Menu
Menu Back

Learn All Things YNAB

How Much Time Do You Have?

Free For 34-Days, Then $6.99 a Month*

On average, new budgeters save $600 by month two and more than $6,000 the first year! Pretty solid return on investment.

  • 1

    Try YNAB FREE 
for 34 days

  • 2

    Start taking control 
of your money

  • 3

    After your trial, continue for $4.17/month, billed annually at $50

  • Bank Syncing Easily connect all your bank accounts in one place.
  • On the Go Easily budget together, across devices, in real-time!
  • Personal Support Personal support and teaching, 7 days a week.
  • Debt Paydown The tools you need to get debt-free & stay that way.
  • Reporting Bliss Measuring tangible progress leads to more progress.
  • Goal Tracking Set, track, and reach your goals—faster!

Sign up for a free trial today!

No credit card required.

Close

The legal stuff

Agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy to continue.

Start taking control 
of your money today!

Close

YNAB's 34-Day Challenge

Kick off 2019 with everything you’ll ever need to know to break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, get out of debt and save more money. Join us (and thousands of YNABers!) for 34 days, and 34 ways, to conquer your money obstacles and win financially. Get in on the fun.

Day 16 – Dance break!

The Why

There’s a reason that we budget, and it’s got everything to do with living an enjoyable life. So, as a reminder of why we’re here (and, of course, for even more budgeting inspiration), we’ve compiled the rarely-heard budgeting versions of some pop hits. So, turn up your speakers and, like Lady Gaga said, “Just dance!”

The What

We think you’re so special, we made you a mixtape. Listen now, and crank up the tunes whenever you need a boost.

***If you’d like to get these challenges in email, sign up here!

Day 15 – Practice a minute of mindfulness.

The Why

Dear YNABer, today we’re going to practice a small, easy and hugely empowering maneuver: entering a transaction into YNAB. If you’ve been relying on direct or file-based import, then you simply must experience the magic of doing it by hand.

But why, you ask? Two reasons. First, you’ll be more keenly aware of money leaving your budget. And, second, it’ll ensure that you’ve always got the latest, most accurate information. The coolest part is, you can still use direct and file-based import to catch any transactions that you missed without worrying about duplicates.

The What

Enter a transaction! You can do it using YNAB’s web app, but we’d suggest you try the mobile app—that way you can enter transactions on-the-go, immediately after you make a purchase. Learn all about Shannon’s go-to, never-forget, crumpled paper method, or check out our help guide about entering transactions.

***If you’d like to get these challenges in email, sign up here!

Day 14 – Go on a spending fast.

The Why

Spending is easy, too easy. It’s so easy that sometimes we don’t even realize that we’re doing it. And that’s where a good, ol’-fashioned spending fast comes in handy. So, quit the extraneous purchases for 24 hours, or try it for a month—the time frame is totally up to you. The important thing is that you break your habitual spending long enough to get in touch with your true priorities. This is the ultimate exercise in recalibration.

The What

For a successful spending fast, you need to decide on two things:

  1. What you’ll cut—are you banning all discretionary purchases, or just a particular type of spending? Be specific. For example, do you want to stop eating out, altogether, or just stop visiting the drive-thru?
  2. How long you’ll fast—is this a weekends-only fast? A 24-hour fast? A 34-day fast? Commit to a doable time-frame that’ll challenge you.

Next, grab a pen and paper. Write down how you feel during your spending fast, and keep track of how much money you’re saving. Estimates are fine, but do keep tabs. If you’re miserable, that’s a good indication that you should budget some dollars for this category. If you’re doing good, then maybe you’ve found a place to cut back for good!

***If you’d like to get these challenges in email, sign up here!

Day 13 – Category madness!

The Why

Setting up your budget is both an art and a science, and there’s no one right way to do it. That’s why you should consider your financial priorities, and customize your budget to match! If, for example, you’re trying to dial back your spending on to-go coffees, maybe you’ll create a coffee category to monitor those purchases more closely. Or, maybe you’ll add emojis for easy, at-a-glance budget check-ins. Whatever you do, just make sure that it works for you.

The What

There are many ways to customize your budget, and that’s what today’s challenge is all about. Pick one, or try them all:

  • Are there any categories you can combine? For example, if you buy pet food, toiletries and groceries at the same store on a regular basis, would it make sense to keep them all under one budget category?
  • Are there any categories you should add or remove? Take a cue from Erin’s Dunkin’ Donuts category—see “The Dunkin Donuts Clause”.
  • Would you care for flair? Try emojis!
  • And, how about those names? Are you more inspired to fund your “Vacation” category, or your “Epic Vacation – Summer 2018” category?

Have some fun, and make your budget uniquely yours!

***If you’d like to get these challenges in email, sign up here!

Day 12 – Sign up for a weekly dose of YNAB.

The Why

Let us be your cheerleader, and sign up for our weekly Roundup—an awesome, short, informative (and occasionally hilarious) newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time, but we don’t think you will … 😉

The What

Come and get it! A weekly dose of inspiration, education and the latest YNAB news.

***If you’d like to get these challenges in email, sign up here!

Day 11 – Harvest your dreams!

The Why

So, look, budgeting isn’t all about crushing debt and breaking the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle (as awesome as both of those accomplishments may be). To make sure that your new, budgeted lifestyle is sustainable, you need to leave yourself some wiggle room, a.k.a., fun money! And that’s what today’s challenge is all about. Allow us to introduce you to wish farming …

The What

Roll up your sleeves and grab your watering can, YNABer, because today you’re going to learn the art of wish farming! So, what the heck is a wish farm? It’s an awesome way to prioritize your spending in YNAB. Grow an epic vacation, new kitchen cabinets, a coffee maker or a pizza party for your five-year-old—the sky’s the limit.

Read this post, and plant your first wish, today!

***If you’d like to get these challenges in email, sign up here!

Day 10 – Start a new habit.

The Why

Financial wellness is like any other wellness goal—do a little bit, every day, for optimal results. Make it part of your regular routine, and you won’t even realize you’re doing it!

The What

Today, choose a new habit that will help you succeed at budgeting. It could be checking your budget categories before every purchase or establishing a regular budgeting date with your sweetie. If you need some inspiration, here are a few resources to help:

***If you’d like to get these challenges in email, sign up here!

Day 9 – Schedule a transaction.

The Why

Make it easy to budget for your recurring bills, and set up scheduled transactions. You’ll get a reminder to budget for the expense, and spend less time entering transactions. Winning.

The What

Set up a scheduled transaction! Learn how, here.

***If you’d like to get these challenges in email, sign up here!

Day 8 – Check your budget, first.

The Why

Mind-blowing, but true: your bank account balance is not a good gauge of your money! Think about it, if you have $500 in the bank, you’d feel safe spending $100 on a trip to the grocery store, right? But what if your $425 car payment is due tomorrow, and it slips your mind?

… if you’d consulted your budget, you’d know that you only have $75 of wiggle room before your next paycheck. And that’s why checking your category balance in your budget (not your bank balance) is so important. The good news is, it’s super easy to do!

The What

Download our mobile app (iOS or Android). Now, start a new habit of checking your category balances before you spend! Headed into the grocery store? Pull up your grocery category! Stopping for gas? Check your fuel category. If you don’t have enough cash, try moving money in your budget before making your purchase.

***If you’d like to get these challenges in email, sign up here!

Day 7 – Bond with other budgeters.

The Why

They say it takes a village to raise a budgeter (or something like that). And it makes sense. When we surround ourselves with people who have similar goals, it propels us and makes us better. So, it is with great humility and pleasure that we invite you to join our virtual community—a place where you’ll meet some of the best people on the planet. You see, YNABers are far more than just money-minded smarties—they’re truly wonderful, caring people. But you don’t have to take our word for it …

The What

Join us! Lurk, post questions, make friends, and swap encouraging comments! You can find the action here:

***If you’d like to get these challenges in email, sign up here!

Day 6 – Move money like a boss.

The Why

As Laura, a YNABer who went from living paycheck-to-paycheck to paying cash for a Tesla, said, “… budgeting is an act of predicting your priorities. Sometimes, your prediction will be wrong as circumstances change. This doesn’t mean you failed, it just means you can’t predict the future!”

We couldn’t agree more, and that’s why Rule Three is Roll with the Punches! If you need to shift money between your budget categories, it’s totally OK! In fact, our software is built to help you do just that.

The What

Become a money-moving master. You can learn how, here:

Now, try it out! Open your budget and move money between two categories.

***If you’d like to get these challenges in email, sign up here!

Day 5 – Stay Classy: Get Schooled.

The Why

Once you get into the groove, you won’t believe how little effort it takes to be a brilliant budgeter. Of course, we all have to start somewhere, so make it easy on yourself—let the pros help you get started! Sign up for one of our free, 20-minute, online classes. We offer a variety of topics, and there’s always time at the end of class for your questions.

The What

For today’s challenge, there are three ways to play. Try one, or try them all!

  1. Attend a live class. Head over to our classes page, and pick a topic that appeals to you. If you’re not sure, Learn the Four Rules or Set up Your Budget are great places to start!
  2. And don’t miss a special series of Facebook Lives, this January, viewable on our Facebook page. Get reminders for Facebook lives, here.
  3. Or, check out our pre-recorded classes on YouTube.

***If you’d like to get these challenges in email, sign up here!

Day 4 – Learn the method.

The Why

At YNAB, we do things a little differently than other personal finance apps, and that’s why it works! As hundreds of thousands of YNABers can attest, there’s magic in the method (a.k.a., The Four Rules), so let’s take a look …

The What

You can read about The Four Rules, right here or, if you’d rather relax and listen, why not attend a free, 20-minute class? Pop into Learn the Four Rules and let our teachers be your guide. Stick around to the end, and they’ll answer all of your questions, too. If you’re itching to listen, stat, then check out the recorded version.

***If you’d like to get these challenges in email, sign up here!

Day 3 – Set a goal that matters.

The Why

Simple, but true: YNABers who set goals are far more likely to succeed. See, when you have money, you will inevitably spend it. But, when you have money and goals, you’re incentivized to set aside some of that cash to make your goals a reality. So, without further ado, let’s make a goal!

The What

First, choose a goal. For example, why not start saving now for Christmas 2019? For more ideas, read Make Your Budget Sticky with Goals That Inspire.

Second, create a goal in YNAB. It’s easy!

***If you’d like to get these challenges in email, sign up here!

Day 2 – Face your demons debt.

The Why

Many a YNABer has shown up on our virtual doorstep, motivated by the desire to escape debt. Big debt, little debt, credit card debt, student loan debt, medical debt. All kinds of debt. The good news is, you can! The first step is to simply look your debt in the eye. And, that’s what today’s challenge is all about.

The What

Make a list of all your debts. For each one, write down the name of your lender, current balance, interest rate, minimum payment and due date. Once you’ve gathered all of this information, you’re ready to make a plan. This is the exciting part, and it’s not as hard as you think! Here are a few resources to help you out:

  1. How to Snowball Your Debt & Reclaim Your Paycheck – Check out this blog for a step-by-step guide to setting up a debt snowball (a.k.a. a debt repayment plan). Skip down the page to “Slay Your Debt with a Snowball” and dive right in!
  2. Deal With Your Debt Guide – If you prefer watching videos, then give our debt guide a gander.
  3. YNAB Support Forum – For encouragement and assistance from Team YNAB and other YNABers, drop into our forum.

***If you’d like to get these challenges in email, sign up here!

Day 1 – Why are you starting a budget? Write it down.

The Why

New habits are easy when a challenge is fresh, but if you want your goal to have staying power, it’s important to stay focused on what you truly desire. So, what do you hope to gain through budgeting? Imagine a future where you’re in control of your cash—you’ve smashed your money obstacles and life is good. When the going gets tough, remember this vision and let it inspire you to stay the course!

The How

Set aside ten, distraction-free minutes today. For best results, find a quiet space to spend some time with an actual pen and paper. Leave your phone and computer in the other room, and consider why you’ve been inspired to start budgeting. Write down all of your reasons, the good and the bad.

Next, imagine that you’ve accomplished your financial goals—that you’re totally in control of your money. What would life look like? Jot it down. Use bullets, or fill up a whole page in your notebook. The important part of this exercise is to visualize and capture your “why”.

Finally, end with a positive statement, committing to change your life for the better. For example, “Debt-Free at Twenty-Three!

And, for best results, leave your notes somewhere visible, and reread often!

Let us know how it goes! Share your challenge results or takeaways on social with the hashtag #YNAB34days.

***If you’d like to get these challenges in email, sign up here!

YNAB.

Follow YNAB to get support and lots of great ideas on budgeting