How to Do the 34-Day Reset if You Already Use YNAB

Kick Your Budget into High Gear


Want to push reset on your finances? Join a sprint-to-the-finish money challenge called the 34-Day Reset. Before you start the challenge, you decide what it is you want (on average, people save $1,000). Then, for 34 days you follow three daily rules to get there.

  1. Track your spending.
  2. Only buy essentials.
  3. No eating out. (I felt you wince there, I know I sure did!)

At the end of 34 days, you’ll have a guilt-free pile of money to get what you want. Huzzah!

If you’re a YNABer, you may be wondering how the 34-Day Reset challenge would work in your budget. Maybe, if you’re like me, you’ve used phrases to describe your budget like “well-designed,” “tight,” or that it’s a “well-oiled machine” (all of which are things I’ve been known to say, especially when my husband asks for some extra spending cash). However, this 34-Day Reset challenge could be perfect for you (maybe, especially for you!) to challenge yourself and your assumptions about your budget.

This challenge has been a really wonderful reset for me! I had sort of “plateaued” with my money and this has made me more mindful.

-Emily C.

3 Reasons to Join the Challenge Even if You’re a Seasoned Budgeter

1. It’s an opportunity to challenge your assumptions. 

When I did this challenge, it was an opportunity to really rethink our priorities—could we go a month without eating out or grabbing coffee if it meant we could pay off our car five months early? Yup!  

Some of the changes that we made for the 34-Day Reset challenge were things that benefitted us long after the challenge ended (we got rid of a few high-fee credit cards!). Maybe you finally call to negotiate a cheaper internet or data plan. 

At the same time, it also reinforced some of our values and some of the places we are willing to spend our money (goodbye guilt about take-out—we need you!). You may also realize some of your priorities have shifted or maybe you have a short-term goal that you really want to reach that you’ve never thought was attainable. 

2. Sprinting feels especially rewarding, especially when you’re used to a marathon.

Personally, we used this challenge to put a bigger chunk of money towards our debt than we ever have before! If you have a large goal like paying off debt or saving for something big like a wedding or dream vacation, this challenge could be the motivation that you’ve been looking for to get to your next milestone or goal just a little quicker. It’s a short-term opportunity to reach a long-term goal. 

34-Day Reset workbook calendar
Cross off your days one by one in the challenge workbook.

3. You might be stuck in a rut and not even know it.

Having a routine around budgeting is really wonderful, but sometimes we can get a little comfortable and not realize how much more potential we still have. This challenge might be just the push you need to give your budget a tune-up. Whether you’re trying to sell items, renegotiate insurance rates, finally tackling that lingering financial to-do, or cancel subscriptions,  this challenge forces you to ask “why” for each item in your budget. It can get you out of the rut that you’re in, and make your budget fun and challenging again. 

Learn more and join the challenge here!

How to Do the 34-Day Challenge in Your YNAB Budget

There are a few different ways to set up the 34-Day Reset in your YNAB budget, but there are five things to do:

  1. Pick your “storage location” for your challenge money. There are two options:
    • Create a new category. Create a “34-Day Challenge” category (or even better—name it specifically for the item or thing you’re saving for)  and set a goal amount. Siphon extra money to this category to reach your goal.
    • Use a current “wish list” category. Maybe your 34-Day Reset challenge goal is already an item in your wish list. Set the category target to reflect your challenge goal amount and move extra money to this category.
  2. Identify the categories where you’ll reduce or eliminate spending. Before you start the challenge, decide which categories you won’t be spending from (reference your list of essentials and non-essentials in the workbook you get upon joining). Move any money from those off-limits categories into your challenge-related category or wish farm line. 
  3. Decide how you’re handling goals. Delete your goals on the unused categories, or “pause” them by going to the next month, clicking edit and then hitting save. This removes the goal from the current month but keeps it for the next month. I liked deleting my goals on those categories entirely because I was forced to be very intentional about the new amounts when I reset them at the end of the challenge. 
  4. Make a plan to hit your goal. Using YNAB gives you a huge advantage here—by moving money from those non-essential categories, you can clearly see the discrepancy between what you need and what you want in that category. Make a plan to come up with that difference—will you sell things? Cancel things? Deprioritize other spending? When extra money comes up, put it in your challenge-related category. 
  5.  Celebrate! After the challenge is over, marvel at what you’ve accomplished. You did it! You challenged all your expectations, did a hard 34-day sprint, and saved a lot of money! Now’s time to put that money to use. If you had a challenge category, move the money to the category where you’ll actually be using it. If it was in your wish farm, go make that wish happen!

I’ve never been more in tune with my money than during this challenge.

-Hannah

Ready to reset? Join the 34-Day Reset challenge! We’ll send you an email with your challenge workbook.

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