How to Use YNAB Focused Views
Your budget is a beautiful thing—all of your passions and priorities lined up in front of you, prepared to do exactly what you tell them to do in support of the life you want to live. You get to decide how to organize your categories with a budget structured just the way you like it. *Chef’s kiss.*
When you’re on a mission to find out things like, “How much did I spend—or overspend—on home goods this month?” or “How much have I saved toward summer vacation?” you don’t need or want to see every single category. Depending on what you’re doing in your budget, you may only wish to see a few.
Just call us Genie—your wish is our command! We’re excited to introduce you to YNAB’s new Focused Views feature.
Focused Views allow you to see a subset of your categories depending on what you (or your partner!) want to learn, analyze, or review.
You don’t open your budget for the same reason every time. Sometimes you’ve got work to do, like when you’re paid and those dollars need jobs, or when you’ve got a little overspending to deal with.
Other times you just need to see different information in a different way to help you with a decision. Maybe you’re trying to dig in a little deeper to spending patterns to inform a big life decision or fund an exciting new chapter. (Just ask Hannah what that’s like!) Focused Views let you zoom in on the categories that matter to you most in the moment.
How to Use Focused Views on Web
You’ll see Focused Views at the very top of your budget on Web. (Fear not: mobile is on the way!) Just click on a view to enable, and voila, it appears. Click All to get back to your full budget category view.
There are many different types of Focused views and clever ways you can use them to your advantage. Let’s dive in!
Preset Views: Let Us Do the Heavy Lifting for You
There are four Preset Views that let you investigate specific areas of your budget. These are based on the state of your categories, like so:
You’ll only see this one when there’s overspending in your budget. No need to alert you if there’s nothing to address, after all.
Use this view to see where overspending struck. When you find it, remember to ditch the guilt and Roll With the Punches! Simply move money from another category and keep on keepin’ on.
Underfunded and Overfunded View
Got category Targets? Have we got some views for you! Sometimes your categories need more money, and sometimes they end up a little overstuffed.
The Overfunded View helps you “look through the couch cushions” of your budget. When you need to cover overspending, it’s a good idea to hunt for extra coins! Now just one click, and there they are! You might be pleasantly surprised by the extra dollars you have tucked away.
Think of the Underfunded View as your Payday View. Click Underfunded to see the categories that are still looking for dollars to join the fun. Focus on what’s left to fund the next time money rolls in.
Money Available View
Click on Money Available, and we’ll only show you the categories that are partially or fully funded.
This view comes in handy for those moments when you need to make a spending decision without all the noise, like when you have a kitchen equipment crisis and Amazon has just what you need, or you and your partner could really use a Thirsty Thursday date night after a hectic week of parenting.
Custom Views: Zoom In On What Matters to You
Look, we can’t know everything that’s important to you in your budget. Maybe you’re saving up for motorless boat parts to tackle the R2AK. Or a luxury retreat where all you do is go to the spa and take naps. Budgets are like snowflakes after all—no two are the same.
Only you can determine your priorities and how you want your money to work for you. We want to make sure you can customize views to your heart’s content.
You can create Custom Views that contain a subset of categories that YOU select. Imagine the possibilities!
What would be helpful for you to see? This is your chance to let your inner Budget Nerd shine. When you create your own Focused Views, you’ll gain a whole new perspective on your budget.
Here are some ideas to get your wheels spinning:
When you’re budgeting with a partner there are three types of expenses: Yours, Mine, and Ours. Now you can create views to match!
What is important to you right now? What’s important to your partner? Do you have shared savings goals? What expenses do you have coming up? Help support each other in your personal goals and work together on your shared goals.
And hey, this kind of Custom View might be just what you need to operate in one budget instead of two. This gives you a new way to look at your shared financial picture when you need it.
This can also be super helpful if your partner isn’t quite as into YNAB as you are (keep at it!), and you just need to focus on a few categories to keep them in the loop. No problem—this view doesn’t need to include a ton of categories, just what matters most.
While the goal is to help you get a month ahead of expenses, we know that most people don’t start out in that situation. We’ve seen YNABers organize their entire budget by paycheck using category groups. Now you can use Custom Views instead!
Create a view for the categories you pay out of the first paycheck of the month, and another view that shows the categories you pay out of the second paycheck. Clarity and quick budgeting for the win!
Wants and Needs Views
Sometimes you just want to make sure the basics are covered before you start adding dollars to less important categories.
A Wants and Needs view could help you play out those ‘what if’ scenarios. What if you lost or quit your job? Which categories would absolutely need to be funded? Create a new view and find out. This is also a great way to find out how much it costs to be you for a month without all the nice-to-haves.
Sometimes you group categories together for one reason, but would love to view them from a different perspective. You could do a handstand, or just create a view based on a theme.
You might have all your monthly bills in one group, non-monthly in another, and hey, maybe you even have a Wish Farm. Wouldn’t it be nice to see all the categories across those groups that are related to your house? Or car? Or rekindled love for travel? Easy peasy.
What about budget categories related to kiddos? You may organize your parenting expenses one way for good old day-to-day budgeting, but sometimes you might want to see a category breakdown by kid. (You always knew it was the youngest who was costing you the most!)
I Have Questions…
Good! We have answers. You’ll find them here.
We also want to encourage you to just start playing with and building your own Focused Views. Get those creative juices flowing—the possibilities are endless! Warning: as you use our Preset Views or build more Custom Views, you might get inspired to restructure your budget altogether. A thrilling new world of total financial clarity awaits!
Did you know you can invite up to five people to join your YNAB subscription at no extra cost? Share budgets and create new views with the ones you love the most.