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!
YNAB 34-Day Challenge - Day 8: Check Your Budget, First
I'm a day behind with the challenge because I ended up in the ER on the 7th and had an emergency appendectomy around 3am on the 8th. I was inpatient until earlier today. I'm staying with my best friend for a few days since I live alone. She loves taking care of me. <3
I got serious about my budget at the end of August 2018. Since then I have been checking my budget categories before spending instead of looking at the amorphous bank category balance and just spending. It's less stressful to know exactly where I stand with categories and know if I need to move money around before I try to spend it or determine that I don't have enough in the category to spend.
I've had the app since it came out and I do use it when I'm out to check category balances to see if I have enough to do what I want to do spending wise.
Knowing how much is in each category helps inform me on what choices and options I have. Since doing this I have been able to pay off my smallest balance debt and save $300.
YNAB 34-Day Challenge - Day 9: Schedule A Transaction
I schedule all of my transactions so I don't have to worry about missing a deposit or payment. I'm too looped on the pain med to count up how many I have. LOL It's between 15-20 I think. I schedule all of my non-monthly bills too. Those are the ones I'd be more apt to forget so they definitely get scheduled. I did read the blog post just to make sure I wasn't missing any tips or tricks for scheduling transactions.
I've got some catching up to do!
Day 7: Well, I'm in this Support Forum most everyday! Getting involved in people and rallying around shared goals brings me joy. I am part of the Facebook Fans group, but I don't participate. I just love to see the type of community we have surrounding YNAB and the lengths everyone will go to help someone out.
Day 8: Checking my budget categories instead of my account balance has become second nature over the past few years. I often find myself just staring at my budget - I think I'm hoping for more dollars to appear so I can go budget them!
Day 9: For some reason, my car insurance premium hadn't been setup as a Scheduled Transaction and every time I thought about it, I put off doing it until later. So, I set that up as a recurring transaction and also my Amazon Prime membership that I always seems to forget 🙈
Day 10: I've been reading SO much about habits and the teeny tiny ways we can train our brains to remember them. I think I'm going to see if my library has the Atomic Habits book (or another if you all have different recommendations?). I've been reading every single night for the last two weeks and I think this would be a great one to start to build some more good habits.
Day 10: Start a new habit.
I'm not much of a spender. I don't like shopping of any kind. Still, I want to make a habit of being more intentional about any purchases I do want to make. How necessary is it and why? What category would it come from? Are the funds available? How would the budget be impacted if I move money? I want to actively consider these things and others before making that purchase.
YNAB 34-Day Challenge - Day 10: Start A New Habit
I read the 5-Minute Fix blog post.
I read Actively Managing Your Budget Help Guide.
I signed up for Your Budget Routine live calls for tomorrow.
I have been using YNAB for at least 9 years.
I am in the habit of checking YNAB daily, importing transactions daily or whenever they hit YNAB, and doing a reconciliation daily. I also review my budget at least weekly to make sure I'm on top of each category. I typically enter transactions at the time I make a purchase on the mobile app or when I get home. I do not let receipts or transactions pile up. Habits are what make YNAB work for me!
YNAB 34-Day Challenge - Day 11: Harvest Your Dreams
I read the blog and watched the video about fun money.
I do find that having at least some fun money makes it possible for me to stick to my budgete.
I really don't like the phrase: Wish Farm. Ew. LOL For some reason it just does no sit right with me. I won't discount it outright but I may try to come up with a different term or not use a term at all but instead use the category names for the big things I want to save for (Travel Fund, Electronic Device Replacement Fund).
I read the blog post Welcome to the Wish Farm!
One of the things I got from the blog post was that maybe I will add all of my wish list stuff that's currently residing on my Amazon wish list to YNAB under whatever it is I might call that Group Category so it's all in one place and I can see how much money I'm looking at spending and on what.
I also realized that my electronics replacement fund is not a wish but an inevitable expense. I think the portion of my travel fund that I need in case of an emergency with my sister should be an inevitable expense also but the part of my travel fund that is for fun travel would be part of the wish stuff.
I already prioritize my wish list on Amazon so I could easily transfer that to YNAB.
After reading the article I'm so so put off by the phrase Wish Farm but it's still not my favorite.
I will go ahead today and add my wish list items that are on Amazon to YNAB. I will have a category group for the top 3 things I'm saving for right now out of the wish list. I will move electronic devices replacement fund out of the wish list as well as emergency travel but put fun travel on the wish list. I'll work on that and see how it goes.
Day 11: Harvest your dreams
While I like the concept of a Wish Farm or something similar, it's not really a thing for me. Right now, I'm focused on paying off our credit cards as soon as possible, working on getting rid of a car loan and funding categories to keep us out of debt. With Spouse's unplanned spending on top of that, setting aside funds for "wishes" really isn't feasible. Someday, maybe.
Today was more of a refresher, already have a budget routine very close to what was described. Did think about if there was anything that I could incorporate into mine.
Reread and double checked my Wish Farm. I have had one for about 3 months, but since I am focusing on buying stuff for my new place and upcoming move and wiping out debt I have not done anything with it. I do budget me some fun money each month so it paying my bills and debts is not like a very strict diet.
YNAB 34-Day Challenge -Day 12 - Sign up for a weekly dose of YNAB
I have been getting the Weekly Roundup for quite a while and I enjoy it. I like the weekly reminder of keeping up to date with my budget and the informational articles. I like the Whiteboard Wednesday videos. They are short but always have good information.
Catching up to the rest of you.
Day 10: Start a New Habit: Yes. I definitely do this. I think it's an essential component in my current success. I have a daily check in with my budget. It's part of my ritual, so much so that if I'm away from home for an extended period of time, I feel like something is missing.
Day 11: Harvest Your Dreams: I'll admit to being reluctant on this one. I don't want to fill my budget screen with empty categories, but that doesn't mean I don't value the wishing or dreaming. There is something powerful about writing it down too. I will list a few wishes in the notes sections of some categories -- furnishings, electronics, for example. Long before YNAB, I started to clip out some of my wanna-buys and tape them to the inside of one of my kitchen cupboards. I still do that. When I was budgeting on paper, those goals/wishes kept me on course.
Day 12: Weekly Dose of YNAB: Okay, I signed up.
Day 12: Sign up for a weekly dose of YNAB.
I've been getting my weekly dose for a while. Good stuff.
Day 13: Category madness!
I re-worked my categories at the beginning of this month. I expanded some categories, combined others, and even eliminated (hid) some. I'm pretty happy with it but emojis would be kinda fun, I think. Keyboard icon on system tray? What's that? lol No biggie, though.
Day 13: Category Madness.
I'm a renter and a single, which affects the kind and number of categories I need/use.
I have 4 master categories and 37sub categories. I tend to lump related expenses into the same category wherever possible: rent and all utilities in one, all annual car renewal expenses in another, all subscriptions in one (with a specific list, amount, and date due in the notes). But, as a control freak, I will also break out other subcategories for clarity. My emergency fund, for example, is really a list of true expenses with no specific date or known amount. Rather than one big lump sum, I've broken it out, described in detail in this post in the savings challenge.
I have 5 giving categories and 4 food categories, broken out deliberately in order to do three things simultaneously: limit spending, reserve funds for a specific expense(s), and pace my spending to a specific time frame. I've thought about combining the separate food ones and the separate giving ones to eliminate 7 categories. The notion of additional simplification is certainly tempting. I wonder if I've developed enough routine and discipline to carry through without as much control, but then I get scared thinking that those kind of thoughts are surely the slippery slope to financial chaos. I guess I value both the clarity and control of the current structure. I certainly cannot argue with the results I've enjoyed using YNAB.
I do think it's a very valuable exercise to review the budget structure for usefulness and be open to changing it on a regular basis. I tend to do this in January or whenever a significant life change alters my life.
Day 13 - Category Madness
Are there any categories you can combine? I might combine the two Annual Eye Exam categories (Opto Map & glasses). I have them separate because I know I will have the Opto Map done (instead of dilation)
Are there any categories you should add or remove? I read the blog post "The Dunkin Donuts Clause". I have been using YNAB for about 10 years. I am also changing my categories. Sometimes I need more info on something specific so it will get a category. Once I have the info I need I can remove that category or I can add it in to another category. New things come up that need a category and some things are no longer valid and they need to go.
Would you care for flair? Try emojis. I have tried emojis in the past. I may look into using them again if it makes sense and helps me to budget. I read the blog post on emojis.
And, how about those names? I read the "Epic Vacation" blog post. My category names are fairly bland right now. I do get creative with category names when I need motivation.
Day 14 - Go On A Spending Fast
This is actually hard for me to wrap my head around. LOL I get what a spending fast is but I'm trying to figure out how I would incorporate it. I could do a total spending fast - only spending on groceries, and keeping that to a minimum, laundry, (already have all my quarters) and any OTC medicine I might need (none right now but I just had an emergency appendectomy a week ago so yeah there's that lol) - for a week? Or I could do a fast on spending money on eating out and convenience store stops for 5 days? Or I could do a one day spending fast - today - spending on absolutely nothing (except a medical emergency necessity, I won't be crazy lol). It's hard because I already planned on walking over to the dollar store today to see if they have a few things from my grocery/shopping list. It makes me anxious to think about not being able to do that. Hmm. Maybe that's something to think about then. There is not one thing on that list that I absolutely need today. I also schedule my errands around my homecare worker being here and she will be here tomorrow and on Friday. Maybe I can do a complete spending fast (I don't really need any groceries right away) until Friday. Wow! It's amazing how anxious this is making me. LOL The only thing I absolutely need tomorrow is an ink cartridge but it will be a replacement for one that did not work so there will be no cost. Whew, I'm really having a hard time with this. That certainly tells me something. Okay, I am going to commit to a complete spending fast until Friday. I have my quarters for laundry so I don't see that as spending and I'm not going to go crazy washing and drying clothes. LOL No spending at all until Friday, January 18th! I'm pretty sure there is a valuable lesson to be learned here.