Do I Need a Budget if I'm Cheap?

Written by Rachel Wiggins  |  on


I work in YNAB customer support and this was one of my favorite recent questions:

Hello, I am a miser and I save all my money with minimum expenses. What can YNAB teach me?

This self-proclaimed “miser” brings up a great question, and one that other fantastically frugal folks also might wonder. What good is a budget if you already have lots of money?

Let’s go over what YNAB can do for someone who already has a healthy savings account.

What Are You Willing to Learn?

The first question to ask: what are you willing to learn? 

I used to be a full-time classroom teacher, and I’ve seen this over and over again. If you want to make any progress or acquire any new knowledge, you have to be willing to learn.

If you’re already confident in handling your money and you’re not interested in changing, then I don’t think YNAB will teach you much. It can be as simple as that.

But stories from all histories and cultures would teach us that “misers” are controlled by their money just as much as anyone else who overspends. 

YNAB Can Teach You Freedom from Money

Perhaps you’d like some freedom from your money? Maybe you could give someone a “just because” gift, or you could take a nice vacation without feeling upset with yourself. YNAB is all about making your money work for you and your priorities, rather than the other way around.

YNAB Can Help You Make Better Decisions

Budgeting helps you realize your vision of a better tomorrow, because you’re telling your money where it should go. This adds meaning and focus to the spending and saving decisions you make.

If your goal every month is just to get your savings account balance as high as possible, you’re likely adding in this feeling of daily scarcity that’s likely showing up with guilt around any sort of spending. There might be a better way to act with the future in mind: check out our Think Long, Act Now Guide for the full perspective.

YNAB Makes You Even Smarter With Money

It’s true that a lot of YNAB’s education revolves around getting out of debt, since that is such an urgent reality for so many new budgeters. But even if you don’t have debt, you can always be better and more intentional with your money. Our founder, Jesse, is somewhat allergic to debt and went to great lengths to avoid it, long before he ran a budgeting software company. He’s financially comfortable now, but he still talks (and talks, and talks, and talks…) about how implementing the YNAB Method makes him better and smarter with his money.

So do you need a budget if you save a lot of money each month? Our short answer is yes. A budget can help you prioritize what’s most important while keeping your savings goals in line.

Want to learn more about what a budget can teach you? Check out our Guide to Prioritize and sign up for a free 34-day trial.


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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?