How I use YNAB Budget Categories

Discussion in 'Personal Finance & Money Questions' started by cdub, May 18, 2016.

  1. cdub

    cdub Club Founder Staff Member

    Oct 14, 2015
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    NOTE - When this article was written it refers to the old version of YNAB, YNAB4.. a new web based version is out. (which is still awesome - just a little different)

    Some people were curious so I thought I’d post how I use my YNAB budget categories. I got my idea on how to do this after reading Elizabeth Warren’s All Your Worth where she recommends sorting everything into three categories: Must Haves (I call this category “Needs”), Wants, and Savings.

    I’ve found it to be a really great and easy way to organize YNAB into categories. This way I can look at my Needs category and I can see for sure how much money I need to have each month just to meet basic expenses.

    Also – it you bring up the reporting view you can quickly see if you are close to the 50% Needs/Must Haves, 30% Wants, and 20% Savings that she recommends.

    I’m currently at 53% Needs, 24% Wants, and 23% Savings.

    So here goes: (it’s not alphabetized)

    1. Needs
    • Mortgage
    • Pre-School [Child's name]
    • Pre-School [Child’s Name)
    • Auto – Gas
    • Auto – Registration
    • Insurance – Auto
    • Insurance – Homeowner’s
    • Insurance – Floaters
    • Insurance – Life
    • Insurance – Health (This is actually not on my budget as my wife gets us health care through her job – but since we’re planning on having her stay home with the next kid that won’t be the case in the future.)
    • Gas
    • Electricity and Garbage (Billed every 2 months)
    • Union Dues
    • Water (Billed every 2 months)
    • Taxes – Tax Prep
    • Taxes – Property
    • Home Repair
    • Fee/Oopsy (atm withdrawal fees – AmEx annual fee)
    • Health Ins. Copay
    • Auto – Repairs
    • Auto Insurance Deductable
    2. Wants

    • FOOD n FUN CASH – Again, going by the method in Elizabeth Warren’s All Your Worth, this is where I make my weekly withdrawls for all of our living expenses – Groceries, Restaurants, Clothing, etc…
    • Cell Phone
    • Gardener – this is probably on the chopping block once we go single income
    • Maidservice – ditto
    • Audible, Tivo, Redbox (I love Audible! – might have to give it up for a while and just use the library though)
    • Tax Deductable Memberships / Donations
    • Political Donation
    • Subscriptions
    • Internet
    • Weightwatchers – Very much like YNAB in fact. I’ve lost 60+ pounds with it but I’m a little stagnant right now. Need to get back on the horse!
    • YMCA Membership
    • Vacation
    • Birthdays
    • Christmas
    • Kid’s Activities
    • Hope Improvement
    • Babysitter
    3 – Savings

    • Mortgage Repayment – Whole point of this site right here!
    • Emergency Fund – It’s fully funded with 6 months of expenses but I’ll probably keep adding to it.
    • Debt Repayment – No more debt – but it’s still here for now. I’ll probably “hide” it soon.
    • SEP-IRA
    • Roth IRA
    • 529 Kid #1
    • 529 Kid #2
    • New Car
    4 – Taxes – Warren’s method doesn’t have a 4th section but I wanted to break it out of the Needs section because if I’m not working then I wouldn’t need to save for estimated tax payments. This way I can quickly look at my 1st category and see how much I really need each month to get by. The wants can be severely paired down – needs cannot.

    • Taxes – Federal
    • Taxes -State
    I hope this gives you some ideas!

    (Originally posted on the old WordPress version of the site)

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    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017

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