Making a Fresh Start

There's nothing wrong with beginning again. In fact, it often means more success in the long run. 

Whether you want to move on from a starter budget, your life and priorities have changed, your (ahem) budgeting habits went south, or you just want a new view of your money (old budgets can be full of old habits, after all), try a Fresh Start.

In This Article


How to Make a Fresh Start

  1. Click on the name of your budget in the top-left corner of the app.
  2. Click Make a Fresh Start.

Don't worry—a copy of your current (now old!) budget will be archived with today's date in the name, which you can reference anytime by choosing Open Budget in that same menu.

You'll first be prompted to enter a name for your new budget to ensure you are easily able to distinguish between your new and older budgets.

Here's what will get copied over to your new Fresh Start budget:

  • account names
  • scheduled transactions
  • targets
  • notes
  • payees
  • categories

Even your Direct Import connections will be brought into the new budget for you; your accounts will pull in the balance of that day, and any transactions posted on that  same day should be ready to import soon after. Your history of transaction and budget data will be cleared out though—so you can start fresh after giving your accounts a quick check to ensure your balances are correct and using the reconcile button to reconcile your accounts if they aren't. 


Assigning Your Money

When you make a fresh start, it resembles a brand new budget in that you haven't given any of your dollars jobs yet. YNAB doesn't take category amounts from your old budget, so make sure to assign money for both your credit card payment and savings categories, if you have them, before assigning the rest of the money in your accounts to other categories. That way you'll know you're starting off on the right foot!


Preserving Accuracy in Your Previous Budget

There may be times when you want to refer back to your previous budget, whether that be for tax purposes, or just for the nostalgia (nothing like the sentimentality of old budgets, right?). Whatever the reason, we want to make sure the account registers in that budget remain as you left them. 

Because of this, after creating your Fresh budget, we recommend heading back to your previous budget to delete Scheduled Transactions from your account registers to keep them from changing your balances. 

How to Delete Scheduled Transactions

  1. Select the future (italicized) instance of a transaction.
  2. Click the Edit menu.
  3. Click Delete.

While you're there, if the accounts in your  previous budget are still linked via Direct Import, you can unlink them so that they don't continue to update your account balances. 

How to Unlink Accounts

  1. Click on the name of your budget.
  2. Click Open Budget.
  3. Select your previous budget to open it.
  4. Hover over an account name in the left sidebar.
  5. Click on the pencil edit icon that appears.
  6. Click Unlink Account.
  7. Repeat this process for each account you'd like to unlink.

Accessing Your New Budget

If you use a bookmarked link to access your budget, be sure to update that link.

If you're using one of the YNAB mobile apps, you'll need to switch budgets in the app.

  1. In the YNAB mobile app, tap the More Menu (three dots icon) to access Settings.
  2. Tap Open Budget.
  3. Select your Fresh Start budget—in the Available for Download list.

Enjoy your new budget! 😊

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