Author Topic: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?  (Read 69094 times)

cdub

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YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« on: March 26, 2013, 10:56:33 PM »
I'm absolutely in love with this budgeting software. Is it possible to be in love with a piece of software?

My net worth has increased at least by a ton over the past few years since using it.

The basic idea is that you live off of LAST MONTH's income. Truly life changing.

http://www.youneedabudget.com/

Anyone else here use it?

BZB

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2013, 05:42:28 PM »
I just started using it in January. I didn't go through the tutorials first, so I set up the budget wrong, and for some reason my numbers just don't make sense. But, it is great for tracking our spending and thinking about paying for next month's expenses with this month's income. I just need to spend some time on the YNAB forums to figure out how to fix what I did wrong, or start over.

Will

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2013, 05:45:40 PM »
I use it.  It has really helped put my finances in an easy to understand form.  I've eliminated all my debt and have no money worries anymore.

cdub

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2013, 10:09:49 AM »
I just started using it in January. I didn't go through the tutorials first, so I set up the budget wrong, and for some reason my numbers just don't make sense. But, it is great for tracking our spending and thinking about paying for next month's expenses with this month's income. I just need to spend some time on the YNAB forums to figure out how to fix what I did wrong, or start over.

The forums over there are certainly a great resource.

It's also very easy to start over with YNAB. (there's even a "start over" feature)

The whole mindset of YNAB is looking forward rather than backward - so really you can start over at any time.

I constantly find myself trying new categories and budget layouts... here is my current one:

http://mortgage-payoff-club.com/2013/03/26/how-i-use-ynab-budget-categories/

Justin234

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2013, 10:46:07 AM »
Can anyone give me a sense of what YNAB has over something like Mint? Mint tracks spending and allows you to make budgets, goals etc. What does YNAB offer beyond that? (I'm genuinely curious as Mint has been helpful for us, so I'm always interested in finding things that are more helpful)

tuyop

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2013, 11:00:52 AM »
Can anyone give me a sense of what YNAB has over something like Mint? Mint tracks spending and allows you to make budgets, goals etc. What does YNAB offer beyond that? (I'm genuinely curious as Mint has been helpful for us, so I'm always interested in finding things that are more helpful)

Use both, Mint is free so why not?

I use mint to automatically capture my spending and track regular categories such as fuel, groceries, rent over long periods. Mint is wonderful at understanding that whenver I go to Canadian Tire Fuelstop, I've bought gas. Great. And for showing that in the past three months I spent 800 on gas because I'm a bad person.

Mint is NOT good at keeping track of the fact that my insurance, tires, and registration have to all be changed and repaid in lump-sums at odd intervals. It's also terrible at understanding the fact that I'm saving up 2% of my income for a vacation or new TV or whatever. I just have net spending.

I use YNAB to intensively manage my financial plan. For instance, every two years I have to replace my tires for about $500. That means that tires cost me 20.83 a month. Using YNAB, I just make a tire category, budget 20.83 every month into it, and in two years when my tires are worn out, I have $500 and can just continue on as usual.

With Mint, I would instead see, after 8 months, that there's 166.64 in my chequing for NO REASON, and freak out and dump it in savings or debt or emergency fund. Then, in two months I would realize that I had no tire savings and start immediately having to start over, now saving 31.25 a month and writing it down somewhere like a calendar. Repeat, with stress each time until my tires are bald and unsafe and I have like 85 in the bank for new ones. Rice and bean month again!

The key with YNAB is the shift from budgeting money from accounts to budgeting from categories. So, I no longer really care where my money is, because the categories are the "envelopes" that all of my money goes into and expenses come out of. Before, I even tried having like six separate bank accounts as virtual envelopes and it never worked at all. Now, if I spent a little more on groceries to buy some extra tomatoes or something, I can just take money out of Christmas savings that I repay the next month when I don't have to buy tomatoes, it's easy and intuitive.

YNAB is also perfect for separating money between couples. My partner and I combined finances using just mint and trying to tag transactions depending on who did what, and it sucked. She was constantly stressed about every little spending and I felt guilty for trying to being the money boss or whatever.

With YNAB, our money is together but she gets a category and I get a category. If I spend all my money, she can take me out to a movie or vice versa. We're using the same credit card for it all, but it's immediately obvious who is spending what and how much they have left to spend.


In summary:

Mint: useful for automatic capture and trend viewing.
YNAB: useful for categorizing expenses, especially savings goals and regular expenses.

JahWontPaytheBills

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2013, 02:57:14 PM »
I absolutely adore YNAB. I found it in late January. It was a life changer for me. Learning to budget, and about how finances work led me to MMM!

rax

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2013, 07:42:21 AM »
I actually discovered this site just yesterday through a link in one of YNAB's blog entries.


Stroke of luck of the year.

ozzage

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2013, 10:21:38 AM »
I think they work great together (MMM mentality and YNAB software/methodology)

YNAB is not just software, it's more of a method. Essentially it's just envelope budgeting but it's wrapped up in rules and terminology making things easier for (primarily) people who have had trouble controlling their spending and are in debt and trying to get out. If you are already a proto-Mustachian then a lot of the fluff is unnecessary but the core methodology works brilliantly no matter your situation.

I've never had debt, never had an overdraft, always had savings and are heading for early FI but I still feel much more in control of my money on a day-to-day basis since I started using YNAB.

The YNAB forums are a bit crazy because they're full of people who are mostly INCREDIBLY nice but would be eaten alive in the MMM forum for their wasteful ways, massive debts, and general adherence to un-Mustachian lifestyles :) It's often quite depressing reading their stories but many are genuinely helped by YNAB so it can also be quite heart-warming.

I really recommend the software, and spending TIME learning the system. A few days of playing isn't enough to understand the shift in mindset required. I've been using it for a few months now and I'm still learning the best ways to do things but I absolutely notice the difference and feel that my expenditure is much better planned and catered for, well ahead of time.

SMMcP

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2013, 08:13:12 PM »
Just downloaded YNAB today because of this post.  So far I really like it.  I have used Quicken for about 7 years to track all my spending, account balances, net worth, etc.  However, the budgeting aspect of Quicken is not that useful.  I think I'll use both.  I like the way YNAB lets you plan for expenses that don't occur every month.  For instance I pay property tax twice a year, HOA fees every quarter, I can plan ahead for Christmas, vacations.  I think this will help.

GoStumpy

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2013, 10:36:59 PM »
I have been using YNAB since October, and it has helped me to save THOUSANDS that I would have otherwise spent on things that are not in line with my values...

That's the absolute number one thing I love about using YNAB... A clear picture of where my money is going, and literally FORCING me to budget money to things I don't want if I spend it... there's no spending money on crap I don't want and ignoring it... to make YNAB work, I have to budget money to cover that...

So it gives a clear picture of both where I want my money to go, and where it actually goes.  The process helps me align where my money actually goes to places I want it to go :)

I paid full price, and don't regret it for a single second.  The absolute best money I've ever spent in my life, financially.

misstache

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2013, 06:09:00 PM »
Yes! I really like using YNAB!

I agree that YNAB and MMM work well together. I am already feeling SO much more confident and good about my financial decisions now that I've found this blog and forum, and also from tracking my spending (and just starting to budget with buffer-building for living off of last month's income) with YNAB. Definitely awesome.

It took me until I took the free classes that YNAB offers to start using the budgeting feature, instead of just tracking spending. I am so far finding that the flexible budget really helps me, instead of hindering me and making me feel bad. It helps me keep my priorities in mind. As does the MMM blog and this forum.

Yay!

Joel

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2013, 05:33:36 PM »
I've been using YNAB for about 5 1/2 years now. I started while in college and living off my credit card in anticipation of my next paycheck, and have now progress to have graduated with no debt, landed a job at a big 4 accounting firm, 35k in my retirement and 50k in the bank/investments a year after getting my graduate degree. I could not have done that without YNAB.

I heard about MMM through YNAB and have been lurking around the forums some recently. There's some things that I am not fully on board with related to MMM, however, I do have the same goal of retiring as soon as possible.

Anyways, I have the same username over at YNAB and have been pretty active over the years. I may begin posting more here, or at least looking around some.

YNAB helps those in debt, and those who are also in a good financial position. I could never stop using YNAB ever again.

For $6 off, purchase through this link: http://ynab.refr.cc/B2QFPLZ
« Last Edit: January 04, 2014, 04:26:39 PM by Joel »

tuyop

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2013, 03:46:13 AM »
I've been using YNAB for about 5 1/2 years now. I started while in college and living off my credit card in anticipation of my next paycheck, and have now progress to have graduated with no debt, landed a job at a big 4 accounting firm, 35k in my retirement and 50k in the bank/investments a year after getting my graduate degree. I could not have done that without YNAB.

I heard about MMM through YNAB and have been lurking around the forums some recently. There's some things that I am not fully on board with related to MMM, however, I do have the same goal of retiring as soon as possible.

Anyways, I have the same username over at YNAB and have been pretty active over the years. I may begin posting more here, or at least looking around some.

YNAB helps those in debt, and those who are also in a good financial position. I could never stop using YNAB ever again.

Oh oh! Do tell what you're not on board with!

momo

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2013, 09:51:01 AM »
I find truly successful budgeting/financial planning ultimately depends on your pre-existing financial mindset/values, how you already budget (or lackthereof), your unique financial situation (debts/lifestyle), and a true willingness to be humble and accept help/learn from others.

I used YNAB for the a couple months but found it lacking due to the exclusion of investment data. I prefer a comprehensive net worth snapshot and YNAB just is not designed to capture this data. I definitely agree with the four rules and encourage friends to test it out along with Mint. Some friends who are struggling with debt and learning how to budget/save find YNAB works better for them b/c it forced them to develop self-discipline and become consciously aware of their spending, These are the baby step of changing mindset - essential for advanced stuff MMM. They like YNAB so hurray any improvements is good! I am happy for them.

It is also interestingly many other friends who are fairly proactive and manage their debt (mortgage only) well, find Mint does a slightly better job for them because it provides a more holistic snapshot of their financial health. By consolidating all of their accounts (including investments) to view at a glance, Mint helps provide insights going beyond budgeting and towards long term goals such as retirement planning. They feel that Mint does a better job of allowing users to see the "big picture" offering a clear view of the leaf on a tree and the entire forest. After all, if your big goal is retirement doesn't it make sense to keep your sight on the big goals?

Just my ten cents, your mileage may vary but happy savings to you all! :)
« Last Edit: April 22, 2013, 10:04:25 AM by StashtasticMomo »

momo

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2013, 09:56:43 AM »
Can anyone give me a sense of what YNAB has over something like Mint? Mint tracks spending and allows you to make budgets, goals etc. What does YNAB offer beyond that? (I'm genuinely curious as Mint has been helpful for us, so I'm always interested in finding things that are more helpful)

Actually depends on how you are already doing with your finances and budgeting. If you already are on top of your finances then Mint offers IMO a better tool. If you find you are learning how to change your spenders mindset, need to improve your savings, feel you need help, in debt, then try YNAB.

It is very interesting to note MMM has advocated and recommended Mint before. His positive review is located here:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/12/12/watching-your-stash-with-mint/

Enjoy and happy savings to you! Cheers!

Joel

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2013, 10:56:42 AM »
Can anyone give me a sense of what YNAB has over something like Mint? Mint tracks spending and allows you to make budgets, goals etc. What does YNAB offer beyond that? (I'm genuinely curious as Mint has been helpful for us, so I'm always interested in finding things that are more helpful)

Actually depends on how you are already doing with your finances and budgeting. If you already are on top of your finances then Mint offers IMO a better tool. If you find you are learning how to change your spenders mindset, need to improve your savings, feel you need help, in debt, then try YNAB.

It is very interesting to note MMM has advocated and recommended Mint before. His positive review is located here:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/12/12/watching-your-stash-with-mint/

Enjoy and happy savings to you! Cheers!

I would disagree with this.

YNAB is very much for someone who doesn't need to pay off debt and adjust their spending.

I have used YNAB for several years as a way to plan for rainy day expenses and save money. It allows you to not double-count the jobs of your dollars like many people do in their head. Mint is too backward-looking and tells you what you spent, whereas YNAB is very forward looking and helps you plan the future.

MMM recommends Mint - it's free and would work for most.

The owner of YNAB actually recommends Betterment instead of Vanguard for investing, mainly because most investors are too lazy to know what they are doing.

Just because the owner of something recommends a program, does not always mean its the best fit for everyone.

Will

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2013, 11:08:44 AM »
By consolidating all of their accounts (including investments) to view at a glance, Mint helps provide insights going beyond budgeting and towards long term goals such as retirement planning. They feel that Mint does a better job of allowing users to see the "big picture" offering a clear view of the leaf on a tree and the entire forest. After all, if your big goal is retirement doesn't it make sense to keep your sight on the big goals?

Just my ten cents, your mileage may vary but happy savings to you all! :)

If by "all" you mean whichever accounts Mint will actually link up to or even update or update correctly.  The Mint "big picture" for me often had gaping holes and incorrect information.

tuyop

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2013, 12:50:01 PM »
You could also just use them together. Mint for tracking, YNAB for planning. That's what I do and I love it.

momo

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2013, 05:51:39 PM »
Can anyone give me a sense of what YNAB has over something like Mint? Mint tracks spending and allows you to make budgets, goals etc. What does YNAB offer beyond that? (I'm genuinely curious as Mint has been helpful for us, so I'm always interested in finding things that are more helpful)

Actually depends on how you are already doing with your finances and budgeting. If you already are on top of your finances then Mint offers IMO a better tool. If you find you are learning how to change your spenders mindset, need to improve your savings, feel you need help, in debt, then try YNAB.

It is very interesting to note MMM has advocated and recommended Mint before. His positive review is located here:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/12/12/watching-your-stash-with-mint/

Enjoy and happy savings to you! Cheers!

I would disagree with this.

YNAB is very much for someone who doesn't need to pay off debt and adjust their spending.

I have used YNAB for several years as a way to plan for rainy day expenses and save money. It allows you to not double-count the jobs of your dollars like many people do in their head. Mint is too backward-looking and tells you what you spent, whereas YNAB is very forward looking and helps you plan the future.

MMM recommends Mint - it's free and would work for most.

The owner of YNAB actually recommends Betterment instead of Vanguard for investing, mainly because most investors are too lazy to know what they are doing.

Just because the owner of something recommends a program, does not always mean its the best fit for everyone.

All great points Joel and Will thanks for sharing.

The people I personally know who use Mint are already engaged with their daily finances. These are not lazy people. They routinely dedicate time to learn more about finances and the markets. Many already practice the MMM values and most importantly, they proactively plan for retirement. Wouldn't you agree those people are similar to many of us here on MMM? Aren't we all here because we are open to learning new ways to become more proactive with our finances?

Jesse’s YNAB has a great paradigm shift one that is not focused on by Mint and that is by its very design. For Mint I cannot speak officially for Aaron, however as one of the original members of Mint's beta testing team I am fully aware how the tool has successfully helped many people change their budgeting habits. Now of course the same holds true for YNAB and only time will prove what tool consumers prefer. But that is the key with most peoples finances, regardless of what financial software tools they use, most people just need to start doing something so they can improve.

I am also aware that Jesse recommends Betterment. I researched the services long before it was reviewed at YNAB and found it may provide value for some investors. However it may not be suitable for investors who hands on already actively manage their retirement accounts. As I mentioned earlier the investors I know already dedicate time to research, learning, annually re-balance and consolidating their accounts. They are not investing beginners and are very much goals oriented, mindful of management fees and how it holistically affects performances. I feel Betterment may better suit investing novices with little to no previous financial experience and who have no interest in actively gaining such knowledge. It is not for the person who wishes to manage their own money/retirement accounts and learn how to do so. Also it is unfortunate but Betterment does not sync with YNAB. And speaking as someone who does proactively manage their own money, I want that investment data combined into the YNAB program which will not happen. Until that day, I am content using Mint to gain a quick snapshot of my entire financial picture and separately research, plan and execute orders in the respective retirements accounts. I feel budgeting tools that do not combine investment data even if delayed, fail to create an complete picture.

One more distinction, just because Mint users may not be able to track every dollar daily, does not mean their dollars are not working for them. Many investors automate their paycheck and savings into external retirement accounts that are set up to purchase mutual funds like VTSAX or MDLOX periodically. Sure all of this takes work, careful planning and being actually engaged with your finances. But isn’t that what we are all trying to do, gain a deeper understanding of our finances so we can make better choices that positively impact our retirement? I for one want to make the higher level decisions involving my investments, instead of leaving it in the hands of a money manager. After all, I am sure we can all agree, no one cares more about your money than you do. So then, why not learn the basics on how money works and how investing will help you reach your retirement sooner than later? Isn't that precisely what MMM advocates?

Joel you are correct just because MMM recommends something does not mean everyone should consider doing it. However isn't it true, the converse holds true for Jesses’ endorsement of Betterment? Perhaps as tuyop suggests users can use both Mint and YNAB services together and find which is suits their needs. And in the end isn’t that all that matters? Don’t most people just need to find a budgeting tool that begins to help them?

All budgeting tools have shortcomings. Yes Mint sometimes has glitches. Yes you may need to request through the company forum and feedback to add a new company. So what? This is a free tool (like many online retirement calculators) and for the vast majority of people who do use large financial institutions for their banking, credit card, mortgage, loans, and retirement accounts, Mint already has those in the system and combines those accounts. Mint is not perfect. But the fact remains nothing out there free or paid, is without need for improvements. As for Mint being “backward looking”, I concur it does provide a snapshot of your progress like a report card instead of serving as an active heart rate monitor. The thing is not everyone needs to see each financial heartbeat, when their larger financial health is a coma-like status due to a mix of emotions including fear, apathy, illiteracy and denial. It is not surprising that some find YNAB simply too much work and that can and does turn potential users away. I say it is far better for most people to make some improvements (small victories) by stepping in the right direction (actually doing something), acknowledging a need to get financial help and slowly making improvements, than doing nothing at all.

Ultimately, as with any tool it all depends how you choose to use it and the limitations it inherently was created with. If you are proactive I feel a person would already be aware if they are on-track and need to make adjustments. No one is saying to set a budget and then forget it.

Your mileage may vary but happy savings. Good luck.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2013, 05:55:15 PM by StashtasticMomo »

GoStumpy

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2013, 05:52:29 PM »


I have used YNAB for several years as a way to plan for rainy day expenses and save money. It allows you to not double-count the jobs of your dollars like many people do in their head. Mint is too backward-looking and tells you what you spent, whereas YNAB is very forward looking and helps you plan the future.


This.

YNAB, used properly, can plan for future expenses without the possibility of using the same money twice.  It doesn't care where the money is, checking, saving, etc...

All the other options I see are, like you said, backward looking.  I honestly don't care what I spent, it's history and I can't change it.  I can only change moving forward, which is the direction I prefer to look!

I have a Journal going in the Journals area of YNAB, I've already managed to get out of $1500 overdraft, save a $1000 cash emergency fund, and put over $1000/month to debt repayment....

All this after living paycheck to paycheck for yeears

Joel

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2013, 06:42:12 PM »
Can anyone give me a sense of what YNAB has over something like Mint? Mint tracks spending and allows you to make budgets, goals etc. What does YNAB offer beyond that? (I'm genuinely curious as Mint has been helpful for us, so I'm always interested in finding things that are more helpful)

Actually depends on how you are already doing with your finances and budgeting. If you already are on top of your finances then Mint offers IMO a better tool. If you find you are learning how to change your spenders mindset, need to improve your savings, feel you need help, in debt, then try YNAB.

It is very interesting to note MMM has advocated and recommended Mint before. His positive review is located here:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/12/12/watching-your-stash-with-mint/

Enjoy and happy savings to you! Cheers!

I would disagree with this.

YNAB is very much for someone who doesn't need to pay off debt and adjust their spending.

I have used YNAB for several years as a way to plan for rainy day expenses and save money. It allows you to not double-count the jobs of your dollars like many people do in their head. Mint is too backward-looking and tells you what you spent, whereas YNAB is very forward looking and helps you plan the future.

MMM recommends Mint - it's free and would work for most.

The owner of YNAB actually recommends Betterment instead of Vanguard for investing, mainly because most investors are too lazy to know what they are doing.

Just because the owner of something recommends a program, does not always mean its the best fit for everyone.

All great points Joel and Will thanks for sharing.

The people I personally know who use Mint are already engaged with their daily finances. These are not lazy people. They routinely dedicate time to learn more about finances and the markets. Many already practice the MMM values and most importantly, they proactively plan for retirement. Wouldn't you agree those people are similar to many of us here on MMM? Aren't we all here because we are open to learning new ways to become more proactive with our finances?

Jesse’s YNAB has a great paradigm shift one that is not focused on by Mint and that is by its very design. For Mint I cannot speak officially for Aaron, however as one of the original members of Mint's beta testing team I am fully aware how the tool has successfully helped many people change their budgeting habits. Now of course the same holds true for YNAB and only time will prove what tool consumers prefer. But that is the key with most peoples finances, regardless of what financial software tools they use, most people just need to start doing something so they can improve.

I am also aware that Jesse recommends Betterment. I researched the services long before it was reviewed at YNAB and found it may provide value for some investors. However it may not be suitable for investors who hands on already actively manage their retirement accounts. As I mentioned earlier the investors I know already dedicate time to research, learning, annually re-balance and consolidating their accounts. They are not investing beginners and are very much goals oriented, mindful of management fees and how it holistically affects performances. I feel Betterment may better suit investing novices with little to no previous financial experience and who have no interest in actively gaining such knowledge. It is not for the person who wishes to manage their own money/retirement accounts and learn how to do so. Also it is unfortunate but Betterment does not sync with YNAB. And speaking as someone who does proactively manage their own money, I want that investment data combined into the YNAB program which will not happen. Until that day, I am content using Mint to gain a quick snapshot of my entire financial picture and separately research, plan and execute orders in the respective retirements accounts. I feel budgeting tools that do not combine investment data even if delayed, fail to create an complete picture.

One more distinction, just because Mint users may not be able to track every dollar daily, does not mean their dollars are not working for them. Many investors automate their paycheck and savings into external retirement accounts that are set up to purchase mutual funds like VTSAX or MDLOX periodically. Sure all of this takes work, careful planning and being actually engaged with your finances. But isn’t that what we are all trying to do, gain a deeper understanding of our finances so we can make better choices that positively impact our retirement? I for one want to make the higher level decisions involving my investments, instead of leaving it in the hands of a money manager. After all, I am sure we can all agree, no one cares more about your money than you do. So then, why not learn the basics on how money works and how investing will help you reach your retirement sooner than later? Isn't that precisely what MMM advocates?

Joel you are correct just because MMM recommends something does not mean everyone should consider doing it. However isn't it true, the converse holds true for Jesses’ endorsement of Betterment? Perhaps as tuyop suggests users can use both Mint and YNAB services together and find which is suits their needs. And in the end isn’t that all that matters? Don’t most people just need to find a budgeting tool that begins to help them?

All budgeting tools have shortcomings. Yes Mint sometimes has glitches. Yes you may need to request through the company forum and feedback to add a new company. So what? This is a free tool (like many online retirement calculators) and for the vast majority of people who do use large financial institutions for their banking, credit card, mortgage, loans, and retirement accounts, Mint already has those in the system and combines those accounts. Mint is not perfect. But the fact remains nothing out there free or paid, is without need for improvements. As for Mint being “backward looking”, I concur it does provide a snapshot of your progress like a report card instead of serving as an active heart rate monitor. The thing is not everyone needs to see each financial heartbeat, when their larger financial health is a coma-like status due to a mix of emotions including fear, apathy, illiteracy and denial. It is not surprising that some find YNAB simply too much work and that can and does turn potential users away. I say it is far better for most people to make some improvements (small victories) by stepping in the right direction (actually doing something), acknowledging a need to get financial help and slowly making improvements, than doing nothing at all.

Ultimately, as with any tool it all depends how you choose to use it and the limitations it inherently was created with. If you are proactive I feel a person would already be aware if they are on-track and need to make adjustments. No one is saying to set a budget and then forget it.

Your mileage may vary but happy savings. Good luck.

I mostly made the comment about Jesse endorsing Betterment vs. Vanguard, as a way of saying, even though I am fully on board with YNAB and its founders, I would not recommend Betterment over Vanguard.

As far as keeping your investments within YNAB. the balances do not update, but I find that it is easy enough to update the balances once a month and have a growth category that unrealized gains go to. There is not an easy way to track cost basis or your unrealized gains to date, which I could see wanting something further. But for the purposes of tracking my budget, I don't need the information that is so readily available on the investment's website. I just need a current balance, or for longer-term goals that have fluctuating amounts - I just need the end of the month balance.

Nothing's automated though. And most people don't like that.

SMMcP

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2013, 04:54:40 PM »
Just downloaded YNAB today because of this post.  So far I really like it.  I have used Quicken for about 7 years to track all my spending, account balances, net worth, etc.  However, the budgeting aspect of Quicken is not that useful.  I think I'll use both.  I like the way YNAB lets you plan for expenses that don't occur every month.  For instance I pay property tax twice a year, HOA fees every quarter, I can plan ahead for Christmas, vacations.  I think this will help.

I am really enjoying using the YNAB software.  For the past 5 years I have paid for a service plan for all the appliances in my house at about $35/month.  I have needed to use this twice.  I just realized I can afford to self insure in this area and with YNAB I will just make an appliance repair/replacement category under "rainy day funds" and put the $35/month in that.  I think I will come out ahead this way.

jamccain

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2013, 11:05:34 PM »
Just started it ten days ago...LOVE IT!  Of course, the sample size is small, but so far really good. 

Problems it solved for me:
1. Wife will use it because it's simple and flexible for her...all she has to do is pull up the app on her phone and make sure we have money available to spend in the appropriate spending category (the marketing is geared toward women too)
2. Accounts for ATM withdrawals without losing accountability of the money
3. Is an electronic way of doing a cash envelope system (crashed and burned doing this with real envelopes and money because my wife was scared to carry cash around) and leaves no dollar without a "job" or purpose

Other things I like are you can just pick it up in the middle of the month and if you're using a credit card it integrates right into the budget.

BTW, I had no issue paying $60.  If someone adds value to your life you should willing to pay an appropriate amount for that value...otherwise entrepreneurs would lose the primary incentive to improve our lives.

ScubaAZ

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2013, 02:06:57 PM »

If by "all" you mean whichever accounts Mint will actually link up to or even update or update correctly.  The Mint "big picture" for me often had gaping holes and incorrect information.

My big picture stuff in mint was all over the place largely because it often double counts things that clear my checking account.  It seems to record them once when the pending post hits, and then again when it clears.  But not for everything.  So I'll see I went over my budget on groceries by almost double, have a mini heart attack, and then realize its because every grocery trip is in there twice.  Mark them as duplicates, and its accurate.

A pain, but it works for now.  I may try YNAB.  One of the things I hate about Mint is that it won't recognize that I get paid on the 15th and last day of the month.  That means that my "income" to spending ratio is negative for most of the month, because I'm using income from the prior month, quite like YNAB does.  Its just annoying to see that red line, like I'm not being a responsible adult with my money and its judging me accordingly.

tuyop

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2013, 04:13:39 PM »

If by "all" you mean whichever accounts Mint will actually link up to or even update or update correctly.  The Mint "big picture" for me often had gaping holes and incorrect information.

My big picture stuff in mint was all over the place largely because it often double counts things that clear my checking account.  It seems to record them once when the pending post hits, and then again when it clears.  But not for everything.  So I'll see I went over my budget on groceries by almost double, have a mini heart attack, and then realize its because every grocery trip is in there twice.  Mark them as duplicates, and its accurate.

A pain, but it works for now.  I may try YNAB.  One of the things I hate about Mint is that it won't recognize that I get paid on the 15th and last day of the month.  That means that my "income" to spending ratio is negative for most of the month, because I'm using income from the prior month, quite like YNAB does.  Its just annoying to see that red line, like I'm not being a responsible adult with my money and its judging me accordingly.

You could just change those transactions in Mint with a rule, no?

ScubaAZ

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #26 on: May 10, 2013, 05:27:52 PM »

You could just change those transactions in Mint with a rule, no?

Which transactions?  The duplicates, I'm not sure.  There is no rhyme or reason to which ones end up as duplicates and which do not.  I used to use Microsoft Money (when it would update accounts automatically), and it would recognize the similar dates and amounts and exclude it automatically.  Mint doesn't seem to have that option.  But I'm not familiar with the rules feature (I like to go through them by hand, just to make sure everything is right).  Maybe there is a way to make it may more attention.

tuyop

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #27 on: May 10, 2013, 06:59:49 PM »

You could just change those transactions in Mint with a rule, no?

Which transactions?  The duplicates, I'm not sure.  There is no rhyme or reason to which ones end up as duplicates and which do not.  I used to use Microsoft Money (when it would update accounts automatically), and it would recognize the similar dates and amounts and exclude it automatically.  Mint doesn't seem to have that option.  But I'm not familiar with the rules feature (I like to go through them by hand, just to make sure everything is right).  Maybe there is a way to make it may more attention.

Oh no, mine has that problem too with one of my cards. I just review it every few days and delete duplicates.

I meant the income thing, since you don't like the net income graph.

Zaga

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #28 on: May 10, 2013, 08:48:40 PM »
I love YNAB.  Started using it in January, I used to keep one checkbook register in an old copy of Quicken and a budget in Excel, so double entry for everything.  I just love the way YNAB calculates everything, and have even started sinking ahead for things.  With my old Excel sheet that just didn't work the way I liked. 

GoStumpy

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #29 on: May 10, 2013, 09:34:53 PM »
I mostly am in love with the YNAB (and any smart person) philosophy.

Plan for the money you have.

Put those dollars to work, and tell them what to do.  Be intentional with your finances.  Plan.  Think.

It's so far beyond what most people do with their money... not most MMM'ers, most of society.  MMM'ers have a good thing going for them with a goal of a savings rate.  With a great savings rate, the rest need not be as granular.

But for us trying to get a grasp of our finances, getting granular is absolutely important.



www.youneedynab.com is a 10% off YNAB link :)

Zelda01

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #30 on: June 21, 2013, 10:31:50 PM »
I am very intrigued by YNAB.  I am trying it out during the free 34-day trial period.  I must be on Day 5 by now.

I wanted to allocate more $$ to upcoming dental expenses, by decreasing spending in other categories, and this seems like a good tool to do that.  Before this, I was comparing my YTD spending in Quicken from this year to the same period last year, and that only worked so well.  YNAB seems to do more of what I want, and moving the $$ around in categories is very easy.

I also have some quarterly & yearly expenses, and it seems that YNAB handles them really well, by allocating to them each month leading up to the month that they are due.

It seems like there is a lot to learn about this software.  But it's a little bit addictive, so the learning comes fast ;)

aj_yooper

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #31 on: June 23, 2013, 07:21:37 AM »
My wife and I have been using YNAB for 2 months and we find it very easy to track our spending and to plan for future larger expenses. It really gets at the double counting of the money that I would do.  The phone apps make recording more of a game.   I update our asset accounts each month so my net worth statement is within a reasonable range.  We have been scheduling budget meetings when new income is available so we can plan out our budget categories; I think it has made our mutual efforts stronger.  The YNAB tutorials are excellent and can save you time in launching your budget, but if you mess up, fixes are pretty easy and help is available on their forum.  The report features are helpful and each budget category can give you an average of past months spending totals.  If you want to buy YNAB, buy it through a friend who has it or someone on the forum; you will save $6 and the friend gets $6.

I am not willing to give all my passwords to Mint, even though they believe it is secure, so I have not used that method.   

rving-carol

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #32 on: June 23, 2013, 09:07:10 AM »
I started YNAB a month ago. I was a Quicken and Excel spreadsheet fanatic and it took quite a leap of faith to start YNAB in the middle of a month and use current balances from my checking and 4 credit card accounts. Yesterday I reconciled all 5 accounts and was thrilled when all balanced to the penny.

I have been a saver (money hoarder) all my life so I don't use YNAB to get out of debt. My problem is I don't give my dollars any jobs to do. YNAB puts the amount of unemployed dollars in a very large font at the top of the budget screen. It keeps nagging me to do something with it.  Thanks to tips from both the MMM and YNAB forums, I spend at least four days a week putting small amounts to work.

madgeylou

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #33 on: June 23, 2013, 10:05:39 AM »
If you want to buy YNAB, buy it through a friend who has it or someone on the forum; you will save $6 and the friend gets $6.

yes! if anyone wants to purchase YNAB, here's my affiliate link:

http://ynab.refr.cc/LRPZP4L

as aj_yooper says, you save $6 and i get $6!

davisgang90

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #34 on: June 24, 2013, 04:07:57 AM »
I finally took the plunge two days ago.  I'm still figuring it out, but can see the benefits.  I started with an excel spreadsheet about 6 months ago after not being satisfied with Mint.

tuyop

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #35 on: July 10, 2013, 02:25:36 PM »
I finally took the plunge two days ago.  I'm still figuring it out, but can see the benefits.  I started with an excel spreadsheet about 6 months ago after not being satisfied with Mint.

Well it doesn't cost you anything to use mint, and it's a very efficient tool for collecting all of your data at once, in one place so I don't know why you'd stop using it, if you are.

EK

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #36 on: July 12, 2013, 07:06:34 AM »
I'm in the second month now of using YNAB, and I must say it's really great.  I found mint to be buggy for tracking, and I was spending so much time going in and cleaning up the categories and transactions that were imported twice, that its actually been quicker to just put everything in manually with YNAB.  With the phone app it takes like 2 seconds.  And for people like me who really need a budget to stay on track, budgeting with YNAB is so much better than the mint budgeting tool that its not even in the same ballpark.  My favorite is how easy YNAB makes it to see the running balances in various rainy day and savings categories so that I'm not forgetting and spending the money, or having to keep all these crazy lists and notes and charts and spreadsheets just to figure out which money exactly I've set aside and which money still needs a job.

FYI- I saw that YNAB is running a sale through July 22, so if you're wanting it now is a good time!!  It's on sale for 39.99! Combine that with a referral link for 6.00 off and it's only 33.99!!

aarmfield

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #37 on: July 12, 2013, 05:10:24 PM »
I have just began using YNAB.  I believe it will be something that turns my life around.  It is great for planning for those things that don't come every month, paying into those things that are only around for a short time (short term debt), and seeing how things are progressing.  I still have a lot to learn, but I cannot recommend it more.

One tip, as someone here already posted an affiliate link, the Steam Summer Sale is having a special on YNAB where you get it for $40, but before the sale is over the price should be around $20.  Wait until the end of the sale and if the price goes down, great. If not, well, you still get it at $40.

http://store.steampowered.com/app/227320/   (non-affiliate)

DocLago

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #38 on: July 14, 2013, 06:13:23 AM »
It's down to 14.99 through steam, which was enough to make me bite however, the checkout process doesn't seem to be working for me.  I keep getting errors.

dragoncar

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #39 on: July 16, 2013, 08:30:57 PM »
Question for YNAB:  I'm considering recommending it to my parents (I don't personally need a budget), but I have trouble imaging they will rigorously track and categorize expenses (I tried to get them to do it with a Mint-like program but they don't really do it).  Does YNAB somehow automate this, or does it require a lot of work?  Like how much time do you spend inputting information per month?

Joel

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #40 on: July 16, 2013, 10:33:32 PM »
Question for YNAB:  I'm considering recommending it to my parents (I don't personally need a budget), but I have trouble imaging they will rigorously track and categorize expenses (I tried to get them to do it with a Mint-like program but they don't really do it).  Does YNAB somehow automate this, or does it require a lot of work?  Like how much time do you spend inputting information per month?

It requires someone to want to take control of their finances. If your parents can't keep up with mint, they almost certainly won't be able to keep up with ynab. No automatic imports.

happy

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #41 on: July 16, 2013, 11:52:19 PM »
I have another budget program which I love (Simply Budgets) but it doesn't work on a Mac and I can't access it regularly, which kind of defeats the point. I downloaded the free trial for YNAB but have to say I haven't been able to get the thing happening even after a few goes. The website is so busy with stuff on the 4 rules...yes I got them the first time I read them. Is there some information that says step 1 do this, then step 2 do that?

Joel

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #42 on: July 17, 2013, 12:00:29 AM »
I have another budget program which I love (Simply Budgets) but it doesn't work on a Mac and I can't access it regularly, which kind of defeats the point. I downloaded the free trial for YNAB but have to say I haven't been able to get the thing happening even after a few goes. The website is so busy with stuff on the 4 rules...yes I got them the first time I read them. Is there some information that says step 1 do this, then step 2 do that?

Setup your accounts. Make sure cleared balance matches your accounts. Setup your categories. Make a budget. Ensure Available to Budget = 0. Make spending decisions based on category balances. Record transactions. Adjust Budget if you overspend a category, or priorities change.

That's really all that needs to be done. If you have specific questions, I would recommend their forums.

cochranjd

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #43 on: July 18, 2013, 01:12:46 PM »

I have another budget program which I love (Simply Budgets) but it doesn't work on a Mac and I can't access it regularly, which kind of defeats the point. I downloaded the free trial for YNAB but have to say I haven't been able to get the thing happening even after a few goes. The website is so busy with stuff on the 4 rules...yes I got them the first time I read them. Is there some information that says step 1 do this, then step 2 do that?

Here is how I set up my month.  I typically do this right before the month I plan to start,

1) Create a category in my budget called "Savings/Balance"
2) Go to each account and figure out how much income I had
3) Subtract the income from the total amount and set that as an income transaction with a category of Savings/Balance
4) Add income as a transation with the category of next month's budget
5) At the end of #3 & #4 you should have a total balance equal to your account balance in real life and you'll only be budgeting based on your income (instead of all the money you have in your account total)
6) Go set up categories and budget accordingly

For me, the most difficult thing starting out was how to track money that I had in my account that wasn't to be budgeted for the month and this gave me the best handle on it, IMO.

Joel

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #44 on: July 18, 2013, 06:58:58 PM »
What you are doing sounds very confusing. You should make sure your Available to Budget is 0 at all times. When you receive Income, it will become Available to Budget. For the funds that were in your account initially,  you should budget those dollars to categories that you do not want to spend from and/or categories that need to be spent from.


I have another budget program which I love (Simply Budgets) but it doesn't work on a Mac and I can't access it regularly, which kind of defeats the point. I downloaded the free trial for YNAB but have to say I haven't been able to get the thing happening even after a few goes. The website is so busy with stuff on the 4 rules...yes I got them the first time I read them. Is there some information that says step 1 do this, then step 2 do that?

Here is how I set up my month.  I typically do this right before the month I plan to start,

1) Create a category in my budget called "Savings/Balance"
2) Go to each account and figure out how much income I had
3) Subtract the income from the total amount and set that as an income transaction with a category of Savings/Balance
4) Add income as a transation with the category of next month's budget
5) At the end of #3 & #4 you should have a total balance equal to your account balance in real life and you'll only be budgeting based on your income (instead of all the money you have in your account total)
6) Go set up categories and budget accordingly

For me, the most difficult thing starting out was how to track money that I had in my account that wasn't to be budgeted for the month and this gave me the best handle on it, IMO.

cochranjd

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #45 on: July 18, 2013, 08:38:47 PM »
It accomplishes the same thing and you have to do the same math either way.

If you don't split it out (i.e. you budget it to the savings category, for instance), then you need to figure out what amount of your account balance did not come from income in the previous month (assuming you want to immediately start living on what you made the previous month - otherwise you'll be budgeting with more money than you should).

I feel like it mirrors what you're actually doing by separating this out - I didn't "really" make income + previous balance this month, so I like to avoid budgeting income + previous.

It's really not as confusing in practice as it is in writing and it puts your available to budget to 0.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2013, 08:41:56 PM by cochranjd »

Joel

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #46 on: July 18, 2013, 09:24:45 PM »
Where are these extra funds held? How I'm suggesting and ihows its recommended you just record your income as for next month and budget it. There's not budgeting to and from a category and trying to balance anything. Sounds like a lot of work and that you might be missing something simple.

cochranjd

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #47 on: July 19, 2013, 07:57:21 AM »
My guess is there is probably some miscommunication on my part.

Here's what I'm saying versus (what I think) you're saying.

Mr. M is getting ready for his August budget, when he plans to start using YNAB.

On July 31st he has:

Bank Account Balance: $2,500
Income in July: 2 checks for $500 each (included in the $2,500 above)

What I think you are saying is that you would simply mark all $2,500 as income available for August and budget it down to $0.  Obviously you can do this, but there are a few things I don't like about it. 
1) If you don't do the math to determine how much of the balance was income, you'll find yourself living on more or less than you made in July.
2) If you do the math and make sure you budget the excess (i.e. non July income) into a savings category, your "budgeted" amount will be off because it is considering your existing account balance.

What I do is what I consider to be the real life scenario - Mr. M had $1,000 income in July, so he'll mark $1,000 income available for August.  He had $1,500 in the account that didn't come from July, so I'd put that directly into the category where it belongs.  In this scenario, my "budgeted" amount will show $1,000 which will be my typical budget meaning I'm not living on a budget that is unrealistic because of the extra funds that were in the account.  It is almost the exact same thing as #2 above, but it shows the correct numbers in the "budgeted" heading for the month.

In the end, it's all in the weeds and whatever works for each person is what they should do.  I've been using YNAB for 4 or 5 years now and this is what I find works the best for me and how I wish to view the data and I certainly don't feel that it breaks any of their core tenants (even if it did, that's not a huge deal to me if it gets the job done).

I'm just happy to see so many other folks using it - no matter if we take different approaches or not.

Joel

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #48 on: July 19, 2013, 08:25:51 AM »
Are you doing this every month with your "extra" funds though? It sounds like you should be able to do that once and then your available to budget would be zero. Then you record any income received as for next month. In August it will be sitting there waiting for you to budget. You don't need to budget your income received in its own category this month and pull it out next month, just mark it as for next month instead.

The extra 1500 in funds would be budgeted once into a long term savings like category and stay there. And the 1000 in income would be income for August and be available to budget August first.

cochranjd

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Re: YNAB - Any other YNABers in the house?
« Reply #49 on: July 19, 2013, 10:06:39 AM »
Yep - just initial set up.

Once you're rolling, it's the same as anything else - income is marked as income.  This is just how I deal with that initial set up where you're trying to get your accounts put in.  It seems to be that 95% of people's issues regard getting their first month set up (dealing with existing balances, existing credit debt, etc.).

Over the years I've had too many times where I got in a rut and started clean rather than catch up on 3 weeks of missed transactions, and this is what I've found works best for me.