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On average, new budgeters save $200 their first month and more than $3,300 by month nine! Pretty solid return on investment.
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The secret is just to be intentional about what you want your money to do before you spend it. (Have we given away the secret sauce?) Take only the money you have on hand and ask yourself, “What should this money do before I’m paid again?” With just four simple steps, you’ll begin to take back control.
Connect your accounts.
After you add an account you should see those dollars here ready to be budgeted.
Give every dollar a job by assigning them to the appropriate categories (we've suggested a few to get you started, but you'll want to make them your own!)
Budget your dollars down to zero. Now you know what money you can spend until the next time you're paid.
Connect your bank accounts to YNAB so you know exactly how much money you’re working with.
Set up your spending categories (you’ll start with defaults to get going faster)
Put money into those spending categories. Every dollar counts.
Imagine a big bill coming in and… you just pay it. No fuss, no muss. While it’s important that you decide what you want your money to do now, it’s more important to realize that some of your money now needs to be used for large expenses down the road.
Consider what large, less-frequent expenses are coming up (insurance, Christmas, braces), and your best guess as to when they'll hit and how much they'll cost.
Set a goal in YNAB for the amount you need to save for your future expenses.
The act of setting a measureable goal will help you stay on track.
We'll help you determine how much you need to save every month in order to be ready. No stress (or credit cards!) necessary.
Think of a few large, less-frequent expenses (insurance, Christmas, braces), how much they’ll cost, and when they’ll happen.
Set a goal in YNAB for those expenses. We’ll help you determine how much you need to save every month in order to be ready. No stress necessary.
We can’t believe this has to be a rule, because, of course, when you need to change your budget, just change it. That’s what rolling with the punches means. No guilt. No hand-wringing. It’s a halftime adjustment. A chess grandmaster adapting to an opponent’s silly mistake.
First, spend more than you budgeted (in your Eating Out category, obviously). Bam! You nailed that one.
Look through your budget and find a category (or several) with some extra funds. Move those extra funds to cover your overeating, er, spending.
Look at that! You're still budgeting because your budget is flexible.
First, spend more than you budgeted (in your Eating Out category, obviously). Bam. You nailed that one.
Look through your budget and find a category (or several) with some extra funds. Use those extra funds to cover your overspending from Eating Out.
Look at that. You're still budgeting. You didn't fail.
We don’t want you stressed. So work toward spending money today that you’ve earned at least a month ago. It’ll change your life. You won’t have to time bills with paychecks. You may start forgetting when your actual payday is. You’ll be living far, far away from the financial edge. And it will feel great.Take the next Step
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.)Want to see more of the software?