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18 Apr 2014

YNAB’s Business Category Setup in YNAB…Revealed.

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by Jesse Mecham

“Revealed” is such a hokey marketing word. But I just returned from MicroConf in Vegas and hokey marketing is on the brain.

In working with a lot of small business YNABers over the past little while, I was asked how I (Jesse) have set up YNAB’s (the business) categories in YNAB (the software).

I’ll tell you right now, I’d love to pare them down. It’s a lot easier to do that on the personal side, but still worth the effort either way.

Also, bear in mind that the easiest way to determine your category set up is just to start and see what you need as transactions come up and surprise you.  Another little hack is to scan your bank statements over the last few months and write down potential categories for transactions (especially the larger, less-frequent expenses that you maybe would have forgotten, but now won’t, because Rule Two will be firing on all cylinders).

Without further ado, and perhaps just for inspiration, here is our YNAB Business Category Setup, subject to change on the whimiest of whims.

An update 20 minutes after posting: In the comments, I’m receiving questions about “revenue” categories. I use the standard categories, and record inflows to them. That sticks all of the funds into their appropriate product categories. Then, when I’m ready to budget, I suck the funds out of those categories by entering the appropriate negative budget amount to get the revenue categories all at balance:0.  For a more in-depth, older (but still relevant) blog post specifically about this, head here, specifically look at the “How I Made the Transition” section halfway down.

The rest of these categories aren’t as fun, as this is where money starts flowing out, instead of in. (Except for paying our team. I really enjoy doing that.)

This next (and last) master category is all non-YNAB stuff. This is the last category, because it’s funded last, and only with funds that couldn’t be better used further up the list. Well, except for paying me and Uncle Sam. Those are important.

Reading back through this post, I find 1) that it was fairly therapeutic and 2) quite detailed. For those of you that asked the simple question of, “How does YNAB have its categories set up?” I think you got more than you bargained for 🙂 Happy to answer questions in the comments.

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Remember, budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. You can do this! Today. Right now. What do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress. (Ok, so kind of a lot.)


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