Evan Ashenhurst, 27, of Ontario, Canada, was just living his life, doing his thing.
He had a good job in sales, and while it was somewhat perplexing why he couldn’t ever seem to get ahead, he worked hard not to think about it too much.
And then he got engaged.
Suddenly, he was facing down a wedding, a honeymoon, and all the real, grown-up responsibilities that follow. He was going to have to start paying attention and make some changes.
Evan dove into YNAB head-first and it “just clicked.” He was more motivated than ever—not just by his big, impending goals (hello, wedding!)—but also, a system that made him believe he could do it. Here is Evan’s six-step plan to transform your finances, pay for your wedding and live your best life:
Step One: Awareness
Remember how Evan couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t getting ahead? Well, once he started tracking every dollar in YNAB, he discovered that he was spending nearly two times as much on food as he did on rent. Whoops. “YNAB was a refreshing smack across the face,” but just the wake-up call he needed to start making changes.
Step Two: Priorities
At first, it was very simple, because his focus was singular and had a deadline: Wedding. With his newfound awareness, he was able to decrease his spending significantly and make more informed decisions.
His new perspective gave him necessary boundaries and new-found control.
With a set budget, Evan and his now-wife had to make tough choices. They had to decide what was really most important to them and as a result, saved thousands on the wedding: “For example, we looked at a vendor and we knew what we could spend. Even if we really liked the vendor, if it was too much, it was easy to say, ‘Sorry, that’s not in the budget.’”
Step Three: Support
Not to say it was always easy because it wasn’t. It was a whole new way of thinking about money, decisions, and the future. Empowering, exciting, and sometimes tough. Evan attributes his success, in large part, to the support of the YNAB community.
Budgeting is a lifestyle, and sometimes you need to know you aren’t alone: “The YNAB customer support and Facebook groups were always there to cheer us on.” And it made all the difference.
Step Four: Sacrifice
Today, the wedding is behind him, and the real work has begun. Paying off debt, some big purchases, and a potentially big move. And so they budget, make decisions and sacrifices to move them a little bit closer to their goals every month.
“We also know how much we spend on everything. Sometimes grocery shopping the ice cream doesn’t get bought because else want pickles more. If neither are in the budget, we don’t get anything.” But that’s OK, because they are putting their money toward the things that will deliver the most satisfaction.
Step Five: Success
Evan and his wife don’t fight about money. They talk about shared goals and dreams and their ideal future—and how their money can help them get there. They don’t spend wastefully. They are on the same team. Last month they put more than $600 toward paying down debt. And they celebrated (modestly, and within the budget) together.
“My boss has a saying, ‘There is security in numbers.’ And that’s so true. As the numbers in our bank account grow, the more secure and hopeful we feel about the future. YNAB is a life-changer!”
Best of luck, Evan! The future is bright!
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?