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Benji LeCompte is a project manager that lives in Orem, Utah, with his wife and child. And you could say that he loves forecasting. Or, actually, you could just let him say it: “I forecast. I am a forecaster, and that is what I do. I live and breathe in Excel.”
At least, that’s how he used to feel.
Things began to change in July 2017, when Benji dropped into one of YNAB’s free, online workshops. He said, “ … after the webinar, a light bulb clicked on—I realized that, not only did I not need to forecast, it might actually be hurting my efforts to establish good budgeting habits. It rocked me to my core. My wife laughed at me because I seriously had to take a moment to compose myself.”
Up until that point, Benji was (unsurprisingly) sold on budget forecasting, though he admits, “We weren’t very good at it.”
He added, “My wife has always been better with saving money and getting us out of debt. I was always better at finding a good interest rate and getting us into debt. My forecasting and number-crunching took up family time and drove her crazy.”
Not only was his approach time-consuming, it wasn’t really paying off. Benji said, “I always thought having a little debt was ok, and not taking advantage of a low interest rate was foolish; however, that ‘little’ bit of debt always got bigger, and the future always had more debt than the past.”
It wasn’t until their first child came along that Benji decided it was time to reevaluate their approach to budgeting—they needed a system that really worked.
… it wasn’t exactly love at first sight. See, Benji was reluctant to give up his spreadsheet-based forecasts. In fact, he didn’t. For the first month, he managed both his spreadsheet and YNAB. He said, “Now, I can see that I hadn’t really committed to YNAB—I still had ’one foot out the door’ with my forecasting.”
Of course, that didn’t last long. After attending a handful of workshops, it was Dave (one of YNAB’s friendly teachers) who finally convinced Benji to give YNAB a real go. Benji said, “Now I was confronted with a choice: keep using my Excel spreadsheets to help forecast my dollars or commit to YNAB’s [method] of not forecasting, and see if I fare any better.”
He went with the latter option (smart guy!). For a month, Benji committed to budgeting solely with YNAB, and what a difference! He said, “YNAB makes budgeting so much easier! You just figure out what’s most important to you, and only budget with what you have.”
Benji and his wife have one goal: to get out of debt for good. They’d grown tired of paying off debt only to rack up more. Wash, rinse and repeat.
But, with The Four Rules, they’re breaking the cycle. Benji explained, “After learning the YNAB method, we feel positive and excited that this will be the last time we are in debt. Usually, we’d wait until a big, annual bill came up, and then put it on the credit card. Now, we’re trying to save each month for those annual expenses so that we don’t get hit with a big bill that instantly turns into debt.”
That, dear readers, is how you make exemplary use of Rule Two. And it’s a key ingredient to eradicating financial stress from your life for good! But don’t take my word for it …
Benji said, “We feel more at peace and in control with YNAB. When we used forecasting, it always felt like we were going in circles … now we have less stress and more feelings of purpose, confidence and enjoyment of life!”
They used to view money as a necessary evil, but now Benji and his wife realize that it’s simply an instrument. He said, “With YNAB, now we see money as a tool to help us enjoy life.”
To stay on track, they have monthly budgeting dates (that they look forward to). Benji said, “We talk more about what’s important to us. We feel closer, and more aligned on our priorities. Plus, we have more time together since I stopped forecasting.”
Benji never dreamed that he’d give up his spreadsheet-based budget, but he’s glad he did. He said, “I have grown as an individual, I feel more optimistic about our financial future and we have become closer as a family.”
He finished his email with special thanks to the YNAB teacher who convinced him to try a new way: “My wife wants to thank Dave for curing me of my Excel addiction (her words not mine). She said that, alone, is worth the annual fee and that everyone at YNAB gets an imaginary unicorn!”
If you, too, would like to experience the magic of YNAB, check out our free, online classes. They’re only 20 minutes long, and our teachers would be happy to answer all of your questions.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go feed my unicorn. (Thanks, Benji!)
Remember, budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. You can do this! Today. Right now. What do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress. (Ok, so kind of a lot.)
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