You Want Choices? We'll Give You Choices.

We love to share success stories because they are triumphant and inspiring and powerful and all the good stuff. But one of the amazing things about YNAB is how much it can change your life before you even hit “success story” status.

Yesterday YNABer Mariah Brown Charbonneau shared her story and I thought it captured an important truth about YNAB and budgeting. (If you aren’t much of a reader, I’ll save you a couple paragraphs, it’s all about choices.)

In her words:

“This is for the people who maybe aren’t making huge gains with their finances. I just want you to know that if the worst happens, YNAB will still help you in really dramatic ways (hopefully you don’t have to experience them, though.)

My partner and I were doing beautifully with our budget (started YNABing June 2015). We had sinking funds for our taxes, Christmas, birthdays, car repairs, clothing, etc., and we were making good headway with our debt. And it was gorgeous watching our net worth climb so quickly.

(Background info: I’m self-employed, and have been since 2004. ) The industry I’ve been working in for the last 3 years slowed down so significantly in the last year and come January 2016, I only had 5 billable days of work, with no additional work on the horizon, either. I did what I do best and “created” a position for myself—I talked my partner’s boss into letting me do sales for him on a straight commission basis while work was slow (he couldn’t afford to hire someone and I wanted to retain the flexibility of working “for myself”).

It’s taken me four months to build the relationships, but in the last three weeks, I’ve sold nearly half of his annual revenue from last year—so I’m just now starting to see sizable commissions coming through. My sinking funds are depleted because they are what have paid half of our bills for the last four months. But we haven’t taken on any new debt, and I’m positioned to make even more money in the next 6 months than I ever made in that timeframe in my previous line of work.

Without YNAB and the money I had squirreled away because of it, I’d never have made it through the first month of having no income. I didn’t even realize I had that much money tucked away until I started having to move it around in my budget to cover monthly expenses. So, long story short—YNAB fundamentally changed our spending habits and allowed me the time I needed to build something new.

Even if you are still deep in the trenches, getting out of debt, breaking the paycheck to paycheck cycle and saving more money, changing the way you think about money gives you control and freedom—and thus, choices—that can affect all the areas of your life.

It sounds a whole lot like success, now that I think about it…