Account Types: Budget vs. Tracking

There are two types of accounts in YNAB: Budget Accounts and Tracking Accounts

Budget Accounts

The money in budget accounts is a part of your budget (which you can tell from our super-clever naming scheme). These accounts should also include credit accounts from which you spend, so they're included in your budget as well. 

You'll see five options to choose from when you're Adding an Account:

Tough decision? Here's a little secret: Checking, Savings, and Cash all work exactly the same. They are accounts that typically have a positive balance because they're where you store money. Similarly, there's no difference between Credit Card and Line of Credit.

To cover a popular example, if you have a PayPal account where you receive, store, and spend funds, choose Checking or Cash. However, if you have a PayPal Credit account, you would choose either Credit Card or Line of Credit. And while we're at it, if you simply use PayPal as a faster way to checkout and send/receive money in your other accounts, you don't even need to add it at all!

Tracking Accounts

The money in tracking accounts is not a part of your budget. You only set up these accounts to track your balance. (There's that clever bit again.) Since they don't impact your budget, you really don't have to add any of them. But there are options:

  • Asset: investment accounts
  • Liability: mortgages and other loans

How to decide?

A Budget Account is one that you will spend money from in the near future (usually within the next year or two). Tracking Accounts hold money you don't plan to spend soon, such as investments, or loans you're paying down.

While activity in budget accounts will appear in all three reports — Spending, Income v Expense, and Net Worth — tracking account activity appears only in the Net Worth report.

If you're moving funds between accounts, check out this article on transferring money next.

Still need help? Contact Us Contact Us