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The YNAB Story

We Were Broke

Early in 2003 Julie and I (Jesse) were married. Some people say when you’re newlyweds you live on love. While it’s true that we were (and still are) in love, we also needed food, shelter, and textbooks for school…

So that “living on love” idea is really only half true. With both of us going to school full time,we were broke, and I knew we would need to watch our money. I began developing a system to help us track our expenses. What was a simple expense recorder evolved into something quite useful. I saw needs as they came, and adjusted the system accordingly. As we used this rather unique, Four-Rule approach to budgeting, we realized we had plenty of money (by our standards) and were even able to save a substantial portion for when Julie would stay home to be a full-time mom. Living this way, and seeing how absolutely invaluable it was, we naturally talked about it with our friends and acquaintances. They all expressed an interest in “needing a budget.”

It Worked For Us

With our first baby just arrived, and a bit of spare time on my hands during the summer break, I started doing a bit of research about what types of budgeting programs were already out there. Through my research, I realized one thing: They were all basically the same. You would enter your income and projected expenses—a static budget. We used a living budget and I saw that our system was uniquely powerful. This realization helped me find the motivation to begin developing our budget into something that could be used by anyone. The system works. I use it every day (well, about once a week).

YNAB is now a full-blown endeavor, driven by a small, passionate team.  With tens of thousands of users spread all over the world, we hear reports daily of people paying down their debt, saving more money, and breaking the paycheck to paycheck cycle. Some simply report that they’re—pardon all the cheese here—happier.

What We’re Doing Now

Currently, Julie is extremely busy taking care of our five little kids (7, 5, 3, 2 and new). I’m a graduate of the Masters of Accountancy program at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and a former (slowly recovering) Certified Public Accountant. I stay busy teaching YNAB, helping others get a hold of their finances (mainly through my blog and the podcast), hanging out with my kids, gardening, and playing golf.

Even if you don’t purchase YNAB, please learn all you can from the principles taught throughout this site. They will change your life forever.

Get out of debt.

Save for a rainy day.

Live on less than you earn.

-Jesse Mecham