Budgeting with Credit Cards

I use my credit card to pay for everything throughout the month. Should I set a budget for my credit card bill and each category? Or should I set the categories to zero and only budget the credit card bill?

I am testing the Savings Budget btw!

@robdog151 - Personally, i wouldn’t set up your credit card as a budget - although you could and then keep it hidden from the reports but then I would have each of my bills as a category and then have the type set up as bills or Household; if using the bill tracker you should be able to connect which bills were paid.

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There’s no need to budget credit cards. I use credit cards for most of my purchases. I categorize each credit card transaction as I would if it was cash. I “Transfer” money when I pay the bill. This prevents double entries into the budget as Transfers are ignored. If you don’t pay off the entire balance, each month, you would need to add the interest on the credit card as a budgeted transaction.

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But the balance we’re paying off each month is not for the current month’s transactions, they are for the previous month’s transactions. And on top of that, most credit card billing cycles don’t land perfectly from the 1st to the 31st. This affects our daily balances and our actual cashflow during the month. Frustrated as how to budget our credit card spending as well as our actual credit car payment without double counting.

If you do what I suggest, you will not have double entries. I don’t “budget” my credit card payments. I use the projected balances sheet to allocate my payments to all my bills,

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If you’re paying off the balance in full each month (e.g. not carrying a balance and working to pay off credit card debt) then you don’t need to budget for the payment. If you’re trying to pay off debt there are some workflows documented along with the Debt Planner community template to help you think about how to categorize transactions.

The reason this doesn’t double count is that when you are using your credit card you aren’t actually spending the money, you’re just incurring debt (i.e. the money hasn’t yet left your checking account and reduced the balance of that account). When you pay the balance in full use a transfer type category (type on the Categories sheet is set to Transfer) which won’t show up on the budget.

Credit card spending doesn’t need to be budgeted separately either. You can categorize the transactions based on actual spending like groceries or gas.

I realize this workflow could be stressful to some if you need to see how much money is going to be due in the future to make sure you have that money in your checking account to pay it off or don’t want to spend more than X amount on the credit card per month. I think this is where @pixel.dick uses the projected balances sheet to understand how much is going to be due. Another option might be to use the Tags Report to help you analyze this.

Everyone’s financial situation is unique, but generally if you’re struggling with credit cards or have anxiety about your credit spending/payments perhaps consider not using them anymore and just work with the funds that are available :thinking:

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I am not paying down credit card debt. We pay the statement balance every month and don’t incur any interest. We personally have chosen to track the payment because this month’s credit card purchases (this month’s budgeted cc transactions from Nov 1-Nov30) are much different than the statement balance due (last month’s actual cc transactions (Sep 15-Oct14.)) The Daily Projections sheet is the only thing I’ve seen to tell me the true daily cashflow. One page will show we have a positive cashflow but when compared to the other, it will show a different “actual” amount. I guess I’ll just have to enter in all my bills and look at both sheets. Seems like double duty. I was hoping to have a one-stop snapshot page of “budgeted and actuals.”

Just curious why you wait for the Statement before paying your credit card. I just go in each week and pay off whatever is there.

That way I’m paying current expenses and I’m not beholden to the CC companies billing cycle or faced with any large lump-sum payments to make.