A credit card payment in YNAB is recorded as a transfer to that credit card account, usually from your checking account. Because you have already categorized the spending that created the balance on your card, your Budget already knows about it. When you make the payment, you are really just moving money between accounts. The credit card payment itself has no impact on the Budget.
Step 1: Go to the account that you will be making the payment from.
Click on the account name in the sidebar to select it.
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 name of the credit card that you are recording the payment to.
This activates YNAB's transfer feature and ensures that the payment shows up in your YNAB credit card account.
Step 3: Skip the Budget Category field.
Leave the Budget Category field blank and move on to the Outflow field.
If you are making a payment to a credit card, there is no need to select a Category. You chose Categories when you entered purchases made with the card. Therefore, the Budget already knows about that spending. If you have Pre-YNAB debt on the credit card, the starting balance of that debt was categorized to the Pre-YNAB Debt: (Name of Card) Category that matches the account. The Budget already knows about that spending too. Categorizing again will affect the Budget twice unnecessarily.
Step 4: Record the payment amount in the Outflow field.
Enter the amount of the payment in the Outflow field in the account register. To figure out how much of a payment to make:
Step 5: See how the transaction affected the credit card account.
Click on the Transfer icon in the Payee field in the transaction. This icon will take you to the credit card account where YNAB has entered an inflow in the amount of the payment.
Remember! You still need to make the actual payment to the credit card company if you haven’t already. What you enter in YNAB is just a record of that payment.
Edit the payment transaction so that it's a transfer transaction. Double click on the transaction in the payee field and then start typing the word transfer. Select the account the payment is being transferred to. That will make the payment show up in the credit card account.
In Payee Settings you can teach YNAB to recognize that payee as a transfer, so in future imports YNAB will recognize this payee as a transfer transaction.
As long as you are budgeting for the expenses you plan to use the card for, as far as YNAB is concerned, it doesn’t matter when you pay the bill. You will budget for those expenses with money that you have. So regardless of when the bill arrives or is due, you know you have the money set aside to cover it!
If you don’t carry a balance on your credit card, it’s even easier to think of the spending the same way you think of spending on a debit card. In fact, the only difference is that with a credit card the money temporarily sits in your checking account after you’ve made a purchase until you send it to your credit card company.
When you receive your bill, you have two choices:
1. You can pay the amount your credit card company says that you owe. This may be less than the actual outstanding balance on the card, since you likely used it after the “closing date” of the statement.
2. You can pay the current balance that reflects your statement and everything that has happened since. You can probably get this balance from your card company, or use the balance in your YNAB credit card account register.
Since you don’t carry debt, and you’re budgeting for purchases with money that you already have, either option will work fine. Remember the Budget doesn’t care how you pay for things. It just wants to know what you spent the money on.