Menu Back

Learn All Things YNAB

How Much Time Do You Have?

Free For 34-Days, Then $4.17 a Month*

On average, new budgeters save $600 by month two and more than $6,000 the first year! Pretty solid return on investment.

Sign up for a free trial today!

No credit card required.


Start taking control 
of your money today!

7 Mar 2014

Understanding how inertia impacts your finances.

Below Read More
by Jesse Mecham

Newton’s inertia seems to apply to finances as much as apples. This is simultaneously great and terrible news.

Many of us have applied significant, sustained force to our finances – in the wrong direction. We’ve spent carelessly, procrastinated saving, and borrowed to make it all “work.” This force in the wrong direction has created velocity on the path to more stress and fewer options in life. What a drag.

Reversing our course requires us to apply equal and opposite force to slow our negative financial momentum, eventually bringing us to a state of rest. In this restful state we’ve stopped borrowing and achieved awareness of our life’s true expenses.

After achieving “rest” we can finally build positive momentum in the right direction; this is when we experience fat checking accounts, buffers, and debt freedom. The good news is the positive momentum builds steadily as we employ the power of a functional budget and compounding interest.

Every day we sustain our positive financial momentum we’re that much further from a state of rest (“just getting by”) and heading in the wrong direction (borrowing).

Which is the most difficult phase? Having gone through it over the last eighteen months, I found it hardest to slow the negative momentum and achieve financial rest – that point where I’m not saving much, but not borrowing either.

What makes this phase so hard? The fact that my previous bad decisions and habits kept applying force in the wrong direction long after I’d resolved to go in the right direction. I had to maintain high focus, resolve, and optimism to overcome the negative momentum.

This post may have gone a little too abstract, but I know some of you are wondering why you can’t seem to build up your cash and move further from $0. Be patient. Use your budget to spend smart, work on your earning power, and hang in there. You’ll make it. Image:

Your 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.)


We send one email a week summarizing all the best budgeting reads.

No thanks


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