How I Saved $1,500/month with You Need a Budget

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I was a chronic over-spender. Cash came in, cash went out. When I graduated from college, I had never budgeted in my life. Despite getting a good paying job out of school, somehow I found that I was always spending more than I took in. After I had finally had enough, I decided that I needed a budget. Perhaps You Need a Budget.

How I became a YNAB evangelist

A friend from college had started using an app called You Need a Budget (YNAB) about a year before me, and he kept encouraging me to give it a shot myself, knowing how quickly I found myself spending my income. While I resisted for a while, at the start of a new year, I decided to give it a shot. Admittedly, I found that the setup was a little tricky, as YNAB works differently than your average cookie cutter budgeting software. But I stuck with it until the app was setup and I had budgeted every dollar.

Here’s the thing. Nobody wants to budget their money. It’s easier to go through life spending and then figuring out how to pay for things. But what I found is that I was paying for things I didn’t truly want or need, and every month I would find myself looking at my credit card bills saying “how did this happen?”

Why the You Need A Budget Works

The app has several key features, each of which has changed my life in different ways.

  1. Only money you already have can be spent.
  2. YOU decide where each dollar is to be spent.
  3. Infrequent expenses are no longer a surprise.
  4. Your budget adapts to your life.

Let me explain why each of these matters.

  1. First of all, I always spent money knowing that my next paycheck would cover my expenses. But then by the time my paycheck rolled in, I’d just be using it to cover the money I’d already spent – this is the definition of living paycheck to paycheck. YNAB is different – you can only spend the money you already have. That means when that paycheck comes in, it is paying for expenses that haven’t yet happened. And this feels good. When you don’t budget, your money goes everywhere, even if you don’t realize it. But when you actively decide where your money is going, you gain back control. Realizing how much money was going to places that weren’t important to me was eye-opening.
  2. Everyone has infrequent expenses. This could be property taxes once a year, it could be an Amazon Prime subscription, or it could holiday gifts. But when you plan for these things, the money is already in the bank when that bill comes due.
  3. Everyone has infrequent expenses. This could be property taxes once a year, it could be an Amazon Prime subscription, or it could holiday gifts. But when you plan for these things, the money is already in the bank when that bill comes due.
  4. Life is unpredictable. Sometimes, certain budget categories will require more spending than usual. I have been working from home lately, so I am spending more on groceries than I historically have. But YNAB makes this easy – I simply move money from my restaurant category to my grocery category, because I am no longer going out to restaurants. Boom, same number of dollars, just going where I need them to go.
You Need A Budget Expense Report

Getting Started with You Need a Budget (YNAB)

The app has helped me plan my spending proactively rather than retroactively. This is what makes this app different than anything else I have ever tried. Since I’ve started using it, I have saved at least $1,500 per month and I cannot recommend it highly enough. And here’s the most interesting thing. I am not giving up what I want to spend money on. In fact, just the opposite has happened. Instead, I am spending money on things that matter to me.

To try a free trial of YNAB, visit https://www.youneedabudget.com. Once you’re all set up, check out our guide on how to budget, so that you can get started right away.

How I Saved with YNAB

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