Friday, February 10, 2012

You Need A Budget.....SERIOUSLY!!!! (aka YNAB)

I definitely need a budget. Why didn't I think I did before? I mean, I think I sort of knew that I should have one. But I never realized how much of a difference it could make. And it's made a HUGE difference already!

Remember this post? And the post I linked to in that post? So we started with NeoBudget. And we really loved it. But we weren't making the dent we wanted to be making in our debt. I recently discovered YNAB. YNAB and I got off to a rocky start. I loved NeoBudget. I was comfortable with NeoBudget. I understood it and knew where everything was and how it all worked.

YNAB was a little more complicated and I didn't want complicated. I wanted comfortable. But I kept hearing about all these things. So I gave in and signed up for the free trial. I took the live web classes. And then I was in love. As in smitten kitten.

See, with NeoBudget we were budgeting for our major bills and then the rest of our income would sit in our "Unallocated Envelope" and we would spend it on whatever we wanted. We were paying off some debt. We were saving some. But we were blowing a lot. And we were still living paycheck to paycheck.

I'm not even through our 34 day trial with YNAB yet. It's still the beginning-ish of February. And already, since January I have paid off $1,621.65 in debt. On top of that we have saved $2,445.58! That's right! In 41 DAYS!!!! And here's the kicker: We haven't even received our tax refund yet!!

And that's while paying ALL of our bills and still having fun! We've gone out to eat (much less than we used to, but still enjoyed eating out on occasion), rented movies, done things together as a family, and gone out for dates, etc. We're still living! We're just doing it on a smaller scale, while saving and paying down debt on a much, much LARGER scale!

I think my favorite thing about YNAB right now is their "Rule #4: Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck". YNAB has 4 basic rules/principles for budgeting. #1, Give every dollar a job. #2, Save for a rainy day. #3, Roll with the punches. And #4, Stop living paycheck to paycheck. With the last rule, YNAB helps you to create a "buffer" in your budget so that you're living off of last month's income this month and this month's income will just be hanging out and ready to use next month.

We haven't quite reached that point yet. But we're working on it and will be there this month. Lucky timing has allowed us to use our tax refund to establish our buffer. That means no more seeing super tiny numbers in the checking account at the end of the month and hoping that I can make them stretch until the next paycheck comes. What a huge relief that will be?!

Anyway, I'm sold. Between YNAB and Dave Ramsey, we're really learning a lot about money. It has completely changed my attitude. I don't think about our accounts or finances and grimace anymore. I'm excited to check the bank balance and see what's cleared, and then check it all in my budget. I'm not anxiously waiting for payday so that I can go grocery shopping or pay bills; I'm waiting for payday so I can play with my budget and see how far I can stretch our dollars!

You can bet I'll be purchasing YNAB when my trial expires. Sure NeoBudget was good to us while it lasted. Like an old relationship, we learned a lot about ourselves from it. And it set us up for an even better relationship now. So we're grateful. But we're also super happy to have found YNAB!!

Sorry about my crazy cheesiness. I'm just that excited about this stuff. Also, no I haven't been compensated in any way by any of these companies. I'm just that excited about this stuff. Have to share! Although, saving that much and paying that much in debt is compensation enough for me!!


aubrey said...

So cool! I really like what I've seen of YNAB after poking around the website a bit.

Have you ever used Mint? I started using it a while back and *LOVE* it. Its free, but I'm interested in knowing what the differences are between it and YNAB...whats the same, better, worse, etc. I am in the same place as you--we make enough money to live comfortably and do (mostly) what we please, but I KNOW I can be putting our money to better work for us. Seeing how much we made at the end of the year sometimes makes me a little sick!

Laura said...

The thing I really like about this is that you can't "steal" from your next paycheck. This makes you accountable for EVERY dollar you spend. I probably need that!

Sara said...

I use "Mint," but I guess I'd be open to a free trial. Thanks for the suggestion. I just love managing money.

Hannah and Benjamin Aeby said...

I am going through and catching up on things but this YNAB is EXACTLY what I needed. Budgets seemed overwhelming and too difficult for both Ben and I. I have started the free trial and in one sitting I feel so much better. I can't wait to actually follow a budget. It makes me feel so, so, so... responsible. Ben and I both cannot wait to be rid of our debt!