Starting in the Middle of the Month on Mobile

Starting a budget in the middle of the month might feel overwhelming because it doesn’t feel like the right time to start. It’s not the first of the month, you’ve already paid some expenses or waiting for your next paycheck.

Your budget is built to be flexible, so unlike Goldilocks—there is no need to wait for "just right." 😉

When is the best time to start? Today! Life with a budget is better than one without, so start your budgeting journey now. You'll begin with the money you have on hand, in your accounts today. And rest assured—YNAB is designed to set you up for success, no matter when you start.

What Should You Do First?

Now that you're on board with starting your budget, follow these steps:

  1. Add Expenses and Set Targets: We've provided the basics, but your budget should represent your priorities; make your budget your own by customizing the expense categories and adding a target to each one. Setting targets helps you prioritize and plan for your money
  2. Add your Accounts: Each account has its own register, where you'll add transactions.
  3. Assign your Money: Give your existing dollars jobs by assigning money to your categories. Ask yourself, "What does this money need to do before I get paid again?" and stop when Ready to Assign reaches $0.00. When you get paid again, pick up where you left off and continue! You can also use Auto-Assign to assign money to categories automatically, based on the targets you set.
  4. Schedule Transactions: Scheduled transactions help you prepare for upcoming expenses. You can even set them to repeat to remind you of recurring expenses.

I've Already Paid That Bill, Why Am I Being Asked to Budget More?

When you set a target, you’ll see a yellow underfunded alert until you’ve met the target. You'll only need to budget for expenses that haven’t yet been paid this month, and Auto-Assign will prioritize targets that are due in the future before funding targets where the due date has already passed. Check out our Underfunded article for more detail on Auto-Assign logic.

In your first month of budgeting, you may set a target for an expense you’ve already paid. For example, if you paid rent on the 1st, but you're starting on the 20th. Weekly targets will not prompt you to fund prior weeks, but other targets (such as monthly targets) will still prompt you to assign the full amount of the target for this month. If you're starting your new budget after that date, it can be confusing or even frustrating.

There are two ways to handle this situation:

  1. Ignore the yellow on that category, just this month. We know, it feels wrong but remember, red means stop, yellow means "proceed with caution." You can begin assigning money for those targets when the month rolls over.
  2. Or, instead of setting the target this month, remove and add it to next month, since you don’t need to assign money towards that expense this month. This will tell the target to begin in the future. No alert! Then tap the month at the top of your Budget to switch months, and create the new target.
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