Planned it. Zero'd it. Spent it. Reduced it. Focused it. Detailing it.

Master Budget

For many years now, I would write up my budget in excel. I would sum my total income per week, list out the expenses to come out each week,  list the expenses that came out less frequently,  calculated down to weekly  numbers, to make sure my weekly income could cover it all. 

The aim  was to budget to zero, all income spent each week into categories, being sure to cover all "seen" and quote, "unseen" expenses. This was my Master Budget.

Once the numbers stacked up, I would go ahead and set up multiple "category" accounts with automatic transfers to each one weekly. Some category's I combined to limit number of accounts and this seemed to help.

Everything was on automatic and I was very comfortable with my Master Budget. Initially I would check everything running smoothly. I would fine tune budget to meet reality.

After the first year some of the categories had grown and provided a financial buffer. Fine tuning budget became less of a requirement. I was more concerned with a zeroed Master Budget which meant my accounts would grow, which meant we would be okay.

Having confidence in my Master Budget took time but it was just the first step. Having to stretch money, to cover expenses, also forced me to take a look at how I could reduce expenses.  To be efficient and reduce waste.

I started with electricity bill. How can we reduce energy consumption. Light bulbs, hot water cylinder on timer, hot water bottle for heat. Is there a cheaper power company? We changed power companies for a better Bill a few times.

I looked at Vehicle fuel consumption. Using vehicle less often, gentle on  acceleration, roll down hills, just to get more km/L.  This worked and when  our car of 20 years died, for about 6 months we were biking around. But we needed a car and I hunted around for most economical car to run. Long story short we found an electric car that beats any petrol car on fuel economy and space. The petrol allocation per week is now renamed "new used car" we will buy in future, with more electric range.

It was The Master budget that allowed us to spend all our money every week, more efficiently, that also allowed our accounts to grow significantly. This helped us to buy an electric car at an efficient price(we hunted for a deal) for a discounted cash price, and partly on credit card, taking advantage of 6months interest free. Fully paid now.

Benefits of the electric car lead to increasing income by doing paper delivery in an industrial area in our spare time. Roll paper and deliver (throw out car window) and no petrol/fumes.

Having a master budget has worked so well for us. It has taken time, several years to get here. And it works.


But why am I writing about this. I write this in an effort to help me understand why I should YNAB my Master Budget. And I thought I would share this.

I am not currently a paid subscriber. I  am trialing YNAB for free and here is what I have found so far.

As my Master Budget(which I trust) is focused and producing results according to my priorities, then  YNAB would allow me to enter in my Master Budget and track it. I found that it is effortless, after simple learning curve, to create budget(enter in my Master Budget) and enter in transactions manually as I go.

Because of the ease of YNAB I know exactly where every dollar has gone, in  real time.            I know exactly how much I have spent on groceries, on electricity, on school/clothes.... I have never had this detail of information, instantly and effortlessly available.  And it's ability to be flexibly when things change.

I have always payed credit card bill every month, but now I can  see exactly the amount spent each day as I go, and have monthly bill covered ready for payment, before it is due...I love it.

Having my Master Budget locked and loaded into YNAB, with detailed and instant view of my transactions brings a level of efficiency I hope to take advantage off. So a Master Budget I trust and YNAB that is flexible and accurate, will, I believe, take my finances to whole "nother" level this year.  Plus I no longer need multiple bank accounts.🙂

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  • Thanks so much for the self-interrogation, the description of your process, and trying YNAB. I hope you stick with it, of course, but it sounds like you have an excellent (and very YNABby) method whether or not you end up using our software! Happy budgeting.

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  • Sounds like you came up with a similar budget spreadsheet that the creator Jesse did. With YNAB 2020, the ability to see your budget across your devices sync'd, set goals, save money ahead in months, and reconcile with your various accounts easily is a game changer. I enter everything manually and it has really helped me learn my money habits vs having the data imported. I love it. It's changed my life. :)

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