Assigning Money in Future Months
What if you’ve assigned money for everything you need in the current month (including your True Expenses!), but still have money in Ready to Assign? This is an exciting moment. Knowing everything this month is covered is a huge milestone 🎉 This article will show you your next steps for these remaining dollars in Ready to Assign.
In This Article
Assign into the Future
Those dollars that still need jobs? You can budget them in next month to get ahead. No time machine needed!
How to Assign Money in Future Months
- In the budget header, click the arrow to the right of the month and year to move forward to the next month.
- In the future month, you'll see all your dollars still in Ready to Assign.
- Follow the same prioritization sequence you used in the current month, budgeting until Ready to Assign is $0.00.
- Use the arrow to the left of the month and year to navigate back to the current month. You'll see that money you just assigned as Assigned in Future in the Ready to Assign Breakdown, and in the Assigned in the Future section of the right sidebar.
That's it, you've given every dollar a job!
Want to assign money more than one month ahead? No problem! You can assign money as far into the future as you’d like, as long as you've assigned money in at least one category in the previous month.
Future Budgeting & Ready to Assign
Once you assign money into the future, your most up-to-date Ready to Assign number is in the future-most month. If Ready to Assign is $0.00 in the current month, and you have money assigned in the future, if you were to add another $200 to Auto Maintenance in this month’s budget, Ready to Assign will remain $0.00 in the current month—and the $200 will be taken from the future month’s Ready to Assign.
If Ready to Assign is negative in a future month, you'll see a red alert in the Assigned in the Future section of the right sidebar. This lets you know to un-assign money in your future month ASAP!
This is why it’s important to move money between categories when Ready to Assign is $0.00. If Ready to Assign ever turns negative, get your budget back on track by moving money from your spending categories to Ready to Assign until it reaches $0.00.
Use a Next Month's Money Category
Let’s say you get a mid-month paycheck or income inflow, but you’ve already fully funded the current month. Or maybe you get a windfall: a tax refund or some side hustle income and you don’t need it in the current month. Continue to categorize all your income/paychecks as Ready to Assign so YNAB will reflect those numbers in the Inspector (right sidebar!) and as income in your reports. Then, follow these steps.
How to Use a Next Month's Money Category
- Create a new category: Next Month's Money.
- When that new paycheck shows up in Ready to Assign, you can assign it all to the Next Month's Money category in the current month.
- At the end of the month, when you’re closing out the old month, move money between the categories to cover any overspending first.
- If you'd like to zero out any monthly categories, you can do that now by selecting them and using Reset Available Amounts. (Be sure not to zero out any Credit Card Payment Categories, True Expenses or Savings categories!).
- Now click ahead to the new month! All the money you see in Ready to Assign is what you have available to assign in the new month!
Tips for Setting Up Next Month's Money Category
💡 You can add your typical monthly income amount in the title of the category. If you get paid 1x/month, put that amount in the category name. If you get paid every other week, you can put the sum of your two paychecks in that category name (three paycheck month, is that you calling?).
💡 Another option is to add the sum of your Budget Template to the category name. If you have a Target set on each and every category, the Underfunded number in the first month where there's no money assigned is the sum of all those Targets.