"Cleaning up" our Budget

Per “Etiquette Rules”...do not discuss religion, politics, or money. Right? Yes, but... I have to share what has completely rocked our world, and wallet, as of late. Today I am celebrating something I didn’t know how good it would feel until I got here. This morning I paid off one of my school loans in full.

Everyone seems to be talking budgets these days; even Donald Trump to Puerto Rico earlier this week. Insert hand to head emoji. Now I’ve discussed 2 things in 2 mintues; politics AND money. I promise I won’t go into religion next.

As they say, success begets success. Cleaner diet- check. Cleaner products- check. And the most recent area of “cleaning up” we did was our Budget.

After dinner and conversation about “adulting” with one of Matt’s cousins, Tim casually recommended we check out YNAB. What followed after was a complete rabbit hole into our finances...and shortly after, a huge feeling of overwhelm.

It’s not easy to talk money. It’s emotional. There can be lots of shame and guilt associated. Instead of letting it absolutely consume us, we chose to let the past be the past and focus on actionable steps to move forward. YNAB makes that so. YNAB is an online budgeting tool that lets you see in real time what each dollar in your account is doing.

After looking at a few other online budget programs, I chose YNAB for the convenience of being able to access our budget from any device. This was key to get Matt on board so we could use our iPhones and make this thing easy. More importantly though, the free education and personal support YNAB offers is invaluable. They offer so much support on their site including my favorite aspect, a variety of free Workshops. I am a nerd at heart and loved this self-learning aspect. The classes are interactive with a targeted subject matter such as Mastering your Credit Cards, Lowering your Food Budget, etc. These helped me a lot as there is a definite learning curve and it took me some time to think of my money in this way.

Basically, YNAB is like playing real-life Monopoly. You pass “Collect GO” (aka payday) get $200, then figure what you need that $200 to do for you before passing GO again. It’s honestly made budgeting fun and I look forward to each payday to allocate exactly where and what we need our dollars to do. You can sync your bank account, or not. But once you have money "To Be Budgeted" you sprinkle that money down into the categories you need that money to go to next. I organize my Standing Bills by due date and then I sprinkle into true expenses like groceries, gas, and Ben's copays. See below for a screenshot of what a sample example looks like. Yes, even Charlie and Lucy have their own category as they are true expenses, or as Matt likes to call them "sinking funds". Insert eye roll emoji.

Budgeting with YNAB is based off of 4 main rules.

They explore each extensively, but for now:

  1. Give Every Dollar a Job

  2. Embrace your True Expenses

  3. Roll with the Punches

  4. Age your Money

I love how customizable it is and again, how accessible. With the mobile function you can add transactions as you go. It's truly been eye opening for us. After the free 34 day trial, we signed on. It's $50 for a year, so basically $4.17 a month and in my mind, worth every penny. We’ve never had such clarity about our finances.

It’s not at all about deprivation, as it is peace of mind.

I’ve found that conversations about money aren’t as contentious and we are making progress towards our goals. As I mentioned, thanks to some extra shifts and our newfound love for budgeting, I was able to post the last payment to the smaller of my two school loans. YNAB for the win! Now I will snowball that monthly payment into my larger loan.

Best of all, you can try the program free for a month. If you use my customer referral link below and end up joining, we will BOTH get a month free. This is not an affiliate program or a sponsored post, just a referral where we both win. You would then get your own link to share with your friends and family. :)

Try YNAB free for 34 days.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this topic as I share more of our “little victories” in the money department. If you haven’t done so, please subscribe to my blog as it helps me on my end. If you want to nerd out on YNAB, see how I organize my categories, etc. I am happy to help. This has truly been a game changer for us and I would love to help anyone who is interested in getting started! Happy budgeting!

The last payment on the smaller of my school loans: