Help me achieve the mental shift

I have used YNAB off and on for several years, but really want to make it stick this time. I posted a question yesterday about paying down debt and aging money, and someone replied about making the shift to using YNAB for more than just a spending tracker. I'm definitely getting Rule 1, and starting to understand Rule 2, but we're still living paycheck to paycheck, and I'm still playing WAM a decent amount (although not with large sums) so I can't say I'm fully "embracing" Rule 2. 

So I have a question - are there any videos, tutorials, or articles out there that you've come across that really gave you an A-Ha Moment and that helped you make that mental shift? Or, is there a tip you have to help me (and my husband) get there? Today is our last "3 pm Friday" of the summer before we're back to normal work hours, and it's payday, so I'd love to have something we can sit and go over together later this afternoon. 

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  • Sounds like you're on the right track. It's important to try and let your category balances guide your spending. Look first, then spend rather than just spending willy nilly and then fixing it.

    But yes, always WAM if you overspend a category and decide together where you're going to take the overage from.

    As far as Rule 2, try to think ahead about all future purchases and events and if you miss one, add it to your budget so you don't miss it the next time. Another thing you can do is look back at your last 3 months of purchases and make sure you're ready for them next time they come up.

    Make it a goal to get ahead and try to add to your saving categories each month with the idea of getting out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle. You can do it!

    Reply Like 1
    • Khaki Storm
    • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
    • Khaki_Storm.1
    • 1 mth ago
    • 1
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    The book really helped me get the YNAB thinking. If you don't have the book, then follow the link in my tagline to a post with a list of YNAB online content that covers all the topics. 

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  • Hi Stacey K. ! You can do this. 🙂 I'm so glad you've joined us here in the forum!

    Have you had a chance to read our guides yet?  In particular, I think you'll find Prioritize and Join Forces (for budgeting with partner) helpful with that mindset shift! The latter was key when my husband and I first started budgeting together.

    How did your Friday chat go?

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      • Stacey K.
      • staceychev
      • 1 mth ago
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      Nicole Hi Nicole - the Friday chat went great! We were able to set some priorities and make some decisions. As we're still living paycheck to paycheck, the first half of the month is definitely leaner than the second (mortgage!), so it was really great to sit down and look at the budget together and discuss. 

      I did read over those guides but they seem really elementary and obvious to me - maybe the mind shift isn't as far off as I think, and it's more about walking the walk. 

      Reply Like 2
  • The key to the shift is to do it. They used to recommend 14 days of consistent use. I would say make it a 14-day chain. If you go 10 days but then on day 11 you buy without checking a balance, or don’t enter in transactions, start over at 1.  

    When you’re using the budget to make decisions, sticking to it becomes much easier. It’s also helpful to have a goal that is just reachable but only if you work for it. Set a goal (by which I mean, have a goal in mind, not using the goal feature, though you can do that too) to buy something or do something that will take a month or two of careful budgeting. It will help you get focused about using the budget. 

    Reply Like 2
      • Stacey K.
      • staceychev
      • 1 mth ago
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      WordTenor Thanks! The goal idea is a good one - right now, we're really close to paying off one of our credit cards, so that's a good one to focus on. We have enough debt to rationalize the balance transfer game, so paying off that card will save us a good chunk of monthly income when we transfer another balance. 

      I'm also proud of myself for 1-1/2 months of consistent use! That's 3 pay check cycles and 3 budgets, and keeping track of all transactions and reconciling. I had to do a few adjustment transactions in the beginning, but now I'm reconciling at least every two or three days. 

      Reply Like 1
  • Hi Stacey K.

    So glad you made it back to YNAB.  As others have said, you can do this!  It takes will power, which you seem to have.  

    As far as what educational material to use, I use them all, classes, youtube videos, white board Wednesdays, everything I could find.  Start with the classes then on to the youtube recordings, there is also the blog and podcasts.  I would go through and learn something new, implement it, then go back again and learned something else new.  Have gone through this process repeatedly for the past five years, and still learning more each time I go through the material.  

    First get a handle on your current spending, including things that don't happen regularly, like annual bills, or things like car repairs.  You might not have much to put toward these goals initially.  Starting with $1 works, and add to it monthly, then increase as you can and see a need.  That is what I have done.  

    I started with a "stuff I forgot to budget for" category until I got a handle on my current spending.  Fund it with what you can, and again, grow it as you can and see a need.  Then it's on to your true expenses.  Those things you know will come up but don't have a set due date for, things like car repair, or dentist(?), you get the idea, things that seem to always throw your budget off.  

    Another good place to put some money is into an emergency fund.  Initially, use it to cover things you forgot about, then for true expenses that aren't fully funded.  As you free money up from your regular spending, you will find jobs for it.

    For me, one of the most powerful things I do is ask myself before spending, "What is more important, this spending or my goals?"  Found I was spending money on things that didn't matter, so I couldn't spend on things that did.  My money was all out of whack with my priorities.  It all comes down to your priorities.  

    After getting the basics in place, and funding them, then it's time for a huge goal.  For me, I'm working on paying off my mortgages today.  Do you have some huge goal you never thought you would be able to fund?  That's the idea.  Keep reaching for that next huge goal.  That is what keeps me motivated.  

    Looking forward to hearing your stories about what huge goal you just accomplished, along with the next one you are now reaching for.  

    Reply Like 1
  • MsTJ said:
    For me, one of the most powerful things I do is ask myself before spending, "What is more important, this spending or my goals?"  Found I was spending money on things that didn't matter, so I couldn't spend on things that did.  My money was all out of whack with my priorities.  It all comes down to your priorities.  

     ^^^^ THIS! I had that experience in Target yesterday and it was really cool. We've decided to keep our focus on debt paydown, but what we're going to do is put any unspent categories at the end of the pay cycle into a category called "Next Month's Money" to start to build a buffer. I stood there with something in my hand and thought - well, if I buy this, I won't have money left over in this category on the 15th. 

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  • 🎉👋😎

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