How This Couple Went to One Income, Stressed Less & Saved More


In 2014, Michael and Caitlin King, of Bowling Green, KY, had their first baby. Just as they’d planned, Caitlin quit her teaching job to become a stay-at-home mom. And that’s when the fun started…

When they (quickly) realized they had greatly underestimated their ability to adjust their spending to one salary they found YNAB and now, just a couple years later, they stress far less and save far more than they ever did with two incomes.

In fact, in just two years, they increased their savings, paid down their mortgage by $24k, and bought a car with cash.

Here’s what Michael and Caitlin have to say about it:

How or why was YNAB different than other things you’d tried?

Michael: “I have tried both Quicken and my own excel sheets before.  Both mostly told me where my money had gone, not me telling it where to go.  Neither worked on our mobile phones at the time, I don’t think we even had smart phones at that point.  It was not very easy for us to share and edit the same budget.”

Caitlin: “We tried making an excel spreadsheet but struggled to figure out how to account for things that occurred monthly versus yearly or quarterly.  We didn’t get much further than starting with some basic categories before we gave up.”

Was there anything you did to jumpstart your progress when you were just getting going?

Michael: “Having a budget helped us re-evaluate a lot of expenses. I wanted to spend money purposefully and wisely.  For example, we switched cell phone companies, we bought a cable modem instead of leasing, cancelled our Angie’s list subscription that I hadn’t used in years, re-negotiated our alarm monitoring contract, cancelled Hulu, and changed pest control just to name a few.  We also sold a ton of stuff on eBay and Craigslist when we first started.”

How did YNAB change the way you think about your money?

Michael: “YNAB has taken away a ton of stress and guessing about what we can afford.  Now we can look at the category and know, it’s not up for debate.”

Caitlin: “I’m a lot more thoughtful about how I spend money now. I pay more attention to what is a need versus something that I just want.  And really before we started budgeting I didn’t think much about money at all so this whole process has made me so much more aware and conscientious.”

What would you tell someone currently stressing about money or avoiding living on a budget?

Michael: “If you are not actively telling your money what to do, you will later be wondering where it all went.”

Caitlin: “Bite the bullet and just do it because once you get going it makes life so much easier!  I was very resistant at first and really didn’t like the idea of not being able to buy whatever I wanted whenever I wanted to but after a couple of months on the budget I realized how wonderful it is to have those guidelines that help you make better decisions.”