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YNAB -- You Need A Budget

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  • YNAB -- You Need A Budget

    bankruptbull recently recommended this budgeting site, and I decided to give it a try. YNAB has a 34-day free trial, and you can link your bank account.

    I want to get on-board with this. I really do. But I know myself well enough to know that in the past, I've gotten frustrated with tools like this and gave up.

    See, here's the thing: I'm a perfectionist in some areas. If I am going to do this, I want it to be done correctly. So I thought I'd reach out and see if there are other users out there, and if you'd like to share your experiences?

    The first hiccup I've encountered is the moving around of money that we do for our children.

    Example: Yesterday, son gets paid $20 for mowing the neighbor's yard. I put the cash in my wallet. I transfer $15 from our checking to his debit card, and $5 to his savings account. So these show up as two transactions in our linked checking account... but they aren't actually expenses at all. What am I supposed to do with that?

    I guess I could just go back and assign an expense category to those line items at the time we actually spend the cash?

    I have other examples, but I think I'll just post for now and see if other people come out of the woodwork. The more I type, the more I wonder if I can actually keep up with this. I really want something like this to work!

  • #2
    Hmmm..program sounds a little involved (but that could just me reading it). First question to you..do you intend to put the cash you received back into your account? If not, then of course the transfers should show asa cash expense. I don't imagine the program tracks cash in your pocket as well as cash in accounts.
    I designed myself a yearly spreadsheet that shows our opening bank balance, deposits, recurring expenses (eg. power, light, food, gas,water, savings, allowance etc). It also shows all those little things that come up during the year that you might forget - vehicle tags, mandatory water testing expense from the city, property taxes etc.). Each month the ending balance automatically transfers from the previous month, and it's just a matter of tweeking those ongoing fluctuating expenses (eg., fluctuating heat/water bill). The nice thing is it allows us to know everything for the year, how expenses change it year and keeps a running balance of what's in checking and savings account. Birthdays, christmas, etc. are all built in.
    You'll figure out what works for you.
    Filed Chapter 13 - 07/20/12
    Discharged 8/2/16

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks, sophieanne.

      I'm a huge fan of spreadsheets -- and I have several going all the time, which I do keep updated very well. But all this time, as we've been preparing to file, I've been "tracking expenses". Now is the first time we will be truly having to "budget".

      I like what I see with YNAB so far... I just have to figure out how to make it work for us without it becoming too much hassle, or "cumbersome" as I said on another thread. That's how I've always felt with these things in the past.

      This program has you assign a category to every dollar you have available to spend right now. That part is really helpful for me ~ especially at this moment in time, when we have no idea when the next income is even going to be.

      I'm also liking the "goal setting" feature for those things that only come up once a year or a few times per year, as you said. That way those things are all right there in my face every time I log in, right along with the monthly bills and regular expenses.

      Comment


      • #4
        Oh, I meant to say -- I took the $20 cash from my wallet, put it in a "GAS" envelope, and counted those transactions as "transportation". We'll spend it the next time we fill up. Where there's a will, there's a way!

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi..you'll figure it out. My budget works great for me and yours will work great for you Good luck as your journey continues.
          Filed Chapter 13 - 07/20/12
          Discharged 8/2/16

          Comment


          • #6
            Yep, I will figure it out. Maybe I will make use of it for the free 34 days and then end up with a spreadsheet system anyway. ;)

            Just wanted to see if there were any other people here who had been using it who could offer tips about what works for them. It seems pretty well thought-out and I like their site. Lots of articles, blog posts, videos, even free classes. I just won't keep it if it doesn't make sense for our situation.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Chrysalis View Post
              bankruptbull recently recommended this budgeting site, and I decided to give it a try. YNAB has a 34-day free trial, and you can link your bank account.

              I want to get on-board with this. I really do. But I know myself well enough to know that in the past, I've gotten frustrated with tools like this and gave up.

              See, here's the thing: I'm a perfectionist in some areas. If I am going to do this, I want it to be done correctly. So I thought I'd reach out and see if there are other users out there, and if you'd like to share your experiences?

              The first hiccup I've encountered is the moving around of money that we do for our children.

              Example: Yesterday, son gets paid $20 for mowing the neighbor's yard. I put the cash in my wallet. I transfer $15 from our checking to his debit card, and $5 to his savings account. So these show up as two transactions in our linked checking account... but they aren't actually expenses at all. What am I supposed to do with that?

              I guess I could just go back and assign an expense category to those line items at the time we actually spend the cash?

              I have other examples, but I think I'll just post for now and see if other people come out of the woodwork. The more I type, the more I wonder if I can actually keep up with this. I really want something like this to work!
              I think it is important to remember that not every entry will be an expense necessarily. I would just create a category for Money to child, so you can track how much is going there. If you want to track it even more - create an off budget tracking account in YNAB that shows how much he has in his account.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Chrysalis View Post
                Thanks, sophieanne.

                I'm a huge fan of spreadsheets -- and I have several going all the time, which I do keep updated very well. But all this time, as we've been preparing to file, I've been "tracking expenses". Now is the first time we will be truly having to "budget".

                I like what I see with YNAB so far... I just have to figure out how to make it work for us without it becoming too much hassle, or "cumbersome" as I said on another thread. That's how I've always felt with these things in the past.

                This program has you assign a category to every dollar you have available to spend right now. That part is really helpful for me ~ especially at this moment in time, when we have no idea when the next income is even going to be.

                I'm also liking the "goal setting" feature for those things that only come up once a year or a few times per year, as you said. That way those things are all right there in my face every time I log in, right along with the monthly bills and regular expenses.
                It took me a long time to get used to using YNAB, but I am so glad I stuck with it. It has really helped me through my Chapter 13. There is an excellent community over on Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/ynab/

                Stick with it, and it will all start to click. I still keep adjusting my categories occasionally and changing things as they come up.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by bankruptbull View Post

                  I think it is important to remember that not every entry will be an expense necessarily. I would just create a category for Money to child, so you can track how much is going there. If you want to track it even more - create an off budget tracking account in YNAB that shows how much he has in his account.
                  At first, I created a category and called it "Not Ours". Lol. Because we have 3 kids and their money is going here there and everywhere frequently as we do transactions like this. (Us buying things with our debit card and them paying us back, too.) But then on the budgeting page, it wanted me to budget a certain amount to "Not Ours". Well, that doesn't make any sense. So I deleted it and decided to figure out another route.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bankruptbull View Post

                    It took me a long time to get used to using YNAB, but I am so glad I stuck with it. It has really helped me through my Chapter 13. There is an excellent community over on Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/ynab/

                    Stick with it, and it will all start to click. I still keep adjusting my categories occasionally and changing things as they come up.
                    This is very encouraging -- thank you!

                    I will have to check out your reddit link for sure. In the past, I found the layout of that site to be confusing or something, but it looks better now. Thanks again!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It has been a process for me to commit to the software, I have never really budgeted well. I'd look what I had in my checking account and spend based on that amount. By using YNAB I am learning to look at my categories before spending. Good luck with the software!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        YES! I am not basing any decisions on what balance is in our checking account -- but instead, looking at those categories and shifting things around as needed. Having all of those upcoming things "in your face" every day is like constant accountability. It has been *great* so far, and I am so glad you mentioned it here ~ thanks again!

                        Part of what is exciting about this is actually being able to "budget" because we HAVE to -- there is no more credit available -- and not even any savings at the moment, because we just filed. In the past, we were just in such a giant hole... When you never have enough, it becomes very discouraging and we just gave up a long time ago.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Chrysalis View Post
                          YES! I am not basing any decisions on what balance is in our checking account -- but instead, looking at those categories and shifting things around as needed. Having all of those upcoming things "in your face" every day is like constant accountability. It has been *great* so far, and I am so glad you mentioned it here ~ thanks again!

                          Part of what is exciting about this is actually being able to "budget" because we HAVE to -- there is no more credit available -- and not even any savings at the moment, because we just filed. In the past, we were just in such a giant hole... When you never have enough, it becomes very discouraging and we just gave up a long time ago.
                          I agree, I was in the same boat. I filed and had zero savings and had to learn to live with what I had on hand! Good luck, it sounds like your headed in the right direction! Keep up the good work!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bankruptbull View Post

                            I agree, I was in the same boat. I filed and had zero savings and had to learn to live with what I had on hand! Good luck, it sounds like your headed in the right direction! Keep up the good work!
                            Thank you, sir. I sure hope so!

                            I came here to say -- this program is actually a little bit too fun and rewarding. I keep hitting the "import" button because I can't wait to categorize things. hahaha

                            What a nerd.............

                            Comment


                            • puppiesrock
                              puppiesrock commented
                              Editing a comment
                              When i hit import - nothing happened yesterday. Going to try today.

                          • #15
                            Just a quick update for anyone who comes across this thread in the future:

                            I was SO excited to see that they offer a free year for college students!

                            All I had to do was send them a screen shot of a page on my college site, with my name, etc. showing that I am a current student. A transcript, a tuition statement, anything like that will work. I emailed them maybe an hour ago ~ and bam, done already.

                            So between that, and the part of the 34-day free trial I already had left... No excuse not to be budgeting like a pro for at least the next 383 days!

                            Comment

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