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Rule 3

Roll With The Punches

In boxing, you move your body in the same direction as your opponent’s punch to lessen the blow. Same rules apply to budgeting. Be flexible and address overspending as it happens.

How It Works

When you overspend in a budget category, just adjust. No guilt necessary. If you plan to take the kids to the beach but it’s pouring down rain, do you still go? Of course not! Circumstances change and plans change with them. Your budget is no different. If you overspend in one category, free up money from another category and move along. Remember, you’re the boss!

What is life like with/without this rule?

Drag the arrows left and right to find out.

Without Rule Three

When you overspend, you feel like a failure. Budgets don’t work. This whole idea of trying to “guess” what you will spend, is a complete waste of time.


You don’t “need a budget,” you “need a raise.” If you only earned just a bit more money, everything would be fine! (Those last two sentences are dripping with sarcasm. More money does not solve money management problems.)

With Rule Three

You overspend (it happens) and your budget nudges you—in an überfriendly voice—“Whoops! You overspent on Groceries. No worries! Just move over some surplus money from your Clothing category. Good to go!”

You don’t feel like a failure or tempted to quit. Budgets do work. You’ve just never budgeted like this before.

Why It Works


You don’t need to be perfect! You just need to commit to the process of planning what you’ll spend (Rules One and Two), and then, following your plan. Oh, that’s right, and then adjusting the plan as needed. Rinse and repeat.


Follow YNAB to get support and lots of great ideas on budgeting