YNAB's 2020 34 Day Challenge!

Happy New Year, YNABers! 

Tomorrow, we'll be starting a brand new 34 day challenge to kick off your new year! Whether you're brand new to budgeting or are a seasoned pro, we'll have little prompts for you everyday to connect with your budget and start the year off right. 

No need to sign up anywhere - I'll post the prompts in this thread every day and feel free to leave a comment with your reflections or thoughts if you'd like to participate.

Happy Budgeting!

Ps. Where possible, click Reply on the main post for the day you're replying to so we can keep things threaded and folks can continue to join in!

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    Set aside ten, distraction-free minutes today. Find a quiet space, actual pen and paper, and write down why you’ve been inspired to start budgeting.

     

    New habits are easy when a challenge is fresh, but if you want your goal to have staying power, it’s important to stay focused on what you truly desire. So, what do you hope to gain through budgeting? Imagine a future where you’re in control of your cash—you’ve smashed your money obstacles and life is good. When the going gets tough, remember this vision and let it inspire you to stay the course!

    Next, imagine that you’ve accomplished your financial goals—that you’re totally in control of your money. What would life look like? Jot it down. Use bullets, or fill up a whole page in your notebook. The important part of this exercise is to visualize and capture your “why”.

    Finally, end with a positive statement, committing to change your life for the better. And, for best results, leave your notes somewhere visible, and reread often! 

    If you're ready, share your thoughts below for day one!

    Like 2
      • Peripherie
      • Tomato_Captain.11
      • 5 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      My relationship with my financial life has always been a difficult one. I easily am caught in the trap of wanting things I can't afford and spending money as soon as I get it, even if that money has already been spoken for. I also have a very supportive family which has helped me deal with financial emergencies (new water heater, new-to-me car) as they have occurred but also helped me make decisions that were perhaps not in my best interest (the current money pit of a house I 'own'). My family has been so helpful but that help always came with the urging to 'save your money'. That somewhat empty (but important) chant tied with being my safety net over and over has left me without personal accountability or a road-map to personal success. I found YNAB a few years ago but was in a co-dependent relationship where spending was what we had in common. Now I'm single and ready to make a permanent, slow, intentional change in how I see my money and how I prepare for my future.

      My "Why":

      • Breaking through the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle.
      • Eliminating the stress of not being in control of my financial situation
      • Seeing my money and my year at a glance
      • Eventually being able to enjoy my life through vacations and planned big-purchases

      Short Term Goals:

      • Reducing small dining-out costs that add up to a lot of unintentional spending.
      • Being intentional with my buying choices for a whole month (and beyond).
      • Aging my money to slowly work towards a thirty-day buffer in my budget.
      • Paying off two small credit card balances.
      • After that, paying off all credit cards before the end of the month/eliminating credit card spending entirely.

      Long Term Goals:

      • Paying off all non-mortgage debt
      • Establishing a habit of paying more to the principal on my mortgage each month
      • Putting more money in my retirement account
      • Establishing large chunks of money in my true expense categories and a general emergency fund

      Thank you YNAB. This was a great 10 minutes spend to kick off the new year!

      Like 6
    • My why is to create a habit that sticks of using YNAB so that I can finally get in control of my money and not spend everything I make. I aim to save 6 months of income so that I can retire my wife from my job .

      Like 1
    • Like 7
    • My goal is to end the paycheck to paycheck cycle. It's stressful!

      Like 4
      • Veronica
      • Support Manager
      • Veronica_ynab
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Maroon Welder I love your intentions here - I'm sure your wife appreciates it, too. Making your budget just an everyday part of life is definitely some of the magic. With practice, it becomes second nature to check your category to be sure you have enough $$ to spend before making a purchase.

      Like
      • Veronica
      • Support Manager
      • Veronica_ynab
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Peripherie This is a great summary of your goals. I appreciate how each habit and mindset shift builds into the next goal, and so on. 

      Like
      • Veronica
      • Support Manager
      • Veronica_ynab
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Orange Mainframe I also find that the more I focus on my budget, the more I prioritize growth in other areas, like podcasts & books. It's a win in all areas. It's going to be a great year!

      Like
      • Veronica
      • Support Manager
      • Veronica_ynab
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Keep Calm and Save Money It certainly is!

      Like
      • Veronica
      • Support Manager
      • Veronica_ynab
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Day one for me:

      My why took a shift around the end of 2019. We received a gift this last year that really made us realize what a legacy money can be and how it can affect generations of people if handled well. In the past few years - since working for YNAB, definitely not a coincidence - my husband and I have made changes in our priorities that have us purchasing less of the brand new wants and feeling more content and grateful for the things we have overall. Now, we want to be able to leave a legacy for our kids and their futures. 

      Like
    •  Day 1: I lost my "why" a while back. I wanted to break the paycheck to paycheck cycle. Then I wanted to pay off all of my consumer debt. Then I wanted to buy a house. Then I wanted to see Italy. All of that came into fruition and I found myself somewhat floating in limbo - yes, there's money, but now what?

      I'm torn somewhere between splurging on others, keeping my savings and being responsible. I organized (and paid for) a family cruise last year, but I've been ignoring my student loans since graduation. So, 2020 is my year for refocusing. 

      • I'm adding my student loans (some of them) to my budget, with the hopes of paying off a good chunk this year.
      • I'm buying my mother the biggest gift I could think of.
      • We're flying out of the country at least once this year.
      • There may be a small hobby-turned-hustle in there somewhere.

      Those are my why's for this year.

      TL;DR - I'm investing: in my family, in my experiences and a debt-free future. :)

      Like 6
    • I'm all in on this one. Thank you for creating this. 2020 is my "YNAB ReHab and Recovery Parade" after my rather truculent teen-age mode in 2018/19. My money history has been quite an epic melodrama, and as we all know, that gets really old and draining. 

      Long-story-short: I had a head-injury with a long trauma tail behind it. NOW THAT THAT's ALL HEALED, I'm both cognitively able and emotionally mature enough to handle getting money handled.  

      My Big Juicy WHY:

      1. Paycheck to paycheck in my rear-view mirror!
      2. Debt-free, or at least close to striking-distance by Dec 31st
      3. On the path to a fully-funded retirement
      4. INTEGRATED habits to achieve the fully-funded retirement! 

      The real biggies that need to happen for me this time around are the day-to-day habits of entering tranactions without panicking (no kidding...full-blown panick attacks a few times in the past over entering a receipt and seeing the Age of Money number) and gaining proficiency in the method. Now that my brain is healed, I can see why I got blown off track with my first four attempts at YNAB. (No Jesse, it's not you. Really. It was me.)

      Back in the beginning of December, I thought "Why not just take 90 days to breathe, go slow and be patient with myself, the method and my money and see what happens." That slow and compassionate presence of mind is what got me back on the path. This 34-day jump start is perfect to get me going and I'm so glad to be able to link arms with all of you!

      Like 5
      • spyral
      • Spyral
      • 5 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Day 1.

      My "why" has a both a short and a long answer, although the long answer is perhaps just an explanation of the short answer....

      The short answer is that I needed to take much better 'care' of my financial situation after a significant change in my life direction. The long answer involves a marriage breakup, 18 months of living like I owned a money tree (I didn't), and a really depressing outcome on the sale of the former matrimonial home in a depressed property market. But I won't bore you with that story 🙉

      As a post-script, I will say that until I commenced with YNAB in June, I had always been implacably opposed to budgeting. I thought it was something for people who got a calculator out at the end of a meal (I had such a friend) and sat at home watching grass grow rather than having a good time. How wrong I was!! Now I actually enjoy budgeting. I love pay-day not because I get paid but because I get to assign jobs for my money. And I don't own a calculator!!! 😂 

      Like 3
      • spyral
      • Spyral
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      AthenaTheMusician Great post. All the best on your YNAB journey in 2020! :)

      Like
    • AthenaTheMusician I just saw your other post and your attitude is infectious - I love it! I'm glad you're feeling better and I'm joining this parade of yours! :)

      Like
    •  The aftermath of divorce is one of the most stressful things to deal with, but you're using your budget to rebound from it and that's already an amazing win in my book!

      spyral said:
      I thought it was something for people who got a calculator out at the end of a meal (I had such a friend) and sat at home watching grass grow rather than having a good time.

      Also, this image is priceless! 😂

      Like 2
    • When I began with YNAB 6 years ago, we were leaking money fast. We had a new baby, and while I felt like my wife and I were pretty good at saving back pennies, we had no plan for them, no jobs. No organization. No budget. Thus, those pennies were easier to lose. As life got more complicated and weighty (adding a baby to the mix can do that!), we knew we needed something to help us. In came YNAB... like_a_lifeboat. Our budgeting "why" began with survival.

      Now, though, I feel a bit like Faness  -- we've achieved our biggest goals. We've got organized, saved back for those true expenses, increased our credit scores, and working to pay off more debt. Those initial goals shocked us into looking for YNAB. For the last several years, we have been maintaining and making small strides toward long-term financial goals. YNAB is still a mission-critical aspect of our financial health as a family. One of our "why's" is mostly now because we wouldn't know how not to budget. Life would feel out of control, unpredictable, loosey-goosey. We love giving our dreams and goals tangible reality when we assign dollars the job of bringing them to life, even a few bucks at a time. 

      Both my spouse and I grew up with learning how to save well. We were excellent at it. What we were terrible at was knowing how to spend well. Every major expense came with a lack of security. We would always wonder, without a sense of clarity, Can we really afford this? Is this going to make us go under? There was rarely any freedom or pleasure in spending money on our wants. Budgeting through YNAB has helped bring joy back into our lives when we spend on things like vacations, upgrade our computer, buy new clothes. No guilt, no fear, just the joy of the consummation of months of saving well so we can spend well. Freedom.  We want to keep that going. That's another big "why" for us.

      Like 4
    • Day 1 - My why is I have always had a budget, but it did not feel as if I was getting anywhere with it. I would get paid on Friday and by Monday the money was gone all the bills paid, grocery bought, gas in the car. But no room for fun. The debt was not moving just hovering like a UFO..... I want to be able to take vacations and have some fun downtime instead of just sitting at home. 

      • I would like to get rid of my CC debt or at least a hefty chunk of it 
      • Build up some savings so when life happens I will still be ok 
      • Plan an awesome trip to celebrate the success
      Like 2
    • Sky Blue Tugboat Reading this made me realize, it's "life after Survival Mode" that I had to come to terms with in my budget. Going from a tight "necessary" budgeting style, to having wiggle room made me question what that room was for, but it's such a wonderful place to be! I'm sure there's a podcast or blog post about this, I'll have to search around later. :)

      Like 3
      • Krys
      • I like bacon and sarcasm
      • Krys
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      I started this past November (2019), and already feel more in control of my money. I also understand how completely OUT of control I had been, which was scary. Trying to maintain our quality of life without matching our previous spending habits is proving challenging.

      I'm joining this challenge to help me stay focused as the initial excitement over the new process wears off. I want to have financial security without a lot of debt hanging over us, and I need the structure and encouragement that YNAB offers.

      I'm excited about the future, knowing that with these tools and my family's support, we will have that financial security I crave.

      Best of luck to all in 2020!

      Like 1
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Day 1:

      Why budget.  Having monetary goals and budgeting towards them feels so rewarding.  I have an idea of what is possible today and what will be possible later.  Replacing the windows this year?  Totally possible.  Replacing a car this year?  Probable if I keep it under $8k and wait until the end of the year.  Repaving the driveway?  We can afford asphalt this fall or concrete in about 3-4 years.  All this while saving for true expenses and other goals.  The budget gives me clarity and a sense of security. 

      Also, and I can't emphasize this enough - if you're a cheapskate in some ways like I am, the budget gives me the freedom to spend within our category constraints on things I'd previously cheap out of doing, but things that my family enjoys.  Like paid activities with my kids.  We can go to the pool, we cake take a tour on vacation, we can buy a puzzle just because, we can get ice cream after our meal. Maybe even go wild and order a soda!

      Like 4
      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 5 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

       My sister is my 'why'. A year and a half ago my sister was hospitalized with blood clots in her leg and lungs. She was only 56 years old at the time. Our oldest brother died in 1990 when he was only 47 years old from a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in his lungs). Knowing that my sister could have died scared the heck out of me. I have always been in debt, lived way beyond my means, spent impulsively, and in general been irresponsible with finances. So a year and a half ago I decided to get real with my money. I stopped using YNAB as a glorified check register and started using it as intended, as a budget. I knew at the time that if she needed me that I could not afford to fly to Boston to be with her. All my credit cards were maxed out and I had no savings. That made me feel terrible. I was so disappointed in myself. I came up with a workable budget and started putting one foot in front of the other. I'd like to say that I have completely reformed my ways, but I can't. I have paid off some credit cards (I have two with a $0 balance) so if I needed to fly home I could charge it. I also have $1,000 in savings now that I would be able to use too, but that's it. I have actually increased my debt in the past year and a half. Part of that was getting a consolidation loan to pay off some accounts but most of it was being an impulsive, compulsive spender. The consolidation loan has a really high interest rate and monthly payment but I wanted that so I would have less wiggle room to spend impulsively. That payment comes out of my checking account automatically so I can't WAM all over the place like I have been doing. My goal is to pay off all of my debt (which will take years) and have money in savings so if my sister does need, me I can be there for her.  Any extra money each month will be applied to that con-loan. Then the next debt I'll focus on is my Discover card since it has a really high interest rate too. After that, it will be my last debt, my credit union loan which has a very low interest rate. I'd like my money to be mine and not belong to debt. I will have to work hard to get there but if my sister needs me, I want to be able to fly to Boston to be with her, so I am determined to follow my budget and use the YNAB 4 rules to get where I want to go. Photo: me and my sister at Helen Hunt Falls in North Cheyenne Canon, here in Colorado Springs where I live

      Like 4
  •  

    Attend a free, 20 minute workshop. Pop into a Learn the Four Rules workshop and let our teacher be your guide.

     

    At YNAB, we do things a little differently than other personal finance apps, and that’s why it works! As hundreds of thousands of YNABers can attest, there’s magic in the method (a.k.a., The Four Rules), so let’s take a look …

    Sign up here. Stick around to the end, and they’ll answer all of your questions, too.

    Even if you've attended a workshop before, give another one a try - or even a new teacher! Every one brings a unique perspective to the table!

    If you’re itching to listen, stat, then check out the recorded version.

    When you're done, reply to this post and let us know which workshop you attended and if you got something out of it!

    Like 2
      • Veronica
      • Support Manager
      • Veronica_ynab
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

       I just attended the afternoon Reach Your Savings Goals workshop with Dave! I chose the savings one because that's where my family's focus is this year and I knew I'd get a couple tips & tricks from Dave. I really like the way he uses the category group checkboxes while he's planning out goals. I have a tendency to do this on a category by category basis and don't use the groups as much as I could.

      I was also left with a question that I know is purely opinion-based, but I'd love some thoughts from the community. 

      Dave had a cap on his checking account and mentioned transferring everything out of the checking that is above that once per month. I don't have a savings account and keep everything in my checking - my checking account already earns in interest what a decent online savings account historically earns. 

      Is there a benefit I'm not considering to moving excess $$ into a savings account? Is it that you don't risk buying impulse large purchases because the balance on the checking is high? Does anyone else do this?

      Like
      • Krys
      • I like bacon and sarcasm
      • Krys
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Veronica I used to move money out of checking to keep from spending it, but since we have been on YNAB, I don't see any reason to have a savings account, unless it earns a significant amount of interest more than the checking account.

      That said, I do have separate savings accounts for our emergency fund and college fund, simply to keep those easily identifiable. They do earn more interest than our checking account, so they meet that criteria as well.

      Like
    • Veronica I can only think of two reasons if you're using YNAB categories to guide spending. 1) The security of not having all money in the same account in case it gets compromised (through debit card, checks, or any other way). 2) Interest maximization. 

      HappyDance has posted a few times her formula for determining how high her checking is at the start of the month (presumably she transfers the rest into savings). It's something along the lines of monthly expenses + large upcoming expenses + a set minimum for comfort.

      Like 2
      • Peripherie
      • Tomato_Captain.11
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Veronica I actually looked at a few workshops - 1 live and 2 recorded - Reach Your Savings Goals, Saving Money on Groceries, and Roll with Your Overspending. I do like seeing people that are familiar with YNAB navigate the program as sometimes I get lost in all of the buttons and options.

      I might have tried to absorb too much information at once but I really do best when I stay active in any new habit I want to form, so looking at the videos will hopefully keep me on track with being committed to this process.

      When I have some time on another day I think I want to watch the 'Budgeting When Broke' workshop. I often get discouraged when unexpected things pop up and I am left with the only option to charge and my thoughts go to 'well, I blew my good habits for this month, might as well buy...'.

      Like 2
    • So since I have only been using YNAB consistently since Nov 2018, I decided to start with the four rules and setting up your budget. I never hurt to double-check if you are doing things correctly. It turns out I was still trying to budget by thinking ahead and not just working with the money available. So I am glad I was able to attend those workshops again! So I will be tweaking my budget categories and moving on from there. I think there is a learning curve to these "true expenses" and being able to increase those amounts with trying to pay off debt as well, but every little bit will help.  So glad I have decided to take this challenge and to really use YNAB appropriately or to the best of my ability! Now to keep up with the challenges...

      Like 2
      • Veronica
      • Support Manager
      • Veronica_ynab
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Peripherie I have a tendency to do that with healthy eating habits - "well, I've already gone over on sugar for the day, so I might as well call today a bust". I'm working on that this year, both stopping that mentality and giving myself grace when it happens because it surely will.

      Krys and Move Light Sound Life Thanks for your thoughts! The idea of our account being compromised really spoke to me here as we recently had a scare that caused us to purchase identity protection and freeze all of our credit for the foreseeable future. I'm going to seriously consider it. HappyDance I like your formula idea posted above! 

      Like 2
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      5 Habits to build in 2020, that's what I watched just now.  

      ahahahaha.  I like to read about other people's resolutions but I'm not one to let New Year's day start me doing something.  I need to think about it.  Sometimes I mull, for hours, days, weeks.  I think about it and drop it, come back to it, rinse and repeat.  Our financial person recommended YNAB in the fall of 2018.  I started budgeting in late January 2019.  

      Perhaps my #1 goal - following through on things I want to do.  On projects I start - either follow through or, and this is the hard part, put the danged thing away.  Don't leave it out to "come back to it later."  Later doesn't come.  

      Like 1
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Veronica My brick and mortar bank pays like 0.01% on checking.  Ally pays about1.6%?  I don't remember.  I move money out of accounts to earn more interest, that's all.  Our money earns $30 or more a month in interest, that's a good enough reason for me to do it.  

      However, I've never really made purchases based on what's in the checking account.  Before YNAB, we'd keep about a month's worth of expenses in checking and move extra money into the savings account so we'd have an idea if we could afford some big ticket item.  Once we had $X0,000, sure, we could use 10k as a down payment on that car we'd been talking about.  

      Like 1
      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

       I have attended many YNAB workshops over the years. I know that I can get something out of them every time I attend. I am going to watch the recorded workshops this weekend (15 of them). I also will sign up for 1 of the 10 live workshops this month. I'd like to attend all of them again. I have the time to do it, so I will. As I watch or attend, I'll come back and track which ones I've completed and what I got out of it.

      Like
    • Technicolor Cheetah I did that too but then the "True Expense Emergencies" would zap my savings. So glad for YNAB and all the category lines! Now I'm starting to listen to people talk about their savings & cringe, since those bags of money have not real purpose. :)

      Like
      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Video: Roll with your overspending YNAB Workshop

      Here's something that was an ah-ha moment for me watching workshop videos today - there is a difference between rolling with the punches and moving money around BEFORE you spend the money and WAMing money AFTER you have spent the money. I know this is not rocket science, but today it finally hit me. I have been spending and assuming I'll be able to take the money from another category to cover non-budgeted spending. Sometimes that means I am taking money from the extra money that should be going towards debt and that's not a good thing. I need to get in the habit of making sure I have the money first to WAM in categories that are discretionary, not from Fixed Expenses (rent, etc.) or True Expenses. I know I have been doing it the wrong way because then I don't have to say no to myself and be responsible. That stops now. I am going to look at my categories any spending is done. I am going to commit to doing this for a week to get myself in the habit of doing it. 

      Like 1
    • My credit union used to offer an amazing interest rate up to a pretty high amount in my checking account, but then upped the interest rate and lowered the amount. It's now possible to get up to 5.09% on my checking account, but only on a fraction of the funds I have in the account - thus come the transfers. 

      So, in short, I transfer for the interest rates. 

      Like
    • Powder Blue Foal There is definitely a balance between saving for the future and paying for a better future. I'm glad you were able to fit that workshop into your schedule, it really is a gem and helps break the forecasting that usually comes with a typical budget.

      Like
      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

       I watched all the relevant recorded workshop videos yesterday (I didn't watch the ones for small business since they don't pertain to me). Listening to someone else's perspective is so helpful to me. It's sometimes just a little shift but it really opens up my eyes to a different way of seeing things. Now I'm going to attend 8 live workshops today.

      Like
  •  

    There’s no one right way to organize your categories. Consider your financial priorities, and customize your budget to match!

     

    Setting up your budget is both an art and a science, and If, for example, you’re trying to dial back your spending on to-go coffees, maybe you’ll create a coffee category to monitor those purchases more closely. Or, maybe you’ll add emojis for easy, at-a-glance budget check-ins. 

    Are there any categories you can combine? For example, if you buy pet food, toiletries and groceries at the same store on a regular basis, would it make sense to keep them all under one budget category?  Are there any categories you should add or remove? 

    Whatever you do, just make sure that it works for you.
    There are many ways to customize your budget, and that’s what today’s challenge is all about.

    Have some fun, and make your budget uniquely yours! Reply below and tell us something you edited to work better for you in the new year!

    Like 2
    • Hi! Here are my categories: https://support.youneedabudget.com/t/6316jf?r=x1vwwn

      Two things I edited to work better for me:

      • Finally took the time to understand how "plan your spending - by date" goals work, and used them to simplify and consolidate a few categories. E.g. instead of three different "web hosting" categories for 3 different annual bills, I consolidated them into one using this goal.
      • Added emojis for a little more sparkle 🙂
      Like 2
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      Day 3.

      I'm constantly tinkering with my categories. Names and emojis are very important - they amuse me, so they make me happy.  

      In no particular order, I have categories like:

      👷Child Labor  💪 - for bribing my kids to do stuff I don't want to do

      💄 War paint and unguents ⏳ - for beauty stuff and skin care

      ⚠️Stupid Tax and other Bright Ideas 💡- This is what "Stuff I forgot to budget for" evolved into

      🎄Elf Employment Fund 🧝🏾‍♀️Dec - Christmas, 'nuf said.

      🍷⚗️Bottoms up! 🥃 🍺 - this is my alcohol budget. 

      Like 6
    • Technicolor Cheetah 

      I love the Child Labor and Elf Employment Fund, too funny! I may have to steal one or two of yours.

      Like
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      B's Gambit 

      Please, steal away!  

      I also have:

      • 🦑Inspection/Tags/DMV  🆔

      and the Category Groups

      •  🔁 Gotta Haves 🦕
      • 🚸 Kid Expenses  🐐

      Emojis make things a little fun.  Yes, I do need squids, goats, and dinosaurs in my budget.  Doesn't everyone?

      Like 3
      • Peripherie
      • Tomato_Captain.11
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Technicolor Cheetah 

      Did you add the emojis while using the mobile app? Just wondering where to find the most emojis possibel to make my categories *sparkle*!

      Like
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Peripherie 

      Actually, I mostly use YNAB when I'm using my laptop, so I use Emojipedia.  Then I just copy and paste the emojis into the budget category names.  Those who are more wed to their phones can add them there but that's too much work for me, I hate trying to write anything on my phone.  

      Like
      • Peripherie
      • Tomato_Captain.11
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Technicolor Cheetah 

      Ooo... thanks! I would much rather use my desktop anyway.

      Like
    •  After reading a certain forum post yesterday, I came to the conclusion my category names were boring. Yes, "Travel" but travel where? Just "Travel"? Today's challenge came right on time, but I'm struggling with adding flare.

      Savings has become "Hakuna Matata 🐯", Travel has become " A Whole New World 🧞‍♂️".

      I'm proud of these, but two changes an overhaul does not make. I'm going to give this more thought and keep working at it.

      Like 3
      • B's Gambit
      • bs_GAMBIT
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Here are some of my categories / groups:

      Daniel's Horseless Carriage(s) 🏍  -for my son's motorcycle this year and car when he has a license 

      Tree of Jaguar -my new car fund, no Jaguar but I can dream...

      Render Unto Caesar -Taxes

      Guarding Against Others' Stupidity (cause there's no way I would be at fault) -insurance

      The group Little Luxuries includes Acts of Kindness and Extra Audible 🎧

      The group Wish Silo because, well sometimes we are a little slow in making things happen like purchasing the new bathtub that we have saved for. 

      And the newest category, thanks to Technicolor Cheetah  Elf Employment Fund 🎄Even though it covers all holiday gifts and decorations, I just love the name.

      Like 1
      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 5 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

       I change my master categories and line item categories as often as I want or need to. I've tried the creative name categories but that just wasn't working for me. I like traditional, boring, to the point categories for the most part. My "craziest" master categories are "Stupid Expenses" and "STOP and THINK before spending" for my discretionary categories (spending money, gifts, one time donations, etc.). My line item category names are descriptive, though not creative, but that works for me. I sometimes will combine or break out categories depending on what I am trying to pay attention to. I like that I can customize all the categories and change things up. That's what makes YNAB work for me.

      Like 3
    •  Day 3- Sorry for the late posting, picked up extra hours at work last night and just waking up to the land of the living. I must learn how to add emojis into my budget categories! I typically budget on my laptop, only use my phone when I am out and about and want to keep a close eye on spending especially grocery shopping! I am have missed it but is there a specific way to add emojis into my budget?  Its very plain jane at the moment, I am a going to be doing this I may as well have some fun. 

      Like 1
      • Peripherie
      • Tomato_Captain.11
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Veronica I can't say that I change the names of many of my categories but I did add cute emojis! I think sometimes just going through my list with a purpose helps me refocus on why I am using YNAB to begin with. I will say that a few times in the last few weeks I have realized I have expenses that I don't really notice cause they aren't monthly. Like ordering my daily contacts. I realized today that I needed to reorder soon. So I made a True Expense category for it. I think that will happen a lot this first year and give me a truer picture of what my overall expenses are.

      Like
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Faness 

      I have two travel categories, one for road trips, which gets changed to a song about the destination when we commit to it.  Previous names: Moonlight in Vermont (Sinatra) and Take Me Home, Country Roads, John Denver.   This category gets a small amount each month so we can go on a smaller trip or two  between our big cross country trips every 2-4 years.   The larger travel category is California Dreamin', named of course after the Mamas and Papas.  

      Like
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Foal 

      Re: inserting emojis on laptop/desktop: I use Emojipedia and just copy paste the emoji I have selected.  I like the search feature - if I search for cat, I get over a dozen different kinds of cats (house, leopard, or tiger) or cat faces.  

      Like
      • Veronica
      • Support Manager
      • Veronica_ynab
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Foal You can definitely add them on your desktop! Here's how 🎉

      Like
      • Veronica
      • Support Manager
      • Veronica_ynab
      • 5 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      My answer to day three is SO BORING. I'm like internettie and keep my category names pretty bare and to the point.

      A change I realized we needed to make was that we've always had our Utilities all in one category, but our new house has solar panels with a paid off lease (lucky, I know!). We waited a few months to watch the electric bill and see if it was worth saving to pay for an additional term of the lease when this one is up in 14 years and our bills have consistently been so cheap since moving - I'm in Arizona, so we're used to $400-$500 per month in the summer 😬This summer was more like $120 instead in a larger house.

      So, I separated out the electric company from the Utilities category so we could watch the savings and actively save more toward the next lease. If we end up moving before then...we'll call it additional down payment! Goal set, boring story complete!

      Like 3
      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 4 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Veronica boring can be so good! LOL

      Like 2
  •  

    Why not start saving now for Christmas 2020?  When December rolls around, you’ll have the cash on hand!

     

    Simple, but true: YNABers who set goals are far more likely to succeed. See, when you have money, you will inevitably spend it. But, when you have money and goals, you’re incentivized to set aside some of that cash to make your goals a reality. So, without further ado, let’s make a goal!


    For some inspiration, read Make Your Budget Sticky with Goals That Inspire.  Let us know in the thread which of your goals is your favorite or if you created a new one!

    Like 2
      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

       I budget to $0 every month. I have a low, fixed income, so paying off debt is my priority goal, but I also have 3 savings goals; $25/month towards my emergency fund, $10/month towards being one month ahead, and $10/month towards a service dog (that won't happen for at least a year or more). Anything left over after funding those 3 categories will go towards paying down debt. I should have about $100/month extra to apply to debt. Having those specific goals helps me to stay focused.

      Like 1
      • Krys
      • I like bacon and sarcasm
      • Krys
      • 5 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      The concept of True Expenses (sinking funds) has changed the way I budget more than any other concept. Now, I'm saving for Christmas, Annual Fees, Auto Maintenance, Personal Care (haircuts, clothes, and makeup), Kid's Activities (lessons billed at irregular intervals), and a few others, too.

      Like 3
      • Peripherie
      • Tomato_Captain.11
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Veronica 

      I added a goal for a new microwave. It isn't a huge purchase but normally I would just charge my credit card and get something like this at the first thought I could want a new one . My microwave still works though it is not long for this world. But now, thinking the YNAB way, I can put aside what I can, do some research on what kind I want, and get it when I have saved up enough. (And if it does just up and die sooner than I planned, I will have already started saving for it and it won't be as much of a shock to my budget.)

      Like 2
    • So after reading through the threads on goals, I like 10 ways to get a month ahead. I will have additional income starting in a few weeks and can pick up extra hours at work. I feel that if I could get a month ahead I could really make this budget work the way it should. I have set goals for my true expenses, Christmas, Car Insurance Premiums, Plane Tickets for my niece's graduation, Car Maintenance, and House Maintenance. I feel like I have a lot of goals and not really sure where to start. I would like to pay off my credit cards, save for my true expense and things I know that are coming. How do you decide where to start with so many goals?

      Like 1
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Foal 

      You need to decide what your priority is/are.  Do you want to get a month ahead, pay off debt, or build a small emergency fund first?  I needed to  have an emergency fund, I don't work well without one; depending on your comfort zone, you could either pay minimums on debt and thrown all other money available after true expenses into the emergency fund, or find a happy medium between splitting between debt and emergency fund.  

      Then because my debts are lower % and thus lower priority to me (mortgage and car), I next prioritized getting a month ahead.  Getting a month ahead is a game-changer IMO.  OTOH, if it would have taken me 10 months to get a month ahead instead of a few, I probably would have split my discretionary spending between getting a month ahead, debt, and some on discretionary spending.  

      Finance is  personal.  I can tell you what i did and what I was comfortable with but you're going to have your own needs, wants, and priorities.  

      Like 2
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Day 4 - I have approximately 9 million different goals.  Ok, not that many, but it feels like it.  OTOH, I like evening out my budget over time.  Those three $500-600 goals in November don't feel like as much of a thing if I can spread saving for them over the course of a year instead of having to come up with $1645 in November without having a penny saved in October. 

      I like having a mix of practical and discretionary goals.  I don't need a vacation, I want a vacation.  I'm more likely to do things with the family that cost money if it's budgeted than I would otherwise, which makes husband and family happier that I'n not being cheap and saying no 90% of the time.  Current goals under construction: windows and repaving the driveway.  I'm in the process of getting quotes for those right now!  My daughter is excited for 📏New Floors  💃🏽  because that needs to be done so she can get her own room.  

      Like 2
    • Technicolor Cheetah it does make sense to pick one thing to focus on at a time. I have my emergency fund partially funded but I want to up it to an even 2000 for now just to have a bit of a buffer for anything that may come up. Then I think I may have a little breathing room to work on true expenses and move on to increasing the debt payments. 

      Like 1
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Peripherie we did that for our car. much nicer and calmer way of buying things. The money is there BEFORE the thing dies and you have a clear picture of how much you can spend. 

      Like
  •  

    Add a goal to every category and get an instant glimpse into your total monthly expenses. This makes planning a breeze!

     

    There’s a reason that we tell you to only budget the money that you have, but it can be a little confusing to new YNABers. In short, if you don’t have the money, yet, then you shouldn’t bank on spending it! So, what do you do if you don’t have a full month’s worth of income, and you’re itching for that month-long view of your budget? Enter the budget template.

    Read How to Create a Budget Template or sign up for our live class, Set Up Your Budget and let us know your thoughts below!

    Like 1
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view
      internettie said:
      I know this is not rocket science, but today it finally hit me. I have been spending and assuming I'll be able to take the money from another category to cover non-budgeted spending.

       If you know that you don't have the money in the account and you actually commit to moving the money before the purchase, you'll be able to ask yourself, "Do I want this meal out more than I want to see my sister or pay debt?"  And maybe get into the mind set that the money for paying debt is fixed, not discretionary.  

      Like 3
      • Peripherie
      • Tomato_Captain.11
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Technicolor Cheetah I'm at that 'moving all the money to cover' stage too. I am thoughtful upfront when I budget income but my urge to impulse spend is still so strong. I would like to say that I am now at least more conscious about it and hope it has lessens more and more over time.

      Like
      • Peripherie
      • Tomato_Captain.11
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Veronica I made goals for all my categories. OMG, look at all the yellow! O.O  I am overwhelmed by this feeling that I have way too many expenses. I have cut down things, both in the past and recently, but I think I need to really sit with my budget and be realistic with how much of my outflow really isn't 'must haves'.

      Like 2
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Peripherie 

      It will get better once you're 6 months in, assuming you haven't forgotten to budget for too many true expenses.  And yes, it's overwhelming.  I suggest getting the YNAB Toolbox if you use Chrome or I think Firefox as your browse.  One of the options of that app is the option to change non-fully funded categories to blue instead of yellow - it's easier on the anxiety. 

      If you're saving right now to pay for 6 months of car insurance that's due in March, you will only have 2-3 months to save for it.  Then once you've paid it, you reset your goal to September.  When September comes around and you need to pay for your twice a year bill, you'll have had 6 months to save for that bill so the amount you need to set aside will be less.  In the beginning, every month you'll have annual or biannual bills or other infrequent expenses that you have to throw more money towards in a shorter time.  Moving forward, your total monthly expenses will likely trend downwards.  I could not fund some true expenses like Vet until my monthly expenses really evened out, I didn't have the discretionary funds since I categorized it as less of a priority than paying for summer camp.  Now I have more money that can go to the lesser critical true expenses as well as more discretionary categories. 

      I have about a year under my belt.  I still expect my monthly expenses to go down as I hit caps on various true expense categories or discretionary spending categories.  I finished funding my vet category and now I'm saving for other goals.  For example, I have $150 in my clothes category.  At some point, I will cap it at $350 so I can buy a pair of good shoes and a coat all in one go should I need them.  But I don't need $1000 in that category since I don't foresee wanting to spend that much on clothes at one time.  So once I hit the cap, it sits and waits: the $20-25 I was funding each month can go somewhere else right now until I use the fund and need to refill.  

      Like 3
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Day 5, 

      I have goals or caps for basically every category.  I still tweak things every month, though.  

      Like
      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 5 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Technicolor Cheetah that is exactly what I am doing, asking myself what I want more. I had not thought to put it in my head that debt payment is fixed, not discretionary. Thanks for suggesting that. Simple things, but they aren't always on my radar. I appreciate the help!

      Like
      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 5 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

       Day 5: I went ahead and added goals to the majority of my categories. I am going to go back through though because I know that there are more goal options now and I need to make use of them. I saw a good flowchart Nick True made and I'm going to use that to decide which goal type I need to use for each category. 

      Like 6
    •  Day-5

      All of my categories currently have goals 👍. I do agree with Peripherie all the yellow can be overwhelming, but it is nice when you complete the goal and it changes. I may have to try out the YNAB toolkit that Technicolor Cheetah suggested. 

      Like 1
  •  

    For each debt, write down the name of your lender, current balance, interest rate, minimum payment and due date.

     

    Many a YNABer has shown up on our virtual doorstep, motivated by the desire to escape debt. Big debt, little debt, credit card debt, student loan debt, medical debt. All kinds of debt. The good news is, you can! The first step is to simply look your debt in the eye. And, that’s what today’s challenge is all about.

    It’s not as hard as you think! Many folks on the forum have jumped into the 2020 Debt Smackdown Challenge, a yearlong pursuit of focusing our intentions on debt payoff.

    Reply below and let us know what you found as you wrote out your debts. Did that exercise make you feel anything unexpected or new?

    Like 1
      • Peripherie
      • Tomato_Captain.11
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Veronica I am part of the Debt Smackdown already but I have been struggling with using my debt to keep 'on budget'. I have my CC's linked so I know my purchases are still counted towards my categories but it is hard not to use my cards as an overflow/just in case pot of money. And really, that is how I have gotten myself into debt over the years - it is little by little, bit by bit. I am trying to work towards not not seeing my credit as an option for daily spending but I have not been doing great the last week.

      So - when I looked at my totals and APRs and whatnot, what I realized most is how much I have slipped since before Christmas, as my totals have gone up. I don't feel the best about it but maybe that queasy feeling is better than just staying oblivious to the trend. 

      Like 1
      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 4 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

       Day 6: I have joined the 2020 Debt Bootcamp and the 2020 Debt Smackdown. I remember the days when I had no idea what I really owed because it was too scary to think about. What I didn't realize that it was far less stressful knowing what my balances are so that I can come up with a plan. I have had almost no surprises with my debt since I have faced it all. I go over my debt every 6 months to make sure I'm on top of it. I'm in YNAB every day (yeah, I'm a nerd lol) so if anything is off, I know about it. Knowledge truly is power when it comes to debt!

      Like 3
    • Veronica, In this case, I feel like I write all this down every year, then every few months and it does not seem to improve (so very disappointing). I have not used my credit cards in at least a year and I am consistent with payments yet the balances remain the same...Student Loans and Mortgage. Once I get a little traction hopefully I will see those balances reduced and have breathing room.  I am new to this and I am participating in the Debt Smackdown Challenge so I am hoping that being with a group of like-minded people will help me progress on this journey. 

      Like 2
    • Powder Blue Foal oh, isn’t that frustrating! Realising you’re just, or almost only, paying  interest! But once you pay towards the principal, interest must go down. Even if it’s only a little bit, it is for all the months to come. I tell myself that, to appreciate all progress, also small. And imagine where you’d been without the efforts of the last years.

      I’m sure you’ll manage even more in the group! Good luck.

      Like 2
    • Powder Blue Pony Yes thinking you are getting somewhere when your only scratching the surface! But in reality, I was slowly getting somewhere even with the little bits. So I am well aware now of what needs to happen now to buckle down and get started! 

      Like 1
  •  

    Headed into the grocery store? Pull up your grocery category! Stopping for gas? Check your fuel category.  You’ll have total budget awareness!

     

    Mind-blowing, but true: your bank account balance is not a good gauge of your money! Think about it, if you have $500 in the bank, you’d feel safe spending $100 on a trip to the grocery store, right? But what if your $425 car payment is due tomorrow, and it slips your mind? 
    … if you’d consulted your budget, you’d know that you only have $75 of wiggle room before your next paycheck. And that’s why checking your category balance in your budget (not your bank balance) is so important. The good news is, it’s super easy to do!

    Now, start a new habit of checking your category balances before you spend!  If you don’t have enough money in a category, try moving money in your budget before making your purchase

    Like 2
      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      This is what I have struggled with since the beginning of time. I have had YNAB for about 10 years. For the first 8 I used it mainly as a glorified check register. I was in a controlling marriage and money was a big issue. We were always in debt. I think he did that so I would think that there was no way I could leave since I was disabled, on SSDI, and had no savings. In 2015 I did leave. I was terrified because I only had my low, fixed SSDI income to count on. Leaving was the best decision I ever made even though the first year was incredibly hard. The 2nd year I was too busy fostering a cardiac pup (she's in a forever home and doing fine now) to pay attention to my finances. I raised $15,000 for her medical care while I was having trouble scraping up the money to buy my own groceries. I would do it all over again because I learned so much taking care of Addie the Wonder Hound, but I still had no clue where I really stood with my finances because I was too busy and too scared to look. I started to pay more attention to my finances in the summer of 2017. That however did not stop me from taking many trips that I put on credit cards. A year and a half ago I thought I was getting serious about my money problems, and I was, but only to a point. I was still impulse spending and going on all expenses paid trips but still managing to spend hundreds of dollars on each trip. What got me thinking a year and a half ago was my sister having a medical emergency. She had blood clots in her leg and lung and since we had lost a brother in 1990 at the age of 47 to a blood clot, this really shook me. I thought it would shake me enough to pay off my debt and start being responsible with money, but with shame I say that it did not. So here I am again, getting serious about my money, my debt, my impulse spending, and my savings. I'm much further along than I was just 4 1/2 years ago, but I have a long way to go. And that's okay. I didn't realize until this past week that I was not looking at my category balances BEFORE deciding to spend! How have I gone this long without realizing that I wasn't thinking before I was spending? Well, that's the past, and I can't change that, but I can change things going forward. I will get myself into the habit of looking at a category balance BEFORE I spend any money in that category. I am going to do it for every single category at first just to get myself in the habit of doing it. Then I will work my way to only doing it for the more discretionary categories. It won't hurt to make sure that I have the money in the rent category before I pay my rent even though I have never not had the money to pay my rent in the last 2 years. I am also going to get my spending money in cash because that's where I falter the most. Spending money and groceries. I don't know exactly why, but buying groceries is an impulse thing for me. I am working with my mental health therapist to see what need buying groceries is meeting and meeting that need in a more positive, less financially impacting, way. All that to say, yes, I am going to check my category balances to make sure I have the money BEFORE spending or to make the decision to move money from another category to cover an expense that was not budgeted for. I have the mobile app and the web app so there is no excuse for not thinking and checking BEFORE spending!

      Like 1
      • Peripherie
      • Tomato_Captain.11
      • 4 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Veronica I really enjoyed reading the "Find the Money, First" article (and it brought back memories of reading 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance'😄)! I think this helps me put my last post in perspective. After looking at my debt, and realizing how much I indiscriminately spend, I was feeling pretty down and helpless against my impulses. But I can certainly pull up my categories on my phone before making those small purchases. It might not always stop my spending, but it might! At least I will be able to have a clear talk with myself for a moment about what I am doing.

      Like 3
    •  I really like the phone app for guiding me when I am shopping, for groceries, it definitely helped with Christmas Shopping this year, no credit cards were used only the money that was budgeted for presents. Being able to view the different categories to really determine your spending is a game-changer, helps you to not splurge because your account balance looks good. 

      Like 1
  •  

    Open your budget and move money between two categories. Rule Three is Roll with the Punches! It’s okay to change your budget.

     

    Become a money-moving master. Your budget is a reflection of your priorities and we predict the best we can. Sometimes your prediction will be wrong as circumstances change. This doesn’t mean you failed, it just means you can’t predict the future!”

    Now, try it out! Watch this short video about how to move money in the mobile app or take a look at our Moving Money Guide.

    Like
      • Peripherie
      • Tomato_Captain.11
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Veronica I saw someone's (on a video or blog or forum post) mention having a 'stuff I didn't budget for category' and I have created one. It helped today when a Kindle book I had on pre-order (and had completely forgotten about) finally came out and I was charged. I read a lot so I had a Kindle category but it was underfunded. So the 'stuff' category came in handy. It was only a dollar charge but... I don't like seeing the yellow pop up and now, I was able to fix it without stress.

      Like 1
    • Veronica, I was able to do this yesterday🙂, after having a busy day at work I just did not feel like cooking so I was able to pull money from the grocery fund to the dining out category to pick up dinner last night, with no stress. One quick check of my phone and was done!

      Like
  •  

    Today's prompt is to join the community and you're already here

    They say it takes a village to raise a budgeter (or something like that). And it makes sense. When we surround ourselves with people who have similar goals, it propels us and makes us better. So, it is with great humility and pleasure that we invite you to stick around our virtual community—a place where you’ll meet some of the best people on the planet. You see, YNABers are far more than just money-minded smarties—they’re truly wonderful, caring people. But you don’t have to take our word for it … 

    Browse around the forum, connect with someone through their journal or start your own!

    Like 2
  •  

    Once you get into the groove, you won’t believe how little effort it takes to be a brilliant budgeter.  Learn how through our video course!

     

    We have a brand new, watch-it-whenever-you-feel-like-it video course that walks you through everything you need to know to get started and keep things humming along.  Let Ben, Kelly and Hannah hold your hand as you start your budgeting journey.

    Head over to Youtube and get started!

    Like 2
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Veronica I read somewhere if you can't make more money, then focus on education. That is what I have been doing with all the podcasts I listen to commuting, forums & blogs, and library books. Today's library visit to read over the next few weeks that have come highly recommended:

      • Living Debt Free: The no-shame, no-blame guide to getting rid of your debt, Shannon Lee Simmons
      • Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living, Elizabeth Willard Thames
      • Debt Free for Life: The Finish Rich Plan for Financial Freedom, David Bach
      • The Wealthy Barber: The Common Sense Guide to Successful Financial Planning, David Chilton
      • Wealthing like Rabbits: An Original Introduction to Personal Finance, Robert R. Brown
      • The Richest Man in Babylon (Revised & Updated for 21st Century), George S. Clason

      Although it is a little late for me to reach financial independence before retirement, my goals are to become debt-free in 3 years (LOC, car lease) then attack my mortgage so it's paid before I retire (10 years). A lot of financial materials / planning focus on a number you need for retirement. What you really need from what I've learned is to rein in your spending and live on less. Then your money will go far. :)

      Like 1
  •  

    Set up scheduled transactions for any regular, recurring bills.

    Make it easy to budget for your recurring bills, and set up scheduled transactions. You’ll get a reminder to budget for the expense, and spend less time entering transactions. Winning.

    Learn how, here.

    Like
    • Veronica I had not realized that I could schedule transactions! This will help with automatic college tuition payments! 

      Like
  •  

    It could be checking your budget categories before every purchase or establishing a regular budgeting date with your sweetie. 

     

    Financial wellness is like any other wellness goal—do a little bit, every day, for optimal results. Make it part of your regular routine, and you won’t even realize you’re doing it!

    Today, choose a new habit that will help you succeed at budgeting.If you need some inspiration, here are a few resources to help:

    Like
  •  

    Grow an epic vacation, new kitchen cabinets, a coffee maker or a pizza party for your five-year-old—the sky’s the limit.

     

    So, what the heck is a wish farm? It’s an awesome way to prioritize your spending in YNAB.

    Budgeting isn’t all about crushing debt and breaking the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle (as awesome as both of those accomplishments may be). To make sure that your new, budgeted lifestyle is sustainable, you need to leave yourself some wiggle room, a.k.a., fun money! And that’s what today’s challenge is all about. 

    Read this post, and plant your first wish, today!

    Like 2
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 4 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Veronica I was thinking about the Wish Farm this morning putting my boots on. I have several pairs of long Italian boots and thought about how I would just go and "buy" them, whether a good deal or birthday. Since I am focused on paying off debt, getting a month ahead buffer, and batting down the hatches to have my expenses low since the strike situation is very real, I have been on a spending freeze. I have been shopping my closet. I have enough. I'm actually scoffing at shop-o-holics now since it is the envy that causes overspending. Back to my boots...I had all these thoughts in several seconds (amazing brains we have) and thought that if I really wanted something new, I would put that item in my Wish Farm and save up for it. Like in the Olden Days. You really value something too when you save for something, and inevitably can decide if it is really an item you want want to spend your money on! :)

      Like 4
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 4 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view
      Purple Foal said:
      .....  if I really wanted something new, I would put that item in my Wish Farm and save up for it. Like in the Olden Days. You really value something too when you save for something, and inevitably can decide if it is really an item you want want to spend your money on! :)

      I've observed a similar effect in my own spending.  I think that easy credit and the immediacy of acting on numerous impulse spending purchases robbed us of the anticipation and dreaming of that special purchase and the satisfaction of achieving a goal we worked or saved up to do. Anticipation and satisfaction add in a lasting way to the pleasure of buying something special, I think.

      Like 3
      • xgirlmama
      • Purple_Griffin
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Veronica The wish farm, while a totally understandable phenomenon, I struggle with because I'm very compulsive. Like, I'll read the news app on my phone and the next thing I know I'm reading a buzzfeed article about "17 best things on Amazon" and the next thing I know I have placed an order. I'm starting 2020 with more patience and mindfulness, one month at a time. I'd like to expand my wish farm, but I don't even know what I want. Maybe the next time I go down a buzzfeed rabbit hole I'll add neat items to my wish farm!

      Like
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance Absolutely! When credit is not an option, then the opportunity for other options have a chance to flourish: you don't really want the item, you save up for it, earn extra money to buy it, roll with the punches, buy it through thrift, get it as a gift/reward, sell stuff, trade, make it yourself, etc. :)

      Like 1
    • Veronica As of right now I won't have a wish farm... but once I get rid of debt... I have lots of wishes...

      Like 1
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Foal I added a wish farm for the stuff I want to do after I get out of debt. I don’t find it or even put goal amounts but when something pops in my head like new windows for the house I add it in the wish farm group. Later if it becomes “real” I can move it out of there into the active budget categories. This way I have a list of my priorities for the future to help keep me on track. 

      Like 1
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 4 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      MXMOM I love the Wish Farm. I have my master bath reno on there. Previous to focusing on attacking debt, I probably would've "needed" it done and used savings to do so. Now I just enjoy it for what it is, that it isn't costing my anything, think how once my debt is gone, I can probably save $5000 pretty quickly, and how sweet my reno will feel when it is paid for in cash. 

      I've also had my ipad cover on the list for awhile. It is only $20 from Amazon, and I didn't get it for Xmas, but I can't seem to want to order it. So strange. When something is in the farm, you look at the item so differently. I'll just use more duct tape. lol :)

      Like 3
    • MXMOM  well when you put it that way... I will start a wish farm soon😀. There are many things to add already... cause I don't want to be in debt forever! 

      Like 1
  •  

    Let us be your cheerleader, and sign up for our weekly Roundup—an awesome, short, informative (and occasionally hilarious) newsletter.

    You can unsubscribe at any time, but we don’t think you will …  ;) A weekly dose of inspiration, education and the latest YNAB news. 

    Come and get it!

    Like
  •  

    Quit the extraneous purchases for 24 hours, or try it for a month—the time frame is totally up to you.

     

    Spending is easy, too easy. It’s so easy that sometimes we don’t even realize that we’re doing it. And that’s where a good, ol’-fashioned spending fast comes in handy. So, The important thing is that you break your habitual spending long enough to get in touch with your true priorities. This is the ultimate exercise in recalibration.

    For a successful spending fast, you need to decide on two things:

        1. What you’ll cut—are you banning all discretionary purchases, or just a particular type of spending? Be     specific. For example, do you want to stop eating out, altogether, or just stop visiting the drive-thru? 

        2. How long you’ll fast—is this a weekends-only fast? A 24-hour fast? A 34-day fast? Commit to a doable     timeframe that’ll challenge you. 

    Next, grab a pen and paper. Write down how you feel during your spending fast, and keep track of how much money you’re saving. Estimates are fine, but do keep tabs. If you’re miserable, that’s a good indication that you should budget some dollars for this category. If you’re doing well, then maybe you’ve found a place to cut back for good! 

    Like 1
    • Veronica I've been on a Spending Freeze since Sept actually. Take out (laziness) has been $0 and haven't missed it. Drivethru during errands went under my Eating Out category since it had a purpose. For January, I've cut my Daily Expense category down so all the lines in the category umbrella are part of the chop. The biggest chop: groceries to $350 month (me & 2 growing boys 1/2 time) and wine to 2 bottles of cheaper Argentina wine a month $24. I'll see how January fares and then look at Feb. Luckily I have gift cards from Xmas presents so if I want things, it is not from my cash flow. :)

      Like
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Purple Foal have you tried the Vivino app for wine? It has helped us find a good inexpensive wine to try that we would never have known about. It also lets you take a photo of a wine label and get info and ratings but I like it mostly for helping me find inexpensive wine to take for house gifts. 

      Like
  •  

    Enter transactions on-the-go, immediately after you make a purchase using one of our mobile apps.

    Dear YNABer, today we’re going to practice a small, easy and hugely empowering maneuver: entering a transaction into YNAB. If you’ve been relying on direct or file-based import, then you simply must experience the magic of doing it by hand. 

    But why, you ask? Two reasons. First, you’ll be more keenly aware of money leaving your budget. And, second, it’ll ensure that you’ve always got the latest, most accurate information. The coolest part is, you can still use direct and file-based import to catch any transactions that you missed without worrying about duplicates. 

    Check out our help guide about entering transactions.

    Like 1
      • Peripherie
      • Tomato_Captain.11
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Veronica I have been trying to enter my transactions into my YNAB android app immediately after I make a purchase. Everything works on the app but nothing is syncing to my desktop (which is where I do most of my reconciling from when at home). I chatted with someone at YNAB a few weeks ago and they said that mobile syncing had been suspended because of increased traffic after the new year. Has syncing been restored? I used the app a few days ago and it still didn't show up/sync. (The changes I make on my desktop do seem to port over to the app, it is just the reverse that doesn't work.)

      Ideally, I think that using the app on the go to see first hand how much money I have in my budget and then to track transactions right after a purchase will be really helpful! I just don't want to get frustrated having to add things again when I get back home - so I haven't done it as consistently as I'd like.

      Like
    • Peripherie Entering transactions in the app is a great habit to get in! 🎉

      That was the case around the first of the year, and mobile sync was restored, and back to normal. Do you leave the mobile app open in the background, or force close? Or use the mobile and web app at the same time? The changes may not have had time to sync with the server. You can tap and pull down in the mobile app to force a sync. If that doesn't do the trick, send us a message in the app and we'd be happy to dig in!

      Like
    • Veronica I like doing that so much I had to constrain myself today from being a danger on the road after filling up the car and wanting to enter the transaction. 

      Like
    • Veronica, I like entering the transaction in the app once I am in my car before leaving the parking lot. 

      Like 2
      • Veronica
      • Support Manager
      • Veronica_ynab
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Powder Blue Foal I do this too, especially at Costco before I forget what everything was for 🙈

      Like 1
  •  

    We think you’re so special, we made you a mixtape. Crank up the tunes whenever you need a boost.

     

    There’s a reason that we budget, and it’s got everything to do with living an enjoyable life. So, as a reminder of why we’re here (and, of course, for even more budgeting inspiration), we’ve compiled the rarely-heard budgeting versions of some pop hits. So, turn up your speakers and, like Lady Gaga said, “Just dance!”  

    Listen now.

    Like 2
  •  

    Check out some of our lesser-known features, which are designed to help you up your budgeting game!

     

    If you maybe, sometimes, skip the instructions and dive straight into the fun, today’s challenge is for you. Our software is jam-packed with features to help you YNAB your way—some are simple niceties, and others might blow your budgeting mind. Let’s take a look …

    • Undo/Redo - Underneath the month name in our mobile app, and next to the import button, you’ll spot the undo/redo button. It’s often-overlooked, but oh-so-amazing.

    • Inline Calculator - Yes, you can do in-line calculations in YNAB. Try it!

    • Quick Budget - Budget at lightning speed on the web or mobile app.

    • Fresh Start - Everybody needs one at some point, and here’s how to do it! 

    Like 1
  •  

    Grab a cup of something warm and tune into our free workshop about how credit cards work in YNAB.

     

    Want to be debt-free? Then you’re going to love how YNAB handles credit cards. We’ve made it easy to see exactly how much money you need to budget for your next credit card payment. To get the swing of how it works, don’t skip today’s challenge!

    Take a read through our help documents. If you prefer to ask questions, then sign up for the live class, or the recording.

    Like
  •  

    Listen to our founder, Jesse, share stories about real people beating debt and winning financially on The YNAB podcast.

    Don’t miss the regular, weekly show with Jesse or the special Debt Stories episodes. They make the perfect companion on your morning commute!

    Subscribe to The YNAB Podcast And, if you like what you hear, we’d be honored if you leave us a review!

    Like 1
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 4 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Veronica I've listened to all 400 podcasts like a crazy person. Have discovered many other great podcasts too on finances & budgeting. Keeps you laser focused! :)

      Like 3
  •  

    Make a list of all of your subscriptions and memberships and ask yourself,  “Does this regularly recurring fee bring me joy?”

     

    (Thanks, Marie Kondo for the inspiration!) 

    Now call, email or snail mail (ugh!) every provider on your “No” list, per their cancellation policies, and cancel! Congratulations, you just freed up more dollars to put towards things you actually care about. You’re welcome. 
    Remember that one time, when you signed up for a monthly subscription or membership that has, long since, been collecting dust? Well, ditch that dead weight! You need to keep things lean so you can move swiftly towards the calm waters of financial peace. Even if the cost seems small, it all adds up! So, if it’s not actively making your life better, it’s got to go. 

    Like
    • This was a fun exercise:

      • DC Universe - Absolutely.
      • Amazon Prime - student rate, so I think it's worth it. 
      • Netflix - free with phone plan

      This was a fun exercise, but only lasted 5 minutes (I spent more time searching my budget for possible missed subscriptions than actually listing them out). I think I'd consider this barebones. A part of me wants to find subscriptions to add, just to cancel ones I decide I don't like - but I'll refrain. :)

      Like
      • xgirlmama
      • Purple_Griffin
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Veronica All I have is Amazon and YNAB and I can't live without either ;)

      Like 1
  •  

    Call your service providers and negotiate a lower price. You may not be successful every time, but it’s definitely worth a shot.

     

    How would you like to spend less money on your bills? Funnily enough, sometimes you can! All you have to do is ask. And the more you can trim your monthly obligations, the more dollars you’ll have to conquer your big money goals!

    If you’re not a natural negotiator, fear not. With a little research and a dose of courage, you’d be surprised by how much power you have to influence your rates. First, skim your budget categories and identify your target bills. Insurance premiums, internet and phone service, and even credit card interest rates are all excellent candidates. 

    Next, research the going rates for these services online. You can even get quotes from competitors. Then call your provider and negotiate a lower price. 

    Pro tip: stand up and smile while you’re on the phone. It’ll put you in a positive, friendly frame of mind and aid your efforts!

    Like 2
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 4 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

       I've been very successful in doing this on a regular basis. I even enter a scheduled transaction in my budget for the month that the service contract will end, as a reminder to do it again.

      My advice to people planning to call their various service providers to get discounts, rebates, and credits.

      1. Be relaxed and in a good mood before you call (don't do this on a day you're feeling grouchy, sick, or don't have much time). Schedule a bathroom break before you start, and pour yourself a beverage of choice to keep from getting dry mid-conversation.
      2. Prepare your expectations before calling. You will likely be on hold for a while and have to listen to awful music and repeat your request at least twice to two different people, and that this may take 30 minutes.  Be patient. I can put up with a lot if it's going to work out to a significant savings/hour spent on the phone.
      3. Be pleasant, charming, friendly, sweet, or even funny, whatever one you can pull off with sincerity. Remember: CSRs get so many rude and angry people who don't treat them like people. I sometimes think I get more simply by being their first pleasant call of the day. I will even write down the CSR's name so I can say it occasionally throughout the conversation.  "Well, I appreciate that, Bob."
      4. Lay out your reasons for calling.  "Hi, Cindy, I'm on a mission to reduce my costs today, so I'm investigating what X company makes available in the way of loyalty rewards or bundling service contract discounts. Can I give you my account number so we can get started?"  What have you got for the [ senior, student, single-mom, unemployed, serious budgeter] programs.
      5. Don't be in a hurry to get the call over with. Be relaxed. The longer you keep them on the phone chatting  in a pleasant conversation, the more likely they will give you what they can.  If you are asked to hold, "Yes, of course I can hold." Maybe even throw in a "Take your time."
      6. Don't take the first "no" as the final answer. If you get an initial 'no, nothing available', remember to continue pleasantly but ask again in a different way. It could simply be that the company's policy is to initially say no and see how insistent the customer is.  It can also be that that this particular individual is very junior or in a unit that doesn't have the authority level to give you what you want.  I will use:  "Oh, that's really disappointing. I was hoping to reduce my bill by X% or $X. Is there someone else I can talk to? Do you have a loyalty rewards program or a customer retention unit?"
      7. They are taking notes and recording the call, so while X company may not have given you a discount this time, Cindy, Bob, or Sanjay should still be thanked for their time and effort. I also sometimes think that CSRs are adding notes to my account profile because I hear the change from guarded to friendly in CSRs' voices on subsequent calls once they look up my account.  It's worth noting that I have sometimes gotten what I wanted in the second attempt months later, too. 
      Like 4
    • HappyDance That's another post I will save for later... Thanks a lot for writing this up!!

      Like
    • HappyDance Good ideas! Thanks :)

      Like
    • HappyDance Wow, very professional! 

      I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks.

      Like
  •  

    If you’re looking for a fool proof a way to free up extra dollars in your budget, try a strategic meal-plan!

    Now, we’d never tell you to stop eating out. But, if you’ve ever thought about trying a meal plan, this is the time!

    If you’ve never meal-planned before, check out Ryan’s Adventures in Meal Planning.

    Like 3
    •  I will definitely be trying to meal plan, even taking my lunch to work so I won't spend money in the cafeteria everyday. 

      Like
  •  

    If you really want to nerd out (and you’re curious about your net worth)—you can track all of the things in YNAB.

    Here’s the thing, your budget will work perfectly fine if you simply budget with your primary checking account. You don’t have to add car loans, mortgages or savings accounts. But—if you really want to nerd out (and you’re curious about your net worth)—you can track all of the things in YNAB. And that’s what tracking accounts are for … 

    Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read The How and Why of Tracking Accounts. It’s a short read, and it’ll explain everything. Track that.

    Like
    •  I bit the bullet and added my student loans as tracking accounts this year (the five I'm focusing on paying off). However, I added those with a purpose. Adding the value of our home vs. our outstanding mortgage or the values of our cars seems like extra steps I don't trust myself to stay on top of each month.

      Like
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness Agreed with the student loans! I put in my HELOC and RRSP as tracking accounts awhile ago and just reconcile them monthly. Feels good to see the debt go down - the debt from the smackdown, and my RRSP go up slowly - small savings goal of $100/month. When I no longer have this debt and have bought out my car lease, then I will probably add my mortgage since that will be my debt smackdown focus. Until then, it's just too depressing to see the massive discrepancy between assets and debt. :) 

      Like 1
    • Purple Foal Yes! I have to digest the debt in chunks or I won't digest it at all. 😅

      Like
  •  

    Commit to your cutback! Decide what it’ll be, and move that money to a higher priority budget category for this week.

     

    What’ll it be? Can you make coffee at home for two of your workday mornings? Or perhaps bring your lunch to work one day, instead of eating out? Maybe skip your Saturday pedicure? It’s up to you!

    When it comes to achieving big goals, it's the little decisions that make all the difference. So, this week, boost your bottom-line by cutting back on your regular spending. Short, focused bursts of effort can make a big impact over time.  

    Like 1
    •  Small tweak to this challenge, but I'm still counting it! I decided on a No-Junk January. I'm going to wait until the end of the month, but all of the funds that were going towards Dining Out will be moved to other categories. Going to try the same thing with Fast Food Free February. 😄

      Like 2
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness Great idea! I'll do the same. Trying to build up my buffers. Just finished reading "Meet the Frugalwoods" and very inspired by the extreme frugality challenge. In fact, I am rereading certain parts & will write a review in my journal. :)

      Like 1
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 4 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Purple Foal Here's a link to the Uber Frugal Month Challenge on Frugalwoods.com I've signed up and will try myself.

      https://www.frugalwoods.com/2014/04/09/uber-frugal-month-challenge-yourself/

      Like 2
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