When you set goals, you stay in the game, you keep budgeting. It's that simple. It doesn't matter if your ambition is to finally pay your electric bill on time or pay for your next car in cash. It's your budget, and reaching goals always feels good.

In This Article

Goal Types

There are five types of goals: three for spending categories and two for your Credit Card Payment categories.

Spending Categories

Needed For Spending

  • Weekly: Budget and Spend up to this amount each week. You can also choose which day you would like your week to roll over. For example, set a goal to budget $100 for groceries each week by Friday. You’ll be prompted to budget until you’ve satisfied your weekly goal total for the month—this will be based on how many Fridays are in a given month. 
  • Monthly: Budget and spend up to this amount each month. For example, set a goal to budget $300 for auto insurance each month and spend up to $300 in a month. 

When using Weekly or Monthly goals, if you don't spend all your budgeted funds in the current month, the remaining amount will contribute to the next month's goal(s) when the month rolls over.

  • By Date: Budget and spend up to this amount by a given date. For example, set a goal to budget $1000 for birthday presents by December and spend from those budgeted funds each time you purchase a gift leading up to that date. YNAB will prompt you to budget a certain amount each month to stay on track to meet your goal. You can even choose to repeat this goal, up to every two years. Since there can only be one goal in any given category in a single month, the new goal will start the month after the previous goal ends, even if the goal date is prior to the end of the month.

Monthly Rollover Fun

When using Needed For Spending goals, any leftover funds from the previous goal period will count towards the new goal when the new goal period arrives

For example, let's say that you have a $500 Monthly goal in your Groceries category. It's the 27th, and you've bought all of the groceries you need for the month (no one will notice you forgot the Flamin' Hot Cheetos again ...right?). When you check your budget, you still have $75 left in your Groceries category.

If you check next month's budget, you'll still be asked to budget $500 in order to meet your goal; YNAB doesn't know if you'll spend the remaining $75 before this month ends. As soon as the new month arrives, you'll only be prompted to budget $425 in order to meet your goal.

If you have a repeating spend goal by date, any amount left over from the previous goal will count towards the new goal when the month rolls over (and so will any spending!) so make sure to make sure the date you set for that goal is set for the month you'll be spending the money.

Target Savings Balance

Set an amount to have available in a category, with or without a date! If you choose to set a date, YNAB will prompt you to budget so that you will have that amount available in that category by the given date. If you choose not to set a date, there isn't a way to be off track, so there won't be an alert if you're short of your goal. You will, in both scenarios (date or no date), see your goal progress when you select the category. For example, set a goal to have $20,000 budgeted for a house down payment and YNAB will help you track your progress.

Monthly Savings Builder

Budget this amount each month to build your savings. For example, set a goal to budget $400 each month towards a new car, so that down the road (pun intended), you have funds ready for it when you need them.

With both the By Date and the Target Savings Balance (with Date selected) goals, the set month will be included in the monthly calculation; YNAB will expect you to budget towards that goal in the set month. If you'd like the have those dollars set aside by a given month, you may prefer to set the target month as the month prior to when the funds are needed.

Credit Card Payment Categories

  • Pay Off Balance by Date goals calculate a monthly amount to budget in order to pay off your credit card debt by a certain date. The amount will adjust if you are making slower or faster progress than your original plan!
  • Pay Specific Amount Each Month goals help you budget a certain amount toward your debt each month, without having a target payoff date in mind.

Goal Alerts

Once you’ve set your goal, you’ll notice that the goal will have an icon letting you know your progress for completing that goal, and whether or not you’re on track. 

When a category is selected the right sidebar shows three values for the goal. Needed, funded, and to go.

The progress icon will appear in yellow if you’re off-track this month and it will appear as a green check once you’ve reached your goal!

Try using goals to create a budget template. Budget faster—while keeping your priorities in mind!

Creating a Goal

Select the category for your goal.
In the right sidebar, click Create a Goal.
Select the type of goal.
Fill in the details of your goal.
Click Save Goal. You're done!

Editing or Deleting a Goal

A good budget is a flexible budget, and that includes the ability to change your goals. You can edit a goal type or amount to reflect a change in your priorities, or delete a goal altogether if the goal has been met, or if it no longer aligns with your priorities.

To Edit a Goal - Select the category that the goal is in, and click the Edit Goal button in the right sidebar. From there you can change the type, amount, or due date of the goal, if applicable. Click "Save Goal", and the changes will be reflected in the Inspector, and in your budget category.

To Delete a Goal - If you simply want to be rid of that goal altogether, you can delete it (and create a new goal, if you'd like) as well. Select the category, then click the Edit Goal button in the right sidebar. Click Delete (to the left of the save button), and that category will be goal-less, ready to be created anew!

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