May 1, 2018
So after getting into the car accident in September, and then having massive amounts of overtime from October to December and then again from January until February, and then just being perpetually lazy and recuperating from all the sleepless nights I let my blog slide a little, and my running, and some household maintenance. I’m human, sorry. I’m also re-evaluating my schedule and have decided that a blog post twice a week will be sufficient enough and will attempt to keep them to Tuesday and Friday.
Once that is said a done I found out that when I used excel to keep track of finances that I suck at reconciliation. It is the bane of my existence when it comes to household finances. I would spend 10-15 minutes a day trying to keep track of everything, and then another two hours on Sunday reconciling because for some reason I don’t understand interest and taxes. That’s a calculated amount of 3-3.5 hours a week that I could be doing something else much more fulfilling.
In the past, we had tried paper and pencil, envelope system, Mint, EveryDollar. It seems that something was lacking for us, so we hit the trail again in the search for something that had everything we wanted to make our financial lives easier.
- Sync ability
- No prescribed budgeting percentages
- Net Worth
- Income vs expenses
- Spending Report
- Color-coded categories
To find something that fits all those requirements took a little bit of time, but I think we have found it. YNAB, a.k.a You Need a Budget. At first, I was hesitant because I hate being told what to do, and this was literally telling me I needed something, besides the fact that I was looking for a budgeting system/software/miracle already. Putting aside my stubbornness I broke down and signed up for the 34 free trial to see if it was finally what I was looking for to help.
After signing up it was a steep learning curve into a plateau, not too difficult to the extent that it wasn’t manageable but since we added in all our accounts including savings, and different debt categories and then credit cards. At first, I had all of the money in savings in the “To Be Budgeted” part and allocated all the money for the entire categories, which if I had all that money in the checking account that would have been great. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case and needed to get a little help from their support people (no shame in asking for assistance) and just allocated all the money into its own savings account category. Such a simple fix, and the response from their tech support was phenomenal and was within two hours, results could vary.
With my Audible subscription, I also listened to the book by the creator Jesse Mecham, You Need a Budget and it helped me understand the concepts and reasoning behind the software system. And the good thing about the book is that it doesn’t go into the nitty-gritty details of how to set it up but just goes over the 4 “Rules” of how to make this personal for you.
- Give Every Dollar a Job
- Embrace Your True Expenses
- Roll With the Punches
- Age Your Money
It fit every one of my buttons that needed to be pushed, except for the #9: Free. After the 34 days free trial there is an annual fee of $84, which I gotta say, so far it’s worth it.
At any given time Ryan and I can pull up the app on our new smartphones (tell you about that later) and it automatically updates to the most recent transactions and all we have to do is approve, categorize (if it didn’t automatically do it), and then make any adjustments if we overspend in a particular category.
Since we have started using YNAB our budget meetings have morphed into a different experience altogether. During our budget meetings, we lay in bed with our phones and have a relaxing conversation about our money. There are no arguments, and we just enjoy being with each other and talking about our past, present, and our future together. Something that I never thought would happen. Here are the topics we cover in generally the order we discuss them.
- Overspent categories and if we need to plan on those happening again, or a one and done
- If we need to add in another subcategory or make any adjustments to a goal amount
- How much in the checking/savings accounts
- How much debt we paid off during the month ($1,269.99) and how much debt we still have to pay off ($75,500)
- Net worth
- Upcoming expenses for the next month and make any necessary adjustments
- Future Financial goals- which is my absolute favorite part
We are still not perfect, and we have our moments of WTF, we roll with those punches by adjusting and moving on. I say that in an entire week I spend maybe an hour or less with keeping up with our budget. I don’t know about you but I feel like my time is valuable. Also, I’m going to include a referral link down below. What that means is that if you use that link and decide to start a 34 days trial and want to sign up for the annual membership, we BOTH get a month FREE.
Do you need a budget? Or use YNAB? Let me know in the comments some of your opinions and experiences with budgeting.