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.

Making a Fresh Start

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

Make a Fresh Start is the last option in the current budget section.

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, its like a 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!

Unlink Accounts, and Delete Scheduled Transactions 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, am I 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. Scheduled transactions can be deleted by selecting the future (italicized) instance of the transaction(s), and choosing the Delete option in the Edit Menu. 

While you're there, if the accounts in your previous budget are still linked through Direct Import, you can also unlink them so that they don't continue to update your account balances. To do that, click on the name of your budget > Open Budget > previous budget. Once you're there, hover over your account name, click on the edit icon that appears, and choose to Unlink the account. Repeat this process for each account you'd like to unlink :)

click the edit icon on the left side of the account name, then click unlink account from the pop up menu

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

Switching Budgets in the Mobile App

Once you've created your Fresh Start budget, if you're using one of the YNAB mobile apps, you'll need to switch budgets.

  • In the YNAB mobile app, tap the More Menu (three dots icon) to access Settings.
  • Choose Open Budget from the menu.
  • Select your Fresh Start budget—in the Available for Download list.

Tip: Settings is also where you can initiate making a Fresh Start on mobile.

Enjoy your new budget! 😊

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