Confused and Overhelmed

I just started my trial and I am a expert computer user, but this program is not intuitive.  Very difficult to get started.  It looks like it will take hours to learn and understand this. Is it worth the pain?  Classes, videos, forums - does it need to be this hard?

21replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • It’s totally worth it. Don’t give up and give it at least the trial. Ask questions, watch the videos and read the documents. It’s pretty easy to get once you get use to it. 

    Like 3
  • Finances is a serious current that runs through every facet of our lives, and I definitely think it is worth the initial effort to learn this software and the underlying philosophy behind it.  I know that the time I spent learning and using the software has repaid me beyond measure in my improved networth  and a better understanding of my core values and measurable, achievable goals.  I believe that it has set me up for a very comfortable retirement too, and that was something that was very much in doubt a few years ago.

    Like 6
  • It's actually really basic. The Budget is basically a fancy  spreadsheet representation of an envelope budgeting system.

    Add your accounts. Budget money from your accounts to categories. Spend money out of your accounts based on the balance of the categories and record the transactions (or use import, but that has delays).

    When you receive new money, categorize the transaction to Inflow: To Be Budgeted. Budget the money to categories. Spend money out of your accounts based on the balance of the categories and record the transactions (or use import, but that has delays).

    If you are using credit cards, there seems to be a slight learning curve, but for the most part it's intuitive.

    It might help if you ask specific questions. There are quite a lot of knowledgeable users here.

    Like 5
  • Along the lines of what nolesrule sad, it helps to imagine the analogy of YNAB. Pretend that you have all your money in cash, to the penny. As though you went to the bank,walked up to the teller, and asked them to cash out your checking and savings accounts. Now you brought all the money home in a big pile. You can't tell anymore which $20 bills  came from which account.  So now you're going to dump it all in a pile on the kitchen table.  And then, you'll sort that pile according to what you  need the money to do.   You probably have some bills coming up pretty soon; you should set aside some money to pay each of those.  You probably have some things that will come up more slowly like insurance payments or Christmas.  Probably a good idea to set aside a little bit for that now so that you can continue to set aside a little bit and have all the money when you need it.  You also probably like to do things like dine out and go to the movies and buy groceries.  You should set aside some money to do those things too.  And you might have already been saving up for some bigger things like in case you lost your job or to buy your next car.  You'll need to set aside some money for that, too.  

     Eventually, you're going to run out of money.  There was only so much in your accounts, and your big pile is now in lots of little piles and there's nothing left in the big pile.  So you'll have to stop until you get more income, even though you know you'll have more bills and things later.  And even though you know next month you'll also want to go to the movies. 

     That's all YNAB is.  It has a few extra bells and whistles to help you do credit cards and to help you plan for some of those upcoming things,  but when it comes down to it it's just a cash envelope budget.  Treat it like one and it will be easy to use.  

    Like 8
  • I'd say if you put in 20 minutes of video watching, play around with the software a bit, and then go back to focus on whatever you find difficult to figure out, you'll be set. So an hour or so. I spent more time than that, but most of it was in researching my last years' spending patterns and defining my categories. That took me more time than learning the software.

    Like 2
  • I love that so many people jumped to answer this! I can't imagine why, but my opinion seems to come off as a little bias. ;)

    One of my favorite things about YNAB is that we have so many resources - are you a hands on learner? Do you prefer visuals? Do you like reading manuals? Whichever learning style you prefer, we have something to match that!

    One of my favorite blog posts is How to Create a Budget Template, but there's also a free, online workshop that goes over it as well. 

    I definitely second all of the notions that YNAB is more than worth it and we have a number of avenues if you need help along the way! Don't hesitate to ask questions at any point! :)

    Like 2
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness There's actually too many options, in my opinion. It is very overwhelming to even glance at all of them. I think I've mentioned this before, but a starting quiz would be awesome, like answer these 10 questions and then get a tailored list of content. 

      Like 1
    • Ben Khaki Storm It's funny you mention that! We've updated our onboarding process and something along those lines now happens! There's a short quiz when getting started that tailors the emails we then send out during the trial. :)

      Like 2
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness That's good because it's needed. 

      Like 1
  • I have hours into trying to make this work it doesn't

    Like
  • how many hours does one have to stumble around trying to make this work, it doesn't

    Like
      • satcook
      • satcook
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      Navy Blue Ink what can we help you with??

      Like
      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Navy Blue Ink You don't need to stumble anywhere. There's lots of support material and classes that you can sign up for and watch on YouTube. YNAB is different to your typical forecasting budget so it's worth spending some time with the support material beforehand.

      And ask questions here if anything in the support material doesn't make sense.

      Like 2
    • Navy Blue Ink Sometimes it takes 30 minutes, sometimes it take months.  I do believe much of this is because of the mindset.  YNAB has a different approach than what we are accustomed to when we use things like Mint, Quicken, or a spreadsheet.

      I had one friend start using it a few years back.  She bombarded me with a dozen questions in the first hour then silence.  An hour later I got one text, "this has changed my life".  She had to start changing her way of thinking about money.

      Like 5
      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Navy Blue Ink Zero hours. Stop stumbling and start focusing. What is most confusing to you right now? You can get this. We can help.

      Like 2
    • Hi Navy Blue Ink !

      I took a look and see you have support access enabled. I'd be more than happy to take a look at your budget and walk you through setting things up, if you'd like a more one on one approach to things. :)

      Like
  • When I first signed up for the YNAB trial it made my head spin. I could NOT wrap my brain around it and almost threw in the towel. I ended up watching some YouTube tutorials and everything eventually clicked into place. I am SO glad I didn't give up on it. It has completely revolutionized our budget and spending choices and the peace of mind I have knowing that the money is sitting and waiting for the day the car/air conditioner/lawn mower/etc. breaks is SO worth it. And now I can't even remember what it was that confused me so much in the beginning! It is all very intuitive for me at this point and I get such a high when a paycheck comes in and I get to allocate funds! Definitely worth it to stick it out and invest some time into learning it.

    Like 6
  • I feel your pain and apparently we aren't alone!! I like to consider myself pretty good at figuring things out.  However, even me with my 2 master's degrees cannot seem to get this figured out, despite watching hours of videos, reading blogs, and playing around.  I feel like I can't "start from scratch" and am stuck.  I've been able to move my budget around to $0, but some of what I budgeted for this month was paid ahead last month so I don't know if I allocate any funds to it or not.  I also have my accounts linked and therefore have spent way more money in categories than I should have and am now trying to balance out, but I get stuck.  I don't want to give up, but I am literally losing sleep trying to get it figured out! Only a few days left on the free trial...

    Like
      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Steel Blue Door YNAB is a "going forward" plan for the money you have in your possession, based on the envelope budgeting method. So if you've already paid a bill, it's in the past. The balances in your account already have accounted for that past payment. So no need to budget for a payment you have already made. That money is already gone.

      Decide what needs to be done with the money you have now.

      Like
      • Bayou Buckeye
      • Beginner
      • Lavender_Display
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Steel Blue Door 

      I understand where you are coming from.  It took me several false starts and many hours of frustration.  But I have conquered it and it is wonderful.  Here are some things I learned.

      1. Start with one account.  Checking is the best or the place where your money goes and most of your transactions are recorded.  Do not add savings now.
      2. Manually enter all transactions - do not link to the bank.  This causes more trouble.  With the mobile app, it is quick and easy to stay on top of it.
      3. Break your bills/payments down by date so that you know when in the month everything is due.
      4. I then setup my categories by these - 1-7, 8-15, etc.  I have a category I needs to be budgeted every pay period.
      5. Enter your starting balance for that account.  Try and start on the day you get paid.
      6. When you get your check that first go - Enter it as a transaction, and give it a category of To Be Budgeted.
      7. Now budget all the things that are due between now and the next pay period.  If you have anything left over, create a category called Buffer and put the money there.  Build that buffer equal to one pay check (or more).  
      8. Then each pay period you move the dollars from the Buffer to To Be Budgeted.  Then your check goes into the buffer.  This is how your Age of Money increases.
      9. Keep it simple at first do this for awhile.  Keep in mind that everything that happens in this bank account (debits or credits) needs to be recorded as a transaction.
      10. If you have a category for Savings, and decide to move it from Checking to Savings.  Then record a transaction that "pays" Savings that amount.  Because the money is leaving this account you need to record it.  Then go to your bank app (Chase for example) and actually move the money.
      11. Think of this as envelopes.  All the envelopes equal the money in the checking account.  You can move money around between envelopes. 
      12. You can have more than one budget.  Create a Test Budget to try things out and experiment.
      13. When you are doing things in the actual budget, think ahead what should happen, and then when it does not, press CTRL-Z and undo the entry and try and figure out what happen.
      14. Once you get the hang of this, and you will, it is great.  I still run into some issues, and I come to the forum and some always gives me the right answer.
      15. I have added my credit card as an account.  So I have Checking and CC.  I do all my spending now on the CC so that I get money back.  There are several entries on how to handle this.  It is easy once you understand it.

      If this does not help. I can send you my email address and we can talk further.  I almost gave up, but now that I stuck with it, it is a great tool.

      Like
  • Steel Blue Door said:
    some of what I budgeted for this month was paid ahead last month so I don't know if I allocate any funds to it or not

    If you intend to pay ahead again this month, then yes you need to budget for that in this months area.

    Bottom line: the category needs money available before the outflow. The fact it's "for" next month or "due" next month is immaterial.

    Like
Like1 Follow
  • Status Answered
  • 1 Likes
  • 1 yr agoLast active
  • 21Replies
  • 1799Views
  • 15 Following