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How to Transfer Money

Transferring Money from a Budget Account to an Off-Budget Account

 

Sample Scenario: You are tracking your car loan in YNAB. When you make a payment from your checking account, you want to make sure it shows up in the car loan account.

Step 1: Select the account that the money is leaving.

In the sidebar, select the name of the account that you are moving the money FROM.

Step 2: Click the Make a Transfer button at the bottom of the register.

In the drop-down that appears from the Payee field, select the account you are moving money TO.

Step 3: Categorize the transaction.

Since we are making a payment on this loan (and it is a transfer to an Off-Budget Account), we are spending money and need to categorize the expense so it affects our budget.

Always make sure you have budgeted for an expense or payment before spending money.

 If you do not categorize this transfer a warning will appear.  Learn more about warnings.

Step 4: Enter the amount of the outflow.

In the Outflow field, enter the amount of your payment.

This transaction will now impact two other elements in YNAB.

Notice that within the transaction you just entered a new icon appears in the Payee field. 

Clicking it will take you to the other side of the transaction in the other account, where YNAB has entered an inflow for you in the same amount.

Also notice also that, since this transaction was categorized, it also appears in the Outflow column for the appropriate Category on the Budget.

 

Transferring Money from one Budget Account to another Budget Account

 

Sample Scenario - You want to move $100 from your checking account to your savings account.

Step 1: Select the account that the money is leaving.

In the Sidebar, select the name of the account that you are moving the money FROM.

Step 2: Click the Make a Transfer button at the bottom of the register.

In the drop-down that appears from the Payee field, select the account you are moving money TO.

Step 3: DO NOT categorize the transaction.

When we categorize a transaction we are telling YNAB that the information for the transaction needs to be sent to the Budget because we have spent money according to our plan - our Budget. Since we are not spending any money - only moving money - this transfer does not impact our Budget and the Budget does not need to know about this. There is no need to categorize.

YNAB Accounts are where we keep track of our real world, physical accounts and the transactions associated with them. The Budget is where we keep track of our plan for our money and how those real world transactions affect our plan.

 If you categorize this type of transfer, YNAB will alert you that an error has occurred.  Learn more about Errors.

Step 4: Enter the amount of the outflow.

In the Outflow field, enter the amount you are transferring.

This transaction will now impact two other elements in YNAB.

Notice that within the transaction you just entered a new icon appears in the Payee field. 

Clicking this icon will take you to the other side of the transaction in the other account, where YNAB has entered an inflow for you in the same amount.

This transaction will not show up on the Budget since it was not categorized.

Transferring Money from an Off-Budget Account to a Budget Account

When an account is Off-Budget, the Budget does not know about the money in that account. If you want to move money from an Off-Budget account to a Budget account, then you need to categorize this as an inflow in the Budget Account so the Budget becomes aware of this money and so that it will become Available to Budget.

Sample Scenario: You are moving $100 from an Off-Budget Savings account to your Checking account.

Step 1: Select the account you will be transferring the money TO.

In the Sidebar, select the name of the account that you are moving the money TO.

Step 2: Click the Make a Transfer button at the bottom of the register.

In the drop-down that appears from the Payee field, select the account you are moving money FROM.

Step 3: Categorize the Inflow.

From the Category drop-down menu select Income for (the current month) if you want the money to affect this month’s budget, or Income for (the next month) if you want the money to affect next month’s budget.

The important thing when entering income in YNAB is to decide when you need the money to go to work in your budget. There are two ways to enter Income in YNAB - you can either allocate it to the current month or the next month. The income options in the Budget Category field are based on the date of the transaction. For example, if the transaction date is a August date, the choices under income in the Budget Category field will be Income for August (the current month) or Income for September (the next month).

Step 4: Enter the amount of the inflow.

In the Inflow field, enter the amount you are transferring.

This transaction will now impact two other elements in YNAB.

Notice that within the transaction you just entered a new icon appears in the Payee field. 

Clicking the icon will take you to the other side of the transaction in the other account, where YNAB has entered an outflow for you in the same amount.

Step 6: See how this transaction affected the Budget.

Click on Budget in the sidebar to move to the Budget. Since this transaction was categorized as Income, it will now appear as Income in the current month if you selected Income for (This Month) or the next if you selected Income for (Next Month).

 

Transferring Money from one Off-Budget Account to another Off-Budget Account

 

Sample Scenario: You want to move $100 from your Long-Term Savings to another Asset Account.

Step 1: Select the account that the money is leaving.

Select the account you are moving the money FROM, click add a new transaction,  and enter the date of the transfer.

Step 2: Click the Make a Transfer button at the bottom of the register.

In the drop-down that appears from the Payee field, select the account you are moving money TO.

Step 3: Enter the amount of the outflow.

In the Outflow field, enter the amount you are transferring.

Notice that there is no Budget Category menu in either account since the money in Off-Budget Accounts is not part of the Budget at all.

Learn more about Off-Budget Accounts.

Step 4: See how YNAB entered the second half of the transfer for you in the other account.

This transaction will now impact two other elements in YNAB.

Notice that within the transaction you just entered a new icon appears in the Payee field. 

Clicking this icon will take you to the other side of the transaction in the other account, where YNAB has entered an inflow for you in the same amount.

Remember this transaction will not show up on the Budget since it was between two Off-Budget Accounts.