New user and this by far the hardest budget ever

I can’t believe I paid for the hardest budgeting system ever!  I have spent 3 hours trying to figure this out and still confused! I’m glad I’m not the only one lost. The videos are confusing as well.  Not a very intuitive and user friendly System at this juncture. I am so frustrated that I paid to be so confused about the whole thing. 
Ppl say it’ll be hard in the beginning but lord have mercy I can’t get anything to link up. 
What happen to just income vs expenses lol 

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  • First of all, there’s a 34 day free trial before you have to pay a cent. There should be no surprises. However, hang in there, it will click if you keep at it. It’s really not that difficult and it will change your life if used properly. You need to throw out everything you think you know about budgeting. Start here:

    Like 7
  • Purple Harp said:
    What happen to just income vs expenses

    That's not this type of budget and not as effective, for me at least. YNAB is a plan for the cash I have now. What does this money need to do before I get more? Intuitively, it is the equivalent of putting your cash in paper envelopes, much like your grandparents may have done.

    A traditional income v. expense / analyze variance budget is a very ridgid system that doesn't separate current and future money with feedback that arrives too late for my liking.

    You can cancel and get a refund if you really want that type of forecasting budget.

    Like 4
  • Purple Harp  I agree with  Superbone   you just need to hang in there. it will change your life.  It is actually pretty intuitive, you are just looking at it in an income vs expenses way.  The key initially is that you need to realize that you only budget the cash you have right now.  You can do it.  Stick with it!🙂

    Like 2
  • dakinemaui said:
    it is the equivalent of putting your cash in paper envelopes, much like your grandparents may have done.

    This phrase is due for an update. At some point it's going to have to change to great grandparents. 😉

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      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Superbone LOL, I actually had "(great?) grandparents" in there originally.

      Like 2
  • Hey Purple Harp ! Welcome to YNAB! Sorry hear that things are off to a rocky start, but glad that you're here asking questions. Sounds like you're adding accounts, and having trouble linking? It looks like you have a successful bank connection now. Nice job! How are things looking?

    The Ultimate Get Started Guide linked above is great if you prefer written steps, but one of my favorite resources are our step-by-step video coursesFour Rules for Less Money Stress is about our method, and Starting Your YNAB Budget will help with set-up.

    If you get stuck on a certain step, let us know here—or you can click the question mark in the bottom right corner of your budget to chat with our support team!

  • Hi there.  I get it. I had a hard time at first mainly because YNAB uses a very different but effective philosophy. I recommend not watching too many videos or reading too much advice. Start with the basics. 

    step 1. Add ALL your day to day bank and credit card accounts into YNAB. If you don’t know the exact balance right now, just guess. We can fix that later. Note that you will enter these as “budget” accounts.  Go with unlinked for now. When you enter credit card it will prompt you whether you want to set a payoff goal. Skip that for now.  Once you have done this in the budget view there will be a total in To Be Budgeted. This is ALL the money we have to work with right now. Forget next weeks paycheque. 

    step 2. I recommend we do the next step on a piece of paper first. At the top write the total money you have ( the to be budgeted or TBB for short). Now on the next line what is the first MOST important thing you have to pay for between now and your next pay. Probably food. Whatever it is, write that category name and the amount you need between now and payday.   On the far right of the page write how much money is left (TBB - food). For example if TBB started at $1000 and you need $200 for food before next pay write food $200 and then $800 to the far right. That is your running balance. Keep going until that running balance is 0. (Note if you cover everything and didn’t hit zero great! But you still have to keep going until you hit 0  that is where savings comes in  )

    step 3. Still on paper draw a line under the last item before you hit zero and keep going with a category and an amount. Write down EVERY single thing you need to spend money on before payday. 

    Step 4. Now we are ready for YNAB. Note that you don’t have to keep the categories listed the way they are initially. For example mine are set up by group - housing , food, auto, etc..  the only one you can’t play with is the credit card payment group. Some people like theirs by week. Week 1 week 2 etc. If your not sure, then stick with the YNAB defaul. You can change them later. 

    starting with line 1 from your paper find the corresponding category. If there isn’t one then you have to add one. But for most basics the categories are already there.  Assume it’s groceries. Click on the grocery word and the budget screen will pop up. Since you have no history all the quick budget boxes will be 0. Using the keypad, enter the number you wrote that you needed and then the check mark. The amount you entered should now show in green under available and the TBB at the top should match your running balance. 

    keep going until you get to TBB $0. That is the first budget. 
    I am going to read your other comments now and see where you are getting hung up. But once you’ve done these steps let me know and we will continue. 

    Like 2
      • Purple Harp
      • Purple_Harp.10
      • 1 mth ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view


      thank you so much for the in depth training! It helped me tremendously.

      I truly appreciate your step by step instructions which helped me. I sent this to someone else who was also stuck. Thank you again 

      Like 3
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Purple Harp no problem. Let me know if you hit any other snags. YNAB can do a lot of things and there’s a lot of lingo. But I find keeping it simple and connected to real transactions the best approach. Oh and feel free to reach out when you get confused by credit cards. It’s another thing that YNAB handles really differently but once you get it, it’s AWESOME. 

      Like 1
  • I just read the post How A Family Making $63K a Year Can Survive the Next Three Months which is post 1 in the Surviving COVID series.  I found that the walk through is really helpful to anyone starting out (regardless of COVID) as to how to set up budget in YNAB.

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