Author Topic: Anyone use You Need a Budget?  (Read 6215 times)

P1

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Anyone use You Need a Budget?
« on: December 31, 2014, 01:33:44 PM »
It's on sale on Steam for $15. Going to keep track of all my expenses in 2015 and beyond. Was just going to use google docs which I can update from my phone as well. Just do that or is the software worth purchasing?

JLee

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Re: Anyone use You Need a Budget?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2014, 01:34:21 PM »
Reviews are really good at its list price of $60.  For 15 bucks, I gave it a shot but I haven't played with it yet.

Elliot

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Re: Anyone use You Need a Budget?
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2014, 01:40:47 PM »
I use it. Love it 5ever. Definitely buy it.

C-note

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Re: Anyone use You Need a Budget?
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2014, 01:44:13 PM »
We've used it for almost 4 years.

Wouldn't dream of being without it.  It has made a positive significant difference in our financial affairs.

catccc

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Re: Anyone use You Need a Budget?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2014, 01:48:17 PM »
Big Fan of it, and that is a great deal.  If anyone purchases it, give it a real try for a few months before passing judgement, and take advantage of the webinar type classes/trainings they do.  Going to purchase it now for my sister...

fb132

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Re: Anyone use You Need a Budget?
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2015, 08:40:33 AM »
I love YNAB, best 60$ I have ever spent, it helped me increase my savings and cut down on unecessary expenses.

daverobev

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Re: Anyone use You Need a Budget?
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2015, 03:28:11 PM »
We used it for a good few months but found it didnt't help us.

By all means, try it. If you have lots of 'leakage' it could well pinpoint where that leakage is. When we reviewed ours we realised firstly that it was more work to keep straight for a number of reasons, and what we got out was not that helpful.

naturelover

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Re: Anyone use You Need a Budget?
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2015, 08:09:23 PM »
For anyone interested in YNAB who has not yet purchased, I recommend taking some of their free webinars first. It'll introduce you to the product and help you decide if you want to give it a go. Plus, they give away a free copy of YNAB at the end of every class. I attended two webinars and won my copy during the second class!

letired

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Re: Anyone use You Need a Budget?
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2015, 09:20:42 PM »
I have a problem with 'double-booking' my savings, so YNAB has been really helpful to me in that regard. This way, I can keep track of how much is in each 'pot' without having a million different actual accounts. I've only been using it a few months, and it is more manual than Mint, but I like it because it keeps me on track a little better.

Peony

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Re: Anyone use You Need a Budget?
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2015, 09:59:22 PM »
It's been life-changing for me, and I happily paid full price. At $15 it's an absolute steal. But they do have a 34-day free trial if you want to try it before committing. Definitely avail yourself of the online classes, videos, and forum if you want to get the most out of it.

fb132

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Re: Anyone use You Need a Budget?
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2015, 04:56:46 AM »
What I like about YNAB is if I am in search of when i bought a certain item or if I want to budget on expenses that come up once a year, you can search for it easily. I also like their reports, it gives me a good idea where I am overspending if I need to increase more my savings. Usually in my case, it's food, so I am trying to lower my grocery bills. In April alone, I spent 600$ on groceries for myself !!!!! Now, i got it down to 200-250$ :) ...the 350$ difference goes towards my investments :)  In the past, I tried using Excel, something about it didn't work for me, I mean I was able to save money, but I was never able to save more than 30-35% of my income. I wasn't as motivated to save as much until I bought YNAB.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2015, 05:05:24 AM by fb132 »

poorboyrichman

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Re: Anyone use You Need a Budget?
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2015, 05:03:43 AM »
Save your 15 dollars and start a spreadsheet to track your transactions (income, savings and expenses).

There's all sorts of fancy reporting you can do way beyond the stock reports in YNAB.

I would recommend the YNAB program to anyone without the skills to use excel though.

morning owl

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Re: Anyone use You Need a Budget?
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2015, 05:09:06 AM »
The thing that makes YNAB so great is the philosophy towards budgeting. It works differently than any other planning or tracking software, because you don't just make up a bunch of goal numbers for each category and try your best to stick with them. It's more of an active and flexible way of planning.

Try out the free download, but be sure to watch the videos on how it works. When I first downloaded YNAB, I thouht it was like any other budget tracker, and didn't know how to use it to its full extent, so I gave up on it within the month. But if you watch the videos, try it out, you'll see how it can help you. I paid more than $70 for it, with the exchange rate... 15$ is a steal.

Ricky

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Re: Anyone use You Need a Budget?
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2015, 05:49:09 AM »
Save your 15 dollars and start a spreadsheet to track your transactions (income, savings and expenses).

There's all sorts of fancy reporting you can do way beyond the stock reports in YNAB.

I would recommend the YNAB program to anyone without the skills to use excel though.

A proper homemade YNAB replacement would require more than an excel sheet. It would need to be paired with some type of database, at which point it begins to become unfeasbile. Coupled with the fact that the interface won't be nearly as good, and you're more likely to use a pretty interface, you're better off just buying the software if you need it in the first place.

YNAB, or budgeting in general, is great if you don't already have a savings rate of 50+%. Once you do though, it becomes pointless to track expenses since they're going to happen anyway and it just becomes routine.

poorboyrichman

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Re: Anyone use You Need a Budget?
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2015, 05:54:12 AM »
It's not unfeasible if you use excel in your day job.

I keep it simple by logging in goings/outgoings in one sheet, tracking net worth on a monthly basis in another, I use pivot tables for deeper analysis and have various other sheets with tables and charts replicating every feature in YNAB and more.

Think, days until FIRE based on last x months spending etc etc. Possibilities are endless.

With regard to the UI, excel can seem pretty bare bones when you don't know what you are doing, but you can customize it a lot using colours, borders and fonts. My spreadsheet is rather pretty.

Logging transactions on my phone is the only feature I'm missing, so instead I just keep my receipts in my wallet for weekly/monthly round up.

YNAB is great for handling budgetting, but getting into deeper and meaningful analysis, it falls way short of the mark. Don't get me wrong, I used it for 12 months and it changed my spending habits totally, since then I simply upgraded.

« Last Edit: July 14, 2015, 05:58:22 AM by poorboyrichman »

FiguringItOut

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Re: Anyone use You Need a Budget?
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2015, 07:28:13 AM »
I bought it on Steam for $15 3 years ago.  The absolutely BEST purchase I've ever made.

I've tried budgeting using excel and quicken for years and it never worked well.  YNAB has been an amazing product that actually works and does what it is supposed to do, and works with practically any financial situation and set up a person may have.

catccc

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Re: Anyone use You Need a Budget?
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2015, 10:12:45 AM »
Yes, everyone, you can track your expenses in excel.  I'm an accountant and nearly live in excel in my working hours. 

But I still prefer YNAB for it's mobility- automatic cloud syncing across devices for multiple users is what makes it work for me.  I never have to sit down for a monthly/weekly round up because it's always up to date.

We were pretty good savers before YNAB, but I find YNAB helps me plan a little better.

FarmerPete

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Re: Anyone use You Need a Budget?
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2015, 10:19:25 AM »
When I was single, I never needed a budget.  I spent less than I made, and I always just swept my checking account into my savings/mortgage/etc when I got above a certain point.  After I got married, that didn't fly.  I learned that we needed a budget.  Problem was, our budget was just a "This is how we WANT to spend out money".  Every month, I would give my wife her portion of the budget.  Stuff always came up and her account would dip into negative territory (not really negative, but below the "zeroed out" value I had for it).  I didn't really track my expenses, because I only bought budgeted stuff, right?  Savings were not happening.  Enter YNAB.  From the first month, there was an immediate realization that we had been spending way more than we had budgeted.  In some spots, we increased the budget, but in others we had to start making hard choices.  I couldn't buy $30 of ribs, even though it was on sale, if the food budget only had $50 and there were still 10 days left in the month.  Stuff like that became much more clear.  Both of us can see the exact remainder of a category on our phones in real time.  And if there is stuff you want to buy, just fund the category.  In the year since we started using it, I've created categories for things like "MEAT" so that I CAN splurge on ribs on occasion.  I've also found that some categories were grosely over budgeted, even though my wife liked to complain that they were under budgeted.  For example, gas.  Even when gas was $4 a gallon, we were budgeting more than enough for our cars.  Being able to pull up historical trends like that can really help.

So how did YNAB affect my end goals?  In the last year, Looking at my net worth increase, I could certainly imagine that YNAB is responsible for increasing my personal savings rate by an additional 10-15%.  Yeah, if you buy absolutely nothing that isn't a necessity, than you're not going to gain as much from YNAB.

morning owl

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Re: Anyone use You Need a Budget?
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2015, 10:28:25 AM »
It's not unfeasible if you use excel in your day job.

I have a reasonably good understanding of excel, having used it for years. I actually use both YNAB and excel to track and plan my finances. Both have features that the other doesn't have.

But... If the OP is given the choice to learn excel at a pro level and spend hours setting up spreadsheets to mimic its elaborate DB and monthly calculations, or buy YNAB, if it were me,  I'd spend the 15 bucks ;)

FarmerPete

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Re: Anyone use You Need a Budget?
« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2015, 06:33:55 AM »
The first version of YNAB WAS Excel.  They found that it was too limiting and couldn't do everything people wanted.  YNAB is so simple to use once you have it setup.  I just import my transactions every week, and then go through and approve them.  I'll reconcile the accounts to make sure everything is peachy.  Then look at the budget page to see if i need to move any cash around.

My favorite part about YNAB that is harder to get with Excel is the ability to plan for longer term expenses.  For instance, I know that I'm going to have a car insurance bill arriving any day now.  My last bill was $840 6 months ago.  If I didn't plan for that bill ahead of time, it could be very devastating to my finances depending on how tight I live.  For me, cash flowing a large expense like $850 would be difficult, depending on how much on-call I had that month.  Some months I'll easily have an extra 1k that I can send to savings.  Others, I'm short $100 or so.  It just depends on where the paychecks fall with my on-call.  Luckily, I took the time to take all of those types of irregular bills and entered them in as YNAB categories.  I then divide the total amount of the anticipated bill by the months I have to accrue the money.  So for instance, $840/6 = $140 a month. I've been putting $140 a month into my insurance category, and when I get the bill in the next week or two, I'll just make the payment.  I have categories for all kinds of things like that.  Here are some examples:

Amazon Prime = $8.35
Amex Preferred Annual Fee = $6.25
Car Registration = $16
Car Insurance = $140
Crash Plan = $4
Fire Wood = $10
Garbage = $18
Propane = $3
Sams Club = $4
Medical Deductible = $21

Total each month = $230.60

Current balance on each of those "categories" is $2149.94.  That's a lot of potential liability that I'm mitigating.  I also have sinking funds for things like car repairs, gifting, home maintenance, vacation, etc.  I like the idea of looking at cars as regular expenses instead of free till something breaks.  I calculated what I think I'll spend in car repairs in a year.  I then split it into 12 monthly payments.  So when my car needs new brakes, I'll just buy them (and install them myself to make the money go further).  I don't have to worry about where the money will come from. 

The weakness with YNAB is that for the target audience of MMM, having a tight budget is not the problem.  Most of us have a mountain of excess, and we just need to start saving it up.  For me, I truly do have a lot of excess.  But my problem is that I worry.  I know that cars need repairs, roofs need replacing, and furnaces are going to crap out on you.  It's all inevitable.  I don't want to put money into my brokerage, just so that I can have to pull it out WHEN (not if) things break.  YNAB lets me have my cake and eat some of it too.  I can be confident that I'm planning on my big upcoming expenses, I keep my small expenses from creeping up, and I can feel free to put any excess money into my brokerage, knowing that the odds of me needing it are crazy small.  What I will tell you is that my brokerage has been going up at a very steady pace over the last year.  Without YNAB, I'd be lucky if my checking account kept even.

fb132

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Re: Anyone use You Need a Budget?
« Reply #20 on: July 15, 2015, 10:56:22 AM »
The first version of YNAB WAS Excel.  They found that it was too limiting and couldn't do everything people wanted.  YNAB is so simple to use once you have it setup.  I just import my transactions every week, and then go through and approve them.  I'll reconcile the accounts to make sure everything is peachy.  Then look at the budget page to see if i need to move any cash around.

My favorite part about YNAB that is harder to get with Excel is the ability to plan for longer term expenses.  For instance, I know that I'm going to have a car insurance bill arriving any day now.  My last bill was $840 6 months ago.  If I didn't plan for that bill ahead of time, it could be very devastating to my finances depending on how tight I live.  For me, cash flowing a large expense like $850 would be difficult, depending on how much on-call I had that month.  Some months I'll easily have an extra 1k that I can send to savings.  Others, I'm short $100 or so.  It just depends on where the paychecks fall with my on-call.  Luckily, I took the time to take all of those types of irregular bills and entered them in as YNAB categories.  I then divide the total amount of the anticipated bill by the months I have to accrue the money.  So for instance, $840/6 = $140 a month. I've been putting $140 a month into my insurance category, and when I get the bill in the next week or two, I'll just make the payment.  I have categories for all kinds of things like that.  Here are some examples:

Amazon Prime = $8.35
Amex Preferred Annual Fee = $6.25
Car Registration = $16
Car Insurance = $140
Crash Plan = $4
Fire Wood = $10
Garbage = $18
Propane = $3
Sams Club = $4
Medical Deductible = $21

Total each month = $230.60

Current balance on each of those "categories" is $2149.94.  That's a lot of potential liability that I'm mitigating.  I also have sinking funds for things like car repairs, gifting, home maintenance, vacation, etc.  I like the idea of looking at cars as regular expenses instead of free till something breaks.  I calculated what I think I'll spend in car repairs in a year.  I then split it into 12 monthly payments.  So when my car needs new brakes, I'll just buy them (and install them myself to make the money go further).  I don't have to worry about where the money will come from. 

The weakness with YNAB is that for the target audience of MMM, having a tight budget is not the problem.  Most of us have a mountain of excess, and we just need to start saving it up.  For me, I truly do have a lot of excess.  But my problem is that I worry.  I know that cars need repairs, roofs need replacing, and furnaces are going to crap out on you.  It's all inevitable.  I don't want to put money into my brokerage, just so that I can have to pull it out WHEN (not if) things break.  YNAB lets me have my cake and eat some of it too.  I can be confident that I'm planning on my big upcoming expenses, I keep my small expenses from creeping up, and I can feel free to put any excess money into my brokerage, knowing that the odds of me needing it are crazy small.  What I will tell you is that my brokerage has been going up at a very steady pace over the last year.  Without YNAB, I'd be lucky if my checking account kept even.
I put it in a category called "Cash Stash" for all repairs and if that category has a huge amaount and I see I haven't touched in a long time, I use the money instead to invest. That is what I like about YNAB, sure there are some basic rules, but you can adapt it to your own rules and not do like the every day Joe who has to put a few bucks here and there for restaurants for example or clothes. I hardly spend anything on those and I have alot of money leftover at the end of the month that if I do need new clothes, I can always budget it in advance the following month without hurting my savings rate.