If the rules were simply to not budget a transfer to a mortgage account, then you should be able to pick up the principle and interest as budget items. But you can't. You can budget the interest category in both new and old style budgets, but you can't find the loan principle listed in the new style budget which MD has acknowledged. You can budget the principle payment in the old style mixed interval budget, but on a mortgage the principle and interest changes each month so that would not serve well for a budget. Also when you get 10 years of transactions loaded in MD, the New Style budget can take 30 seconds or more to open up. Although there are work arounds to deal with these issues, I think the MD budget feature really needs a good refresh on the coding.
I think what many people are looking for in a Budget is a Cash Flow budget. That is not what Moneydance is doing today which is more akin to expenditure, category or discretionary spending i.e. it is budgeting for after any fixed repayment are made.
We have Mixed Interval and the new format (I'll call it discretionary) budgeting now. I think the best approach would be to add another budget type of cash flow budgeting.
I'm new to MD as well. The budgeting features of MD are very poor IMHO. It is very hard to tell where you are at any given time (especially when coming from a tool like YNAB4). Yea, you can only set up budgets for Categories and not Accounts which is a bit of a nuisance.
YNAB4 had a bit of a kludge to deal with this. They had 2 categories of Accounts. Those that were considered to be "In your budget" and those that were considered to be "Outside of your budget". When you do a transfer in YNAB4 between accounts, if one is in budget and the other out of budget, you are can expense or income the transfer. But this is done at the expense of the double-entry system. The name of the Account that is being transferred to is recorded and linked in the Description field leaving the Category field free to be used for expense (and hence budget) tracking. This obviously has some confusing side affects and also screws up QIF files and transfers to other financial programs.
That is really not the right solution. A transaction can involve any number of accounts and categories which ALL need to show up in a split. Since any of them will have a reason for being there, you should be able to budget any of them as well.
This is not only useful for mortgages and loans, but it also is needed when budgeting savings for consignments and other things as well (e.g., emergency funds or vacations, etc.).
I do not think we want any kludges to solve the problem. Rather for budgeting to stand a little apart from double entry and allow for say transfers to be part of the budget. Perhaps the budget to be based on the movement of funds to selected accounts and categories, not just to categories. Accounts make it somewhat harder given fund movements are for many purposes in these but fund movements to categories are just for one thing.
Given YNAB's name I expect it was developed to be a budget tool first and foremost. Moneydance comes from being a personal finance tool that has budgeting built on top of it.
@dwg, that's exactly what I was getting at. Adding budget values to account transfers could be problematic and could get confusing for some. But this feature can be really useful for a "Cash Flow" budget for folks on limited incomes.
Yes, YNAB4 was built primarily to support cash flow type budgets and not corporate type budgets. It was for people with limited incomes who need to guarantee that they have enough to pay their monthly, quarterly, and annual bills, and to even start savings. For years I've not yet seen a single personal finance program that comes anywhere near working as well as YNAB for such purposes. The MoneyDance developers could learn a lot from YNAB. In fact, the "new" budget type in MoneyDance is mimics YNAB, only it is much poorer because it is missing many needed functions in order to support budgets that can vary month to month.
But YNAB corrupts the structure of transactions by treating dispersement to accounts in a totally different place from dispersement to expenses and incomes. And they have limited reports. Furthermore The folks that developed YNAB have forsaken the very demographic that they originally built the tool for (e.g., students and low income families). Now they have turned in into a service which forces upgrades that are not controllable by the users, you have to regularly pay for it each year, and have mandatory internet access since you no longer keep your data on your own computer. There are many people that used to benefit from YNAB4 who are now looking elsewhere.
BTW, I used Quicken 2004 in a virtual machine running Snow Leopard server for many years keeping it alive. It's reporting capabilities and data entry functions are far superior to YNAB. But it was the last reasonably stable version of Quicken. Everything after 2004 (with the exception of 2007) were so buggy that they were useless to me.
But I also was running YNAB4 (not the current service version) for keeping duplicates of all my transactions so that I had the kind of visibility I need into my budget (which was not even a positive cash flow for the last few years). I've been doing that for several years now hoping for something better to come along. Then a few weeks ago, the hard drive in my mac failed, and in fussing with my backups, I lost the virtual machine file that had Quicken 2004 on it. I still had all the data files but it would be a pain to try and rebuild another virtual machine and then find an original copy of the Quicken 2004 application.
So now I'm using Moneydance, which is current, and (I think) native on the mac now. So far it seems to handle general transactions, reporting, and recording as well as Quicken ever did. But since the Budgeting mechanisms are so poor in MD, I am still using an outdated YNAB4 application for watching my budget. The mechanisms on MD seem to be unchanged from when I first looked at them back in 2017.
Despite any discussion related to accounting rules, there is a need in any budgeting application to follow expenses related to the cost of housing and transportation. Unfortunately MD does not easily provide those features. Yes, you can budget a rental or lease payment, but not a mortgage or car loan payment. Only for the reason that you might wish to track the mortgage or car loan within MD. Otherwise if you don't track those loans, the MD will happily allow you to budget those payments. That's the problem with MD budgeting. They need to provide a way to budget those expenses. The money transfers to those loans are expenses. Yes, you may increase your equity on your home as your mortgage is paid off, but certainly that is not the case on a car. So if you want to have a real budget using MD, you have to do a bit of extra finagling to achieve that goal.