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Real People, Unreal Results. (Really.)

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.

Ellen, Germantown, TN

My husband and I are newly married, both with children. We are  also both pilots, but fly out of different airports in different states. Therefore we maintain not just one, but two residences and we go back and forth. Since houses are the most high-priced things most people will ever own, our life is expensive by necessity!! I work for an airline in Memphis, TN, and he flies a corporate jet out of Little Rock, AR. We love our kids, and they are ALL GIRLS! I came into the marriage with one--a freshman in college--and John has two younger girls, as well.

 I bought YNAB after reading a book on eliminating debt, and I hoped that YNAB could assist us on our journey. My financial situation before YNAB was as a divorced mom (since I wasn't married to my husband yet). It was deceiving because I had almost no debt. I really thought I had everything under control because my car was paid for, I paid my credit card in-full every month, and even my HOME was paid for in the city where my daughter was finishing up high school. The only debt I had was a small mortgage on a condo I bought in the city where I work. I had a lot of pride for not incurring much debt like the rest of America. I thought that I was living within my means. I really did. But maybe I didn't, because something was evidently nagging at me. When I read about YNAB one day, I was new in a second marriage, and thought it might help us become better at managing our money as a couple. I had no idea the enormity of what I was about to learn and how it was going to change our future.

I give YNAB full credit for our "pivot point". It happened the very first time we sat down with the software and began to budget our available money for the month. It was kind of fun at first setting aside the money for utilities, food, and such. But much to our surprise (and horror), we ran out of available money about two-thirds of the way through our categories, and we weren't even to the fun stuff yet. For two people who thought they had it all together financially, reality hit us in the face that we were spending more than our income and eating away at our savings little by little each month. I didn't want to believe it, but there it was right on the screen. It was suddenly undeniable that if we were ever going to have the life we wanted, the retirement we wanted, pay for our children's college education, so much was going to have to change. But now I had a tool that could show me how, and it was a relief to finally know the truth.

I didn't just fall into working with YNAB perfectly, right off the bat. But I knew it was going to be a life-changer, so I was committed to sticking with it, and I got better and better every month. It took time to get it where it really worked for me. I just made sure I stayed patient and committed. The first couple of months I even started a whole new budget because I had messed something up so bad that I couldn't just roll into the next month. (Definitely my fault, not the software) But now it hums for me like a machine, and I also bought the iPhone application, which has really made it much more convenient.

Two months into using the software, we'd worked out the software, itself, and  were feeling more in control of our finances than I've ever felt in my life!!! Even though we weren't perfect yet, we knew that eventually we WOULD be because we were making rapid progress! We'd already made changes where we could, like our food budget and going to restaurants. Impulse purchases ceased (almost) completely. But the big realization that took a couple of months to admit was that I was going to have to sell the house that my daughter called home. I knew I was maintaining too many houses, but I just wanted to keep that one until she finished her first year in college. I wanted her to be able to come home... to the home that she knew, while she was going through that first-year transition. It was a process to come to that decision, but it was undeniable.

We have only been using YNAB for six months, but the changes in our financial lives have been dramatic!! We have already sold the extra house (thankfully it only took THREE DAYS). Since there was no mortgage on that house, we took all that money (plus a life insurance policy we cashed out) and paid off a whole bunch of debt--including my condo where I work, my husband's leftover divorce debt, his truck, and a small loan on a boat. All total, selling that house has given us the money to pay off $190,000 in debt. Thankfully we had the means to do it, but the information provided by YNAB is what gave us the COURAGE and the WILL! YNAB showed us our real situation. I don't think I ever would have been able to justify selling that house if I hadn't seen the financial spiral so clearly on my computer screen. 

Having a healthy financial situation affects so many areas of our lives, mainly my relationship with my family members. My husband and I talk about money, and we plan together, so it keeps money resentment from affecting our precious, new marriage. We set aside money for vacations now and don't feel guilty about going! When we go out to dinner, we know the money is there, so again...no guilt. This Christmas I have gotten so much more pleasure from gift giving, because I'm confident, knowing exactly how much I can spend. Also, since I have a daughter who is a freshman in college and managing her own money for the first time, I have insisted that she use YNAB too. She fought it at first, but I stayed on her, and now she's getting pretty good at it. She's never gone over budget (amazing!) since the first month away, and she is saving money in a category for "after college". She plans to have a "big pile of money" when she graduates. And this is a girl who was doing out-of-control spending in high school. We were always fighting about money. It never happens anymore.

Personally I feel a sense of freedom since using this software. You would think a budget would be restrictive and make you feel trapped. But ironically it has the opposite effect on me. I think before, even though I was spending money left and right, I always felt like I shouldn't be, so I felt restricted and tight. And there was no logic to it. Now, I set aside my savings, and the rest I'm free to spend. I love it!!! Thank you YNAB!!!!!

 

 

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I feel a sense of freedom since using this software.

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