Welcome to YNAB Money Snapshots—where you see a real picture of someone else’s budget and finances. They’re all anonymous, because sharing money is still a squirrelly topic for many, but we think airing them out in the open makes you better with your own money story.
As you read these budgets, keep in mind that some people make lots of money and some people make a little bit of money, but we know it’s what you do with that money and how you feel about that money means more than any yearly salary.
See how a family of six in Connecticut with an income of $144,000 a year spent their money in April.
- Names: Kara & GG
- Ages: 47 & 52
- Location: Connecticut
- Jobs: QA Transcription Editor & Quality Assurance (Department of Defense)
- Living situation: Married, living with four kids (two are working college students, one is in high school, and one is in middle school)
- QA Transcription Editor: $30,000/year
- Quality Assurance: $80,000/year
- Child Support: $24,000/year
- VA Disability: $10,000/year
- Mortgage: $300,000
- Credit cards: $8,800
- Solar panels: $17,000
- Personal loans: $13,000
April Inflows: $8,721
- Transcription: $1,288
- DoD: $4,588
- Child Support: $1,952
- Veterans Administration: $893 (GG is an Air Force vet and sustained some back injuries while in the service. This is a very new addition to our budget.)
|Veterinary Care||$110||Our dogs are on a healthcare plan with the vet.|
|Guitar Lessons||$130||Our son is learning guitar|
|Capital One Visa||$179|
|Home Depot CC||$829||Used our debt snowball to pay off the card this month!|
|Kids' Stuff||$961||Summer tuition and Steam games|
|Wine & Spirits||$13|
|Saving for Family|
|Allowance for Chores||$75||We use ChoreCheck and they have their own YNAB budgets|
|Rainy Day Funds|
|Holding||$17||This category balances out my variable income as an independent contractor|
|Total Needed $7,991|
My Savings Categories
Right now my top savings goals are:
- Our first real family vacation ever!
- Restore the hardwood floor (currently hiding under some appalling laminate)
Sadly, we had been saving up for a cruise. For obvious reasons, that’s just not going to happen. We’re thinking about something more secluded like renting a cabin out in the woods or something.
One wish farm category was fulfilled last month. I got the pottery wheel and kiln that I have been wanting for 20 years!
The COVID-19 shutdown has negatively impacted my (Kara’s) income as a QA transcription editor. I’m still able to do my work from home, but it has impacted our clients and less work is available. I’m making approximately half of what I would normally right now. Thankfully, because of YNAB, we were completely prepared and this is just a minor bump in the road.
GG and I both come from families where our parents did not talk about money. It was considered rude to ask how much they made or how much the bills were. While we had chores, we didn’t get allowances and everything was purchased for us. We didn’t learn anything about finances in school.
As a result, we entered into adulthood with virtually no knowledge of how to handle our finances. We learned the hard way, always struggling to pay for things, racking up debt, and constantly stressing about money.
We started YNAB in 2014. For two years, we had many false starts with it. We couldn’t seem to make it work for us and we’d just give up. In 2016 it finally clicked. I figured out how to calculate our budget categories on a very precise, granular level and we’ve never looked back.
Four years ago we were missing payments, paying late fees, interest fees, overdraft fees, and struggling whenever an unexpected expense popped up. We dreaded birthdays and holidays because of the stress of wondering how we would afford it. Those days are over for us.
In four years we have paid off $50,000 worth of debt. We paid for my daughter’s braces and my son’s college tuition in cash. We are going to take our first real family vacation ever this summer. My two youngest kids are taking private music lessons. We look forward to birthdays and holidays now because we have funded categories to cover them. We are ready for the unexpected.
Very importantly, we have brought our children along on this journey. We want the kids to learn from our mistakes, so we talk openly with them about every aspect of our finances—everything from the daily costs of running a household to how we’re saving for retirement.
During the shutdown, our grocery and restaurant spending is higher than normal since they’re not going to school and GG is working from home. We don’t normally get takeout so often, so they asked where the “extra” money is coming from. I figured that was the perfect opportunity to explain the art of the WAM (moving money from one category to another). I explained how their school lunch money and GG’s lunch out money wasn’t being used, so I moved the money from those categories into groceries and restaurants.
My youngest two are earning allowances and I have set them up with their own budgets in YNAB. My college-aged son has a free student YNAB account. We are doing everything we can so that they’re prepared in a way that we weren’t.
My Financial Goals
- Debt-free living
Our current goal is debt-free living. We’ve been snowballing our debt for the past four years, and at this pace, everything but the mortgage will be completely paid off in November of 2022. Our mortgage will be paid 14 years early, saving us $90,000 in interest.
It would be impossible to overstate how much YNAB has improved all of our lives. I’m thankful for it every single day. I don’t know how we ever lived without it. We will be loyal YNAB users for the rest of our days.
My only regrets at this point are, one—that we didn’t have YNAB when we were younger and first starting out, and two—that I don’t have a sweet YNAB t-shirt to show my undying love and gratitude for it everywhere I go!*
I would rate my current financial situation: 5/5
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*Kara and GG have one less regret now! Thanks to their generosity in sharing their budget with us, they’re now the proud wearers of their very own oh-so-soft-and-sumptuous YNAB t-shirts.