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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.

Sarah, Omaha, NE

I am the Project Manager for a non-profit economic development organization for the county north of Omaha. I work with our board and committees, handle our organization's finances, organize various meetings and events and take care of other duties. I enjoy playing volleyball and volunteering at the Nebraska Humane Society in my free time. I have a great family--two supportive parents and two great younger sisters. Do dogs count as kids? I have two crazy dogs--Tallulah and Sebastian. I adopted from the Nebraska Humane Society. I live with one of my sisters.

Prior to using YNAB, my financial situation was not too bad. I had a great credit score, always paid off my credit cards in full, paid my bills on time, owned a house and my car was paid off. I know it sounds like a pretty good situation, but it stressed me out. I was not tracking where my money was going or thinking too far in the future about upcoming expenses. Fortunately, there always seemed to be enough money in my savings account when I couldn't cover all my expenses with the money in my checking account. But I worried that someday that might not be the case.

Over the years I tried so many different ways of tracking a budget. I used Quicken or set up Excel spreadsheets, but I never stuck with it. I received a gift card to Amazon for doing a survey and I decided to use it for something useful instead of just buying something I didn't really need. I researched various budgeting software and thought YNAB sounded like a good solution for me. I spent a month or two reading through the manual and listening to the tutorials. I was a little nervous about starting knowing my past track record with budgeting, but I felt that if I spent that much time learning about the process that I would have a better chance of sticking with it this time. After I finished learning about the YNAB mentality, I felt empowered.

I honestly felt a little stressed, too, a couple months after starting YNAB. I kind of knew that I was living beyond my means, but tracking all my expenses made that pretty clear. I realized that I was going to have to make an adjustment to my spending habits. The good news was that now I could actually see where my money was going.

I was glad that I started using YNAB since the next month my refrigerator had a water leak that caused some major damage to my house. The leak was a slow leak and the water went through the cabinets and the wall into the hallway. I ended up replacing the kitchen floor, removing the carpet and pad in the hall, removing baseboards from the wall, fixing the refrigerator and doing a few other things. It was a major expense and my savings account took a hit, but I was glad that I was able to track all the expenses and see where my money went.

Eight months later I am still using YNAB. Unfortunately I have not saved too much money yet, but I have made adjustments to my spending and I am not pulling money from my savings account to cover monthly expenses. I hope to start saving more money this year. That is one of my resolutions. Even though I haven't saved a lot of money, I feel more comfortable with my financial situation. I think it's great that I now put money aside each month for future expenses like car insurance, vet bills, my TiVo bill, etc. I'm doing a better job of planning for upcoming expenses and I feel like that is an accomplishment. I think taking control of my financials has reduced my stress level and has shown me that I can control different aspects of my life.

 In November, I found out that my job was going to change starting in January. Along with my full-time job, I was contracting with another company in our building on the side as a way to bring in some extra money. Unfortunately I am now working for my current company, the company I contracted with and another company for my current salary. I ended up losing the part-time income I had been making for a couple years. So I have more work to do and am making about $500 less a month. I am happy that I didn't lose my job, but it is scary to lose that much money each month. Thankfully YNAB allows me to see what expenses I can cut and what expenses will be coming up while I start job hunting.

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I'm doing a better job of planning for upcoming expenses and I feel like that is an accomplishment.

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