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 have been through just about every major life change imaginable: a major career change, a big move, a marriage, and the purchasing of our first home. None of these would have been possible without YNAB (and I’m NOT exaggerating!).
I was just finishing up my third degree in classical music performance in 2007, training to become a professional opera singer, when my voice started failing me. Instead of moving from a prestigious Artist Diploma program at a major music conservatory into the professional opera world, I found myself, at age 35, moving back in with my widowed mother. I had no job training, $35,000 in student loan debt, and a $6,000 car loan. Luckily, I found a job as a teacher’s assistant at a local high school, and I began to look into getting my teaching credentials in English as a Second Language (since I loved languages, and had sung in French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish while I was an opera singer). My starting salary as a T.A. was $18,000. Without my mom’s help (low rent and free groceries), I would never have survived on my salary. This is when I realized I needed a budget, in the worst kind of way.
After working with an envelope system for a few months, I did a google search for “best budgeting software” and up popped YNAB! I was intrigued by the simple principles and by the idea of living off of last month’s money. I purchased the program and, after three months of hard work, I had enough of a buffer to start living off of last month’s paycheck. It was so empowering to know, for the first time in my life, exactly how much money I had to use for the month, and that every bill would be payed on time. Within six months, I paid off my car loan. That’s the power of knowing where all of your money is going...even when your income is minimal!
Shortly after I began taking control of my money situation, I met the woman of my dreams while we were both serving on the socials committee for our church singles group. My future wife had never budgeted before, either, and brought with her almost exactly the same amount of student loan debt as I had: $35,000. After our engagement, we began talking about how we wanted to be on a budget, stay out of debt, and kill off our current debt as soon as possible. Even with help from our middle-class parents, the wedding, the honeymoon, and my job retraining put us into around $8,000 of credit card debt. It was unavoidable. Without YNAB, and without our strict adherence to our budget, we would never have been able to move to another city (when my first job offer finally came in), nor would we have been able to purchase our first home, which we did in September of 2010! (We purchased a repo townhome for a rock-bottom price...our mortgage is less than it would cost to rent an apartment in our area!)
We are now happily married, I have a wonderful job as an elementary ESL teacher, and my wife is now going through the same career-switching program that I went through, to teach ESL at the elementary level. We still have $70k in student loans and $10k in credit card debt, but YNAB has helped us stay on top of our bills, and to plan the beginning of our debt attack program. Over the past three months, we have paid off our smallest two debts (a $1400 credit card and a $1200 credit card). This is just the beginning! Killing our debt will be slow going, for us, but we know that we can do it since we have such a great planning tool in YNAB.
We have learned basic financial discipline from YNAB and also Dave Ramsey. We are both committed to making our last debt payment before two year's time! Jesse, you will get one more e-mail from us in two years, when our only debt will be our mortgage (which we are already adding an extra payment to every year, to knock about 10 years off of our 30 year fixed mortgage!). We thank the Lord for so richly blessing us, and we thank you, YNAB, for teaching us financial discipline and for putting our money to work for us, each and every month!
We know that we can do it since we have such a great planning tool in YNAB