YNAB Podcast Episode 61: Friction

This episode aired on December 17, 2012.

Hello YNABers. My name is Jesse Mecham and this is podcast number 61 for You Need A Budget, where we teach you four rules to help you stop living pay check to pay check, get out of debt and save more money.

I want to get back to the basics today and chat a little bit about the budget. We’ve had the opportunity, getting a lot of awesome applications for our Rails position – Ruby on Rails position – to basically build out some very cool stuff for YNAB in the coming months and years. And as I read the job applications, it’s fun to see people wanting a job not for the money but for other intangible benefits – you know, work/life balance, a challenge, wanting to learn something, wanting to make a difference, have an impact. You see all those things in these interviews with these great candidates, and it’s exciting.

I was thinking about that the job application is kind of a way to articulate what you want to do with your time. You’re saying, “I want to spend my time in this way. I want to spend it building something great that other people can use to improve their finances.” And you enter your contract with an employer and you say, “I am willing and ready and would love to spend my time, my life – a portion of your life – to do this work,” and then you’re compensated for it. And I love in these cover letters that I’m reading and different things, I love seeing that so clearly articulated; people caring about their life and their accomplishments and how they feel about their work. And I wonder often if we couldn’t look at the budget in the same way; if we couldn’t say that a budget is simply a clear articulation of what you want your money to do, with no judgment attached to it whatsoever. So when you REALLY, really want that thing, then that is perfectly appropriate.

What we find happens in our culture, where we’re just marketed to constantly, is that we end up having our money do things that we don’t really want. It’s kind of like being hired for a job where they told you, “Hey, this is what you’re going to be doing, it’s going to be great, you’re going to feel so fantastic,” and then you end up doing some monotonous, mind-numbing, brain-dead type of task for 40 hours a week – or worse, for 60 or 80. And you start to feel dissatisfied; you start to feel some friction. Like what you’re spending your time doing isn’t really bringing you fulfilment. That same friction that you feel in your life in a career that maybe isn’t quite the right fit – and I can relate to that, having been in that position myself and now having seen the flip-side, running this whole little YNAB thing – that friction you feel in life when you’re in a job that just isn’t quite doing it for you; that’s the same type of friction you feel as your money does things that you don’t really want it to do.

Julie and I are in the market to purchase a new van. We’re kind of aiming to purchase it right toward the end of the year so the dealers are really excited and anxious to hit their quota for the year, so kind of timing it that way. But as we’re looking at all these options for a sweet van, another van obviously, you can kind of look at it and see, “Do I really care about that? Do I REALLY, really care?” And we don’t care about a lot of things that we spend our money on – so just think about that.

Where there’s friction with your money, it’s usually just because your money’s a little bit out of alignment and it’s rubbing up against you in a way that’s bothering you. The budget is a great way to clearly articulate to yourself. Or if you are in a shared finances situation, even better because you are clearly articulating that to each other and combining forces to where there is no friction and you feel good as your money does things that you care about. No judging, no feeling bad, no guilt in any way; just money doing what you want. It’s a great place to be, a fantastic way to live. Just make that happen. Use your budget constantly to clearly articulate what you want your money to do – and you will love it.

Until next time, follow YNAB’s four rules and you will win financially. You have not budgeted like this.