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 in the Biotech industry. We specialize in treating life threatening rare genetic diseases. It's a wonderful job and an honor to serve patients downstream. Lisa is a store supervisor at a big bank. She does a whole range of banking roles such as operating as a teller, working in the loan department and providing customer service. We have a big family! The humans in our family are myself and Lisa and our two kids. The canines in our family include Toby (our 12 yr old chocolate lab) and our newest addition Pudge (16 week lab mix rescued from Georgia). The reptiles in our family are Cypress (red tail boa constrictor) and Hissy (ball python). Finally, our resident amphibian is Sheldon, our South African hingeback tortoise.
We've done stupid things and made every financial misstep you could make. We had no control over our money. Living paycheck to paycheck, no emergency fund or buffer, transferring non-secured debt to secured debt via a home equity loan (we've done this one twice!), using credit cards to pay for groceries, playing the float game, entering a settlement and getting sued by credit card companies. Thankfully, we were able to avoid pay day loans and bankruptcy. Our situation caused much strife between Lisa and I. Our money situation turned into a massive point of contention between us. We fought a lot during those days as we had about $80,000 in unsecured debt alone. It was an enormous wall between us. We were both sick and frightened over our situation.
Our epiphany was painfully simple. We finally sat down and talked about the elephant in the room-our finances. We didn't fight and we didn't yell; we just talked. I know it may not seem like much, but it was a turning point in our lives from both a relationship and financial perspective. Metaphorically speaking, we arrived at our fork in the road. One fork led to a dark, gray land of more arguments, financial trouble, and potential bankruptcy, while the other lead to the blue, sunny skies of control over our money and financial responsibility. Together, we accepted where we were and that we were both responsible for being there. We also decided we needed to work as one to get where we wanted to be.
Neither of us came from a family where we were taught about effective budgeting or money management. We simply got money and then spent it. YNAB and the four-rules framework helped ease us through our financial learning process. Subsequently, it provided us with the peace of mind that we could both develop and live by a budget! Budgeting was now the domain of all, including us, and not only in the realm of accountants! It served as our compass--providing us direction. Our learning process was quick and painless since YNAB is extremely user friendly and simple to understand. It taught us very quickly the discipline needed to exert control over our money.
Once we learned how to budget, I became obsessed. We always had YNAB open. Cory and Morgan would get mad as we were "hogging the computer" by constantly working on our budget. My mom would call to chat and we'd be working on the budget. It even got to the point where my mom actually said "Your favorite thing to do is work on the budget!" YNAB was a godsend. The biggest change it provided from the beginning was our peace of mind. We had a plan for our money and a direction for our financial lives. It was an amazing transformation to go from feeling sickly-stressed about our financial situation to feeling motivated that we could get on a plan, stick to it and come out on top!
When we started YNAB three years ago, we had approximately $80,000 in debt. We now owe just under $13,000. To the naked eye that's $67,000. However, it's been so much more than that. During the last three years we paid for everything in cash. I had a hip replacement surgery. We paid all the deductibles, approximately $4,000, in cash. We paid cash for all of our auto repairs and maintenance. Our property taxes--approximately $3500--are paid in cash. We took several day trips (mini-vacations) with the family--all paid for in cash. We have an emergency fund ($1,000) and buffer ($2,000). We bought Lisa a used car in December 2010 with cash. Additionally, our last two Christmas' were paid for with cash! We always consult YNAB before any purchase, no matter how big or small.
It's awesome to pop open YNAB and have your entire financial picture in front of you! Our financial house is in order thanks to YNAB's guidance. We simply cannot overstate what it has done for us. The benefits are immeasurable. We can emphatically state that we will always use it for our budget. YNAB is, hands down, the number one tool in our financial management toolbox.
Lisa and I no longer argue about money. It's done wonders for our relationship. It also presented us with the realization that we can make a difference in our kid's financial future by sharing with them our journey through financial heck, but also sharing what we have learned via YNAB--that budgeting and financial management are key skills that should be learned and practiced vehemently. We are using our mistakes to teach them financial responsibility. Additionally, we are beginning the college application process with Cory. It's our quest to get him through college debt free. Another case in point, my mom retired 01/17/2011. I introduced her to YNAB and together we are creating her budget so she can live through her retirement, always knowing what her financial picture is and where she stands. We've extolled to her the virtues of getting on a budget and the solace it provides for one's peace of mind.
YNAB is, hands down, the number one tool in our financial management toolbox.