A Workout for your Finances

I’ve finally gotten to the point where I look forward to going to the gym.

I’ve been waging war against an 30 extra pounds for more than 5 years. About a month ago I decided to try again, and I joined my local YMCA. This time, I tried a different approach.

I decided to go to the gym more instead of less. So instead of going a couple of times a week, I’m going five times a week. As a result, it’s become more of a habit. I’m there more days than I’m not. I set up a schedule each week on Monday, and I stick to it. If someone asks me if I want to do something, and it’s during my workout time, I say, “No, I can’t. That’s my workout time.”

The other thing I did differently was I got some help. My local YMCA offers a great program where you can get one on one time with a personal trainer and a dietician. This has given me a measure of accountability I really needed. They set me up with a great plan and I get to check back in with them every few weeks to see how I’m doing.

This support helped me get over the biggest hurdle – the beginning. My level of fitness was pretty sad when I started. I think that may be one of the reasons that people have a hard time developing a fitness routine or habit. It’s really hard to work out when you’re out of shape.

Support helped me get over that hurdle and now it’s not painful and I don’t dread it. It seems to be working as I’ve lost 5 pounds in the first month. I still have a long way to go, but now I can see how I could maintain this.

As you may imagine, I think a lot of this applies to budgeting.

When I started budgeting, my finances were not in good shape. That made getting started much more difficult. I was in a credit card nightmare that felt insurmountable. But I had support through that because I joined the YNAB forums. Getting feedback from others really helped me stick with it.

I also updated my budget more frequently than I do now. I probably checked it every day. That made me aware of what my money was doing. That awareness led to much better decisions about my money.

Over time I’ve grown into a maintenance mode with my budget. I know what I need to do and how often I need to do it to keep things rolling along. I suspect I’ll get to that point with fitness as well.

If you’ve had a hard time getting started with your budget, double your commitment! Get in there and look things over and update it every day. Most likely, if you check it daily, it will only take a few minutes. You probably won’t need to do that forever, but you may find that it helps as you get started.

Set up a routine for checking it. Maybe it’ll work best for you in the morning when you first get up. Maybe you have kids and that’s a horrible time and you’d be better off doing it in the evening after they’ve gone to bed.

Finally, take advantage of all the support we offer. There’s a lot more support now than there was five years ago when I started. We still have the forums – and they’re more fabulous than ever.

We also have free live classes. We run an Intro to YNAB course frequently – several times a week. You may be aware of that, but did you know we also have a class called the Budget Workshop? It’s interactive – you get to work on setting up your budget while we help and answer questions. If you want to get started on the right foot, that’s a fantastic way to do it. We even have a separate class to help you if you are starting in overdraft.

We’re also running an eight week series called Weekly Meet Ups. We cover a different topic each week, have a tip of the week and then open the floor to your questions. It’s not too late to jump in!

Finally, we have a great customer support team. Really, they are awesome. You can email a question to the team and they’ll jump right on it. They know YNAB and they love helping.

Double your commitment to your finances and grab some of the free support we offer. In no time at all you’ll be financially fit and it won’t be a chore to check your budget.

You’ll look forward to it, and it’ll be easy.

Lead Teacher, YNAB