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25 May 2017

With YNAB, Their Budgeting Game Went from Good to Great

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by Shannon Marie

“YNAB helped us tighten our already good budget by $1,000 the first month 
and then the same thousand, plus another $700, the next month.”

Jennifer Martin, 32, of Seattle, is no stranger to tackling financial goals.

In 2009, as a single person with $58,000 in debt, she enrolled in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. 22 months later, she’d not only paid off the debt, she’d saved up a six-month emergency fund, started contributing 22% of her income to her retirement account and put 20% down on a new home—including paying for moving expenses and some home repairs.

Jennifer’s passion for budgeting quickly led her to volunteering as a personal financial counselor. She taught budgeting classes and even started a Facebook group for budgeting families.

So, yeah. You could definitely say that Jennifer was good at managing her money—which is why, when she and her husband decided to try out YNAB, they were surprised by the (spectacular) results …

“We tried a three-month trial of YNAB and were hooked by month one!”

In the summer of 2016—seven years after mastering how to budget—Jennifer’s budgeting group had a ”Free Try July” challenge. Everyone was encouraged to pick a product or service, and check out the free trial.

“For fun we decided to try YNAB, assuming it wouldn’t make any difference in our lives. Goodness gracious, we were wrong.”

Within a month of starting YNAB, the Martins had tightened up their “already good” budget so considerably, that they were ecstatic to realize they’d saved $1,000 more than usual. And if that wasn’t good enough, in their second month with YNAB, they saved an additional $1,700!

“We were already good budgeters, so we never thought we’d fall in love with it the way we did. 
Those savings were enough to pay our subscription fee to YNAB for the next 45 years.”

… although, the Martins actually put that money into the “home repairs” category of their budget, instead, and made some exciting home upgrades—new windows and exterior paint. And then things got even better …

Negotiate Like a Pro (With Your Budget As Your Guide)

In 2016, as caregivers to foster kids and elderly family members, the Martins decided to upgrade from a single-car household and buy a minivan—they needed wheels (and extra seats!) to help them out.

After socking away cash for 14 months, they were excited to see a balance of $11,702.54 in their car category! You can imagine what a good day it was when they waltzed into their dealership and negotiated exactly the van they had in mind, for exactly the amount they wanted to pay …

“We actually showed them a screenshot of our sinking fund called “Car” in YNAB
of $11,702.54 … We told them this is exactly what we have to pay, and we will write
a check in that amount exactly (and nothing else). Guess what? They said yes!”

The Martins are pleased to have their new wagon parked, debt-free, in the driveway of their freshly painted house with awesome, new windows.

What Made YNAB Different?

So, what was it about YNAB that helped the Martins ramp up their budgeting abilities (technical term: “budgeting foo”)? Jennifer had this to say:

“With YNAB, we’re able to stick to our budget in ways we had never done
perfectly with any other budgeting app, spreadsheet or website out there …”

Jennifer explained that they used to set a budget, but didn’t really look at it, again, until the end of the month. Now the Martins actually check their categories on a regular basis to make sure they don’t overspend at the grocery store. (Turns out, there’s an app for that.)

“We still reached goals before YNAB, and did well with our earnings,
but with YNAB we did so much better and can meet financial goals faster than ever!”

As Their Savings Grew, So Did Their Goals

After smashing two years’ worth of goals in under a year, the Martins are more excited than ever about the future.

“Our trajectory with savings goals has sped up with YNAB. We can do more
because we’re staying on track with our budget now, more than ever before!
We can be more generous, travel more, save more for our kids …“

Jennifer’s advice to would-be budgeters is this:

“Budgeting works. You don’t have to be perfect from day one and it is a step-by-step process—but you can do it!”

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.)

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