A small reminder of small wins adding up
Long time user and lurker, first time poster in the ol' forums. I just wanted to share a bit of a win here, mainly just cause I needed somewhere to talk about it! (My coworkers, family friends etc get a bit sick of me constantly rabbiting on about YNAB).
I was scrolling through some old screenshots I had saved in my phone the other day and I found one, dated July 2020, which was a screenshot of my YNAB accounts page in the mobile app. At that point, my net worth was in the negative. It wasn't a whole lot, around $-300 ish, but at that point in my life I was having a real struggle with the money sitch. I had been using YNAB for a few years but I hadn't ever gotten properly into the good habits that make it really work.
My partner and I had previously cleared some pretty massive debt with the help of YNAB (in the realm of $25k in auto loans). I figured that once I cleared that I'd be in the clear and ready to live my best life. But alas, I got in that classic cycle of one step forward, two steps back as I constantly had to dip into my meagre emergency fund to cover off debt, tires for the car or any other number of unforeseen expenses.
It was right around when I took this screenshot that I re-read the four rules for the first time in years. I don't know what it was this time around, but something clicked. I sat down and refreshed my budget and set about creating it to reflect my actual spending. I used a spreadsheet to work out my annual spending on some of the expenses that we're crippling me month after month and worked out the monthly amount I needed to fund that category to meet those needs. I set some lean, but realistic amounts for my fun money each month (I just simply refuse to give up brunch!) All in all, I actually started using YNAB proactively rather than paying for a glorified expense tracker.
Long story short, it's just over a year later and my current net worth is sitting at a little over $10k (helped by it being just after payday, but still!) I have paid off all my debts and I have an investment portfolio that is nearing the $1k mark (through a local investment platform called Sharesies). More than that, I haven't had touch my emergency fund in any substantial way for months. I have about $400 of car bills to pay in the next week and I'm not stressed at all because the money for that is sitting in my Auto Maintenance category ready to go. I'm also halfway funded toward paying for my wedding next April 100% in cash.
All in all, this is just an appreciation post for YNAB and the team behind it. It's not just the app (though the app is my favourite one in the world). The whole philosophy and the content that the YNAB team produces has been the best financial education I could have asked for. I feel in control of my money for the first time in my life and I'm forever thankful for the work you guys do.
And if you're like I was a year ago, not drowning in debt but feeling stuck nontheless. Maybe asking yourself why you're so bad with money and just feeling like there's something wrong with you. That you'll never get out of these bad habits, or get in control of your money - I'm hoping that you can see it's possible and it's so worth it once you get there. Honestly, it was tough for a minute there, but overall when I look back, that slow progress really started to take of exponentially after a few months. You CAN take control of your finances and you CAN feel good about it.
Anyway, hope this has been a fun/inspiring/enjoyable read for some fellow YNABers! Happy budgeting y'all!
❤️Reuben, thank you so much for sharing your story! It's awesome how powerful budgeting for your true expenses has been—and I'm tearing up over here thinking about what this transformation means for you and your partner. You are building wealth and kicking stress. Great work!! Can't wait to celebrate your next milestone!
It's not just the app
Yes. It’s not magical. It is the thinking about money in a different way, being surrounded (albeit virtually) with like minded people (here on the forums), and rolling with the punches. Way to go.