Our success story this month focuses on building your YNAB Buffer. Mary A., from Washington State, started using YNAB Pro about three years ago and loved it as it was so easy to use.
I asked Mary how long it took her to save her Buffer. She said, “We just got it this summer so 2-3 years. I really didn’t even try to save for it until about three months before we got it together. It took me this long because we were in the process of paying off debt and wanted to finish that first. I also didn’t see the true benefit of having a buffer although I could see it would be nice to not be living paycheck to paycheck. We were already paying all our bills the first week of the month or as soon as they came in so I didn’t see a buffer would make that much difference in our financial lives.”
Mary went on to explain that life is very different now that she has her Buffer. She said, “For us it is more psychological. We had no problem paying the bills nor even paying them right away. But after we had the buffer, wow, I felt so much more secure, and more in control. And instead of paying even small amounts of finance charges we are earning interest as we have an interest bearing checking account. It was like I didn’t realize we needed it, but now I know we had needed it all along. It’s just very comforting to look at our budget and see that Buffer there. I feel like we can handle most anything that comes along now and do it without incurring any debt.
Finally I asked Mary to offer some advice to those who may not have their Buffer or may not see the benefits. “I’d say start throwing whatever you can into your Buffer category each month. Even saving a small amount will add up and as you see that happening you will want to put more into it. Cut back on any expenses you can…it’s only temporary and soon you will have your Buffer which will be so worth it. Knowing you are not living paycheck to paycheck anymore is very freeing!”
The big lesson here is to put something toward your Buffer each month. While you may feel your steps are small, they will add up, and eventually you will remove yourself from the paycheck to paycheck cycle.