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 14: Go on a Spending Fast

    Oh-Em-Gee, yes!  I did this early on, and actually experienced physical symptoms of withdrawal from not being able to spend or shop.  I became fidgety and anxious. I didn't know what to do to entertain myself without spending money.  Very valuable exercise for me.  I had to do a complete cold turkey when it came to online spending, coffee shop spending, hobby supplies spending, etc.  It took me months to deal with the nervous agitation from shifting my thinking and attention.  Hard, yes, but definitely necessary.  Years later, I still have to be vigilant and keep an eye on my budget in order to nip robo-spending in the bud when it sprouts.

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    • HappyDance I find this too! It's almost like as soon as you commit to it, it's all you can think about. That's just how I feel about dieting in general, too 😭 

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  • I can easily go days without spending from my pocket, so to speak, but bills and subscriptions go out automatically. Do they count?

    I’m more of a problem binge-spender. I find it easy to walk on by, but if I start picking things up then I find it hard to stop.

    Mostly I just avoid shops because I know I can’t trust myself. :|

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    • lindsay_g Ah, I like the method of just avoiding places that cause you to spend unnecessarily. I think it can be a fast from whatever you choose - maybe even just a category or only discretionary spending?

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  • Day 11: Harvest Your Dreams

    DH and I created a Wish Farm about six months ago and filled it up with many, many things we wanted to save for. It came in handy for both of us when we were asked what the other wanted for Christmas. When we sat down to do our budget this year, we did opt to remove those categories, mostly because our priority tends to be within the vacation categories and it felt distracting to have all these categories that we weren't super excited to fund. 

    Day 12 Complete!

    Day 13: Category Madness

    The process of organizing (and reorganizing) my categories brings me joy. I've lately used the method of using specific category names for my vacation categories (instead of Vacation, change the Visit Family 2019) and it's a nice reminder that we have plans already in the works.

    Day 14: Spending Fast

    Last year, I aimed to do a book fast for the entire year. I did pretty well and only bought two books - I just read the books I had in my shelves that I hadn't read yet! 

    It always feels like the Restaurant category is where my family can make the biggest dent. A literal fast in two ways 😂 So far, we've only spent $5.40 on dining out in January and I know that makes a huge difference to our savings categories (there's 5 of us and we can easily drop a couple hundred $$ per month). SO, I'd like to spend no additional money on dining out this month. A little more preparation will be the key for me. 

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    • Veronica at YNAB If you have an e-reader, Bookbub sends out a list of free and lost cost books each day.  Customizable and across multiple platforms.

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    • Ruff16965 ooh, that's helpful! I have a really old Nook, but it works just fine. I'll give that a try

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    • Veronica at YNAB Or if you have any kind of Android or Apple tablet both stores have the Kindle and Nook apps, priced right. Free, they try to get you with the books.

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  • Day 15: Mindfulness Exercise

    No need for me to stop the presses today. I don't sync to my accounts and only do manual entry. 

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  • I would suggest that if we do this again the item on Day 14, be moved to sooner. Day 13 was a spending fast, now you want us to manually enter a transaction, That means spending. :-D 

     

    DAY 14: 96.33% of my entries are manual,  I use direct import as a backup, usually for my cell phone bill that seems to fluctuate about $0.06 a month and the occasional transaction that slips through the cracks. Normal for me is to enter anything in the truck after a purchase and before I go anywhere with the mobil app or when I get home at the end of a shopping trip, desktop. 

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    • Ruff16965 Such a great point! I sent your feedback over to our team.

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  • DAY 13 - Revisited:  There is a great book that I picked up on Amazon called the "No Spend Challenge Handbook" well worth the $3.99 or it is free to borrow for Kindle Unlimited users. With me doing the spending fast for the rest of the week, might be worth the refresher. 

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  • Day 15: Mindfulness

    I have the tendency to enter every transaction manually and use Direct Import as a backup to know what's cleared. I love using the Geo Payees on the mobile app for entering transactions when I go to the same places often!

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  • I tried the automatic importing at the start but switched to manual almost straight away.  Like Ruff16965 I enter everything in the truck straight after. Although my ‘truck’ is actually a crummy old Nissan Maxima. But you get the idea. :)

     I am still pondering the fast. It ought to be delivered food, but I only get that once a week, and my ‘No cook’ night is kind of precious (it’s more about the no washing-up part really),

    Today I was caught out by another sneaky auto-renewal and I’m going to contact them tomorrow and try for a refund.

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    • lindsay_g Paper plates, plastic utensils, a casserole or frozen lasuange?

      Nothing wrong with old vehicles. My truck is a 26 year old Dodge Dakota, has taken me across this country and back a couple of times, runs good and I can work on it with an automotive degree.

      Reply Like
  • Day 15: Practice A Minute of Mindfulness

    I manually enter ALL of my transactions. I do have accounts linked but that is more of a backup. I enter transactions on the web app and the mobile app. I enter transactions on the mobile app on the go whenever possible. If I don't enter it while I am out, I put all my receipts in my wallet, take them out of my wallet as soon as I get home, and I put the receipts next to my laptop and enter them typically same day (usually within an hour of getting home). This practice keeps me up to date and I don't often miss a transaction. Instead of using the crumpled paper technique, I will draw a line through the receipt or fold it in half and put it in a different section of my wallet which alerts me that I have entered that/those receipts. I have Geo Payees activated but I haven't been using it. I will make an effort going forward to use it.

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  • Day 16: Dance Break

    aka....we only wrote out 30 challenges and January has 31 days?  😄

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    • HappyDance Sometimes you need a break between sprints! 😉

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    • HappyDance I thought this was a 34 Day Challenge, so if you only wrote 30, you will be 3 short at the end after today's/yesterday since it is 330AM just haven't slept yet.

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      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 10 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Ruff16965 (05bd62cee897) 

      Oh-Ho! 😄  You got me.  I got this challenge confused with the Apartment Therapy challenge (which is only January).

      More coffee!  I need more coffee!

      Reply Like 1
    • HappyDance Apartment Therapy Challenge? Did not see that one.

      Reply Like
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ruff16965 (05bd62cee897) 

      I posted the challenge last year, and there  wasn't enough follow-through by the end. I was posting messages by myself, and it  felt like a waste of time.  The annual January Cure is quite popular on the old classic forum, so they've got a thread going there.  I just signed up for the e-mails this year and skipped participating in a YNAB thread on it.

      Apartment Therapy January Cure - 30 days to a cleaner, more organized home

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    • HappyDance Put a reminder on my calendar to check it out next year. Hopefully, I will have a home by then.  Been a heck of a day on that front.

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  • Day 16: Dance Break

    These parody songs were fun! I did dance around a little (not too much though because I had an emergency appendectomy 8 days ago! 🙄🤕😬).

    I love that the YNAB method acknowledges that you have to live life. I read a quote yesterday that said something like "If you only have $20 left, spend $10 on groceries and $10 on flowers because you need a reason to live as well." I think that is so true and for me the less money I have to work with the more I need to spend on some little thing, even though it costs money, to give myself a reason to live.

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  • internettie said:
    "If you only have $20 left, spend $10 on groceries and $10 on flowers because you need a reason to live as well."

    🙂 I say if all you have left to your name is $20 -- been there --  spend the entire  $20 on good food, then stop and pick wildflowers on the way home, or, in the event it's winter, make snow angels before going back inside.

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      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 10 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance That is the other beauty of YNAB - everyone gets to decide how to walk/run/skip down their own path. ❤️

      Reply Like 1
  • Catch up time again.

    Day 14: Go on a spending fast.

    I literally do not like to shop...for anything.  This one would be hard for me to implement because I generally only buy things that are needed when they are needed.  I wish Spouse would be willing to do this one! haha

    Day 15: Practice a minute of mindfulness.

    I enter everything manually.  I open my budget at least once daily.  If I don't have transactions to enter or reconcile, I look over my categories and goals to see if there's some better way of handling than I'm doing now.  I have no interest in direct import at this point.

    Day 16: Dance break!

    How can I add these to Spouse's playlist?!?! 😉😄

    Reply Like 2
    • Mina what kind of device does hubby have?

      Reply Like
      • Mina
      • mina5
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ruff16965 (05bd62cee897)  Apps on his iPhone.  I said it mostly jokingly since he has no interest in budgeting.  He wants nothing to do with the budget, not interested in hearing about it. I do what I can on my own. 

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    • Mina Probably be able to download the songs to an sd card and then insert. Figured you were joking.

      I think that is normal, one person is more into the budgeting that the other.  Both my ex-wifes had no interest, they would complain and want to take it over, the stuff sat on the desk until we were almost late and I started doing it again.  My ex-girlfriend was really crackerjack at it, had no trouble letting her handle it. The problem was the 90-minute lectures every month when a 10-minute meeting would suffice, then towards the end it was we have no money to do anything as a couple, movie, date night, but her hobbies get $300-500 a month.

      Reply Like
      • Mina
      • mina5
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ruff16965 (05bd62cee897)  Spouse is clueless about our finances by choice.  He doesn't know even a ballpark figure of what our monthly bills are or when they're due, doesn't know what's in our accounts at any given time, couldn't tell you how much we owe on credit cards or loans because "debt is a part of life." He certainly has no interest in how his spending affects our finances.  In his mind, as long as our monthly obligations are covered, everything else I will figure out.  

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    • Mina Slap him upside the head for me, because he is also clueless on the stress it is causing you. I wonder about my gender at times. Are the majority of men totally self-absorbed idiots?

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      • Mina
      • mina5
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ruff16965 (05bd62cee897) Thank you and I don't believe so. ☺️

      Reply Like
  • Day 16 Dance Break.  The songs are enjoyable.  Thanks for the reminder.  💃

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  • DAY 13 - Revisited Part II:  Spending fast lasted 2 days, I need stamps as I got a time-sensitive later yesterday that I needed to sign and mail back. Of course, I only have $0.01, $0.02 and $0.03 stamps and not enough to get the envelope there.

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    • Ruff16965 (05bd62cee897) Is it cheating if someone else bought the stamps and I wait to repay them and go to the bank until it is over?

      Reply Like
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ruff16965 (05bd62cee897) 

      I interpret spending fast to mean no unnecessary or discretionary spending.  I would classify the debt you've built up for postage stamps to be more of a necessary spend. 🙂

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    • HappyDance I had groceries as an exception for the spending fast. Since my dad picked up the stamps, I picked him up a case of soda when I went to the grocery store today, debt settled. :-D

      Reply Like 1
  • DAY 16: 

    Listened to the parody songs, cute.  

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  • Day 17: YNAB Like A Pro

    I use the Undo/Redo feature.

    I use the Inline Calculator.

    I am using the Quick Budget feature more and more as I learn about it.

    I made a Fresh Start on 1/1/2019.

    I attend the webinars and Facebook Live classes whenever I need to brush up on YNAB. I also read blog articles and ask questions in the forum. I am ALWAYS learning new things about YNAB. I have a lot to learn though.

    Reply Like 1
    • Hooray internettie ! You're really on top of things! Don't forget, that we're always here to help if you have any questions. 💕

      Reply Like 1
      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 10 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Nicole at YNAB my most favorite thing about YNAB is the customer service! No one is better at it than the folks at YNAB! I've been using YNAB for about 10 years now and the customer service has always been excellent. Thanks!

      Reply Like 1
  • Day 17:  YNAB like a pro

    Yup.  I was all in from day 1.  Took the free workshops (more than once). Watched the online videos. Did the fresh starts in my first month (more than one FS).  Time.Well.spent.

    Looking forward to some of long-awaited and promised advanced improvements with anticipation.

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  • Day 17: YNAB like a pro.

    I use the undo/redo button occasionally and the inline calculator is a big help.  I've even done a couple Fresh Starts since I first started using YNAB about 9 years ago.  The quick budget option isn't something I've given much thought to but I checked it out anyway and while I like it, I don't think I'll be using it.   My goal in starting this challenge was/is to follow the four rules and finally use YNAB as intended.  If I can accomplish that, well then I'll be a pro at it.  

    Reply Like 2
    • Mina Following the YNAB Method makes a big difference! It sounds like things are going well!

      If you haven't yet, I'd recommend attending one of the Set Up Your Budget workshops for the basics on Quick Budget, or the Quick Budget workshop for more detail! It's quickly become one of my favorite features. Seeing them in action in a workshop inspired me to use them in my personal budget! 😀

      Reply Like
      • Mina
      • mina5
      • 10 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Nicole at YNAB  Thanks, that's a good suggestion.  I checked out the workshops but unfortunately, I can't do those times.  I'll keep an eye on it so that I can hopefully take one soon.  

      Reply Like
  • Day 17:  YNAB Like A Pro

    Several months ago, remembering the Undo/Redo button would have saved me a major headache. Messed up what was then my current budget so bad I could not figure it out. Shut it down where if I had just Undo'ed until I was back to the beginning and then looked at it with a clearer head I would still be using the same budget. 

    Fresh start I have done 1, see above, tweaked my original budget, renamed categories, hide and deleted some that I did not and would not use. Set up goals and everything as I liked it. Wish there was an option in Fresh Start to flip a switch/toggle something and keep goals and amounts. 

    Use both the inline calculator and Quick Budget at least once a month if not more.

    Reply Like 2
    • Ruff16965 (05bd62cee897) Doh! Well, hopefully that Undo/Redo button can save you from a similar situation in the future. 😀

      Goals are carried over in a Fresh Start. The transaction data is cleared out, so your account balances need to be added first, then you're ready to budget.

      You've already gone through the process, but I wanted to clarify for anyone following along!

      Reply Like
  • Day 18: Show your credit cards who's boss.

    We were not in the habit of using our credit cards for many years.  Initially because our balances were too high and now because I refuse to add to what we owe.  We have 2 with balances, one of which will be paid off by June.  I also have one that I use only for online purchases and only if those purchases are budgeted for.  I like how YNAB automatically moves money to the CC category so that it's there waiting for the due date.  

    Reply Like 2
  • DAY 18:

    Only one true credit card, I use the YNAB way with it. Have taken the online class several times, both before getting it and afterward.

    I try to take 3-4 class a month. Seems I always learn something new or something I heard several times before clicks. They are well worth taking. 

    Reply Like 3
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