YNAB Podcast Episode 84: Budgeting Late in the Month


Hello YNABers. My name is Jesse Mecham and this is podcast number 84 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.

My apologies for my absence. I was sick and then we had our company meeting, and then I had another trip with some Scouts. So, it’s good to be back in the saddle and see good things happening while I was gone.

We had our company meet-up in Santa Cruz and got together with all the full-time YNAB team and had a great time. We took some surfing lessons, we did a redwood forest zip line tour, and we did my favorite thing which was to go to the mystery spot – that’s all I’m going to say about it. It’s a mystery. Anyway, we had a good time. We mainly played but we did talk a little shop, one of the evenings out on the beach, and just discussed the future of YNAB – what we think should happen in the next year or so. And it got me excited. I’m excited that we have a great team and I’m excited for what we are working on. So, we’re still working through our support hire – part-time hire. It’s been a long process, partly because of the meet-up and the prep for that, and partly because we had so many applications – almost 200. And then we’ll also probably be looking for a new developer here shortly. So if you are a developer, keep your eyes peeled. We are a great company to work for.

I have not yet done my June budget because I’ve been on these trips. So we’re now sitting at – check it – June 11th and we are budget-less. Am I freaking out? No. This has happened before. Would I like to get it done? Yes. But yesterday I had to do the books for the company – in YNAB, of course – and so I really, after two and a half hours of that… it’s a long process. Not YNAB’s fault, just all the bookkeeping that goes into a company. After that long I really didn’t feel like doing our own personal budget, even though it takes a lot less time.

Workflow for me and Julie – mainly me – is to enter stuff in YNAB on our phones, and then once a month or so, when I’m getting our budget set up again for the coming month, I import and do a little clean-up. So there will be stuff that comes into the budget that was a scheduled transaction, an automatic bill, a few things that we forgot to enter on our phones for whatever reason. And once those all come in, a lot of them are matched up with the manually entered phone transactions, and then the new stuff I also categorize and things. And it works well for us. So we do import, we just don’t import all of the time. And Julie only looks at a few categories anyway – her fund money, groceries and restaurant, maybe entertainment and maybe the miscellaneous category on occasion. But beyond that, she doesn’t really care.

So the fact that we’re 11 days into the month, I’m not worried because we have really ingrained some habits and our spending would remain under control for some period of time going forward. I don’t know how long it would last, and I’m confident that despite our ten and a half years of budgeting every month, if we were to stop, if were just to say, “You know what? We’re in a good rhythm. We know how much we spend” – that’s such a famous excuse, “Oh, I know how much I spend,” no you don’t, unless you’re tracking him of course – but we could say, “We’ve been doing this for so long. This is just automatic for us – we’re on auto-pilot.” I wonder how many months it would take before we were spending more than we would otherwise. The budget reins you in. And sometimes, you that are really good at it, really in the habit, sometimes you can get a little bit cocky like me. And you could say, “Hey, we don’t need a budget for the first 11 days of the month. We’re fine.” But how much longer could you go before you start paying the price?

If you’re operating sans budget, it’s time to get on with it – just like I will today, probably once I wrap up with this podcast. And if you are operating on a budget and you feel like everything’s on auto-pilot, maybe you want to back off a little bit or check the budget less frequently, I would only caution you that there is a price to be paid as you decrease the frequency and the familiarity that you have with your budget.

That’s really all I wanted to say. I’m glad to be back.

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