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YNAB – You Need a Budget!

Posted Jan 10 2010 7:16pm

What does budgeting have to do with birth?   Certainly if you are planning a baby, your budget will change.  :)   But really I am mostly posting about this because I love this new product I found!

I have always been a big fan of Quicken. I have used it since we were first married almost 15 years ago.  I am kind of crazy about it.  I could tell you how much we spend on kleenex each year.  I would have to really search to figure it out, but I do put it in the memo line.  I say this to let you know I am not really a normal person.  ;)

So Rob and I have always been pretty good about our money.  When we were both working we lived off of his salary and saved what I earned.  This helped us in 2 ways:  1.  I knew I wanted to stay at home when we had kids and we figured if we never got used to living on two salary’s it wouldn’t be a sacrifice for me to stay home.  2.  We had money saved for a down payment for a house when we were ready to buy one.

We have only gotten loans for cars and our house.  Other than that we pay cash.  (Well, we charge things to get the miles, but we pay off our credit card in full each month.)  Quicken was a great way to see our Net Worth grow and to see how we were spending our money.  The thing I didn’t like about Quicken is it has built in obsolescence.  You have to buy a new program every 3 years in order to continue downloading information from your bank.  That really drives me crazy.  I am a saver and it is such a waste to have to buy something new, when the old thing SHOULD work.

So, when Quicken became obsolete for me this year, I was researching my choices.  The new Quicken had horrible reviews and I didn’t want to buy it and need to buy a new one in 3 years.  What were my other choices?  What was my goal?  I wanted to see where my money was going and how much money we had.  There were a lot of free online choices for tracking how much money I had.    But they didn’t have what I was looking for in tracking where my money was going.

Then I found YNAB – You Need a Budget. The free 7 day trial made it worth it to try.  It created this whole new way of thinking for me too.  It wasn’t like Quicken, where I could see where my money went, instead it helped me think about where my money was GOING!  I had tried budgeting before, but it wasn’t really fun.  But with YNAB it is all built in, it is intuitive and fun to me.  (Of course I am a little special as mentioned before.  I sometimes create excel spreadsheets just for fun.)

There is also a money management mentality.   4 Rules to help you succeed with money.

  1. Stop living paycheck to paycheck (Rob and I already had this one down, but still SO important to do.)  The great thing is, with YNAB you figure out how to do that.
  2. Give every dollar a JOB!   I loved this part.  This was new to me and very helpful.
  3. Save for a rainy day.   While we are good with money and always had a buffer in savings. It was always a bit of a shock to get our Car Insurance Bill of $800 every year.  Luckily it didn’t stress me out, because we had a nice buffer, but it still was a shocker.  Well now I have $75 going every month into the car insurance category, waiting there for that bill next Feb.  So it won’t be a shocker at all.
  4. Roll with the punches.  When you overspend in a category, it keeps you honest.  ;)   Eating out is our biggest weakness.

One thing I LOVE is I used to do a monthly report with Quicken, but I would have to download it and create an Excel spreadsheet to make it work right.  It was time consuming and not totally helpful, because the month was over by then.  With YNAB I print our budget each week after downloading things from our banks and credit card.  This takes a few minutes each week to download and 1 minute to print the report.  Then Rob and I look at it and review and discuss anything that has popped up and adjust for the month.  EASY.  Much easier than the way I used to do it.

I get tips via e-mail from YNAB and they have been helping me too!

So if one of your goals this year is to be better about your money, check into YNAB!

Enjoy.  :)

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