First Friday Finds: You Need A Budget (YNAB)

**When I find a great deal, a fun product, a great activity, or a motivational thought, I like to share it.  That’s the whole purpose of this blog really.  I want to share some insights that I’ve found helpful for living a richer and fuller life.  I thought it might be fun to expand the blog a bit and include some tangible discoveries in my life that have proved fruitful.  For now, I’ll feature these items on the first Friday of every month.  We shall call them First Friday Finds.**

I’m particularly excited to share this little gem, as I finally began to utilize it fully in my life.  It’s a budgeting tool called You Need A Budget (YNAB).

I was first introduced to YNAB by a friend of mine a few years back.  At the time, I had not mentally prepared myself for the daunting task of creating a budget.  I didn’t even know where to start.  In the beginning, I used the tool solely as an opportunity to keep track of the comings and goings of my money.  Sadly, I didn’t even look at the budget portion of the program.  It worked marvelously in keeping track of my checking and creating reports on my spending habits.

It wasn’t until recently that I began taking our finances more seriously.  Perhaps my blog is serving as a motivation even to myself.  I let myself begin.

I knew the premise of the program’s Four-Rule approach to budgeting, but I had yet to watch any of their classes on how to start the budgeting process.  I am happy to report that I got around to watching the Getting Started with YNAB video early last week.  It gave me the umph I needed to try my hand at setting a budget.

I had read bits and pieces of Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness.  I knew my husband had to be a part of the budgeting plan.  We sat down the night before pay day hit and hashed out where the money we would be getting HAD to go.  The process was quite painless.  The program does all the work for you.  We were done within the hour.  Lot of good all that procrastinating did me (repeat in sarcastic tone).

The best part is that it’s a livable budget.  You can change it when necessary.  The whole concept makes it less discouraging.  I don’t feel like I’ve failed at budgeting if I overspend in one category.  I just have to be aware that another category is going to lose out when I do so.  Then I easily adjust my budget with YNAB from there.

Add on that they have a mobile app and it makes it even better.  While out shopping, I can quickly look at my phone to see if I have money left in my budget for that item.  It was perfect for doing school supplies shopping this week.  I wasn’t mindlessly stocking my cart.  In fact, I even ended up under budget.  This was especially good since I had budgeted only $5 for another category purchase and ended up spending $7.30.  The establishment I was at only allowed cards to be used for purchases over $5 and all I had was my debit card.  It forced me to buy more to get the item I needed.  This is probably why Dave Ramsey works in cash.  But an unexpected expense got easily worked out with the switch of some money from my under-budget school supplies category.  The best part, I can add all my transactions on the go with the mobile app and it adjusts my budget before I even hit the next store.

I’m so tired of living paycheck to paycheck.  My husband makes good money but through a series of poor decisions, we have let our finances get the best of us.  I feel like this might be our chance of actually getting above water.  It’s changing our way of thinking and spending.  That’s a good sign.  Our willingness to stop doing the habit that’s not working and begin doing something that has been proven to work seems like a step in the right direction.

Check out the YNAB website.  They have a free trial demo.  I already have more money remaining in our checking than I normally would at this time during the pay period cycle.  Imagine how much freedom you could have if you could more readily rid yourself of debt.  Or better yet start making those saving accounts sky-rocket.

The ease of the program has almost made it, do I dare say, fun to budget.

I’m just beginning our journey to being debt-free and I’m excited!  I hope this program offers you the same hope for a healthier financial future.

Continue reading…
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