Want to get a jump start on your budgeting instead of beginning with a blank slate? (Not that there's anything wrong with that!) Auto-Assign makes budgeting simple and fast. It's not a one-size-fits-all button, either—you'll choose the approach that best fits your unique budgeting needs.
In the Budget, you’ll see the Auto-Assign options in the Inspector (what we call the light blue sidebar to the right of your budget). You'll also notice the Assign button next to Ready to Assign at the top of your budget, which has an Auto-Assign tab.
What To Expect
When no categories are selected, Auto-Assign options reflect the whole budget, not including Hidden Categories. You can also select specific categories, and the auto-assign option you choose will only affect those categories.
There are five options that will add money to your categories when used:
- Underfunded: This option will assign enough to fund your Targets in their order of priority, in addition to covering upcoming transactions and overspending. This number represents (with no categories selected) the total amount you still need to assign in your budget. Flipping to a future month (with no categories assigned) will tell you how much is needed to fund a whole month's budget. If you're interested in learning more, you can take a deep dive into the logic behind the underfunded option.
- Assigned Last Month: Some assigned amounts don’t change month-to-month. Rent/mortgage, for example. Use this option to assign the same amount as the previous month.
- Spent Last Month: If the previous month’s spending was a pretty good template for the current month, fire up this option.
- Average Assigned: An up-to-12-month rolling average of the assigned value for this category, starting from the first month you assigned money to this category. The current month's budget is excluded. (If you're in your fourth budget month, and you started assigning money to the selected category in your second budget month, it will calculate your average over months two and three.)
- Average Spent: The not-so-hidden gem of Auto-Assign. Spending averages are super-honest. We’ll show you an average of up to the last 12 months (excluding the current month), starting from the first month in which you actually spent money during that 12-month period. Use it as the basis for your budget, and you’ll likely be right on target.
And there are three options that will remove money from your categories:
- Reduce Overfunding: If there are any Targets in your budget that have more money assigned towards them than they need, this option will remove the extra money from those categories and send them back to Ready to Assign.
- Reset Available Amount: Sometimes it's best to re-prioritize every single dollar in your budget. This button will allow you to do just that. By resetting Available amounts, those dollars will go right back Ready to Assign. It's like a mini Fresh Start! When you do this, you may notice that some Assigned columns become negative, which is a-ok, as long as it doesn't happen in a future month. This is not a good option for future months, because it can cause overspending if it is used in the future.
- Reset Assigned Amount: As you might expect, this option will change the value in the Assigned column to zero. If no categories are selected, it will apply to the whole budget—but there's a prompt to confirm that decision.
No matter which Auto-Assign option you use, remember it's important to only assign money that you already have to categories. If Auto-Assign ever turns Ready to Assign red, make adjustments until it returns to a happy, gray $0.00.
With no categories selected, clicking an Auto-Assign button will show you a preview of which categories money is being assigned to, and ask you to confirm updating the Assigned amounts in your categories.
If you don't like what you see in the preview, you can cancel it and make adjustments to your Targets, select specific categories to only Auto-Assign to those categories, or assign money manually. By selecting one or more categories or Category Groups, you can focus your Auto-Assigning efforts. If you select specific categories, you won't see the preview, but you will see the amount of money that will be assigned to the selected categories on the Auto-Assign buttons themselves.
Once you click Assign Money in the preview, or click the Auto-Assign button with specific categories selected, Auto-Assign will immediately update your Assigned values.
Don't like the results?
Undo it! Click the Undo button located just below the month name in your budget, and try something else. (Only available in the web app.)