Why We Started Using YNAB
When my husband and I got married, we both were on the same page as far as finances went. We both felt strongly about having as little debt as possible; living within our means; and handling the money we did have responsibly. We didn’t have much experience in budgeting or fiscal responsibility though. We were both very young (20 years old); and neither of us had ever had much money to handle. So it was fortunate for us, that due to the recommendation of my husband’s boss, we started using an awesome piece of budgeting software called, You Need a Budget. Or for short, YNAB. This one piece of software has changed our lives in numerous ways!
What Is YNAB:
You Need a Budget is a piece of software that is easy to use, effective, and necessary for your financial life! It allows you to:
- easily set financial goals
- categorize your spending as finely as you want
- syncs with your bank
- makes it a dream to reconcile your spending
- makes it HARD to overspend
- has an awesome mobile app
- helps you save thousands
- gives you super-cool, easy-to-read reports on how you’ve prioritized and spend your money.
- AND it’s easy to use
Most budgeting software seems to be geared towards someone who has had years of financial training. Not YNAB! For sure, it works great for the CPAs, and CFOs and all that, but in my opinion, where it shines is how it enables normal, everyday people to take charge of their money in a clear, straightforward effective, FUN way.
A Few Ways it Has Helped Us:
Saved us a lot of arguments:
Statistically, finances are one of the greatest sources of arguments between two married people. We tagged this as an potential weak spot in our marriage at the start as we’re both very strong-willed people who both have very clear ideas of what we want. With that in mind, we committed to keeping our communication clear on the topic. YNAB makes this extremely easy by not only being easy to use; easy to have access to on multiple devices; easy to sync; and easy to quickly determine problem points in the budget. Other systems (like QUICKEN – ick!) are just a big pain in the butt and hard to understand for the average person. Every year we talk about our financial goals for the next year and then we review those a few times a year. We reconcile a few times a month, a process that takes less than 20 minutes, due to how streamlined and easy to use their interface is.
Made it Easy to Set Financial Goals
You Need A Budget is set up in a way to make it incredibly simple to set financial goals. For each category, you have the option of adding how much you want to save by when. The software then tells you how much you need to set aside each month to make that happen. Not only does this give you a cool little graph to follow as it ticks upward each month, it also lets you easily see if your goals are even feasible to begin with.
Saved Us 100s of Dollars
YNAB is the number one tool that we both believe has saved us hundreds in unnecessary spending. Even the people with the best of intentions can find themselves spending more than they think when they have no easy way to keep track of their money-out/money-in. It’s kind of like dieting. Before you start, you think you’re eating 1800 calories and then you start counting them and you realize you’re eating 3000 calories and most of that in food you don’t even like. Keeping track of your calories(money) allows you to make informed, thought-out choices on what you buy and to maximize the amount of money you have with what your priorities truly are. The tiny yearly fee they charge for using it is more than worth it for the money they save us.
Saved Us a Lot of Stress
The other area in which YNAB excels is making it a piece of cake to set aside money in a consistent manner for “those things”. Ya know, car repairs, appliance replacement, out-of-the-blue medical bills – all that stuff. We have categories for all of these items and because we add a bit to each one each month, by the time we’re hit with that huge car repair it’s not a stress. Because the money has been set aside waiting for the time it’s needed.
Real-life examples of this in the past 5 years are:
- finding out our only car needed a complete overhaul four days before a long car-trip
- appliance repair (and replacement)
- sudden medical expenses
- and Christmas budgeting. ( Yes, we budget for Christmas and it’s amazing how little stress you have at the holidays when you’ve set aside money all year and it’s just there!)
Allowed Us to Travel
This is an extension of everything else I’ve written here. When you have two people who have an easy-to-use, effective, (FUN) piece of software the makes managing your money a breeze, it’s much easier to accomplish your dreams. One of ours was to go to Europe for three months and we achieved that last year and not only did we do it, but we did it with our three little kids (4 and under!). And no, we’re not rolling in wealth: we’re just normal people. We set categories and goals years before, prioritized our spending, and set a timeline. And when we finally did it, we felt incredibly empowered and had an amazing time! And I can say in all honesty that without YNAB, that would never have happened.
Okay, I haven’t worked there, but they are for reals my dream company to work for! I’m not even kidding, every time they post a new career opportunity, I go and read through them all and then daydream for about 5 minutes before reality hits me. If you don’t believe me, ask my husband. Maybe someday! I’ve only ever heard good things about their work environment and the perks they offer their employees are awesome! Seriously, if anyone reading this is considering a new job, you should check them out!
Give You Need a Budget a Try
If you’re still on the fence, YNAB has a great offer where you can try it for free for 34 days! So, give it a go! You’ve got nothing to lose but fair warning.. you’ll be hooked for life!