YNAB's 2019 34-Day Challenge!
The YNAB 34-Day Challenge starts tomorrow! For anyone interested in joining in, let's keep track of our progress through this thread :)
You'll get a daily prompt to take a small action for your budget that should set you up for the best year yet. At the end of the challenge, someone will walk away with a full free year of YNAB, too!
Day 23: A Peek At Your Net Worth
I don't own a car or a retirement account or stocks or a home. I have just my personal belongings and my debt. My net worth is negative and has been for years. None of that dissuades me from knowing that I will get out of debt and I will have a positive net worth at some point.
As to keeping track of those things, if I had them I would be tracking them because I am just that geeky!
Day 24: Throw Down
Is it bad form if I aim to cut down a category that isn't mine?! 😉
DH dines out for lunch at work every once in a while, but he works two minutes down the street from our house. I purchased some glass tupperware recently and I've been making a little extra dinner to toss into those for lunch the next day. We've always been terrible at eating leftovers, but it has felt like a really practical way to cut down on his lunch category.
Veronica at YNAB said:
Is it bad form if I aim to cut down a category that isn't mine?! 😉
Ha! That depends. Does he know he is the subject of an experiment and being used to fulfill YOUR challenge tasks? And what's for lunch? I'm guessing that sending him off with a coconut and a hammer is not a reasonable option no matter how much it saves. 🙂
Day 24: A seven-day throw down starts now
I guess it's time to walk the talk on cutting back on food spending and really commiting to eating down the pantry/freezer this year. I was writing out my meal plan and shopping list today, and the list was heavily influenced by great deals in the grocery flyers, but these great savings are all on products I don't actually need right now and won't need for months. I crossed out everything that is not essential, leaving 9 items on my shopping list (mostly fresh produce).
If my grocery trip this Saturday exceeds $25, I'll be very surprised.
Day 24: A seven-day throw down starts now
I have been cutting back for a couple months now so I can pay off my smallest balance debt. I only make $1484/month so paying over $200/month extra on this debt is not easy but so worth it. I will have it paid off by March 1st! I cut groceries (from $200/mo to $160/mo), spending money (from $40/month to as low as I can go), transportation (not buying a bus pass until I actually need one), no hair color at the salon, and I have cut back on buying the things I want for my apartment to finally get settled in after living here for a year. My goal for the next week is to not WAM from any category for spending money and to only use the $9 I have left for groceries (I have plenty of food on hand). Payday is the 1st.
All immediate obligations, true expenses, quality of life expenses and debt payments are budgeted for the month.
I reached my goal for all the categories, They are all green and grey! Looks wonderful!!!
I have another paycheck on 30th of the month. I'll budget the entire payment to February.
It is toooo much fun! I feel the freedom! For the first time in my life, money doesn't control me, I control the money!!!
Day 25: Budget In All Of The Places
I use the web app & the iPhone app every single day. I use the iPad app once in a while. I was excited to see that I have YNAB on my Apple Watch. I can easily check my category budget balances while I'm out with just a quick look at my wrist. I don't have an Android device or Alexa. I love YNAB and use it all the time. Whatever way is the best at the time is the way I'll use it!
Been MIA for a few days, okay 4 of them. Between taking a friend to the doctor, not sleeping for 2 days a cold and a migraine did not feel like getting online. Did read the email ever day and think about it.
Never been a big fan of meal planning. Work more off of having a large supply of basics that can go several directions. Pound of hamburger, tacos, meatloaf, spaghetti sauce, ect, ect. Same with chicken. Always keep tortillas in the fridge, seasonal veggies, onions and potatoes. Guess I learned a lot from my mom, after a move it takes a bit to build up my pantry, but besides milk, bread, eggs I can live off the pantry for at least 3 months.
Been keeping track of my net-worth on a spread sheet since I started YNAB. It is up about 10K in the past 20 months. The majority of that is by clearing debt and collections off my record.
Not sure how this is any different than a spending fast. Got gas yesterday when I took my parents puppy to the dog park. Have no plans to go anywhere or spend anything.
Use both the web and phone app. Don't have an Apple watch or Alexa, although the more I hear about Alexa I might buy her. After the 7-Day Throw Down. :-D
Day 25: Buget in all the places
This one is fun. Thanks to YNAB, I was finally able to pull the trigger on my first smart phone purchase just two months ago. I've been enjoying many features I've never had access to before on my old flip phone. Of course, that means I can now have YNAB on the fly. I haven't gotten into the habit of entering at point of purchase yet, but sometimes I get it done in the car or while out and about. It's great to be able to check on a category balance rather than have to rely on my memory.
Still not convinced about Alexa. While the notion is appealing in a Star Trek kind of way, it also has just enough of an Orwellian vibe that it triggers a little paranoia.
Day 24: A seven day throw-down starts now.
This! The budget hasn't been completely blown, there's food in the fridge/pantry, and all the bills have been paid. Since I'm not a big spender anyway, I'm going to use this time for a spending fast. I know Spouse will continue to spend but I'm pretty sure I can go without doing so for a week so I'm going to put myself to the test.
Day 25:Budget in all of the places.
I use desktop and mobile for budgeting, mobile mainly for entering transactions at POS and checking on category balances. Alexa is not for me.
Day 26: About Those Categories...
I am always changing category names! Life changes, so category names need to change too. I change my category group names once in a while too. One of the things that jumped out at me from the blog posts was "Save in specific categories, spend in general ones". I love that. I will definitely keep that in mind as I look at my categories. I like my categories labels to be as descriptive as they can be without being convoluted. They are typically straightforward.
Joined 3 webinars today.
- Your Budget Routine
- Master Credit Cards with your Budget
- Credit Card Overspending
Master Credit Cards with your Budget and Credit Card Overspending was by far the most useful webinars I joined so far. Credit Cards were confusing me before I watched the webinars. But now it is all under my control. I know how it works!!!
Everything is under control!
It is a big day for me. I have changed my YNAB categories drastically. I was using the default category groups. Immediate expenses, True expenses and so on. When I was going through my reports, immediate obligations has 50% of my spendings. So reporting wasn't that useful.
Today, I got rid of immediate obligations and separated its categories in three new category groups.
Now my reporting looks way better and detailed the way I wanted it to be.
I am glad I started YNAB with the default category groups, It is simple and easy to learn the rules of YNAB with the default setting. Once you learn how YNAB works, You can start being creative. YNAB allows you to customise the way you wish.
All in all pretty happy with my categories. I tweak them every couple of months. I have several that after there use is down will be hidden away. With a move coming up and furnishing a new place, things that without that would be in the household category are there so not to squee things.
I look at reports every so often, for me I don't find them that useful. Yes, they give you the big picture and I can filter to certain categories. I find just going to the register and filtering down is better for me.
Day 28 – Cage match: groceries v. dining out …
I took a deep dive on my grocery and dining out spending over the past 4 months. I went from an average monthly spending of $231 on groceries to now spending $160/month on groceries. My dining out was crazy! I was eating out anywhere from 5-20 times a month! In December I got it down to 3 times and this month I have eaten out just once. I use my spending money if I eat out, not grocery money like I was doing before. I also rarely go to the convenience store to get snacks. That saves quite a bit. Between all three areas - groceries, dining out, convenience store stops - I have cut back quite a bit. I'm using that money to pay off my debt. I'm fine with not eating out all the time and not going to the convenience store daily. I still struggle a bit with groceries. I am trying to eat what I have on hand before I buy more stuff but it's hard. I did my food inventory the other day and I have plenty of food here. I am out of eggs and I'm low on milk but I can do without both if needed. I'm cooking more stuff at home. I had a craving to go out to eat this weekend so instead I made homemade fried rice and egg drop soup. I also made homemade biscuits and blueberry muffins from a packaged mix that I had. I need to use up my bananas too. I will make a smoothie this morning. I can make banana bread if I need to. I may just do that. Banana bread sounds good. So, eating at home and staying away from the convenience store is helping me to budget my money to debt and paying off debt is my highest priority right now.
No eating out at all so far this month and my grocery bill is right at $150 with 3 days left in the month. So right on budget,
I really don't see a place to trim, I mean if I went total store brands I could cut some, but I have found that I don't like the taste of the things I have not switched over on.
Day 25: All the Places
I use YNAB in all the places except Alexa - still haven't bought one as my kids think she'll help them with their homework 🤷🏼♀️
Day 26: Categories
I can group in with those of you who are constantly rearranging and renaming categories! I'm most specific in my savings categories, which is a huge change from my mentality just a few years ago, when I just wanted one big Savings number.
Day 27: Reports
I'm a little obsessive over reports... I love updating my tracking accounts so I can get an accurate picture of our Net Worth report. And I do spend a lot of time peeking at the Income vs. Expense report to try and do a little better each month on that total Net Income on the bottom. I'm tracking our Age of Money right now through the mobile app, but I'm always surprised at how little I look at our Spending report. I maybe look at it quarterly and then at tax time. Numbers in general, and the visual change in the other reports are definitely my thing!
Day 28: Dining vs. Groceries
This month, we've stayed pretty much on target for groceries. We're a medium-sized family and I include household items and three school lunches in there. We did go over on our restaurant budget this month (though, not as badly as we did last month!) and I know we can reign that in in February. I can't think of anything else we should separate to track for now. We track my husband's work lunches separately, because we felt it didn't belong in a category with restaurants.
Day 26: Category Review - that's one of the pleasures of YNAB: revising and reorganizing categories to fit your reality.
Day 27: Reports - I use all the reports regularly to review spending trends and see if any patterns need attention. In 2016 during my debt smackdown phase, I relied heavily on the NetWorth report to give me comfort and show my success.
Day 28: Groceries vs Dining Out: January groceries: $321.85 vs dining out: $17.25 -- this month I overspent by about $100 on pantry/freezer items, after putting myself on a no-buy status. Too many good deals on foods I will definitely eat anyway. My official food fight (or no-buy) begins in February.