A Container For Your Money

Written by Lindsey Burgess  |  on


From Podcast #201: A Container for Your Money, the one in which Jesse actually encourages you to hit him up on Twitter with questions @jessemecham.


I recently was asked a question on, Twitter I think, from a dedicated YNABer, Jamie, who wants to switch banks.

And that is such a hassle, right? The switching of the banks. Luckily, with YNAB, that part of it is no big deal.

YNAB does not care where your money physically sits. So, if you are a certain tinfoil hat-wearing kind of cautious person, then the money sits in your backyard in that moisture-proof container that you purchased at an army surplus supply store and then promptly buried.

So that’s one spot. Or it sits in your magic bookcase—and I’ll admit, I want one of those. Or some fake electrical outlets or a hollow shaving cream can or cereal box. And once you’ve located all of your money that’s strategically and cautiously spread throughout the house, just know that YNAB does not care.

So, if you are at Valley Bank and you want to switch to Mountain Top Bank, YNAB does not care that you’ve moved your money from the valley up to the mountain top. It only cares that your budget knows what’s going on and that you can look to your budget and say, “Am I allowed to spend X on Y?” and have things still be according to plan.

Tactically, from a nuts and bolts perspective within YNAB, it’s easy: take all the money out of the one bank, and it would be one big outflow, and then you would put the money in the other bank, it would be one big inflow.

And for YNAB, if you wanted to delineate the date where you had actually made the move, you could do an outflow and an inflow in your checking account in YNAB. That would, of course, offset to zero. You could mark them both as cleared—because they offset to zero, it doesn’t matter anyway—and you’re good to go. You’re done.

If you don’t want to mark when you switched banks, you just wouldn’t do anything in YNAB, and YNAB still would shrug its shoulders at you and say, “Hey, mattress, electronics, shaving cream, hollowed-out book, it’s all the same. Mountain Top Bank, Valley Bank, it’s all the same.”

If you want to move banks there is literally nothing you have to do with YNAB. You’ve just got to make sure everything else is taken care of, and that’s the real hassle.

There should be some kind of a service, like a concierge service for the banks. Banks should employ people that just help you transition to them. It would be…this might be a brilliant idea. I’m sure there’s some issue I’m not thinking of, but there is major, major friction in trying to move from a bank.

I have tried and I can see where the anxiety is—the bill pays that have to happen and all that. But in case, like Jamie, you were wondering, from YNAB’s standpoint, no hassle at all—just carry on your ways, your cautious spending ways, and you’re good.

Thanks for the question, Jamie H. If anyone else has any questions, hit me up on Twitter @jessemecham, and I’m happy to answer, or @ynab—I can catch them there too.


For more about how to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck, get out of debt and save more money, faster—subscribe to the YNAB podcast today! Until next time, follow YNAB’s Four Rules and you will win financially. You’ve never budgeted like this.

Your Next Step

Budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. So what do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress?