Flow Sheet on Spending

I have been using YNAB for almost a year and have not quite achieved that "ah-ha" moment.  As the new year and a new month approaches, I would like to start making better choices financially.

I saw a post(can't remember where I saw it), that had a flow sheet to help you decide whether or not to purchase something- I think this flow sheet might help me.  I would like to print it and laminate it as a poster so that I can refer to it when having an impulse moment - maybe this will help me with my budgeting.

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  • I don’t know about a flow chart but here’s the YNAB procedure: 

    1. Is there enough in the category? If so, consult the balance of the account you wish to use. If there’s enough in both, purchase away. And if there’s not enough in the account, move money between accounts because you have the money, it’s just not in the right place. (A paid in full credit card obviates most of this second step.) 

    2. If the answer to 1 is “no,” is there another category where you’re willing to spend less in order to pay for the thing? If so, move the money between the categories. Now the answer to 1 will be “yes”and you can move on to making sure the cash is in the right place. 

    3. If the answer to 1 and 2 is no, then you can’t buy the thing. Done.

    Like 1
    • nolesrule
    • Been waiting 5 years for the Stealing From the Future fix...
    • nolesrule
    • 3 wk ago
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    Is this the chart you are referring to?

    Like 4
    • nolesrule  Yes! this is the one!  Thank you for finding it for me!  I may even keep it as my screen saver 😀

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      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 3 wk ago
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      It is sort of reminiscent of that SNL sketch. 
       

      https://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/dont-buy-stuff/n12020

      Like 3
    • WordTenor Haha! Why has this been such a difficult concept for me all these years?!?!

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    • WordTenor Love that. Have you seen the Lexus one?

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      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 3 wk ago
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      Nooooo how to find?

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      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 3 wk ago
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      Sea Green Foal I mean for an overly serious answer to a kind of joking question, the system is set up to make this a difficult question to answer. Giving consumers access to credit is so useful to the economy that it is in many powerful people’s interest to convince consumers that they can afford anything over time. This even trickled down to cash: before the CFPB put the kabosh on it, banks regularly showed you your cleared balance instead of your pending balance and made the pending balance hard to find so that even if you *did* check to see if you had enough money, the answer was not correct unless you were keeping your own record and they could rake in overdraft fees. 
       

      So it’s hard because it’s in lots of people’s interest to make it hard. YNAB makes it easy, which ironically causes some people to think YNAB is making it hard. 

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      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 3 wk ago
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      Periwinkle Flute They tapped into my brain for every thought I’ve ever had while watching those commercials. 😂😂😂

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    • WordTenor Unfortunately what you said just went right over my head! I feel that part of my problem is that as a single parent I have no one to turn to help me make purchase decision (big or little). I am hoping that by referring to the YNAB decision tree I can at least take a moment to really consider my financial situation before jumping into the mindset of " I will just use my credit card, get the points and then pay it later."  (If that makes any sense)

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      • WordTenor
      • I have the honor to be your obedient servant
      • WordTenor
      • 3 wk ago
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      Sea Green Foal It really is as simple as “Do I have the money.” If the answer is no, then the second question is, “Is this worth taking on debt for.” It can be good to define in advance for yourself what you’re willing to take on debt for. A new sweater probably is a “no.” But a big medical bill for your child(ren) is probably yes. One of the things I’m working on now that I am further along in my financial journey is making the things I’m willing to take on debt for be bigger and bigger things, things below that threshold I  need to have the money in place. When I was a graduate student, car repairs were a “debt okay” thing. But now I don’t consider them as such, which means it’s on me to be steadily increasing my “car repair” category each month so that in the event a big car repair is needed, the cash is already there. Realistically there is still a threshold whereby I’m still willing to take on debt (I need a car or I can’t put food on the table) but nowadays it’s more on the order of “My car was totaled and I need to have a new one right away” rather than, “I blew a tire.”

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    • WordTenor Right?? I thought it was brilliant

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      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 3 wk ago
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      Periwinkle Flute omg I must have just missed that one. I just woke my husband to watch it and we’re dying. 

      I’ve gotten the Lexus bug myself, but I have a simple method that I use now because it really worked with the Lexus. I literally close my eyes and listen for Suze Orman, and if I hear her shriek, “Are you KIDDING ME!?” in my ear it’s a hard stop.

      However, I came *thisclose* to pulling one of these in July.  I worked two weeks to find what I knew was my husband’s “dream car” and the dealer was about to drive it over by 5pm and I was seriously gonna pull off the surprise (sans stupid bow).  We just could not come to terms, and the whole endeavor blew up, with her and with 2 other dealers too. I was so upset I divulged the whole plan to my husband who now was on HIS own shopping mission. 

      But this is because I do the YNAB, I have all the account logins (he has his too but has never actually logged into anything), and I guess in this case he reaped the rewards as we ended up buying the freakin car.  Of course I had all the numbers and tied the sales manager in knots when he tried to counteroffer,  all the while hubby is kicking tires. 

      I didn’t hear Suze screaming so I guess it was ok :). 

      Like 4
      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 3 wk ago
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      WordTenor Ha ha ha, I love that old SNL skit!  I wish they had shown that to me when I was a teenager.  Except not sure how I would have paid for school, since, unlike my parents, I didn't earn enough over the summer to pay for tuition for the next year.

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      • PhysicsGal
      • Nerdy female homo sapien
      • physicsgal
      • 3 wk ago
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      Periwinkle Flute Ha ha ha!!!   That was also funny. 

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    • PhysicsGal This is why our #1 savings goal for the last 20 years has been our kids' college educations. (Our retirement plans had already been set in motion years before that.) Our oldest will graduate in May from UVa with an engineering degree, no debt and a job making more than his dad or I did for decades (ok, maybe we could have rethought that plan!). Second kid taking his time going through Comm. College, so no worries there, and third likely to attend private liberal arts school with a major in English, so I think this is where our plan will shine! 

      My oldest's girlfriend will pay off her student loan debts before her parents will pay off theirs, and that breaks my heart!

      Like 1
  • There's a great ynab video that suggests adjusting your budget as if you had bought the item, moving dollars into a special category for the experiment. Then live with the changes for a couple of months: more $ going on the vehicle repayments less on food (or whatever). How does that feel? Is that doable? Your priorities have time to become clear, before. you actually spend. 

    Can I afford this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utHQk3q_NlY

    Like 3
    • Cirrus that's how I figured out if I could afford to have a child. I spent almost a year putting child care expenses away each month and seeing how it felt to live on the rest. I was so glad someone suggested that to me, as a lot of my life came into focus and I truly did hone in on my priorities for making family life in an affordable fashion.

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