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You Need A Budget

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#1 Lees75

Posted 20 January 2013 - 11:41 AM


I noticed a lot of people mentioned in the other thread that they use this budgeting program- I just had a few questions....

Currently I track all my expenses through iXpenseit, which I love. But although it is awesome for tracking, it doesn't reall help me budget forward. I am hoping to combine my tracking with my actual forward planning- currently I transfer all my savings onto my mortgage and just have multiple tallies going in a Word document of how much is for Xmas, holidays, dishwasher saving, etc.

I Use my credit card for everything and then pay it off in full each month. How will this work on YNAB?
For example, currently I have cash, but I know it has already been spent on the credit card, if that makes sense.  

And when you start a new budget, how do you time it? It stresses me out even thinking about changing my system, even though I know it will benefit me long term.

#2 two_ones

Posted 20 January 2013 - 07:50 PM

Hi Lees75,

I have just spent this weekend setting up YNAB thanks to the recommendations in the other thread.

I don't have much advice at this stage, but I am similar to you in that I pay for most things on CC and make a payment once per fortnight, usually paying it all off in full (although recently, not all has been paid off hence my need to start a new budget!)

Similar to you I also had an excel spreadsheet going to keep track of the money I have set aside in ING for various things to save for e.g. holiday, baby #2 etc), which from what I can see I can now keep track on in YNAB.

So, to try and answer your CC question, here's how I think I will manage it. Others may be able to clarify, as I am very new to this!

The CC debt is a line item in my budget and when I set it up with the current balance it shows up in negative. I have allocated the remaining income for January to the various other categories and whatever left over goes towards bringing down that debt. For example, I have allocated $700 for January. Obviously the debt will increase as I make more purchases between now and the end of the month, but the actual payment I make to the CC should (hopefully) be $700 + the amounts of those other purchases.

From reading the YNAB forums, most people say you should ignore the day-to-day balance of your cash account (because it can be misleading when you buy majority of things on CC) and just go by looking at your budget, then it should all balance at the end of the month.

Hope that helps somewhat - will be able to update end of Jan and let you know how I went!

#3 two_ones

Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:05 PM

Oh and I recommend starting at the start of a calendar month.

Being the middle of the month when I did it, I couldn't figure out why it was showing me as overspending initially, then I realised I was budgeting for things like phone and foxtel which I'd already paid earlier in the month.

#4 laridae

Posted 20 January 2013 - 08:36 PM

I use it, but not in the way the makers of it say you should do it original.gif

They say start from a clean slate.  I imported all my transactions as far back as my bank allowed, so I could get a good idea of my history spending.

But how I set mine up:
First - set up all the budget accounts. So Savings account(s), credit card, cash.
Second, set up any non budget accounts - so mortages & loans.
Put starting balances as the current balance in these - you can always go back and change it if you import your history later.

Set up scheduled transactions.
So if you get paid regularly, set it as scheduled on the account they come out of.  Same with any regualr bills, eg power, rates, mortgage repayment (these as transfers to the non budget account), credit card repayments (guess it, you can up date it later).  These are your fixed costs that will happen on a regular basis and are therefore 'fixed'.   You can confirm these when you import your bank accounts later.

Enter (for at least the first month), all the scheduled transactions (use the tick box to select them and select 'enter in register now').

Now got to your budget screen.
Have a think about your major categories, eg I have Housing, Car, Dogs, Personal, Shared Costs.

Under Housing I have things like Electricity, Water, Rates, Maintenance & Repairs, Insurance, Repayments.
Car - Insurance, Petrol, Repayments, Extra Repayments, Licence, Registration, Maintenance & Repairs.
Dogs - Vet, Registration, Kennel Licence, Boarding
Personal (per person) - Miscellaneous, and other expenses that apply to only the one person.
Shared Costs - Micellaneous, Daycare, Groceries

Don't include a savings category at this point, wait until the budget is sorted first.

Most of these things you'll be able to enter a value in the budget directly - just by looking at past bills (and divide them to get a monthly value, eg a yearly bill, divide by 12, a quarterly bill, divide by 3).

Once you've got in all the fixed costs in your budget, 'take a look at the top where is says 'Income for Month', and budgeted for month, and you'll see how much you have left over for things like groceries.  Guess approximate values for the things you won't know exactly, but you'll want to make sure the budgeted for month is less than income for month.

If your Available to Budget is less than the Budgeted in Month value, then don't do a savings category yet, but if it is higher, then add one, for all the unallocated money each month.  If its lower, you are essentially living form paycheck to paycheck, so dont have savings yet.

Fróm there - I import my transactions from my acounts each week (or so), it auto matches with the scheduled transactions (check them though as it gets it wrong sometimes).  And give everything a category (or mark it as a transfer)
I enter the scheduled transactions into the register at least a month ahead (show the current balance column - its hidden by default), and check that the balences are above zero at all times (except credit card & loans, which is always negative), and change the entry for the credit card repayment value to the value I expect it to be on the date they send the statements (I pay mine in full every month).

I don't worry about cash too much - normally just mark withdrawals as 'miscellaneous'.  But if you work more in cash, you'll probably want to enter those transactions manually.

Oh, I keep my savings in my mortgage too, though I use it for yearly bills - I have a 'on budget' account of extra repayments - and I move all the extra repayments into this from my off budget mortgage account.  You could do the same with each thing you are saving for, just call it a seperate account (even though its not), and do 'transfers' into it.

Edited by laridae, 20 January 2013 - 08:43 PM.

#5 Lees75

Posted 20 January 2013 - 11:38 PM

Thanks everyone:)

I have spent most of the afternoon and evening setting it all up- totally love it!

#6 IShallWearMidnight

Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:40 AM

I think I'll have to look up this program. I just use excell spreadsheets for now

#7 *cough*

Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:44 AM

I'm trying but I don't get it. It keeps telling me I am over budget!

#8 catmeow82

Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:47 PM

How do people deal with gift cards? We buy Coles and Woolworths gift cards through the Entertainment Book at 5% off. I was thinking of adding an account called Gift Cards, but was wondering if anybody else is in a similar situation?

#9 two_ones

Posted 22 January 2013 - 05:24 PM

QUOTE (catmeow82 @ 22/01/2013, 02:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
How do people deal with gift cards? We buy Coles and Woolworths gift cards through the Entertainment Book at 5% off. I was thinking of adding an account called Gift Cards, but was wondering if anybody else is in a similar situation?

Perhaps you could enter the purchase of the gift card as a transaction (e.g outflow of $95 to buy a $100 gift card) and then add in the $100 as income? That would add in the extra $5 to your budget pool.

#10 Lees75

Posted 03 February 2013 - 07:48 AM

Just reporting back.. I have been doing it for 2 weeks and I love it!  It has given me the confidence to know that I wil be able to save for a trip to the USA next year:)

#11 fionah

Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:41 AM

I have been using YNAB free trial for a week now. So simple to use, much easier then excel spreadsheets which I have tried before, but they never really helped me. Having the app available on both mine and hubby's iPhones are great. We both know exactly what is where at anytime and we can see which bill is coming next.
You don't need to start at the beginning of the month, as you can enter things in for March, but leave them out for February. I highly recommend their tutorials and daily email lesson. The tutorial was great for explaining how Credit cards work in YNAB and just basic setting up.
Give the free trial a go if you aren't sure. The app is free too.
Good luck everyone. I feel so much more positive about out financial future original.gif


#12 AnotherFeral

Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:33 AM

I'm using the free trial at the moment and it's good so far.
Previously I tried a phone app that was good but didn't have a desktop counterpart and it just got too awkward. I like being able to do the organising on the desktop but still have everything available on my phone.

#13 Green Gummy Bear

Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:46 AM

Either I'm not using the program properly, or I'm the only one who hates it.

#14 AnotherFeral

Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:03 PM

What do you hate about it?

#15 PurpleNess

Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:20 PM

Been using it for 2 months now & love it - although it's made us realise just how tight things are...but that was the whole point.
I love the rules - only spend what you have etc, however this month isn't going so well lol

#16 Green Gummy Bear

Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:09 PM

QUOTE (aratiaw @ 21/02/2013, 01:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What do you hate about it?

I just found it hard to forward plan

#17 laridae

Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:24 PM

QUOTE (justthegirls @ 21/02/2013, 02:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I just found it hard to forward plan

What I do for forward planning is just enter all the known transactions as scheduled transactions.  Then add them a few months in advance so you know what the future will look like.

If you haven't already, make sure you show the 'running balance' column.  I think its hidden by default.

#18 Green Gummy Bear

Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:38 PM

QUOTE (laridae @ 21/02/2013, 02:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What I do for forward planning is just enter all the known transactions as scheduled transactions.  Then add them a few months in advance so you know what the future will look like.

If you haven't already, make sure you show the 'running balance' column.  I think its hidden by default.

My free trial has expired, and I just don't think I got enough out of it to justify purchasing it.

Glad to hear everyone else has a positive experience though.

#19 Runner5

Posted 27 February 2013 - 07:31 AM

OMG...I read this thread yesterday and scuttled home to download the free trial...despite only having been using it for less than 24 hours I LOVE it and spent all evening listening to tutorials biggrin.gif  Assuming I can keep my ADHD brain focused on remembering to USE the program I think it's going to do brilliant things for us original.gif

#20 AnotherFeral

Posted 27 February 2013 - 08:40 PM

Yeah, it's the best thing out of the various software and spreadsheets I've tried.
I was browsing the forums and read a bit about previous versions, or rather, newly added features in version 4. It seems like they made some big improvements. Having the phone app just makes it so much more useable.

#21 nicethel

Posted 03 March 2013 - 01:06 PM

My trial has now expired, pity as I really liked it.  I just cant justify spending the money.  It showed me that we really dont have $60 to spend on it!!LOL

#22 AnotherFeral

Posted 03 March 2013 - 02:39 PM

QUOTE (nicethel @ 03/03/2013, 02:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My trial has now expired, pity as I really liked it.  I just cant justify spending the money.  It showed me that we really dont have $60 to spend on it!!LOL

As the maker himself says, you can still use the YNAB principles to budget, even if you're not using the actual YNAB software. If you have the time, you could build a spreadsheet that works in a similar fashion.
I'm finding there are some features missing, but I think I'll probably purchase a licence anyway, as the benefits are outweighing the negatives for me. I'm not inclined to spend heaps of time building a DIY version, but if I were, I'd still be missing the mobile app.

#23 laridae

Posted 07 May 2013 - 10:05 PM

If anyone wants a licence code for v3 of YNAB (v4 is the current version) - PM me your email address.

YNAB are letting everyone who bought v3 and has since bought v4 gift their v3 licence to someone else.

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