I absolutely love this program. Is it strange to love a financial and budgeting program? Maybe not... after all... after using YNAB my net worth and piece of mind has soared and my stress has dropped tremendously.
I was searching for a replacement for Quicken on the Mac as I was sick and tired of Intuit getting rid of support for different features to force me to upgrade to the newest version… plus not to mention the Mac version of Quicken plan stunk compared to the Windows one.
So in searching for a replacement for Quicken I stumbled upon YNAB.
As I read more and more about the software a huge lightbulb went off in my head and it made total sense. YNAB is more a method than a program. The program is just a really easy way to implement the method. It has really made it so I don’t worry about money at all – well at least money doesn’t keep me up at night anymore.
The main thing that YNAB had that blew my mind: It’s goal is to have you living on LAST month’s income. Huh? Yes. The money that you budget in April is the money that you earned in March. If you lost your job – you’d automatically – just by using the software – have a full month of living expenses there for you AUTOMATICALLY. Can you imanging how much less stress you have knowing that you have a full month in advance of a buffer of money? I haven’t been working steadily for the last 4 weeks and I haven’t been stressing at all. Why? YNAB.
In Quicken I had never used the budgeting part of it – mainly because you need to guess what you think you’re going to spend – but it’s always bunk.
In YNAB, you only budget the money you have. Which brings us to the 4 rules o YNAB:
- Rule 1 – Give Every Dollar a Job
When you start up YNAB, you enter in your balances on your Checking, Savings, and CC account. The totals from those accounts then show up in the budget view as “Available to Budget”. You then go through your budget line items and give every single dollar a thing to do such as Mortgage, Electricity Bill, Clothing, IRA, etc…The idea behind YNAB is that you don’t check your account balance to see if you have the money for something – you check you budget line item balance.
- Rule 2 – Save for a Rainy day
The idea behind this rule is to save for those infrequent expenses. Like property taxes, Christmas, or car repair. You know they’re going to happen so you simply put in to each budget item each month so when the expense comes up you’re not reaching for the credit card.
- Rule 3 – Roll with the Punches
The idea behind this rule is that we all know that we’re going to go overbudget in certain categories. It happens. There hasn’t been a month that I haven’t. So what this rule does is the software doesn’t beat you up about it – it just takes the amount you overspent from the amount to budget the following month.
- Rule 4 – Live on Last Month’s Income
Now when I started YNAB this was rule number #1. This was the rule that really set off the lightbulb. When you get a paycheck in YNAB it asks you if you want to classify it as “Available to budget this month” or “Available to budget next month”. Once your buffer is fully built, select “next month” and welcome to financial bliss.
Don’t believe me? Check out my net worth graph after using this program:
Blue Bars = Total assets including the value of the house
Red Bars = Total debt (now just mortgage)
Blue Line = Net Worth
Here is the same graph with the Off Budget Asset Account of the home’s current value taken out so it’s a little more clear.
I’ve been using the program for much longer than this – but I started from scratch in 2011. The previous years looked very similar.
(Originally posted on the old WordPress version of the site)