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YNAB after 4 months

Four Month Update

We have been using YNAB for a little over 4 months now, I won't lie and say we are rolling in the dough and that using this software has made us all of a sudden have a ton of money in the bank. What I can say though is that we:
  • Have a more solid plan to pay down our credit cards and have paid down more than $2,000 in credit card debt between the 3 cards (half that on one card alone).
  • Paid a huge (un)expected electric bill ($400 extra). 
  • Were able to budget for a little under $450 in dental bills for the kids (in about 6 weeks time) and will continue adding to that budget category so we will have the money for their next appointments in 6 months.
  • Started putting money in our Christmas gifts category which gave us a short time to budget for this expected expense that comes up every year.
  • Have been able to tithe. 
  • Have a better understanding of where our money is going each month.
  • All this without going into the overdraft since we started in July.

YNAB Reports

Now that we have some usage we can see where our money has been spent. On the web interface, you can use the reports section to show what you have spent and you can narrow it down to dates and specific categories if you want. From there we could see what we were spending in our categories and the two biggest ones are groceries and what we called the misc category. If it didn't fit under a specific category we would put it under misc but if we did find that maybe a particular purchase should have its own category we created new ones so we can budget for that category in the future.

We will also be able to get an idea of how much Christmas cost us this year so we can plan for next year. It will be far easier to save over the course of 12 months then when we pretty much start our Christmas shopping y won't be as much of a stress point money wise. Once we get our final total from YNAB and account for anything we might have already bought prior to using YNAB I will be able to set a savings goal for us for next year.

Staying Afloat

I also won't lie and say the road has been easy. It hasn't, but while we haven't necessarily gotten ahead, in the sense that we have a lot of extra money in the account, we also aren't sinking and wondering where our money is going.

They (YNAB) say you will save money just in the course of a few months. I have often wondered if they mean you should have that much in your account or you save that much because you are managing your money better. In that sense we have saved a lot of money, since prior to YNAB we would be in the overdraft anywhere from $200-$400+ by the time we got paid next and this was with only making minimum payments on credit cards or maybe making a little extra payment on one or another without a real plan in place. If you factor in about 10-12 paydays since we started and assuming we had an account balance of $0 at each payday that would average over $3000 of our money we have managed better. Now, of course, we never reached $0 and the lowest we ever got was just under $100 in these past few months. The fact that we have always had a positive balance means it's actually more than $3000 we have managed better. Well worth the subscription fee per year for that alone.

The Subscription Fee 

People read that there is a subscription fee and run away, those same people will also pay for a CAA membership (or the equivalent in your country) and go several months or even the whole year and never use it. Yes, one use of your CAA will pay for itself but we use YNAB several times a week and it's given us the ability to have a better handle on our money and see where our money is being spent.

Other memberships/subscriptions people will buy and don't blink an eye at are things like Amazon Prime for the two-day shipping, Costco and the Gym memberships. Each has value if you use them and we have seen value in YNAB as it has helped us a lot.

Well, that's enough for this article but please check out the 34-day trial which can be extended to two months and create a YNAB category and budget for the cost of the subscription. I recommend starting when it's a payday which made it easy to jump in to but you don't have to. Using this link will also earn you another free month if you subscribe so you will essentially be getting 15 months for the price of 12 and then from there just budget the yearly cost and seperate it into 12 equal payments for that category.


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