Help, afraid I will sabotage myself.
I currently have a PNC Virtual Wallet account that has a Savings Account, Reserve account and a Checking account. When I get paid, I follow my Excel spreadsheet budget and move a small portion to Savings and the rest to Reserve against my categories. I move it into Spend as I need it to pay my monthly bills.
If I follow the YNAB model, it seems like I am going to have to leave it in Checking to properly track my spending and budgeting. I am terrified that I will overspend. Does anyone have any tips? Thanks!
Hi, Lavender Rhythm
I can totally relate to your fear. Before I found YNAB, I budgeted by account. I knew exactly how much I could spend because all the funds in that particular account were for a specific purpose, and I could spend to zero. YNAB offered me better control and greater flexibility. That sounds hard to fathom at first. I was able to comingle my Christmas gift money and my car insurance money with my medical/dental fund, all in the same account, and never lose track of how much was needed for each purpose. No more late night sessions with a calculator in hand and a sheet of paper while I logged into all my accounts to check balances. I knew YNAB was the program for me after two weeks. I maintained my account structure at first, but after a while I got really tired of all the transfers between accounts. And after about six weeks of using YNAB, I was able to close a whole lot of different accounts.
Take your time. Get used to the software, and get used to looking at your category balances to make spending decisions. This YNAB article on the relationship between accounts and categories may help you understand how the categories work in YNAB and how you don't need different accounts to define the purpose of your funds.
And Good Luck! 🙂
The good news about being used to budgeting by account is that using YNAB isn't that dissimilar. You're already used to relying on a balance to tell you how much you can spend on thing x, and on transferring money between accounts according to its purpose.
The difference with YNAB is that now your categories tell you that information instead of the accounts, and when you need to move money you'll move it between categories and not accounts. The accounts will fade into the background, and instead of being holding pots to keep your money separate, they will be primarily used for expediency of interest earning.
I thought that my Virtual Wallet account was the best thing since sliced bread when I opened it. I used it for three years to pretty good success. And then, I closed it four months after I got YNAB and I haven't looked back.