Newbie

I am a total newbie to this $0 budgeting concept.

I've had Ramsey + Every Dollar and YNAB and I just don't feel like I belong lol

I don't want to have to check my budget every day, that is why I plan for the month

We have a list of everything we need to budget for in a month, including things that we don't have to pay for yet such as vet visits, car repairs, oil changes etc.  

So I have it set up in the budget as so, but its always say i have a negative to be budgeted amount because our paychecks just havent come in for that week yet.  

It's too much work to sit down and enter the numbers each time new money comes in.  

I want it to work as it works for so many, but am I just not cut out for it with the way my brain works?!

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  • It's a pain to sit down and budget every week. Many of us get Buffered so we don't have to.

    There are other benefits, too, but see if it makes the difference for you.

    Search "Trying Out The YNAB Buffer" on this forum for lots of info/details. 

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  • The BIG difference between the Ramsey Every Dollar system and YNAB is that ED is a zero-based forecasted budget and YNAB is a zero-based allocation budget.

    In an allocation budget you can only budget dollars you have in hand and in your accounts. You cannot allocate dollars that have not yet been received. I personally found this to be the massive game-changer in my life. I had used forecast budgets for years and never got out of debt or seemed able to get ahead. Along came YNAB, and BAM!, life has never been sweeter.

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    • HappyDance but i have no debt besides my mortgage so i dont feel like i need it

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      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ivory Wildebeest 

      Ivory Wildebeest said:
      i have no debt besides my mortgage

       Neither do I. I don't see how that's relevant. It's all about setting priorities and maintaining control over them.

      Like
    • WordTenor
    • Can we agree that goals are dumb and immature? Sure.
    • WordTenor
    • 4 mths ago
    • 1
    • Reported - view

    Is it possible it's not for you? Sure. 

    But if you went looking for a new budgeting software, it's probably because you sense something isn't quite what you want it to be. So why not try the YNAB method, which yes, does involve budgeting every time you get new money, at least until you have enough cash on hand to be a month ahead, which you may already have. 

    You have a 34-day trial. Make the best of it by fully embracing the YNAB method. If at the end of it, you decide it's not for you, perhaps it isn't. But why not give it an honest go before dismissing it as not working? It very well could be worth it.

    Like 1
    • WordTenor ive been using it for two months now

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      • WordTenor
      • Can we agree that goals are dumb and immature? Sure.
      • WordTenor
      • 4 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Ivory Wildebeest If you have a negative TBB each month as you describe, you aren't using the YNAB method; you're imposing a forecast budget on the YNAB software. That's what I suggest giving an honest try--budgeting only the money you have and using that budget as your spending guidance. 

      Like 3
    • WordTenor lol I feel like it's too much work. I don't have hours to sit down every week and input #'s into a software.  I like to forecast my bills and my money! I have more money than what the app thinks I have too so its kind of like why can I only use what is actively coming in!?

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      • WordTenor
      • Can we agree that goals are dumb and immature? Sure.
      • WordTenor
      • 4 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Ivory Wildebeest You should budget all your money that is liquid.  If you're able to cashflow ahead of your checks because you have money in savings, YNAB wants you to acknowledge that what you're actually doing is tying up some of your savings each month to pre-spend your paychecks. Facing that reality doesn't feel good. That's part of why the method works. 

      I'm just pointing out that you are paying for software that does a thing but instead of doing the thing, you're doing the same old thing you've always done. Something made you want the software, so why not try the thing the software does? 

      We can help you straighten out your budget to utilize all your money if you want. You've bothered to download the software and presumably to pay for at least one month, and then you've bothered to come onto the forum to say "I'm confused and new at this" but then rather than taking advice you're choosing to go "lol too much work." So...just stop using it if you think it's not for you. While I suggest giving it an honest try instead of doing the same-old same-old and going "Huh, turns out this is just like my same-old same-old," no one here is going to sit here and beg you to please keep using the software. 

      Like 4
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 4 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      Ivory Wildebeest If you want to do a forecast budget, sure that's fine. But YNAB is not the tool for that and you might be better off with the DR software which is a forecasting tool.

      I mean, I spend maybe 5 minutes a day doing YNAB stuff and I do 100% manual entry (with the help of scheduled transactions) so I don't find the process particularly onerous, but that's me. I'm also a month ahead so I only budget once a month after my second paycheck comes in (ie on July 22 I will budget all of August with my 2 July paychecks). And that takes maybe 10 minutes tops.

      Like 6
    • jenmas what is DR software?

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      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ivory Wildebeest Every Dollar (DR=Dave Ramsey)

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 4 mths ago
      • 8
      • Reported - view

      jenmas If I were to say that Dave Ramsey has ED, could I be sued for libel?

      Like 8
    • Superbone what is ED?

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    • jenmas oH that is a zero budget system too

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      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ivory Wildebeest Dave Ramsey's Every Dollar budgeting system. It is but I think it works more like you work currently. I believe you budget the whole month before you get your paychecks. Maybe fits into your existing paradigm better?

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  • Do you have enough money in your accounts to budget for a full month at a time, without waiting for paychecks? If you do, try a fresh start and allocate the money you do have as though it were a new month. Then don't touch the money that comes in until you're ready to budget the next month. (Most people who do this refer to it as a "buffer" and move the money from TBB to a category they call "income for next month", just so it's not sitting in TBB.)

    I check my budget daily, but that's because I think about spending money daily. I check to make sure I have money where I think I do, and if not, where the money will come from if/when I need to spend it (or decide I don't need to spend it). It's a 5 second or so check, most of the time. I reconcile my budget and accounts (as in, take maybe 30 minutes to sit down and make sure the number in my bank matches the number in YNAB) weekly.  I also have basically no debt, but managing the budget for me isn't about debt (getting out of or staying out of); it's about making sure I spend my money in the way that works best for me, at this point in my life.

    If you're doing the method correctly, are able to budget a full month at a time, and are able to more or less accurately plan your spending for the month, you probably don't need to check your budget every day. I probably don't need to; I just feel more confident in my decisions when I do.  However,

    Ivory Wildebeest said:
    it to work as it works for so many

     really is about tracking spending and allocating income as they happen. It doesn't sound like it's a way your brain works issue, it sounds like it's a "not wanting to expend the effort" issue. You don't sound confused about this, although you might be.

     

    Ivory Wildebeest said:
    I have more money than what the app thinks I have too so its kind of like why can I only use what is actively coming in!?

     This does not sound right, so maybe you are confused. The app thinks you have the money in whatever on-budget accounts you've entered. The sum total of the amount you've budgeted equals the sum total of money in your accounts in YNAB. If that sum total does not match your money in the bank, you need to reconcile your accounts until it does.  Unless you're referring to having money in off-budget accounts?

    Like 3
    • Fuzzball Meows So I have like 7000 in "savings" that is really in my checking acct right now yet it says i am -935 to budget. that is what i dont get.  I guess i need to learn how to create this buffer.  how do i create a INM category? ive only been able to have one income category

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  • Ivory Wildebeest said:
    I have more money than what the app thinks I have too so its kind of like why can I only use what is actively coming in!?

    That's on you. You tell the app what money you have by adding it to your budget. Your savings accounts should be in your budget.

    If you're as well off as you say you are, you should have enough funds to budget a month ahead and use YNAB the correct way. You fund this month with savings and the future month with income from this month. You can then do your once a month budgeting session and use YNAB correctly by not having a negative TBB.  I budget once a month and let direct import do its thing. Easy peasy.

    Anyway, if you're not interested in using YNAB correctly and following the YNAB rules, then yes, you should move on and keep doing what you're doing. YNAB is its own system so yes, it's very possible it doesn't work exactly like your brain works. Your brain might need to adapt if you want to use YNAB correctly. If you're not interested in seeing how that might help you, just move on and keep doing what you're doing. YNAB is not an open ended budgeting system.

    Like 4
  • You’ve listed a number of reasons it *doesn’t* work for you (and they seem quite signficant).

    Maybe it would help to elaborate more on what you’re hoping to get from YNAB that those other systems aren’t offering you?  What problem is it you’d like YNAB to solve?

    In my experience it’s definitely not a low-effort system.  Personally I update transactions several times per week, kind of a “little and often” approach.  But I find it helpful and reassuring to be on top of my numbers, and it’s a useful reminder not to impulse splurge with money I don’t have.  But that’s how *my* brain works :)

    Like 3
  • Welcome Ivory Wildebeest ! A great way to understand the YNAB method and see if it will work for you is to check out our Four Rules for Less Money Stress video series! 😊

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  • Coming from DR you should not really think of YNAB from a "Monthly Cash Flow Plan" but rather the "Allocated Spending Plan". And to take that a step further, YNAB does not allow you to rely on funds you don't have. This is very basically what Allocated budget was attempting to provide you with DR. It wanted to make sure that from Pay Period to Pay Period, you could cover your goals/expenses. 

    I have used (and taught for DR classes) ED, Mint, MSMoney, and YNAB and by far YNAB provides the best solution in my mind. It deviates from the DR philosophy in some aspects because it solves the main issues that DR attempts to avoid due to "there is a whole down that road..... so avoid that road" (Credit cards would be an example). 

    With YNAB you can have your month-start setup in less than 5min (give or take) once you get 1 month ahead and utilize goals. Then you simply need the software to record your transactions. I dont recommend the "only want to look at the budget once a week" perspective because you really should record what you spend before it imports with the bank to ensure you have a good perspective on what is left in your categories. Though that holds true with most budgets. In my mind, you want to be more proactive instead of reactive with spending and where you stand within a month. 

    For us, the software worked better for us once it was doing all the heavy lifting. Setting up the scheduled transactions and goals for each category helped a ton since "Underfunded" told me instantly what was needed and we could distribute the funds with 1 click.

    Like 4
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