It took me years, YEARS, to finally have this budgeting breakthrough. I have used Quicken, spreadsheet after spreadsheet, printables, Mint, my bank’s budgeting tool, so many plans and nothing at all, and nothing upon nothing made sense. I floated through for years just trying to get my money to make sense. I read personal finance books and blogs and articles, but I just did not get it. Until I started using YNAB.
My Budgeting Breakthrough – When my Money Finally made Sense
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What is YNAB you ask? You Need A Budget. Well, that makes sense, doesn’t it?
Why? Why does it work for me?
Every dollar has a job. Yes, it is that simple. We are so used to making our budget into some super complex thing. Some budgets seem to have a life of their own. So back to this every dollar has a job thing. You are making your money work for you. Every single dollar. You are telling them all what to do. They don’t just get to hang out and party in your bank account. They have jobs!
Okay, so this is one of the biggest things that made that budgeting breakthrough for me: You do not budget your money until it is actually in your bank account.You do not budget your money until it is actually in your bank account Click To Tweet
Yes, you know what bills you have to pay. But you cannot actually pay them until you have that money in your account. I could plan and spreadsheet like there was no tomorrow, but it wouldn’t stick, something would always come up and then I would float this bill a month and then that bill another month and rack up a few late charges here and there. That adds up during the year! Stupid Tax, that’s what it is called.
We live on irregular income and that is another whole subject in itself. Irregular income means paychecks fluctuate from pay period to pay period. Both my husband and I have irregular income. Ugh, if one of us had a regular set amount every pay period, it would make it so much easier. But we do not, hence the really long time of not having my finances in order. It seems super easy to me that if you make, for example, $500 every week, that is $2000 per month and split your bills into 4 and budget this much a week. Yea, not so much for me.
Irregular income is so much harder. Now, we do not fluctuate a lot, and one week out of four is heavy for one earner and the other earner gets paid every 2 weeks. So I do have an idea of approximately how much money is going to come in every month.
I would have my list of bills to be paid for the month and prioritize. Four walls first, then transportation because my husband has to get to his job, I work at home. Then groceries and everything else. We have a lot of everything else with three teenagers in the house. Then I would hope that I would get to pay everything else by the end of the month. What is that saying? I would have too much month left at the end of my money. Or I would have an extra $175 one week and say, “Woo hoo, free money!” and we would go shopping or out to dinner or blow that $175 some other way.
My New Best Friend
Now, with my new found best friend, YNAB, that money comes in and I instantly put those dollars to work. Not only am I now paying every single bill on time, but I am saving money, telling those dollars that they are going to the emergency fund or the vacation fund or the Christmas or Birthday fund, or possibly vehicle repairs, or many of the other sinking funds one can have. I can look ahead a few months or even a year and say, hey, we need $700 for our car insurance premium. Then I can set up a goal and save a specific amount of money every month and by the time the due date rolls around, I have that $700 saved, no problem!
All that money sitting in your bank account, you now have a plan for it. Every dollar has a specific job and YOU decide if you want to give it a different job or let it sit there.
Now, this is a really big deal for someone like me who has for so long flown by the seat of their pants with money. I was never intentional. I thought you had to be making a lot more than we do in order for things to work. I had used YNAB for many years, but I never really used it as it was intended until last year. Then, BOOM, budgeting breakthrough.
Budgeting like this is not restrictive at all, actually, many have reported that they have more money to do the fun things in life, because they now have a plan. This “new” way of budgeting has been a huge stress reliever for me. I know that not only can I cover all the monthly bills, but I can start saving for big purchases and vacations and still live!
Are you financially stuck? Is anything working for you as far as budgeting goes? I could print out all the budgeting worksheets I could find, but nothing worked until YNAB. Why not give it a try, FREE, for 34 days. It is the best program out there, by far. Jesse Meacham, the founder of YNAB, has found that the average YNAB user saves $600 over the first 2 months and more than $6000 over the first year. That’s what I call a budgeting breakthrough!