We've become a family of YNABers

Something exciting happened yesterday.

For over two years, I (Jessiebird) had been begging my 28-year-old stepson to try YNAB. He had grudgingly downloaded the trial, but insisted that he couldn’t use it unless he entered all his future expenses. This had thrown off his budget numbers and left him convinced that YNAB wouldn’t work for him.

He had still not come around to YNAB at Christmas this past year. I knew this because he mentioned having to check his bank balance to make sure he had enough money to buy a few more gifts. (I may have given him my standard lecture about how YNAB teaches you to make spending decisions based on category balances, not account balances. But if I did, he wasn’t listening.) 

A couple of months ago, out of the blue, he did say something about wanting to give YNAB another try. Worried I might scare him off, I kept my normal gushing tightly controlled and merely said I thought he’d really find YNAB useful and that I could help him if he got stuck. But he hadn’t brought up YNAB since, so I assumed he had changed his mind.

He was in town this week for a brief visit. And last night, while we were all watching a movie, he pulled out his laptop and said, “Sorry, but I have got to get caught up on YNAB.”

I almost dropped my popcorn.

I tried to appear casual, but I had to hug my knees to keep myself from turning cartwheels around the living room. I quivered in silent excitement as I watched him stare at the screen while murmuring number-type stuff.

After about 5 minutes, he gave a little cheer, and I knew exactly what the sound meant. “Balanced to the penny, first try,” he said with a grin. It was a beautiful YNAB moment.

He spent another 5 minutes or so examining the budget and tapping the keyboard now and then. “I overspent a little on this trip,” he said. “I kind of figured I was going to, but it’s not a problem. I have a couple other categories I can take the money from.”

Hear that? He speaks YNAB.

He joins my younger stepson and his wife, who started using YNAB when they got married last year and who have had great success so far, as well as my 14-year-old daughter who, as I wrote in an earlier post, is a young but avid YNAB user.

I’ve often felt bad that my husband and I didn’t set the best example of how to handle money when the kids were growing up. We can’t change the past, but I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to do the next best thing: get all three of our children using YNAB so they can avoid the money-management mistakes we made.

At last, our whole family uses YNAB. Maybe that is worth a cartwheel or two.