The police officer, school teacher, engineer, firefighter, attorney, doctor, professor, designer, manager and rocket scientist all have one thing in common: they’re killing it financially with YNAB.
I work for NASA. Yes, I am a rocket scientist - OK, an engineer. I love my profession and have worked on everything from robotics to space instruments. Being very book smart though has not made me very smart with finances. I have a wife, and three wonderful kids. Our oldest has cerebral palsy. She is doing well and teaches me more about life and a “can-do” attitude than anyone else in the world.The family and I have gladly sacrificed for her over the years.
I'm excellent at spending money. From the outside, I'm sure most saw me as doing well, but in reality, we made too many financial mistakes. First we used credit freely. We used our daughter and her medical needs as an excuse. Shame on me. I wanted her to have the best, but in the process, we made a mess of our finances. Overall, we didn't watch carefully what we spent.
About three years ago, I got a new position at work and hit a wall. I realized that, although I had an awesome, professional job, I was in my forties and buried in debt. My anxiety and stress were off the charts. I had family that loved me and I needed to change. I prayed, got help, and started to change my life. I discovered YNAB online and bought it the next day. After a couple of months, I noticed where the money was being spent. This allowed us to discuss where to cut back. We appreciated the budget side of the software and I started to understand how useful that would be as we moved forward. The first year into YNAB we stopped overspending completely. Our budget improved, we eliminated most of our credit cards, and were working to get rid of the rest.
At tax time, we wanted the convenience of Quicken and its capabilities for tax reporting, so I switched back. WHAT A MISTAKE! The following year, we quickly fell into our old ways and didn't track a budget. I naively assumed we could continue as we had with YNAB. Problem was, I lost the feedback we needed to make sure we didn’t overspend. After about a year, I realized our debt had increased by $12,000. I switched back to YNAB to get ourselves on track again. It will take time but we should be debt free (except for our house mortgage) in two to three years, depending on another operation for my daughter this Spring.
This was an expensive mistake, but now I really do understand the power of budgeting. I want all those out there who are thinking about budgeting to understand that it’s the foundation that keeps you from overspending. YNAB helps budget like no other software I’ve found. We made the mistake of stopping YNAB, then realized, even more so, how quickly we went back to overspending. YNAB's magic will continue to work as long as you practice the YNAB method and put all your dollars to work BEFORE you spend them.
I know YNAB will be a critical tool that provides us with hope for our financial future. When we are debt free, YNAB will stay with us as we move to the next step of saving money for our kids and our retirement. I highly recommend it so that, hopefully, you can avoid that moment when you realize you're in the middle of your life with debt and the feeling that any success you hoped for is gone forever. I can't take back my 20s and 30s, but I can sure change and work to have a good retirement. I can use my mistakes to change for the better and teach my children how to better handle their money.
Now I really do understand the power of budgeting.