How to Get Buffered

I want to be one of the YNAB cool kids. I want to be able to casually say “Well, I don’t have to worry about that now that I’m fully buffered.”


Ugh. Fully buffered people, so smug with their big checking accounts and their peaceful nights’ sleep. 🙂

For those new to the community, to be “fully buffered” is to be following Rule 4: Age Your Money. In other words, I’m fully buffered if I can set aside all this month’s income for next month’s expenses.

Now, I could technically say I’m fully buffered, given that my savings could fund a full month’s budget, leaving all this month’s paycheck for the following month.

But…I think when you open a sentence with “I could technically say…” – you’re technically kidding yourself – or missing the point.

I want to build a buffer from scratch. Why? I don’t know – I guess because I’ve never set and achieved a modest savings goal (my savings is the result of a windfall).

I’ve paid off debt in big chunks before, but that’s a different mindset than saving toward a goal. I think of debt elimination coming from the fight or flight, I-have-to-run-away-from-this-lion-or-it-will-eat-me part of the brain, whereas the ability to save comes from the calm, rational, if-I-don’t-eat-the-marshmallow-the-nice-man-in-the-lab-coat-will-give-me-another-one part of the brain.

That’s the part of the brain I’d like to develop.

Jesse tells me we’ve run surveys and found it took the average “fully buffered” YNABer four months to get there, but I also know many members of the community have been YNABing much longer than that – and still no buffer.

So how do we bridge the gap?

For those of you who are living with a full buffer:

How did you get there? How long did it take? What did it take (saving, extra hours at work, selling stuff)?

For those of you who aren’t buffered yet:

What’s holding you back? How close have you come to living the buffered life?