I have done 2 online workshops and I'm still hopelessly confused about how to set up the budget and update my balance. This is such a complicated program, I don't think I'll ever figure it out unless I get 1-on-1 step-by-step assistance. Also it says it can't link to my banks. Honestly, this is why I've never set up a real budget because it's SO confusing with a million different categories. I was really hoping your program would simplify the process but I'm more confused than ever. The online workshops go WAY too fast for me. There is no time to process what they're teaching before they're on to the next topic.
Hi Cadet Blue Python !
We're here to help! :)
If the workshops are too fast, you can watch the recordings so you can go at your own speed - Mamster linked one below. Do you prefer videos? If so, we have a number of workshop recordings available and here's a short video that explains these three main steps:
1. Add your primary accounts with the balances as of today.
2. Budget those dollars where they’re needed before you get paid again.
3. Record your spending. It’s best to enter transactions right away so you can always trust your budget!
Take a look at those links and let us know if you still have questions! :)
Thanks for the info. This is what I don't understand: when I go into my budget, which I haven't finished setting up, why does it say I have $2036 to be budgeted? Since the day I entered this info, my account balance has gone down. Now my balance is much less, and I've tried to update it and "reconcile" the account. But it still says I have over $2000 to be budgeted. That's not true today. Plus, $1200 of that money is in a savings account I don't even touch. So I really don't have that money to play with. That's why it's confusing.
Maybe this tutorial would help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPVEB759gkU
He talks fast but you can pause it and set your budget up with him. I hope that helps. He has other videos as well that may be helpful.
Powder Blue Panther said:
I always always have a surplus of money as a buffer in my checking account. (Budgeting down to $0 makes no sense to me)
Budgeting down to zero does NOT equal spending down to zero. Budgeting to zero means making a plan for all your money. The plan may be to just "sit there" until a dire situation arises. My plan includes a Loss of Income category that is funded to cover me for 6-8 months if I should lose my job (I've been laid off twice since 2007). It includes fully funding an annual IRA contribution and monthly taxable investing (I also fully fund my 401(k) but that happens as a payroll deduction so I don't need to budget for it). It includes fully funding "this year's" and "next year's" Medical Out of Pocket Max category in case I have something bad happen at the end of one plan year and it spills over into the beginning of the next plan year. It includes a super fancy trip to Hawaii even though I don't know when it's actually going to happen.
I didn't start YNAB because I was in financial need. I literally started because I was bored one Saturday afternoon and I had heard someone talk about it so I thought I'll try. At the time (as now), I only had my mortgage debt and my student loans (however I was only a few months away from paying off the student loans). I had already saved enough to buy a new car for cash in the next year. I was maximizing my retirement accounts. I was never making any attempt to cut expenses (I'm a tightwad in that I'll complain about the cost of things and skip certain totally discretionary things, but I'm not particularly frugal - if I want the fancy cheese, I'll buy the fancy cheese. And I may have a bag situation). I am just able to be more mindful about my money. Also, YNAB let me see that I could totally make an impulse purchase - I bought a rental house on impulse several years ago (I'm not joking, it really was pretty much an impulse).
I don't have a large "buffer" in my checking account because I keep as little in my checking account as I can get away with and instead keep as much as possible in accounts with higher interest rates. For example, the Loss of Income category money? I couldn't tell you what account it "lives" in - but because it is fully budgeted for, I know it's "there" in one of my 3 checking or 4 savings accounts should I ever need it (which obviously hopefully will never happen and when I retire, I can just reallocate those funds to other categories and live off of that for a while before taking money from my 401(k) or IRA or investments.