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 18: Show Your Credit Cards Who's Boss
I watched the pre-recorded class
I signed up for 2 classes tonight.
I read all the help documents.
I also watched a non-YNAB produced video on credit cards. It was helpful too.
I checked my budget to see where I am with all my credit card debts (I have 4 of them). I will be paying off my smallest balance CC on March 1st! That is the second one I'll pay off since I got serious about my debt in August. I have $5,909.08 in CC debt. I make $17, 808/year so it's going to take a while to get them all paid off. I also have a line of credit loan for $2,252.06 with my credit union. That will be the last debt I pay off. I have a long way to go but I can finally see my destination off in the distance!
Day 20: Trim the Fat
I looked at all of my subscriptions back in September. I was shocked at how many things I hadn't really thought about. I was brutal with cancelling anything that was not something I totally used. I also went from paid app subscriptions to the free versions when possible. I saved quite a bit of money going through all the subscriptions. I checked my bank statement, my PayPal account, and credit cards to see if there were any subscriptions I found out about. I also looked at monthly donations that I make (goats and pups lol). I kept my YNAB (of course!), Microsoft Office/OneDrive, iCloud, and Amazon Prime subscriptions. I take advantage of all of them almost every single day (not Prime though, but I use it at least monthly). I kept 3 of the monthly/yearly donations ($15/mo, $5/yr). I got rid of 7 subscriptions! If I really wasn't taking advantage of the subscription I cancelled it. I also looked at internet and cell phone bills and cut both as much as I could. I am always scanning my budget to see if there is any room for trimming anymore fat from it. I have just one subscription left that is up for renewal in April that I will cancel at that time. I don't have any auto payment on it but I will make sure it cancels. I also looked at groceries, spending money, transportation, etc. and cut as much as I could. Trimming the fat has made a huge difference in my budget. I paid off my smallest debt in October and I'll be paying off my next smallest debt on March 1st! That is real progress. #YNABwin #YNAB34days
Playing catch up after an 11 hour first date on Friday, so much for coffee and talking for a bit.
Day 19 – Hang with Jesse:
I am caught up on the podcasts, both the singular one of just him and the Debt Stories. Working though Whiteboard Wednesdays and rereading his book.
Day 20 - Cutting The Fat:
Did this a couple of months ago, got rid of Netflix and couple of other things that I was not using. I did look at everything again this morning, and as part of my budget routine I look at everything at the end of each month.
If I used the joy standard talked about in the instructions I think I would get rid of everything including YNAB, so I changed it to use it and get value from it. So keeping YNAB, Microsoft Office, my security suite for the computers, Ancestry and AAA.
Day 19: Hang with Jesse
YNAB on Youtube works for me. I like learning something I didn't know, having "aha" moments, or just passing the info on to someone else.
Day 20: Trim the fat.
This one came at a good time. I just cancelled our membership for a car wash, of all things. We didn't use it often enough to justify the monthly fee but when I pointed out the yearly cost to Spouse, I got the ok to cancel. $312/yr savings!
Day 1 to 22
- Joined 3 live webinars
- Watched remaining webinars on Youtube
- Listened to podcasts from 1 to 167.
- Found Dave Ramsey podcasts in the podcast suggestion list. They are quite good.
- Age of my money is now 54 days!!!
- Aggressively saving money for the new house ( already met the target this month)
- Started budgeting for the upcoming months. (already set aside two months of rent payment and groceries)
- I figured out everything about YNAB. My favourite features are;
1-Finding payees through GPS
2-In cell calculator
DAY 21 - Get More For Your Money
Only have a couple of bills, but will give this a try. My ancestry is the only one I know that have different rates. Thing is they really have a lock on the market and I am dealing with a major church but we will see. Will also call my insurance agent, I could cut the premiums if I registered my truck in the state I am in, but then registration goes up, I have to deal with getting it smogged and all. Plus that makes the move to CA, not just a long visit to care for my parents and recover from the divorce and a bad relationship, but permeant.
Sorry. I done fell behind.
Day 18: Show Your Credit Cards Who's Boss - N/A, Already done did years ago. I'm a paid in full cc user. Once or twice a year I challenge myself to a no credit card usage month to remind me who is the boss of me. Is it me? Or is it my credit cards?
Day 19: Hang With Jesse - already subscribed.
Day 20: Trim The Fat - down to 4 essential annual renewals (including YNAB). I'm considering switching my cable off and going with a Netflix subscription (does that turn a utility into an app?), but I haven't pulled the trigger yet. Still in research mode as I'm thinking of upgrading my 10-year old TV and getting an Apple TV box at the same time and having my provider upgrade their complimentary PVR.
Day 21: Get More for Your Money - further to the cable/Netflix reference (above), my annual cable contract and price is up for renewal right now. My current contract ends on February 6. I'm psyching myself up for the annual call, and it's on my to-do list for this Thursday.
Day 22: Make A Meal Plan
I was doing a food inventory, meal plan, and grocery shopping list weekly but I got out of the habit. I will get back to that starting today! I have a printed inventory and meal plan that I can edit and update. I keep my grocery list on Walmart (even for the things I get elsewhere so it's all on one list and I know how much, approximately, the groceries I need will cost). I usually only eat one meal a day and have snacks (as healthy as I can) during the rest of the day - celery and cream cheese, crackers and cheese, fruit, popsicles, tomatoes & cucumbers w/boiled egg, pickles, smoothies, etc. I think it would be better for me if I ate 2 small meals during the day instead of one bigger meal. I'm looking at changing my diet somewhat to lose weight (using MyFitnessPal) and increase exercise. Just not buying junk food would be a major help. When I take the time to do an inventory and a meal plan, I can see just how much food I actually still have here and that I don't really need any other groceries (unless it's a staple like milk, eggs). I need to be more purposeful and focused on using up what is here first. I don't have a ton of food but I have plenty to last at least a week or two if I just eat what is here. So, I commit to doing an inventory and making a meal plan and not doing any grocery shopping until I run out of food or a much needed staple (not just a want).
My fridge seems crowded to me (even though I know it's not really). The two drawers in the bottom of the fridge are empty. Stuff on the door in the freezer will be put in the red bins in the freezer once I do my inventory. I try to keep stuff off the top shelves of the cabinets. Again, I like negative space and don't feel a need to fill up the cupboards. I will be rearranging the cupboards soon. I think they could be organized better. I'm thinking of raising the shelf in the right most cabinet so the tall stuff can be on the bottom and the pull bins can be up higher. I also will be rearranging the cupboards and might put the dishes in the right most cupboard. Thinking about what I want to do. I don't have a ton of food but to me it seems like a lot. I look forward to doing the inventory today and making a meal plan. I'm sure I have enough food for a week or two.
Day 22: Make a Meal Plan
This one is right on the bulls-eye for me. I always made my upcoming week's meal plan on Thursday nights because Thursday is the day the local grocery store flyers come out, and that gave me time to audition recipes and make a Saturday grocery shopping list.
I started writing out a weekly meal plan a year ago, and at the same time began using MFP (MyFitnessPal, the free version) for tracking nutrition and calculating calories in recipes. I also got into doing Sunday meal prep for the week. My refrigerator on Sundays is packed with multiple containers ready to go, and by Friday it's looking bare, with the occasional limp celery stalk or wizened up apple rolling around in the crisper drawer. I spent 0 dollars on impulsed fast food and convenience store snack food in 2018. Zero. That was a big win for me.
I've been fussing over getting my act together when it comes to food for years. Literally, years. Typically I juggle the four separate balls of
- food spending
- food storage
- healthy eating (incl weight loss)
- Meal Preparation
as if they were separate and unrelated. Here, let me focus on nutrition and weightloss for a while. Ooops, the spending went up. Cutting back costs is essential, and why am I gaining weight? Arrrrrghhhh! This is the year I put my brain power towards integrating all the separate bouncing balls, however Language may not be suitable for all viewers.
The whole food thing is going to be my intense focus in 2019. I'm thinking of starting a food-challenge journal for myself, just not sure which forum to put it on.
Ladies and gentlemen, today is the day! I killed the eating-out virus once and for all. I have been spending hundreds of dollars a week on eating out. I knew what I was spending is ridiculous but couldn't stop myself eating out twice a day. Ok, I admit I am a terrible cook. I don't know how to cook and when I cook, it just tastes horrible. I found the solution tho. ;)
I found a website that prepares weekly food for you and delivers to your home!!! I know it is a bit more expensive than cooking but it is waaaay cheaper than eating out. No more staying hungry at night, no more cooking nightmares and no cleaning dishes. triple birds with one stone. If you are single, hate cooking and feeling guilty because you are spending a shitload of money for eating out. This is your way out! buy your homemade food in bulk. I'm saving around $200 a month.
Day 21: Get more for your money.
This one was actually completed a couple months ago. I switched insurance companies when our current company couldn't offer us a lower rate. Phone, internet, cable are all as low as they are going to get right now but I'm keeping an eye out for opportunities to try again.
Day 22: Make a meal plan.
I need to get more intentional with this. Our grocery costs aren't very high but I make too many runs to the store because too often I'm deciding on what to make for dinner shortly before dinner time. This, of course, usually leads to adding at least one more item to the cart that maybe wouldn't have been purchased otherwise. I'm going to take a good look at what's in the fridge/pantry, what recipes I've saved to try, and what's on sale in this week's circulars to come up with dinner options. A week at a time, right?
Day 23: A peek at your net worth...
In my budget, I track bank accounts, credit cards, and loans. I don't track our mortgage or investment/retirement accounts. I like watching our net worth go up as our debt goes down and over the years, it's gone in the other direction as well. Still, I see the progress made over time even knowing that it's not truly accurate because I don't include all assets/liabilities. For now, this works for me.
Day 23: A peek at your net worth ... (aka the fun of tracking accounts)
My tracking accounts help me keep my wallet clear of notes and my desk clear of scratch pads full of numbers. I enjoy seeing the total picture of my net worth. For someone like me, who started using YNAB with the unshakable fear that I would be a destitute bag lady in retirement, a complete financial picture showing a rosier future is the best gift of all. And not having to carry slips of paper in my wallet detailing facts about money is delightful.
- I use tracking accounts to keep track of all my retirement investment accounts (I add a reconciliation adjustment once a year), the resale value of my car (I subtract a value equal to 1.5% per month once a year).
- There are tracking accounts to keep my reimbursable amounts separate and visible: office expenses, medical insurance, errands for mom, loan to my sister
- Two social groups that I belong to and for which I hold the communal purse are listed in my tracking accounts. I can see with a quick glance at my phone just how much is left in the kitty should anyone ask what the group can afford to splurge on.
- I have a Line of Credit account with a balance of zero that I keep in my tracking accounts. I'm not yet ready to close it, and I've never used it. Keeping it listed ensures I don't forget it exists.
At one point I even created pension tracking accounts for both my pension contributions and my employer's. Not as crazy as you think.... I did this to get a rough idea of how much could be transferred to a LIRA (locked-in retirement account) if I changed employers, which I was considering at the time, and I wanted to get a sense of the transferable value as part of the decision-making.
Uhhh... I took a couple days off and now have the world's biggest catch up over here for you all 😬
Day 17: YNAB Like a Pro
I use the inline calculator for almost every single category each and every month. I don't know what I would do without it. We also make a Fresh Start budget every 2nd January - I figure our lives, expenses, income, etc. change enough every 2 years that I like the balance of history and averages there.
Day 18: Credit Cards
The Credit Card workshop is the one I like to attend the most often. I feel like there's always something new I need to know or consider.
Day 19: Hang with Jesse
Jesse's the coolest to hang with! I love that the podcast episodes are short and to the point. I'm subscribed and like to listen to them in the school pickup line back to back a couple times a week. The Debt Stories have been intriguing to listen to as well!
Day 20: More for your Money
Ah, this one always freaks me out to do but I'm glad when we commit to making it happen. We recently worked down our cell phone bill and that's felt like a bit of burden lifted off our shoulders. I think next up needs to be our internet provider.
Day 21: Trim the Fat
Yes, yes, yes. We recently cut our satellite TV, opting for a combo of Netflix and a cheap tv antenna off Amazon instead and we're finding more than enough to watch. If we were more into sports, this would have probably been more difficult. That extra savings each month prompted us to try Apple Music and we're LOVING that. Way more joy over one small choice.
Day 22: Meal Plan
I save so much more money if I can commit to writing out our meal plan and trying to stick to it. We use Cozi as a family calendar and I've tried using their meal plan option, but it doesn't work the way I'd like it to. I've tried other services and haven't had much success. I like pen and paper, but the paper on the fridge doesn't make me happy. I'm sounding very difficult to please 😅 The method that has worked best for me in the past is to use EMeals. They send me several dinner recipes and a list of ingredients. I pop open the app before dinner and pick one. At the end of the week, I shouldn't have any recipes left to make. I haven't renewed for this year just yet, but I'm strongly considering it.
Day 23: Net Worth
We keep our car loans, mortgage, and retirement accounts in the Tracking section of our budget. I just update those balances quarterly and love watching the Net Worth report change. We've set a Net Worth goal for 2020, so it's helpful to see the progress there as time goes on!