Moving Money

Moving money. It's an important part of successful budgeting. Traditional budgets leave little room for change, but rigid budgets break. This is why we love Rule Three of the YNAB method: Roll With The Punches. Moving money allows your budget to change as your needs and priorities change.

In This Article


Three Options for Moving Money

Option One: How to Move Money Out of a Category

  1. Find the category you want to move the money from. This category will need to have a positive Available amount.
  2. Click the Available number in that category.
  3. In the window that appears, enter the amount you’d like to move under Move.
  4. Select the category from the drop-down (or just start typing its name) that you'd like to move that money to.

Option Two: How to Move Money to Cover Overspending

Clicking the overspent Available column for a category shows a dropdown menu to select a category to move money from.

  1. Click the red or yellow Available number in an overspent category. You can use the Overspending Banner at the top of the page to view your overspent categories.
  2. Choose the category you'd like to move money from.
  3. Select that category from the drop-down (or just start typing its name).


Option Three: How to Move Money From Ready to Assign

You can use very similar steps to do the same thing directly from Ready to Assign at the top of your budget—this is an easy way to give those dollars jobs instead of typing them directly into the categories themselves. 

  1. Click the Assign button at the top of your budget.
  2. Select Manually (instead of Auto) on the tabs at the top of the drop down menu.
  3. Choose the amount you'd like to move under Assign.
  4. Select the category you'd like to move the funds to (or just start typing its name) under To.

That’s it—you’ve rolled with the punches! You can also move money on-the-go using your mobile device.

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Tracking Money Moves

Sometimes you may find it helpful to see where some of those Rule 3 punches were thrown. Did your Dining Out category get knocked out when your best friend showed up unexpectedly? Maybe your Home Maintenance category took a jab due to a leaky window and a particularly stormy spring. Or it could just be a case of “Where the heck did all my Fun Money go?” 

YNAB tracks how and when money moves between your categories and  Ready to Assign so you can see how your priorities may have shifted and use that information to make future budgeting decisions. 

At the top of your Budget page on the toolbar above your categories, you’ll see a Recent Moves button with a clock icon. Click this to see a drop-down menu record of any money moves you've made in the past 34 days across your categories.

Is your regular budgeting routine clogging up your Recent Moves? You can  filter those Budgeted moves in the top right corner of the Recent Moves window by selecting: All, Moved, or Assigned. If you don't want to see everything (All), you can focus on what punches you’ve thrown lately (Moved), or if you’d prefer, you can see just your budget moves (Assigned).

Recent moves show with icons: trash can, arrow, lightning, and money stacks. Click right arrow to expand any bulk details.

* If one of the moves shows a small right arrow (>) like the 10 Categories option in the image above, clicking this will reveal even more details for bulk actions like Auto-Assign and exactly how much was assigned into each category. 

What do the different icons mean? I'm glad you asked!

Trash Can: Money moved as a result of category deletion

Arrow: Moved money between categories (Rolling With The Punches)

Lightning Bolt: Auto-Assigned to one or more categories

Money Stack: Assigned to a category

Click on any category listed in the Recent Moves window to jump right to it in your budget. Select a category or hover over its Assigned column to locate the history icon—this little clock will allow you to view the specific category move details for the budget month.

Hover to the right of a category's assigned amount to reveal a clock icon. Clicking it shows the recent moves history.

History of Money Moves at the category level is retained for the following time periods:

  • The past three months
  • The current month
  • Any future months 

*If you’ve moved money in a different month than the current one, you’ll see a calendar icon next to the amount. This is particularly helpful when you’ve aged your money and are assigning funds into next month already (goodbye paycheck-to-paycheck!) or you’re fixing up some overspending when the month has already rolled over.

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