YNAB Pays for Itself: Four Personal Experiences


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.