's usually logged by the time I get to my car. I really have no desire to use any auto-importing, the only automatic things are my scheduled payments in YNAB.
Over the time period I had no major changes to my income, so I just slowly cut into my debts each month, little by little. However I did have a few medical emergencies, and luckily none of them turned into financial emergencies thanks to having some money in the bank. Overall YNAB has been life changing for me!
So, my SO has recently switched to self-employment. For our situation this means that we have one fixed (mine) and one variable (his) income, and I've found that the YNAB method is perfect for this, because of YNAB's central question: "What does this money have to do before I get paid again?" Even if you don't know exactly when or how much that is, it really puts the focus on your immediate priorities.
YNAB expressly tells you *not* to budget with anticipated income. It's easy to fall for that trap when you have a fixed income you can expect on the same day every time. You can't do that, which is exactly what YNAB wants from you. To work only with the dollars you have.
YNAB has a great 9-part series called Mastering a Variable Income, which I think you'll find very useful to read.
First, congratulations on the progress. Depression sucks, and the progress you've described can take a lot out of a person. Don't expect to be able to get all your sh*t together at once.
Second, in terms of mindset: since you're having a hard time thinking of money as something to save, I would ask what you're saving for. Do you have savings goals? If you're trying to save just for the sake of saving, and you're not getting there, maybe the goal isn't meaningful to you. Set a goal that means something. If you're saving for, say, a new phone, or an emergency fund, or a gift for your SO, you'd have to really think: do I want to pull this money out of savings and spend it on something silly? Is it worth being short x for [meaningful goal]?
Third, I can't tell if you're familiar with the YNAB system. If you aren't, do check out the method. YNAB is about giving every dollar a meaningful job.
Finally, do you and your SO talk openly about finances? If they make 3x what you make and are expecting you to keep pace with their spending, the discrepancy is going to get bigger and bigger the longer you let it go on.
Workshop - although it's titled 'Budgeting when you're broke', it provides a pretty good overview of how to enter things, etc.
However - some of this might not be as useful to you, because if you purchased it on Steam, then you've probably got YNAB4, not nYNAB, which is the web app. Most things are the same or similar, but not all.
well initially I had no idea what AoM was or how it might benefit me. In the beginning I was putting a lot of money in the “Stuff I Forgot to Budget For” category. That category, for me, acted as a mini-buffer and a catchall for any random transactions that didn’t fit cleanly into categories I had already established. But it didn’t seem like I was utilizing that category correctly. So I started looking in to what a true buffer is and what it can do.
I found that if you want to Age Your Money (YNAB rule #4) you have to create a buffer in your main account that is equal to 1 months worth of expenses. This allows you to “free up” your reoccurring income and not worry so much about a drawing your account down to zero. It helps you to roll with the punches a bit better and pay bills a little easier.
For example, my internet bill is due at an awkward time during the month. I used to be late paying it all the time. I’d try to pay half of it across 2 paychecks just so I wouldn’t go negative in my bank account but I would end up always paying a late fee. I’ve noticed that since I’ve been able to increase my AoM, I’m actually able to set the money for that bill aside ahead of time, which is honestly huge for me. I know now that if anything crazy comes up, I won’t be scrambling trying to figure out where that money will come from, and my buffer will protect me from having to dip into my emergency fund.
I feel like that’s a horrible explanation, haha. Really focusing on building a buffer and getting more granular with my categories so that there were fewer “forgotten” expenses popping up really helped me.
Here is a link to YNABs website that get into the nitty gritty of it and really helped me out
Age Your Money
To save for your "wants", you need a Wish Farm.
Beyond that, my personal recommendation is to save a small emergency fund first and then focus on paying down your debts one at a time. It will free up so much cash flow to water your wish farm and YNAB is awesome in helping you do this. For me, the Snowball method has paid down debt much more rapidly than the Avalanche method ever did.
Make a category called "Emergency Fund" and budget that $3,100 there.
Remember, unspent positive amounts roll over month to month. When you budget money, you're not saying you're going to spend it anytime soon. Money you budget today may be spent tomorrow, a few months from now, a few years from now, or in the case of your emergency fund, it might just sit there indefinitely, available if you need it.
You should check out the savings workshop, one of the free online classes. That will help a lot.
YNAB the software won't help you with your personal motivation issues. YNAB the philosophy might (https://www.youneedabudget.com/learn). You don't even need YNAB to use the YNAB philosophy. If you are any good with spreadsheets, then you can just build some nifty spreadsheets to implement them. That is all the software is.
The main thing you need to do is alter your own internal motivations.
If you set spending and savings goals, that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Tangible), you will feel that little reward each time you achieve one (something along the lines of, "this week, I will only spend £30 on pints at the pub" or "this month, I will save $100 toward a new top-hat"). The goal must have a time frame, be reasonable and achievable, and have a tangible element to the finality of the goal (eg the new top-hat, or the £30s worth of pints). The mind works by visualisation - it cannot visualise a negative image. For example, you might try to set a goal of "not spending as much". How can you visualise that? Instead, set a tangible goal, with small, achievable milestones, like "today, I will spend 5% less than this day last week, and that saving will go toward my new top-hat.". The reward will come once you sink those sweet pints, or place that neat top-hat on your noggin (there is a nice top-hat on etsy. Not linking because im not spam).
If you are entering your transactions as they happen, they will be in YNAB before they show up in your bank. If you are reconciling you only want to compare "cleared" transactions", otherwise you won't know if your balance is accurate.
"Financial automation" means different things to different people, but here are some things I do:
edit: Also, automatic monthly charitable giving.
You can use manual entry and direct import together! It's not one or the other, and the complement each other really well. Imported transactions will not duplicate manual transactions - they 'match' instead.
Budget Template. It took me far too long to let go of my on-paper forecasting method, and trust the budget template to reassure me that I had enough income to cover my needs, if I just budgeted according to the template.
Reconcile every day. It sounds like it will take a lot of time but reconciling daily or every other day saves you time because it makes it so easy. It will seriously take less than a couple minutes a day if you do it this way. But letting those transactions piles up makes it a huge chore.
Also, create a budget template. It will make budgeting much faster.
Have a budget meeting at the beginning of the month with your wife. That way you can plan for things in the coming month all at once and it won’t feel like a constant grind.
Since you mention Steam, it sounds like you're using YNAB4. It's probably worth noting that YNAB4 is the old version of the software, and the current version (often referred to as "nYNAB", or "new YNAB", which released in Jan 2016) is significantly different, with a full web-based interface that is, IMO, much more pleasant to look at and work with. You can see screenshots of what nYNAB looks like at https://www.youneedabudget.com/.
Best of luck finding financial software that works for you!
It absolutely doesn't matter.
I think this feels weird to everyone at first, but it's one of the best features of YNAB, IMO.
Badically you’re riding the credit card float. Have a read of this article
You can get off the float fast or slow. Fast means acknowledge the debt, stop using the card and pay it off slowly. Yes, you’ll pay interest but that debt will hopefully spur you on to get it paid off quicker. Or is a 0% balance transfer card an option?
You don't want to add your loan as a line of credit. It doesn't work like a credit card. If you want to see the loan balance in YNAB, add it as a Tracking: Liability account. Also consider not adding it:
I think they suggest not doing this as it detracts from the point of YNAB in the sense it’s a budgeting tool rather than an asset tracking tool. Whatever works for you though :)
This is what I read to come to that conclusion: https://www.youneedabudget.com/why-you-think-you-want-to-track-your-car-loan-in-ynab-but-you-dont-really-w/ Although I think this was before they added the net worth reports to nYNAB so may not be applicable anymore!
> and I realized this morning that I should actually transfer the funds from my checking account to my savings account specifically designated to hold my true expenses
You actually don't need to do this (though of course you can if you want). YNAB does not care where your money 'lives'. The Relationship Between Your Budget And Your Accounts
> So I hopped on to my mobile banking and transferred the funds. Do I actually need to do anything in YNAB?
But, since you did, you will need to reflect that transfer in YNAB. Any action you take that moves money in the real world, will need to be reflected in YNAB. Simply go into the YNAB ledger for one of your accounts, and enter a transaction, using the To/From: dropdown Payee for the other account - the 'category' will be grayed out, as it is simply a transfer from one on-budget account to another, and enter the rest of the information.
Yeah but that's not how it works. If you want to start using YNAB today, you use your current account balances.
You should probably take the free online courses and watch some videos before you do too much more with YNAB.
I'm going to be ostentatious here since really this is post is silly to start with. But I hate your Microsoft emoji, my Apple emojis are better: https://emojipedia.org/credit-card/ So I am going to ask you to stop using that emoji because I think it is ugly and annoys me, and I want you to know I hate it.
Budgeting future months can make you susceptible to the stealing from the future issue.
I put my income into a "Future Months" category, and budget the month on the 1st using a budget template by simply clicking the unfunded button. In fact, waiting until (at least) the first of the new month is the only way to make a "monthly spending goal" work properly - if you use the unfunded button prior to the fill in the (for example) February budget while it's still January, it won't account for any unspent money from January (because you might still spend that in January).
You can still continue to use Classic. If you're in iOS click your user icon > Purchased > Not on this iPhone. Search for YNAB and YNAB Classic should appear. Classic just isn't in the App Store anymore.
If you're interested in how to make nYNAB work for you coming from YNAB4, check out the transition guide. If you think your import messed everything up, you can always reach out to YNAB support to see if they can investigate what may have happened.
It is hard to get your head round initially but no, it's not impossible ;)
If you want to 'forecast' ahead then set up a budget template
Can I recommend watching Budgeting while you're broke, even if you're not broke.
How to create a budget template
I can't help with linked accounts not syncing as I do everything manually but you can enter your pay as a scheduled transaction
That's what https://www.youneedabudget.com/release_notes/ is usually for. It isn't updated absolutely every time (I usually assume minor updates that don't get a release notes entry are primarily minor bugfixes), but it's a good guide.
They also recently launched https://www.youneedabudget.com/up-next/, which can give some ideas of some of what they are actively working on.
Huge congrats, this is just so so so awesome and we love to see successes like this. :)
Would you be interested in us sharing your story on the YNAB blog? If so, reach out to me via PM!
Also, if you decide to send the wedding present, here's some wedding cards: https://www.youneedabudget.com/best-wedding-gift-ever/
YNAB handles variable income better than any other budgeting tool I've tried using. The philosophy behind YNAB is designed around you NOT projecting your future income, instead you figure out how to spend the money you have and make last until you think you'll be paid again (Rule 1 and 2).
YNAB is also extremely forgiving when you break you budget. Your budget is just an educated case which will most likely not work out exactly as you plan. So Rule 3 is there to help you out when life doesn't go according to plan and you need to re-prioritize your money.
Eventually you'll work toward the buffer (Rule 4 of living on last month's income). As /u/TalkingRaccoon mentioned, this may look different for your situation. As you use YNAB more and more, you'll find your buffer sweet-spot to account for your variable income.
At least try out the 34-day free trial to see how the software works. And definitely take all the live online classes. These are free and you'll have a chance to win a free copy of YNAB just by attending and learning.
They really do. In terms of online or software subscriptions, we have:
It sucks seeing how many things we're spending on but it's better than having no idea whether you're covered for it all.
YNAB is the gym that helps you get in shape. You still have to go to the gym and use the equipment. There's no trainer at this gym to make you do it.
YNAB is based on the "envelope method" that has been around for generations ( I know because my grandfather used it since the 40's).
What it is designed to do is make you realize how much your expenses truly cost for they year and how much of this month's paycheck is needed to fund these expenses.
I've seen people use YNAB and not change any of their spending habits and continually rob from Peter to pay Paul each and every month and not lower debts and increase net worth.
What most people get out of it is that realization "I don't make as much as I thought and I am living outside my mean". Then they will adjust their spending and refocus where they would like their money to go (paying off debt and building necessary funds).
If you want to better understand how to prioritize how you should be paying of debt and what goals you should be aiming for, here is a great flow chart from /r/personalfinance. There is also the Snowball method and the Avalance method.
YNAB does not get into this depth. They do try to guide people on the right path with their [4 Rules].
One thing I really like about YNAB's rules is it's a obtainable goal to reach. People look at the flow chart I linked and say "I'll never be able to get there, why try". People look at YNAB's rules and say I can get to 30 days in the bank. That's the foundation you need to start then looking into what else you can do to improve your financial security.
I hope you stick with it because it really is one of the best tools around. If the cost is not worth the features, at least take the principle of the Envelope Method with you. My mom still does it with pen and paper.
You could definitely hide them, or you could look at using the Wish Farm model explained in this post.
Short version: Maintain ongoing savings categories for your Wishes, which in your case would be the PC components and the Vitamix. Once you've got the amount you need, move that amount into the category it actually belongs to - like Household Goods, or Christmas Gifts, or Technology, whatever - and label the transaction with that category. Then rename your empty savings category - from "Vitamix" to "Trampoline" or whatever's next - and start saving again.
> But I am WAY to busy to manually enter EVERY TRANSACTION that occurs every time...
This takes FAR less time than you think it will. It takes me 30 seconds or less to enter my grocery tab, either while I'm still standing waiting for items to be bagged, or once I get to my car. When I'm in a drive-through, they give you your total when you order, and I enter it before I even get to the window to pay. NO ONE is too busy to enter their transactions. They're just 'too busy'.
YNAB strongly recommends manual entry, because it a) keeps your budget instantly up-to-date, and b) keeps you intimately working with your budget, and that's what makes this system work. The auto-import is recommended as a backup - it makes reconciliation easier, and will catch any transaction you may have missed, but not for a few days, since the banking system needs time for transactions to make it through, and for banks to update pending transactions to cleared transactions, etc. The imported transactions will 'match' with your manually-inputted transactions, and you'll simply approve the matches. No duplicates.
>but there doesn't seem to be a clear way to tell me what is coming up that will overdraw my account (or even budget) without drilling down into each sub-category...
If you set scheduled transactions, then if your category is underfunded, it will be orange. It turns green when it is fully funded. (Same for goals.) Have you seen the Budget Template?
The Capital One authentication thing is a bank thing...is it the two-factor authentication? Some banks don't always play nice with anyone trying to access them for information, YNAB's not the only one caught in the net.
Have you gone through the help documents, the videos, the workshops? Those are super-helpful for understanding the system, and this way of budgeting that may be new to you.
Yep, you just wait. Sort of.
Do you have any money in any of your accounts? Hook those accounts up, and start allocating the money in them to categories. They don't have to be bill categories - I'd bet some of the money you have is for savings, so make some savings categories, and put that money in those. Surely you have some money in your accounts for groceries, and for transportation costs - set that money into those categories.
Basically, YNAB is an envelope system. Your categories are your envelopes, and the idea is that you empty your accounts onto your kitchen table, so you have a pile of dollars there, and you start stuffing them into envelopes.
Ask yourself - what does this money need to do for me, before I get paid again? And allocate accordingly. If you don't get paid until Friday, well, you'll need four days of groceries, and four days of transportation. Maybe your car is full of gas, so you don't need to allocate anything to Fuel yet. Great. But you need to buy a birthday present for your nephew for Thursday - so allocate some money to your Gifts category. When you get to zero dollars in TBB, you stop.
And so on. That's the basic idea. When you get income, record it, and you'll have that amount in your TBB (To Be Budgeted). At that point, allocate all of it into your categories - towards whatever bills it will need to cover, toward another week or two of groceries and fuel, and hopefully you have some left over that you can start assigning to your true expenses - things like Christmas gifts, and your car registration, and your six-months insurance, and maybe savings categories like a house down payment, or a Vacation fund.
Watch this video, and read this article. Both are very helpful for getting started.
Use Personal Capital for those things (it's free). It's a better tool for investment tracking and wealth building.
If you really want to have them in your budget, what I've done is a quarterly reconciliation to the investment accounts to update the current value manually
YNAB is strongly linked to a particular approach to budgeting. Its often confusing (and frustrating) to people with strong preconceptions on how it should work - its really not a "use it anyway you want" kind of software. In particular, YNAB does 'envelope' budgeting and does not do forecasting.
> Schedule my monthly income and expenses as income/expenses with a savings goal to see how long it will take me to get there.
YNAB does not forecast - it cannot easily show your income vs expense in the future or show you how long to reach a savings goal
> I set its frequency to income, but the program forces me to set its category to 'income for april'
YNAB gives you 2 choices for income - use it for the same month or use it the following next month. Rule 4 in YNAB is to live off last month's income. When the schedule transaction occurs, the money will show up in the "Available to Budget" of either the same month as the paycheck or the following month.
> I look at the budget tab I put in expesnes but they don't carry over to the following months, how do I automate this?
Click the 'lightning bolt' in the header of the following month. It has several options, including 'copy last month's budget'.
You can sign up for live classes for YNAB and you can see some recorded classes, but they won't help if YNAB simply doesn't support the things you want to be able to do. You'll either need to adopt the YNAB approach or find different software.
It sounds like you're not really budgeting, just tracking and moving money around to cover the gaps. Maybe you're not seeing the benefit, because you're outspending your income. 1. You may be able to cancel cable, but most of the expenses you have every month are going to happen. 2. Giving every dollar a job allows you to roll with the punches. If you give $10 the job of auto maintenance a month, but only use it once a year, it still has a job and still allows you to roll with the punches when that unexpected inevitability of wind shield wiper replacement comes along and you need to spend $30 bucks you weren't expecting. 3. Savings is good, but if you're using it for your buffer, it's not savings. You should be building your envelopes so that you have months ahead in the far right column so that you can roll with the punches. 4. You need a budget (that you stick to). I love YNAB, but I'm more a book person that a post person. IDK if you have read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, but it can help you better with a plan to get out of debt and build an emergency fund and fund expenses.
You gotta use goals and/or scheduled transactions. Here's an explanation, and here's another
YNAB won't make you disciplined, that has to come from within. To get out of this tailspin, you will need to be honest with yourself and you will need to make some lifestyle changes.
Before you mess around with the app, set up on paper:
1- Write down a paper list of all your monthly bills, the due date, and the dollar amount. Put a big star next to any that you're late on right now.
2- Write down a paper list of other usual expenses that aren't monthly bills: gas, groceries, drowning your sorrows in a pint or three.
3- Write down THREE paper lists of all your (1) cash-flow accounts such as checking, savings, paypal; (2) credit cards; and (3) debts such as car loan, mortgage, student loan. Write down the current balances on each of them.
4- Review a couple months of your bank statements to look for any monthly bills you might have missed.
The learning curve for the app can be a little steep, especially if your finances are a wreck, and the first month will be frustrating. But I promise, it gets better. It's no more frustrating than the "how will I buy gas to get to work" method, and by the third or fourth month you won't hate your finances any more.
Read and re-read the four rules - most notably, that YNAB only helps you with money you have right now, and helps you understand where you have to spend that money in order to survive.
Get started by setting up your accounts, your immediate obligations (monthly bills), and your true expenses (gas, groceries, etc).
You may qualify for the old pricing on your old account. Certainly won't on the new one.
See: I Was A Subscriber In The Past, If I Subscribe Again, Will I Qualify For the Old Price?
>And then assuming I save $200 from my income, the next month I'll need to give a job to $7,200,
Once you assign dollars to a category ('give them a job'), they stay there. You will not need to 'reassign' that original $7000. All you will want to do is ADD $200 to the category you already created, which is still holding the $7000 you originally put in there.
In YNAB parlance, 'to budget' does not only mean 'create a spending plan'. It also means 'allocate'.
This is because YNAB is an envelope system. So, every time you get money, you will need to allocate those dollars to various purposes ('jobs'), which we call 'categories'. it's just like taking a pile of literal dollar bills, and stuffing them into literal envelopes. What you put there, stays there, until you take it out (either to spend it, or to put it in a different envelope instead). Each time you get money, you only need to allocate the new money, because the old money is right where you put it.
Also, savings is one very important 'job' for some of your dollars, so it's best to include your savings dollars, and create categories for all the purposes you're saving up for.
Have you read any of the informational material on the YNAB website, or taken any of the free workshops? (I highly recommend those.)
Here is one video that has helped a lot of people grasp the basics of how to use the program - but you should really begin by reading the Method on the main website, and go from there.
>Can someone explain what this is? And how do I get it? I'm in dire need of a good program to create my budget.
I assume by the way the question is phrased, that you mean YNAB in general, not just the feature being discussed in this post?
Read the whole site (yes, even the items under the header, like Support, Classes, and Blog). ESPECIALLY read the one titled METHOD.
That should give you an idea.
That's not right. People migrating from YNAB4 get the 10%, but people already using nYNAB get to keep the old pricing.
Price Change FAQS
Get back in touch with support and explain that they misunderstood.
Yes. I'm self-employed, so my income comes in semi-inconsistently, and it's been helpful.
YNAB has a series of blog posts on "Mastering a variable income", which you might want to look at? https://www.youneedabudget.com/category/variable-income/
The income buckets were absolutely fantastic. Breaking the budget down month to month was really good. This is a feature that's been taken away that I think is pretty central to my experience with YNAB.
And yeah, the method did change (I suggest you read this https://www.youneedabudget.com/guides/transition-guide/). 2 of the 4 rules were changed from (Save for a Rainy Day and Live on Last Month's Income) to (Embrace your True Expenses and Age Your Money) which I don't think do as good of a job as outlining how you should think about budgeting.
Anyway, I don't think you're going to convince me, and I won't convince you. I'm just a long-time customer of YNAB and I feel let down. I've had experience with the old way and the new way of doing things, and the old way was objectively better. Let's leave it at that.
Quick correction -- nYNAB is free for students for the first year. It isn't free for as long as they are students.
> We offer all students YNAB free for 12-months (in addition to the free 34-day trial). If you’re interested, write into with proof of enrollment—think student ID card, transcript or tuition statement (but anything that shows you are currently enrolled and includes your name, your school, and the date will do). We can’t wait to get you budgeting!
> After your free year as a student, we’ll give you a one-time 10% discount! By this point, you will have saved so much money, it will be a no-brainer.
Share your license.
You can install YNAB on as many computers (and operating systems) as you'd like as long as it's for your personal/household use.
I'm going to be honest. YNAB didn't change my life. What actually changed my life was reading Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and taking the FPU video course with my wife.
However, YNAB has been the best tool that I've used to help bring Ramsey's teachings into practice. I love that YNAB is basically an electronic envelope system. I love being able to set goals in each category for future expenses.
I'm a Dave Ramsey guy first, and a YNAB guy second. But YNAB has helped me put everything into practice.
Are you paying extra toward your debt or is the $1000 minimum payments. If the $1000 is minimum payments then it sounds like you need to increase your income by either seeling some stuff or talking another job. The other option is to cut back as much as you can on your expenses. If you don't have a $1000 dollar emergency fund I would start by getting that in place then start attacking your debt from smallest to largest. For some motivation you could listen to the ynab debt stories. I would also recommend reading total money makeover by Dave Ramsey, don't buy it though check it out from your local library. If you want to talk through any of it feel free to private message me. My wife and I just started working through debt about 4 months ago and getting through everything is going to take a similar amount of time to you.
What clicked for me was finally understanding a few things (may or may not already be obvious from the literature, but anyway, it wasn't for me):
Tons more, I'm sure I'll remember them later. For you, figure out your priorities, maybe make a wish farm, definitely start a budget template, if you haven't already. Ask tons of question to the YNAB Chat (the little blue question mark at the bottom of the website), they'll walk you through it. If you don't want to do that, some people tutor (including me, free of charge) and that might get you going.
Are all of the accounts on-budget? That is, do they appear under "Budget" in the left-hand sidebar on the web interface?
If so (and they should be, since you say you want them to be part of your budget, which is great), transfers between on-budget accounts have no bearing on your budget whatsoever. It's just moving money from one pants pocket to the other. To change your budget, you have to give dollars jobs by assigning them to one or more categories.
Please have a look at this article, which may be helpful:
The Relationship Between Your Budget & Your Accounts: It’s Complicated
In short: don't confuse the location of your money (which account it's in) with the purpose of the money (which budget category you've assigned it to).
For one-time things like that, people will often use the Wish Farm method, which is to save in a Wish Farm category for a specific item, then when it's time to buy, move the money to a more general category, like Entertainment.
This is AWESOME! Way to go.
Incidentally, I think this blog will help solve some of your worries - https://www.youneedabudget.com/how-to-create-a-budget-template/
Yeah, totally normal to have orange. Orange isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's just a reminder that category needs more money next time you budget.
I think this blog post would help and/or this workshop recording.
You need to understand, in YNAB terms, 'budgeting' does not mean 'spending'. Or, not just that. The idea is to define a purpose for every dollar that you own. Every. Dollar. (Give every dollar a 'job'.)
One very important job for some of your dollars is savings. So, if some of your money is intended as savings dollars - make some categories for it! Do you want to buy a car in the future? Allocate some to a New Car Fund. Do you want to set some money aside for going out with you friends? Make a Fun Money category. Make a Dining Out category. Do you want to save that money 'just in case'? Make some of it your Emergency Fund.
And then whenever you get more money, you take all of that new money, and allocate it towards your purposes.
Read this article, it should begin to help: Why we budget to zero.
Another great resource for new users is this video: Budgeting When You're Broke.
YNAB doesn't care which account your money is in. It's all just dollars, and each one needs to be given a job within your budget. That job can be "buy groceries this month" or "add to a long-term savings goal" or "pay the upcoming annual insurance bill." Before switching to YNAB, many of us--including you, it sounds like--used separate accounts the same way YNAB uses categories: to give specific dollars a job. That's unnecessary and counterproductive with YNAB. You will not be able to keep your YNAB categories and specific account balances in sync, and you shouldn't try.
YNAB is much better at categorizing money than a handful of bank accounts. Let it do its thing!
(Before YNAB, I think I had at least ten deposit accounts. I now have two: checking and savings. Much better!)
It’s a bit of a learning curve. You should watch this video, it will probably answer most of your questions.
But basically, you budget the money you currently have. You say you’re gonna be able to make your car payment because you’ll get paid Wednesday, so ask yourself: what does this money need to do until I get paid again. Maybe it’s groceries, maybe it’s a bill for $50 that is due before your payment comes, and then budget accordingly.
If you’re wondering “but how will I know how much I need for future expanses?”, you can use the goal feature. Create a goal of $210 for the car category, then you can use your next paycheck to fill it. You can also use schedule transactions. This article may be helpful.
It sounds like you’re riding the credit card float.
The deal with YNAB is that you put all your money on the table and decide where it’s all going. If you have a bill due before you’re getting paid again then you’d best allocate some dollars to it. As long as none of your categories are red you don’t “need” a fresh start, just figure out if they’re in the right buckets.
If you are riding the float then best to admit it now and pay towards it. If you truly want to use credit cards in YNAB as intended you will not pay any transactions on a credit card if that category does not currently have the cash budget to pay it immediately. YNAB will then take your cash budget and move the budget from the designated category to your credit card payment category.
Okay, so.....YNAB is an envelope system.
Your 'Available' number is the amount in your envelope.
Your 'budgeted' number is the amount you are putting into your envelope.
If you change the amount of money you put into your envelope, the amount of money IN the envelope changes.
I think you're probably trying to think of the Budgeted column as the amount you intend to put into your envelope (that's the way traditional budgeting often works), but that's not how YNAB works.
If you have an envelope, and you intend to put $100 into it, but you only have $50 right now, you can do two things. 1) WRITE "$100" on the outside of the envelope (because you want that envelope to eventually hold a total of $100), but 2) only PUT $50 into the envelope right now, because that's all you have right now. (The other $50 will come later, probably with your next paycheck.)
In YNAB, in order to 'write $100 on the envelope', you need to use the Goals feature.
So, the scenario looks like this:
You set a goal for $100. Your Available is at $0 (and is orange because the goal isn't met yet), and your Budgeted is at $0.
You put $50 in the Budgeted column. Your Available is now $50, but it's still orange, because the $100 goal hasn't been met.
Next paycheck - you want to add another $50 to your category. You can do one of two things. Either put the cursor at the end of the $50.00 in the Budgeted column, hit "+" then enter another 50.00 (for a total of $100 in the Budgeted column), or you can do the math in your head, and just overwrite the original $50.00 by entering $100.00 in the Budgeted column. Now, your Available will read $100, and it will be green, because the goal has been met.
Good YNAB workshop video
One-time categories are fine! Just hide them when you're done.
One recommendation, to help with reporting, don't assign the purchase to the one-off category, and instead transfer the available funds to the more general category.
From YNAB's perspective, you're right -- it really doesn't matter. They definitely encourage simplifying the number of accounts you have, since if you spend based on category balances rather than account balances, you shouldn't need multiple accounts for savings or to hide money from yourself. YNAB has an entire guide on simplifying: https://www.youneedabudget.com/guides/simplify/
But from the bank's perspective, your money is in actual accounts, and assuming you spend from those accounts, its important to track "where" your money lives so you avoid overdrafting, bank fees from low balances, etc. I tend to reconcile often (once a week or so, whenever I do my finances), to prevent errors and help ensure that my bank records and my YNAB records match up.
I switched from Mint to YNAB when YNAB4 came out several years ago, and I'm now on nYNAB (the most recent web app version of YNAB).
I would say that the two have somewhat different focuses. Mint primarily is about tracking your spending, mostly after the fact. Mint has some budgeting tools, but I'd consider them mostly rudimentary (or, at least, I like YNAB's approach of "rolling with the punches" and potentially adjusting the budget between months instead of having one single budget for all months). YNAB is much more focused on budgeting. One is mostly reactive, one is proactive. Mint is somewhat of a "set it and forget it" system, whereas YNAB expects you to actually put in the work to keep things updated, because it believes that the extra time involved gives you better financial awareness, and ultimately leads to change and better financial habits.
If you're trying to actively change your financial habits -- to save more money, to stick to a budget, etc, YNAB is great. It made me question a lot of common misconceptions I had about budgeting when I first got started, and it's made a huge difference in my life (my net worth is up 40% over the past year, for example).
If you simply want a better tracking tool, it can do that, but I don't think it's really built for that task. You can import old data via an import file of some kind (OFX, QIF, etc. - https://www.youneedabudget.com/fbi/) but it may be fiddly to categorize and set up a budget for all that old data. Since it is about changing your financial habits, and it's primarily forward looking, YNAB generally doesn't recommend recording a lot of old data, since you can't change your past spending.
While I haven't used it personally, I have heard good things about https://www.personalcapital.com/ -- might be worth a look? I know some people use it alongside YNAB to get a feel for their long-term finances.
Frankly a lot of the questions on here are answered on YNAB's website. Everyday there's a question on how to deal with credit cards and yet it's so nicely explained on the YNAB website.
The reason? Because people don't take the time to read.
When I signed up for YNAB I had no clue about budgeting. I spent a couple hours reading through all the docs and after that I had very few questions. Any further questions I was able to find answers on their website by watching some of the videos.
I already linked the other docs: https://www.youneedabudget.com/learn
Seriously, if you're invested in turning your financial life around, the two hours it will take you to read up on it is going to be incredibly worth it. Soak it all up and then you can get your wife up to speed easily.
> We partner with Finicity, MX, and Quovo as providers of Direct Import financial data aggregation from institutions, and you can find specifics related to their security policies and practices on the Finicity, MX, and Quovo websites. YNAB does not store your bank credentials, but relies upon our partners and their industry-leading security precautions.
I think it would be okay, however, I don't do it. Not because of security reasons. But I prefer manual so I am more conscious in my purchases and budgeting.
It doesn't matter, because money is fungible.
I suspect you'd like to avoid depositing your cash in your checking account. That's fine. But it means you should err on the side of making a transaction in cash when you have the option (because you can always replenish your cash by making a withdrawal from checking) while also keeping an eye on your checking balance to make sure it's sufficient to service your upcoming debits.
And you get a point! What a great concept. I learn something new everyday.
Here's the link in case others are interested. https://www.youneedabudget.com/wish-lists/
Location doesn't matter. Do not try to synchronize your savings account and a budget category (or group). It's not necessary, and you're probably missing out on interest from money outside that group.
> So I thought how about creating a main category called 'Savings' and under here I put categories such as 'New Sofa' or 'Family vacation in May' or 'New Guitar'? And when the time comes to pay for the e.g. vacation, I move all budget from 'Family vacation in May' to my 'Vacations' category, and this way Reports show everything correctly (the spent money is shown under Quality of Life main category).
I'd say that's a fairly common way of using YNAB. It also ties in nicely to the wish farm idea.
The foundational question in YNAB is: "What does this money need to do for me, before I get paid again?" You'll ask yourself this every time you get income, and you'll allocate that income to your categories based on the answers.
One thing a lot of people like to do, is order their bills and obligations by due date (just add it to the title of the category, such as (9th) Electric Bill, and so forth). This makes it easy to budget with what you have - you simply go down the list, for as far as the money stretches. If you get paid every two weeks, then you'll probably want to budget for two weeks of groceries, and transportation costs, then budget for the bills that are due in the next two weeks. If you have anything left after that, you may want to begin budgeting for the bills due in the next two weeks - or, you can put some money into categories that cover your True Expenses - things like annual bills, Car Maintenance, Home Maintenance, Medical, Christmas....things that you know you'll have to pay for eventually, but they don't necessarily have a due date.
In the sidebar in this sub are a few links for resources - one of the best is for the Budget Template. The link to the User Handbook is very good, too.
One of the best videos for beginners is Budgeting When You're Broke - you don't have to be broke, but it is very helpful for demonstrating a number of fundamental concepts and features of YNAB.
> BUT there is no action in YNAB to show that I transferred it and there for have met the goal on that budget line.
Transferring money into a saving account is not the action that meets the goal.
Allocating money from TBB into your savings category is what meets the goal.
Transferring money between accounts is a completely separate action, and you enter that by going into your account's ledger in YNAB, and selecting 'Add Transaction'. Now, you want to reflect the real-world transfer that you made. if you're in your Checking account, then select To/From: Savings in the Payee dropdown. The 'category' will be grayed out, because moving money from one account to another does not need a category, and then just enter the amount you transferred in the 'outflow' box.
Also, you really need to read this article - this is a concept that many new people have trouble with at first - putting money into a savings account is not what makes that a savings dollar - instead, putting it into a savings category is what makes it a savings dollar, and it literally does not matter which account that dollar is in.
I change my budget amounts on the regular. If the videos aren't working for you, just stick to the basics.
YNAB is software. There are LOTS of programs that do similar things, you can even find spreadsheets that'll do it. What's important is the YNAB philosophy, found here https://www.youneedabudget.com/method/
You are looking for RULE 3!. Roll with the punches.
Sorry, mine was more an aside than an answer to your complaint. My experience is that they have been extremely reliable, and when there have been import issues they have worked hard to solve them. I've spoken with them a handful of times when something weird happened and they got it fixed. The outages are extremely rare. I rely very heavily on YNAB and I'm totally happy with its reliability.
As for what I was saying, direct import's primary value is for reconciliation. The intended use is that you do your best to enter everything manually in a timely manner, so your budget is always up to date. Direct import comes along and links whatever transactions it can, and adds any you missed. So you get the best of both worlds. Everything that gets linked is marked cleared and you can quickly reconcile the total cleared amount against the account balance.
Here's a great article by on the subject of direct importing and manual entry: https://www.youneedabudget.com/direct-import-direct-schmimport/
Go to library and checkout "The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money". I don't have any kids myself however, I still took away a ton of information from this book.
Your SO/You, 21yo, 18yo should checkout a few copies of "Rich Dad Poor Dad" this summer and discuss as a family.
Be open to your kids about your own budget. Show them exactly where all the money is going.
edit: Also found this from YNAB: Perfect Age To Start Budgeting w/ Your Kids
Probably part of the problem is that YNAB is trying to encourage users away from thinking about their account balances, and instead to look at their category balances.
There's no connection between the account balance and the savings category balance, unless you maintain it yourself. If you add an interest transaction to the savings account, it doesn't automatically do anything with your savings category -- if you want those balances to match up, you'll need to manually budget the same amount of interest to the savings category.
YNAB would likely ask "why do you need multiple savings accounts?", and would recommend simplifying down to one savings account for all savings, and relying on your category balances instead of the account balances. This way, you have one account and one interest transaction to deal with, not multiple. https://www.youneedabudget.com/guides/simplify/#keep-your-savings-simple-too
YNAB has a pretty good article that they posted just recently on creating a budget template, which might be helpful: https://www.youneedabudget.com/how-to-create-a-budget-template/
In general, YNAB doesn't want you to forecast too far ahead, and instead wants you to be focused on the present -- what money do you have now, and what does that money have to do until you get paid next? It is worth it to do some rough calculations, figuring out roughly how much you make in a month and comparing that against your monthly expenses, but that's probably best done outside of YNAB.
YNAB is not like a typical budgeting application. You can only budget out the dollars you have in your account right now,not what you will get in the future. I would strongly suggest you consider taking one of the online classes.
it took me 2 weeks and back and forth with support and giving up to then one day just start a new budget & it made sense from there. Give it time - well worth the pay off!!
please don't hesitate to learn from their site. https://www.youneedabudget.com/learn/
If the cards had a balance to start with, and you didn't properly account for that balance when you started using YNAB, yes -- you'll have to fix that.
Assuming you regularly pay your card in full, the expected behavior when you started using YNAB would have been to budget for that initial balance (since that represents spending that YNAB doesn't know about that you have to pay off), either all at once or over time. YNAB talks about that in the "Credit Cards" section of http://docs.youneedabudget.com/article/149-step-2-add-your-accounts and also in https://www.youneedabudget.com/guides/transition-guide/#new-better-fixed-credit-cards ("One Key Step" header) if you're coming from YNAB4.
To fix it, you'd need to budget money to the Available so that the Available is the opposite of the balance. Any difference between the amount Available and the actual balance represents debt on the card that you'll need to pay off either now or over time.
Absolutely! You'd be able to absolutely anything, though some queries might get complex if you want to slice thing in lots of way :)
You could use raw SQL if you wanted to, but we also have a more lightweight query language that takes care of a lot of annoying things for you: https://actualbudget.com/docs/developers/ActualQL/
Seems odd to track your home as an off budget account. Do you also track your cars? Wedding rings? Etc?
>I remember one of the hot topics about new ynab was that there was no way to setup a 1 month buffer.
There is. Now you simply start budgeting for next month immediately rather than holding it off in a separate category. The workaround you described is for people that want to still use the old YNAB 4 method of buffering, but nYNAB is designed to work with the new method. They won't be implementing a system like in YNAB 4 because nYNAB was specifically redesigned to be different (no walls between months).
Check out heading "Rule Four: Am I Buffered?" in the Transition Guide for details on the change in the method.
https://www.gnucash.org/ There are.
The reason I use YNAB is that I'm paying for convenience. I don't want to have to continuously export and categorize my bank accounts.
You don't have to use either. You can do it all on a spreadsheet. You can put them in a cloud storage and open them on your phone. You can take out all of your "true expenses" and "just for fun" as cash money and put them into envelopes and spend out of them (a la Doug Ramsey).
I use YNAB because I'm lazy and willing the pay for the convenience. The question the price increase raises is "Is the monetary value of my laziness greater than $50 and less than $84 a year?"
Dave Ramsey, the author of one of the best PF books in the world (hint: The Total Money Makeover), says to keep a 1.000$ emergency fund and then start paying off your debt with the snowball method, which is not part of the conversation for now.
So do exactly this: Save until you have 1000$ emergency fund, than throw all other money at your debt.
I got addicted/obsessed right away, and it has died down a bit but not entirely. I'm not excited to reconcile transactions or do stuff like that anymore, but allocating income has been and always will be like a video game to me. In my head I equate it to distributing resources to optimize my life and win at budgeting, and the planner in me finds that really fun. I get excited when my wife asks questions about how we spend our money because it means I get to go run some reports and give her some incredibly accurate numbers/percents that are useful in our game of money management.
I never really got into it, but YNAB reminds me of this to-do list app that makes your to-do list into a RPG (EpicWin). Take out the trash and you get XP and level up and stuff. YNAB is just so gameified in my head where my net worth is my XP and that's always going to be fun for me as long as I'm earning more than I'm spending.
Budget all cash deposits as they occur. The mantra is "give every dollar a job" as soon as you get it. That job might be savings for the future with no specific purchase goal, but it's a job. For your purpose, it might fit your needs to create a category called "next month's expenses" and put money intended to be spent next month, there. You know specifically what you want to do with it, even if you haven't split it up into detail categories.
Read "How to create a budget template" in YNAB support. I think it may service your purpose.
Here is the official cancellation policy from YNAB: https://www.youneedabudget.com/cancellation/.
I suspect they’d appreciate knowing about this scam. You’ll find a contact address at the bottom of that page.
YNAB for mobile.
You can get a 90-day (or more) free trial and setup up all of your accounts and your budget on mobile. Linking your accounts is 100% optional. As long as you get a new laptop in the next three months, I think it'll work perfectly.
Have you taken all of the free online workshops yet? They're taught live by a human being and you can ask questions.