0 In Financial Fitness

Budget Basics 101 // YNAB

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If you’ve been looking for a tool to help you budget, look no further. You Need A Budget, or YNAB as it is commonly called, is the perfect solution for helping you get on track and stay there. I began using YNAB while I was single to see what all the hype was about. I could barely afford the initial fee at the time so I searched Google for a coupon and was fortunate to find one. Initially YNAB was a software you could pay for once and download via an emailed link. I had some trouble understanding how it worked at first but my roommate was kind enough to show me the ins and outs and now I’m not sure how my husband and I would function without it. I really hate spending money if I don’t have to so I was reluctant to upgrade to the new YNAB which is $50 a year or $45 annually for those like me who had purchased the software early on. However, when I realized that I could keep track of our budget and update our expenditures entirely through the YNAB app I was sold.


YNAB – web view

When YNAB 4, the first edition of YNAB was released, the only way to update how much money you wanted to place in each spending category was by turning on your computer and updating it from the software. The app allowed users to add transactions which was helpful but the app in it’s current format is way more functional. Having a little one at home, I am all about things I can do that serve my family in saving time and money which makes YNAB a win for me.

The heart behind YNAB is to give every dollar a job. It’s the same as the concept of “zeroing out” your budget. My husband and I have added categories for weddings, birthdays, books, coffee and date night – it’s totally customizable to suit your needs. YNAB is extremely flexible and although it comes with some categories built in, you can add to or edit those categories to your liking. Compared with Financial Peace University, another popular budgeting tools, YNAB is only $50/year which breaks down to $4.17/month versus $190 (although the $190 is for a lifetime, we have found the value of  YNAB to be greater). YNAB does have to be renewed annually but for us it has been more practical than listening to talks about finances, going through a program and reading a book (#aintnobodygottimeforthat). YNAB is also more friendly toward those who prefer to use the card system versus the cash system, although it can be used for both. We primarily use cards when making purchases and hardly have cash on hand so the envelope system of Financial Peace University just doesn’t work for us.


YNAB – app view

Because we use YNAB, we were able to pay off our lease early. We also paid off our Sprint contract early and switched to a company that will save us $90/month – all while living on an income provided by unemployment. Of all seasons, you would think unemployment would be a period of financial unrest but YNAB allowed us to plan for our future and has helped us to abound financially.

If you think YNAB would be a good fit for you, click here to try it free for 34 days.

PS, Derek got a job – praise God! – so we are really looking forward to using YNAB when regular pay checks come in!

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