YNAB's 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!

Sign up here and read the post for more details!

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  • Day 29: Roll over!

    In the past month I've learned a lot about the Quick Budget options and I'm looking forward to February 1st to start looking at those options to budget. I am always looking at my budget now to make sure it's helping me to reach my short term and long term goals. I am always rolling with the punches. Life happens and my budget reflects that. Yesterday I found out that I have a stress fracture in my right foot, bone spurs on both heels, and mechanical problems in both feet. That means orthotics and new shoes. Insurance should cover the orthotics but I'll have to pay for the shoes and they are not cheap. Since I'm home most of the time I'm going to get the slippers first since they are $50. The other shoes are $90+. I have to get sneakers and shoes. Sigh. I'll have to save for them. My priority is still paying off my smallest debt. The shoes will have to wait. I can put the orthotics in my current sneakers even though they are two years old. I've tried to get replacements since these shoes fit me well and would work for the foot problems but New Balance does not make this model anymore. Anyway, rolling with the punches is my talent! LOL And I really am looking forward to the 1st since it's payday (usually it's the 3rd)!

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  • Day 30: Make A Date

    I am single but I keep a journal here and I get feedback that way. I also have two close friends that I can talk to about YNAB and finances so that is helpful too.

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  • DAY 29:

    A check of my budget for next month, what extra debt can I clear up this month, and updating my Personal Networth Spreadsheet are part of my end of the month routine. Been that way since I started YNAB

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  • DAY 30:

    Single and have just started dating again, things continue like they are and I might have to add Budget Dates to the social lineup.

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  • Day 29: The Ritualized Roll Over

    I like to do this with a warm cuppa and/or an adult beverage.

    I take a few minutes to review the month's spending, assess my budget set-up, and  tidy the category balances as the month rolls over.

    I think of it as polishing the rough edges off my balances before putting them away. I do this by making each roll over balance an increment of $5 with no cents.  If the entertainment balance is $37.89, I will either add $2.11 to make it $40, or I will move $2.89 out to make it $35. Some categories I strip out any leftover. I will usually move any leftover grocery $$ to my pantry/freezer category. The other extra bits are added to a small slush fund category that I can use for minor overspending.

    As I adjust, I take the time to assess my budget at the category level. Is the set up still working for me. How is the pacing on my spending? In this category that I keep spending down to zero and needing a bit more: am I overspending or underfunding? Do I foresee a larger spend ahead that I haven't adequately planned for? Is the category overflowing? Does it need a trim? Could I make do with less in this one in order to save more in a priority category?

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  • Still in the Challenge but haven't had time to post so here goes...

    Day 26: About those categories...

    I did a category overhaul earlier this month and it's working out fairly well.  I've added a couple for the higher than average spending that Spouse will be doing in the next few months so that at least some of the funds will be there.

    Day 27: A glimpse at reports...

    I look at reports to get an idea of how our spending fluctuates, usually from year to year.  I usually do this at the beginning of each year.  I do, however, look at the Net Worth report more often.  For the most part, it motivates me to keep moving forward in getting our debt paid off.

    Day 28: Cage match: Groceries v. Dining Out...

    This month I trimmed our Dining Out category by roughly $100.  Our grocery budget is not bad but even so, I started meal planning for dinners and that makes trips to the store less which adds up to savings in unnecessary purchases.  I'm anxious to see how it affects the grocery category by the end of next month.

    Day 29: Roll over!

    I just started trying this month, again, to fund true expense categories.  The amounts are small but they are there.  I've had to move excess funds in other categories to cover over-spending by Spouse but at least the money was there to move. 

    Day 30: Make a date.

    Nope, I'm on my own although not by choice. 

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  • So busy at work!

    Places... my phone for transactions at point of sale, iPad for fiddling with categories and adding bank transactions, laptop because I have to for reconciliation. My parents have Alexa. I think it’s invidious and untrustworthy tech and have no intention of inviting Amazon google or anyone else to set up a listening post in my home. So there! :)

    categories have changed because I set up a new saving vehicle for my son. Plus I’m adding things to the France Plan group as I think about it.

    eating out (delivery in) is a once a week treat in my house. I have always cooked and took up menu planning when my son was a baby, nearly ten years ago.

    the reports I started to use for the first time this month but it’s a strange month for me... I pay for long haul flights in January and a lot goes out.  

    Roll over.... I should be so lucky. My car blew up and has completely upset everything in the budget. My usual pattern has been to roll over unspent money but I’m going to start directing it to saving. When I finish paying for the car.

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  • Day 31 – Share YNAB, get free stuff.

    I put a referral on my Facebook page and my Twitter feed. I've been using YNAB for about 10 years and have been serious about budgeting off and on. I have been budgeting the YNAB way for 5 months now. I think that is the longest I have ever kept on track. I have always believed in the YNAB method/lifestyle. It has been my failings that made it "not work". Now I am following all Four Rules and staying focused on what my goals are. I know that I will be debt free again (and finally!) and my money will help me to live the life I want to live. I have learned a lot, even all these years into it, from this 34 day challenge.

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  • DAY 31 - Share YNAB

    I have made a YNAB budget for 2 friends that liked the idea and even took some classes with me. Neither lasted beyond 3 weeks. They praised it but never made the leap. I have mentioned it to others and will continue in the future. 

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  • Day 31: Share YNAB, get free stuff.

    I talk about YNAB to any and all family/friends that seem interested even a little bit.  Over the years, I've gotten 7 people to use it, 5 of which still do to this day.  This is one program that I will not stop recommending to people, free stuff or not.  

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  • DAY 32:

    I have had a template for at least a year. Have a Love/Hate relationship with it because of YNAB and the recurring date part. Several of my bills are on a true 30 day billing cycle so I have to adjust them at least every other month. Other than that I highly recommend everyone have one. I have long term things on mine, a subscription that comes around every 3 years, several that are every 2 years and then of course the yearly ones, plus all the monthly expenses. 

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  • Day 32: Create a budget template.

    I added due dates to category names and ordered them by that date a long time ago.  Up until the budget template article came out, I hadn't used goals on any consistent basis.  I've now got all my goals set up although many of them I've had to re-work.  Work in progress.

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  • Day 32: Create A Budget Template

    I attended about 10 webinars in January learning about setting up my budget, using Quick Budget, and Goals. I tried using the due date in the category title but it added to much visual clutter for me. I have all of my bills on auto pay and scheduled in YNAB so I can look there if I want to see when bills are coming up. Today was the first month that I intentionally used the Quick Budget feature with the Goals I set. It made it so much easier. Very few adjustments to make. It's helpful to have the Goals set up so I know where I stand with every category.

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  • Day 33:

    On the second full reading of the book, although certain sections I am actually in 5 readings. Seems like I catch something or things click the more I use YNA, just like retaking one of the classes. 

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      • lindsay_g
      • Beige_Banjo.3
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ruff16965 (05bd62cee897) I read the investment one and found it very useful. When I next see a free copy of the book I’ll get it.

      on Caring is Sharing... I do plan to give the book as a gift to a few people this year, not least my nieces who are graduating university and starting work :)

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    • lindsay_g Is it by Madisyn Boone or someone else. searching Caring is Sharing on the Kindle brought up a bunch of "interesting books". The majority that I would not let my niece read. 

      I was talking to one the moderators about a media suggestion category. I belong to BookBub and a couple of other email suggestion for free or low-cost books, get suggestions daily. At least a couple of times a week, financial books show up. Jessie's book was up 2 weeks ago followed by Meet the Frugalwoods.

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      • lindsay_g
      • Beige_Banjo.3
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Ruff16965 (05bd62cee897) I don't know Book Bub but I'll have a look. I've always been completely allergic to self-help type books, but I'm coming around to the financial ones, largely because it's an area where the advice is actually solid facts (not aspirations) and, to be honest, because YNAB has been such a game changer.

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    • lindsay_g I read a lot of books, I average about 3 a day and at any one time am reading up to 9 different books. A couple of those I have been reading and processing for a couple of years,

      The trick I have found with Self-Help books, is take what works for you and your situation. If you look at financial ones, there is YNAB's approach, there are ones that will give you formals that say you should spend X on housing, Y on transportation and so on. However if your great Aunt Millie left you a house and it is all fixed up and taxes are paid up, spending X on housing doesn't apply. Same as if you live in NYC, don't own a car and take public transit. However in that book is suggestions on getting out of debt that work for you. You take that and ignore the rest. :-D

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  • Day 33: Give This Book A Look

    I own the e-book and have read it. I use it as a resource that I can go back to when I have a question. I really understood YNAB better after reading the book. 

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  • Day 34: Win a free year of YNAB!

    I have really enjoyed this challenge. I'm sad that it's over but I did learn a lot. I am dedicated to making true, lasting change for the better with my finances. I've been using YNAB for about 10 years and for the first 9 1/2 years I used it mostly as a tracker and sometimes as a budget. I didn't really take the YNAB methodology, The Four Rules, on board until this past September. I had always kind of skated by regarding my finances and there is no skating do be done now. I have to be serious about paying off my debt and saving money to achieve the goals I have for my life. I have paid off my smallest balance debt and I saved $300. I only make $17,808/year so that's a big deal for me. I'll pay off my next smallest debt on March 1st. I'm in this for the long haul and it's going to take about 2-3 years to accomplish my financial goals, but with YNAB, the support team, the forum, and the entire YNAB community, I know I can do it.

    I used to do surveys for a living, everything from creating them, to gathering the data and turning that data into action. When I am given the opportunity to fill out a survey I typically will do it even without a give away. Winning a year of YNAB would be great but I'll use YNAB for the rest of my life no matter what. YNAB has become a part of my DNA now. I am in there every day even if it's just for a few minutes to check the budget or clear transactions or to reconcile my account. I do find that now that I am more serious about my finances and I'm using YNAB the way it was intended, as a budget and as a lifestyle, I have a lot less to do in YNAB, which makes life kind of boring. LOL I don't have to guess about how much money I have to do a certain thing. It's right there in YNAB. I know my limits and constraints now and, believe it or not, those limits and constraints are freeing. I did the challenges every day and I found them to be very helpful. I learned a lot and the challenge help solidify the things I've been doing since I got serious at the end of August. I suggested that the challenge be offered again in July because so many people come on board in January with the new year and resolutions and all that so it's great to give them this introduction with the 34 Day Challenge, but repeating the challenge or offering a slightly different one, in July would be great. For those who have been on board for the 6 months prior and before, it would be a good way to see if you're following your plan, and for new people it would give them an opportunity to get that introduction to YNAB sooner rather than later. I think about someone who joins YNAB in mid-February and they'd have to wait over 11 months for the challenge. Anyway, just a suggestion.

    Thanks for doing this challenge and for the opportunity to keep learning and growing with YNAB!

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      • QC
      • HaplessFinanceProfessional
      • Queenofcoin
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      internettie Congratulations on your progress!  You’re right, a small income makes small steps huge!

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      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      QC thank you! A small income does make small steps huge!

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  • I just signed up. Am I behind? Do I need to do stuff like I see in this thread?

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    • Hi Ben K. !

      The challenge kicked off at the beginning of January, and the last day/email was today. You can visit this page, to see the details, work through the prompts and post your progress here, if you'd like!

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      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Nicole at YNAB whoa, I better wait, sound like too much this late. Thanks for offering a late entry. 

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  • The challenge has been a useful review and reminder. But the best feature was the conversations we’ve had on this thread, and the YNAB users I now feel on nodding acquaintance wth, who I hadn’t met before. See you all soon on another thread everyone!! 😚

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  • Thanks so much to each and every one of you for participating in this challenge! I had the best time getting to know you all a little more :)

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    • Veronica at YNAB Thank you for shepherding us through this. I really enjoyed it and learned several new things. Now to keep incorporating them into my routines. 

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