Budgeting income from expense categories broken

ibrewster's Avatar


23 Jun, 2020 06:16 PM

I just updated money dance to the latest version today, and it broke negative values in the old-style budget. For example, if you wanted to budget a transfer of $500 in from savings, before I could enter that as -500 to savings, which worked fairly well (as long as you didn't do both deposits and withdrawals from the same account). Now the negative is simply ignored, and it shows up as an extra $500 expense. There seems to be no way to get "income" from an expense or account category. How can I fix this?

  1. 1 Posted by mhoggie on 23 Jun, 2020 07:14 PM

    mhoggie's Avatar

    just a user,

    I would just be happy if we could budget any transaction activity, but looks like they are still not picking up payments or transfers. I never thought of using the negative amount for a budget. But what I do is just create an extra category and use the split function to include the special category in my transactions and budget. In your case, you would just create an regular expense category as "Savings transfer", then when you enter the transaction in Savings, you just split the category and show the $500 transfer to your destination account. Then add additional splits to also show the $500 amount again to your special "Savings Transfer" category, then a 3rd split to show an offset amount of $500 to a NULL category so the ending amount is still just $500. Then on your budget, set up an item to pickup activity to the "Savings Transfer" category. Works perfect and you can save as a reminder so you don't have to add the additional splits each time.

  2. 2 Posted by ibrewster on 23 Jun, 2020 07:22 PM

    ibrewster's Avatar

    Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll have to try it out. However, I think you may have slightly missed the point of this problem, as this issue would be the case for ANY category (not just transfers, which have always been slightly problematic, but at least worked with the old-style budget). Note the screenshot I attached showing the issue with the “Ads” category. Take any category where you have potentially both income and expenses. Before the update, it worked fine to use negative values in an expense category to indicate income, or in an income category to indicate expense. Now the negatives are just ignored.

    BTW, I just noticed that my version I updated to was 2020 build 1914, which is apparently pre-release. Hopefully this bug gets fixed by release time...

  3. 3 Posted by mhoggie on 23 Jun, 2020 07:53 PM

    mhoggie's Avatar

    yeah, you found a good work around to have MD do what you want. That's why I wish they would revisit the Budget feature and just allow you to track whatever and however you want. The new style budget is almost unusable if you have more than a few years in your data file. I use the Old Style with work around methods to track transfers.

    I did notice today that the investment register transaction functions that adjust the price, shares, and cost fields is not working like it did before the 1913 build. So some basic math functions have been touched in the upgrade.

  4. 4 Posted by ibrewster on 24 Jun, 2020 01:57 AM

    ibrewster's Avatar

    Agreed. Apparently, unfortunately, the developers can't grasp the concept that Savings, Mortgage Payments, Car Payments, etc - all of which would be transfers - are an essential part of a budget. So at this point, I'd settle for it just doing the math correctly :-)

  5. 5 Posted by ibrewster on 05 Aug, 2020 04:21 PM

    ibrewster's Avatar

    NOTE: this remains an issue with 2020 build 1917. DEVELOPERS: This is a pretty critical issue, as it completely breaks budgeting. I *may* be able to come up with a workaround, but I shouldn't have to. Thank you.

  6. 6 Posted by dwg on 05 Aug, 2020 10:24 PM

    dwg's Avatar

    I'm a fellow user.

    While I acknowledge that many people want to use cash flow budgeting, and for good reasons I see one sticking point for how to do it.

    The sticking point is around revolving lines of credit type accounts, the most common example of which is the credit card. The problem with them is that they can often be carrying a debt as well as just being an intermediate payment method.

    As an intermediate payment method i.e. use the credit card now and pay when the statement comes in the normal category budget method is appropriate.

    However if the account is also carrying a debt that is being paid off then you want this transfer or part of the transfer to be a budget item, yet the transfer to pay the category spending that has already been taken care of in the budget you want excluded.

    This is where I see transfers as being problematic in a budget sense.

  7. 7 Posted by ibrewster on 06 Aug, 2020 04:04 PM

    ibrewster's Avatar

    Sure, there are cases that could be difficult to handle. However, this SUPPORT REQUEST, which I *thought* I was sending to infinite kind SUPPORT was specifically about the old style budget - which, unlike the new style, generally works, including for transfers - ignoring negative values in the new development versions. In the "old" version of moneydance, I could budget a negative amount in an expense category to indicate I am actually expecting to have income in that category this month. In the current development/preview release version, said negative values are simply ignored.

    Given that the only response I have gotten is from users, perhaps I submitted this wrong? Is there somewhere else that I should be going to contact tech support?

  8. 8 Posted by dwg on 06 Aug, 2020 09:46 PM

    dwg's Avatar

    You can post in the "Private Issues" forum where only Moneydance staff can see the requests, but there is no way to ensure that you get a response.

  9. Support Staff 9 Posted by Sean Reilly on 10 Aug, 2020 09:19 AM

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    I just wanted to comment that yes, this is a thing that was done to address an inconsistent state in the new budget UI. I personally also prefer the old budgeting style and am looking at a way to reverse this change without also re-breaking the new style.


    Sean Reilly
    Developer, The Infinite Kind

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