YNAB Pays for Itself: Four Personal Experiences

Written by Jesse Mecham  |  on


Thanks to my new YNAB-fueled financial focus, I finished the month with $54 that Stressed-Out Non-YNAB Me would have wasted.

And it got me thinking.

YNAB costs $60, which is just slightly more than the amount I preserved ($54).

I’ve heard people say YNAB is pricey. Sure – $60 is more than $0. But YNAB pays for itself, and fast.

A few examples from my own life:

40% Less Spent at Restaurants

In January my wife and I spent $312.19 at restaurants – around $10.40 per day. The last week of March our average was $6.32. YNAB-powered awareness saved us around $28 over the 7-day stretch.

Cell Phone Bill Down $20 per Month

We’ve had an extra line on our account for a while (too embarrassed to admit exactly how long). Cost: $20 per month. With my new budget in place, I decided I’d rather put that $20 toward the purchase of bikes, a bike trailer, and a trampoline. I called Sprint and canceled the line. Immediate savings: $20. Longer-term savings: $240 per year.

DirecTV Canceled

I want a bigger monthly Betterment deposit, and $95 is a good bump. DirecTV canceled. Immediate savings: $95 per month. Annual savings: Over $1,100.

Savings Preserved: (at least) $1800 per Year

I pay my life insurance premium annually, a bill that unexpectedly drains the checking account (making for a stressful September) or the savings account (making for bummed out savers). Thanks to YNAB’s Rule Two, I’ll have the full premium payment ready on September 1. Savings preserved: $1,800.

You might say these are just simple cost-cutting exercises – easily accomplished without YNAB.

Maybe, but I give YNAB the credit for two reasons:

  • It created the awareness and the motivation to spend more efficiently and plan ahead.
  • It locks in the gains by officially reallocating money to categories of higher value.

Share Your YNAB-Paid-for-Itself Story

YNAB community: Share your story of how YNABing quickly paid for YNAB. No need to write out long stories (unless you want to). Just tell us how increased awareness/planning/enthusiasm/focus put $60 (or more) your pocket.

Your Next Step

Budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. So what do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress?