Finally broken the paycheque-to-paycheque cycle!

Not sure how long this is going to be, so here goes.

I first tried YNAB back in 2011/12 or thereabouts (YNAB3) – the main reason, I loved the concept of the original Rule 1 – live on last month’s income. I get paid in the middle of the month for the whole month (2 weeks in advance, 2 in arrears), and although I’ve always been able to pay everything I’ve needed to, not having a payment month that is not a calendar month has been an irritant through the years (yes, I’m that person who’s also happiest when my account balances are in whole pounds, preferably to the nearest £5/£10. Don’t ask why as I don’t know myself…).

Anyway, I followed the instructions, did a few workshops (if I remember the first one was with Manchester Dave up in Canada – was weird and wonderful at stupid o’clock). But no matter how many workshops I did, I found it difficult to continue the budget and would abandon it after about 2 or 3 months. I kept trying but for some reason, it didn’t stick. I tried annually and didn’t upgrade to YNAB 4 as I thought ‘if I can’t get the hang of this, then what is the point of going to the next stage.’ I persisted I) because I could see that it would be a real benefit to me and ii) out of sheer bloody-mindedness.

I made my final attempt in February/March 2020 after seeing a financial adviser as part of my employer’s wellbeing package. The frustration eventually got to me and I thought ‘I can’t do this anymore, let’s see what the new(er) version is like.’

So, I started the trial in April. Turns out the problem was visual. Only seeing the current month meant no split focus – who knew? It clicked straightaway and I was able to give my pounds the remainder of April AND allocate the jobs they needed to do before I got paid in May.

I ended up doing a Fresh Start in May, just before the end of the trial (when looking back, I may have been able to just do a reconciliation adjustment – lesson learned), so I am now in my eighth full month.

Positives since starting have included:

·         Changing credit card to 0% - was talking to a friend/colleague who had done this and wondered why on earth I hadn’t done the same thing. Applied, approved, received and will pay balloon (calculated using Goals) at the end of this year to clear it completely (including min paid each month)

·         Wammed new glasses which weren’t cheap for someone who is short-sighted and has an astigmatism…

·         Cash flowed additional items to make WFH more comfortable; and

·         FINALLY broken the paycheque-to-paycheque cycle a year earlier than I expected!

Now that I have finally achieved the objective that I set myself all those years ago, I must admit that I fully expected to feel a bit deflated. But oh no! Not happening! I still get frissons of joy in the morning when I log into my laptop and look at my budget – it is a thing of beauty if I may say so myself.

I would like to say thanks to everyone who writes in this forum, and everyone who reads it – I’m not a big fan of sharing with people I don’t know, but reading other people’s stories, their failures and successes and the encouragement that everyone gives to each other restores my faith in human nature and makes me feel comfortable in sharing this with you (especially after the year we’ve just had. Why does 2021 feel like it’s already asked 2020 to hold its beer?). I would also like to say thanks to Ashley for sorting out my discount, Terra for sorting me out when my phone died, and I couldn’t get into my budget (cos 2FA! – that was the longest two days ever) and finally Jesse for lacking the wherewithal to make rent – scarcity does indeed lead to creativity, and that creativity has led to our gain.

I feel comfortable in my journey and know that what I have planned will be possible now that I have a plan and to those that feel as though they are struggling, keep going and know that I’m cheering you from the sidelines even if you don’t see me along the way.



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  • Very impressive! I have been an on again, off again user as well. We also have seen vast improvements during 2020 when we got serious about sticking to the budget and debt paydown. I get the software better in nYNAB but like the old rules better. (I do not like Age of Money). Although 2020 was awful, I think it allowed us to stay on track because we didn't have to make decisions on this priority or that priority as much. We were able to throw all our money at the debt, it has fallen down and we can see how we can improve going forward. 

  • Awesome.  You have now joined the bunch of us that repeatedly open YNAB during the day although nothing really happened.  Its just so nice to look at.  I also giggle when I see our bank balance. Negative for so many years. Now it has money even BEFORE payday! I too struggled with YNAB back in the day. Could not wrap my head around it. But now it is totally a part of the family.  Congratulations and good luck on the rest of your journey.

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