As your YNAB journey changes over time you may find you want to add different types of accounts such as credit cards, investments, and mortgages.
Right now It is not possible to change a YNAB budgeting account into a tracking account. However, there are some workarounds you can try to minimize data lost and still get the same end result.
I’ve discovered these workarounds myself having faced the same frustration with YNAB on more than one occasion. Hopefully, it’s something YNAB look to implement in the future.
Create A New Account & Transfer Your Category Information
Depending on the number of transactions in the account you’d like to move you may want to create a new account.
To do this simply open a new tracking account with a starting balance of zero. Then, go back to your original account and select all the transactions.
Click the edit button at the top of the page and click ‘move to account’. From here you should be able to select the new tracking account you’ve just created. Then you’ll want to go back and delete the old original budget account.
The major flaw in this method is that the transactions in the original account being transferred will then create a massive hole in your budget.
You’ll have to go back then to fix your budget categories to reconcile the numbers back to what they were previously – which is why I suggested this method is only suited to accounts with a small number of transactions.
Create A New Account Without Transfering Old Information
If you have a large account with a lot of historical transactions the method above can seem impossible. In this case you may want to try a slightly more refined approach.
Begin by creating your new tracking account with your zero balance. Then move the money from your current account (which you plan to close within your YNAB budget) over to your new tracking account budget.
This prevents money from randomly disappearing and reappearing. Instead, it will show a log of how that money moved.
Then simply close your original budget account.
Be sure you don’t delete the account as this will cause the same problem as above and leave you with some rather large holes in your budget.
This method will, however, prevent you from seeing any historical data in the reporting section or in the accounts section without reopening that account within the YNAB app.
How To Undo Changes In YNAB
If you come into any issues when following either of the following tutorials then use the ‘undo’ button at the top right-hand side of the screen to revert backward. Repeat this process until you’re at a stage you can work from once again.
If the undo button is greyed out (as in the image) then you will no longer be able to go back as YNAB has no historical data from this account. Sadly, they also seem to have no back-up access to previously saved budgets.
How To Make A Copy Of A Budget On YNAB
I therefore recommend making an entire copy of your budget on YNAB before making a major change like this so you have an original copy either to revert to or to work from when categorising transactions.
To make a backup copy of your budget on YNAB simply export your transactional data into a file and then select ‘Make A Fresh Start’. This will load your categories and accounts but not populate them with data.
You can then use data from your exported files to import the transactions and proceed as normal. Be sure to label your new budget with something so you can tell the difference between your old budget and your new budget (I speak from experience).