How YNAB changed my life.

This is the first of the year, and I rarely ever post, but I want to start off the year by celebrating accomplishments and encouraging others.

I started using YNAB in February of 2016, when I was 38. 

Back then, I was married, no kids, but we were living paycheck to paycheck.  I had about 55k in student loans two mortgages, and every month at the end of the month we were scrounging for enough money to get to the next.  I had declared bankruptcy in 2010 due to excessive credit card debt.

I don't want to pretend we were in poverty.  I had (and still have) a decent job making a lower-middle-class salary (at the time, around 50k, today about 55k).  My wife had a part time job making about 13k, and we had a very cheap second home we were renting out for extra income of about $600 a month (but paying a mortgage of about $500 a month).  

But oh the stress.  Every month we came to near zero in our checking account.  We tried several budgeting apps but nothing stuck.  There was no savings for emergencies.  No money for retirement. When a tenant left or didn't pay their rent, there was a huge pressure to get someone new in the home immediately or face financial troubles.

So, again, in February of 2016, I gave YNAB a try.  My AOM was something like 4 days.

For some reason, it clicked for me in a way that other budgeting apps never did.  I went all in.  I put in every category I could think of.  I set up every financial account I had.  I gave every dollar a job.  My reluctant wife followed along.

Since then, major things have happened in my life.  We sold our home and moved into a new one, twice.  18 months ago I got divorced.  12 months ago we sold our rental home to split it between us.  I still have that low-middle-class income, and my wife's income and the rental income is gone.

But, and in a large part because of YNAB, my finances have persevered and flourished. 

55k in student loans paid off.  No other debt except my mortgage.  About 16k in savings right now, all categorized for different types of emergencies and future upcoming expenses.  78k in my retirement account with 10% of my income going into it every month.  $400 a month being put aside for a new (to me) car ($6,400 saved so far) to buy cash when I get to $20k.  When my parents had an unexpected car repair they couldn't afford a week ago, I was able to pay for it for them, without stress.

There have been admittedly other things in my life that have really gotten me down.  I still live with my ex-wife, and will until next summer.  My job's been a b****. But in my financial world, there is no anxiety anymore.  This part of my life is in order, in part because of YNAB.  My AOM is at 94 days and climbing.  For this I can celebrate, here in January of 2021.

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