using for a week some big and small wins

I've been using YNAB for a week -- a bit of a learning curve.  Love the workshops! We decided to pay off all our debt and are starting with a clean slate. For me the biggest wins this week are:

- figuring YNAB out (more to learn I am sure) 

- Roping in the impulse buys (just having to allocate spending into a category has stopped me in my tracks)

- Maybe better meal planning -- let's see what it says March 1! 


Stuff I am still figuring out

- I feel like I have a million categories and am striving for simplicity (eventually) 

- Scheduling payments is a WIP for me for sure 

- I continue to find stuff I spend money on that has no category and then need to rebalance everything to free up $ -- remain flexible! But I feel like I've decided I've finally perfected the budget only to find I forgot something. Finally created the stuff I forgot category which seems like a waste but makes it maybe a little easier to be more flexible 

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  • Hi Cyan!!  Like you I am a YNAB newbie also!! Been at it for 1 month and change...and I would like to share some tips I've come up with, maybe they help you in some measure:  1. When creating the categories, I add to the title the amount if it is a recurrent payment and the time-frame of the payment, and a Bullet (•) if it is a monthly recurrent payment, and two bullets (••) if it is a yearly recurrent payment plus the monthly breack-down of that type of, for example, if I need a category for a yearly $24.00 subscription to a magazine, my category title will be "••ScienceLab Magazine Subscription ($2/mo/$24/yr)". I also create a Payment-Goal of a monthly $2.00 total, so that keeps me up-to date with the yearly fee...when the fee activates, the money is already there!!!  Happy YNAB-ing!!!  :)

    Like 5
    • YNAB noobie Thanks I really like your ideas of putting context in the name of the item. Appreciate your reply! We got this!

      Like 2
    • YNAB noobie I do something similar but with no dots . so one of my categories is "Rent Ins 15 to 185". This is how much I put in and how much the annual bill is.

  • I'm fairly new myself, started 11/15/17. My biggest challenge has been to rein in my spending, espcially groceries. However, I've participated in several workshops and this weekend, I did the one about groceries a 2nd time so I feel better about what I spend. Really glad I found this budget. 

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  • I'm one week in and agree, just understanding how to use YNAB was a huge accomplishment! Having never used a budget I spent an entire day watching the videos and reading posts. It's definitely a learning curve. My impulse buys have been halted since I'm so determined not to go off budget. 

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  • I am paid once a month on the 15th so decided to lump all my monthly fixed bills in to one category. That reduced my category count by eleven. The monthly fixed bills category has eleven repeating transactions attached to it so I simply budget for the upcoming transactions each month and watch it dwindle away as the month progresses.

    I have recently done the same thing with my annual car bills. For me, in the UK, this amounts to car tax, MOT and service,  and insurance. Each of these is due in a different month but I added the totals up and divided by twelve and set a monthly funding goal for that amount. I have added a bit extra to the total to cover any unexpected increases. 

    I would suggest you give yourself a month or so for your budget to settle and you'll find you will begin to see categories that you can combine and probably some that you can get rid of entirely.

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  • Hi.  I've been using YNAB since October 2017.  I have found that category names are quite personal and unique to all.  My category titles/names are a bit wordy, but work for me.  For example, under fixed category, I have a sub category for Electricity.  My title for it is: "" [12th] Electricity, $175.00--auto pay on Electric website"".  The 12th is the day it is due.  All my categories have the method of payment in the title; such as, paid manually via my bank's bill pay software, pay with check #xxxx, auto paid on Payee website, auto-paid/billed to Credit Card, etc.  Also, I make a payment to my credit card every Friday (learned that from Kelly, YNAB workshop teacher); lessens interest charges and gives me a better perspective on my recent spending.  Once a month seems so long in between spending and payment due.    Credit cards in YNAB took me about 2 months to really understand the "magical" concept.  Also, I now know what I have available to pay on credit card each Friday (note: my credit score has gone up +38 points in 4 months, and I attribute that to YNAB).  I hope soon to be able to post a WIN in about 5 months when Federal Taxes and credit card balance are paid in full.  You are so right, flexibility is the key.   I'm constantly tweaking categories and budgeted amounts.   Hang in there.

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  • Finally created the stuff I forgot category which seems like a waste but makes it maybe a little easier to be more flexible 

    I'm nearly 4 months into using YNAB and I still have a "stuff I forgot" category for the same reason. I always fund it with £100 at that seems to cover things in most months and can see myself always using this.

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      • MsTJ
      • YNAB has given me back my future
      • Believer_in_YNAb
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Aquamarine Storm (67697f3db38d) Great category to have.  

  • another tip: notes & emojis are your friends.  I use the notes a lot. For example, I consolidated all my software/app/subscriptions in one category but I use notes to keep track of when & how much each one is.  I have a little house emoji for all my house related categories since they are in different category groups because of their different priorities (i.e. mortgage is in my fixed expenses, insurance is in my Need To Fund group, home improvement is in my Other group, etc).  This lets me easily see/select at a glance all the categories related to the house.

    Like 2
  • We are 6 days into YNAB.  Coming from a spredsheets and other systems where you had to be clairvoyant with your income.  I am LOVING this (YNAB) a lot!

    How do you add emojis?  I would love to add emojis to several items!  And I like the bullet point idea expressed above!

    Since we have one credit card and expect to pay it in full each month we split our (major) categories like this (image below).  The CASH categories are those bills we pay via bank draft while the CREDIT are those items we pay with the credit card.  We can still budget the CREDIT categories and then pay the Visa card 1, 2 or 3 times each month to keep it at $0.

  • That “stuff I forgot to budget” is a real life saver when you’re starting out!

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