Lessons From My First 30 Days With YNAB

I started YNAB 34 days ago, and I've become a little obsessed with waiting for payday (in a good way!) Before this, I was paycheck to paycheck, and more often than not I would have to get into debt to see the month through. Seeing that money in the account previously gave me a false assumption that 'I'm rich!' at least for a few days anyway, but sorting through and spending from my budget rather than my checking account made me painfully aware of just how much the money needed to do. So far (with two paychecks) I've been able to get a thrid-way through my debt and save $400 while still managing to fund some of my true expenses, heck I even funded some long term wants in my wish farm.  These are my 30-day lessons:

1. Pay yourself first

Before you pay your landlord or your debts or the car expenses, put a little money aside for yourself. For me these are my savings in a category aptly named Peace of Mind- so I know if that category is not funded, that's my peace of mind waving goodbye, it also helps me not dig into that category to fund overspends

2. Get rid of your debt

Honestly, there is no better feeling than watching your debt shrink as your net worth grows. My strategy for this is to target one big debt and chip away at another slowly. Seeing the targets met in my line item goals is super gratifying.

3. Roll with the Punches- YNAB lesson

This I have had to embrace. One category that has had to be adjusted and readjusted is groceries, man, we spend a lot on food! Sometimes I had to dig into other categories when I did not want to but at least it kept me aware. Also, its an interesting/scary thing to have all those transactions and get to really see where your money is going

4. Keep It Real-time

When I first started, I tried to post current transactions with future dates, just so I could keep the month's spending neatly organized, but honestly, this does not paint a true picture of the money that you have. This also helps you decide on what spending habits you want to break or cultivate

Back to the beginning, so why I'm I obsessed with payday? Well, before it was more about when will the money get here so I can pay my bills, now its more about when will the money get here so I can put towards the things I really want. Oh and by the way, I small categories funded until September!

Honestly can't wait for day 300!

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  • Well done. It's good to see you've come to understand a lot of the method in 30 days. 

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    • Ceeses honestly I'm trying, and I can't wait to see how this pans out in 3 months, I just need to stick with it 😄

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    • TechieM2
    • IT Professional and General Geek
    • techiem2
    • 2 mths ago
    • Reported - view

    Great job!  Keep it up!

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    • TechieM2 thanks! 

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  • Hi Alice Blue Mixer ! Thanks for sharing what you've learned! Glad to hear the method is clicking, and you're seeing progress. Can't wait to see where you're at on day 300!  A journal can be a fun way to track your progress over time, if that's something you'd be interested in. 😄

    Balance is definitely important. Is Peace of Mind for fun money spending, or are you saving up for something in particular?

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    • Nicole peace of mind is my emergency fund, for now I want to build it up to six months of my monthly expenses, in the event of any eventuality. When I hit that target any surplus will go towards investments. 

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  • Hi    Alice Blue Mixer   

    Congrats on making it this far and learning the rules.  YNAB is a budgeting methodology with software to help implement it! This can be really hard when you first start.  (I’m in month 3 back again with YNAB after using YNAB twice before to achieve some goals)

    Have you tried scheduling future transactions if you get a picture of what’s going to happen in a category? You’ll get a prompt to ‘approve ‘ or ‘reject’ the transaction on the day it’s scheduled for.  It will show as orange in the budget if you haven’t funded the future transaction,  

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