A transfer occurs when you move money from one account to another. The transfer feature, is activated by clicking on the "Make a Transfer" button at the bottom of each register.
NOTE: The transfer button will only appear when there is more than one account in YNAB.
This will open a new transaction and activate a drop-down menu in the Payee field that includes other accounts that you can make a transfer to or from:
All transfers affect the balances of the accounts involved. Not all transfers, however, impact the Budget. The differences have to do with whether or not your transfer involves spending or whether you are simply moving money, and whether the accounts are Budget Accounts or are Off-Budget Accounts.
If you are transferring money between two Budget Accounts, there is no need to select a Category. Money is neither leaving nor entering your Budget. You are simply changing the location of the money, and that has no impact on the Budget.
In Off-Budget Accounts, there is no Budget Category column visible since Off-Budget Accounts have no effect on the Budget. Again, when you transfer between Off-Budget Accounts you are simply changing the location of the money - money that isn’t even in the Budget at all - so there is no impact on the Budget.
If you are transferring money from a Budget Account to an Off-Budget Account, then you are removing money from the Budget, and need to categorize the transaction to remove the money from the Budget.
If you are transferring money from an Off-Budget account to a Budget account, then you are bringing money into the Budget and need to categorize the transaction to bring the money into the Budget.
YNAB will notify you in three ways when you have not categorized a transaction in a Budget Account.
1. An orange badge will appear on the account in the Sidebar when an account has Warnings that need to be addressed.
2. Additionally, the Category field in the transaction will remind you that the transaction needs a Category, and will be highlighted in orange.
3. Finally, an orange Notifications Box will also appear above the register window indicating the number of transactions that need to be corrected.
To remove the warning, simply categorize the transaction(s).
Click on the orange icon and select Assign Budget Category, or just click in the Budget Category field to assign a category. The Budget Category Menu will appear. Choose the appropriate Category from the drop-down list.
You can also Click Show in the orange Notifications Box to see only the transactions that need to be corrected. This is especially useful if you have multiple Warnings that need to be corrected.
This also displays the total amount of these transactions at the bottom-right corner of the register. Remember that this will only display transactions found within the dates selected at the top of the register.
The Warning column disappears when there are no Warnings for your register.
Whenever you have uncategorized transactions, YNAB adds a line at the top of the Budget. This is the Uncategorized Transactions Row. It keeps your account in balance with your Budget even though you forgot to categorize one or more transactions, and makes sure your Budget knows about all of your spending.
To see all of your uncategorized transactions in a given month individually, click on the amount in the outflow column in the Budget and a list will appear. Click on a specific uncategorized transaction and you will be taken back to that transaction in the register in order to make a correction.
The Uncategorized Transactions Row in the budget will only appear when you have one or more uncategorized transactions in a Budget Account.
YNAB will notify you in three ways when you have incorrectly categorized a transfer between different Budget Accounts.
1. A red badge will appear on the account in the sidebar when an account has Errors that need to corrected.
2. Additionally, the category field in the transaction will remind you that the transaction does not need a Category, and will be highlighted in red.
3. Finally, a red Notifications Box will also appear above the Register window indicating the number of transactions that need to be corrected.
To remove the error, simply delete the Category for that transaction.
Click on the red icon and select Remove Budget Category, or just click in the Budget Category field and delete the Category.
You can also click Show in the red Notifications Box to see only the transactions that need to be corrected. This is especially useful if you have multiple errors that need to be corrected.
Remember that YNAB will only show the transactions within the dates selected at the top of the register.
The Error Column disappears when there are no Errors for your register.
Forgetting to categorize a transaction
This is one of the most common reasons you will see a Warning. Anyone can forget to categorize a transaction. If you are unsure how to categorize a transaction, checking the Payee may help to jog your memory as to what it was for.
Categorizing a Transfer between Checking and a Savings account that is part of your Budget
Many people feel compelled to categorize transfers from their checking to savings accounts, in part because the Budget Category Menu is right there – seemingly asking you to do so! In reality, there is no need to categorize this type of transfer. Think of it like this – the Budget is like a bucket, and your Checking Account represents one jar of money, and your Savings Account represents another jar of money. Both of those jars have been poured into the bucket. At this point, the Budget does not care what jar the money came from. When you move money back and forth between those two accounts – there is nothing the Budget needs to know. You are not adding money to the Budget or removing money from the Budget.
Adjustments made to your YNAB Account
Often times people will make an adjustment transaction to correct the balance on an account, or to bring it in line with the Budget. If you entered an adjustment for either reason, it's important to categorize it so that the Budget has the same information as the account register. You may assign this to any spending Category if it was an outflow, or if categorize it as income if it was an inflow.
If you have just opened an older file that has a lot of Errors, you may find it easier to make a Fresh Start with a new understanding of how your accounts and Budget work together.