The Power of YNAB – A Newbie Review

If you’ve been following along in my FIRE journey, you know that I’ve started the ball rolling by reducing our family expenses. I’ve invested $84 USD to access the budgeting tool at youneedabudget.com (YNAB), since I’ve had a great experience so far with the 34 day trial (currently on day 33). This post is NOT sponsored by YNAB!

The tool itself doesn’t “save you money”. However what it does do is change your mindset. The premise is to give every one of your dollars a job – be it paying bills, saving towards a specific goal, or “fun money”. Additionally, you may only budget money you have. It simplifies the budgeting process by forcing you to budget for the now with the money you have, while also allowing you to portion some of today’s dollars for the future. Examples of this are emergency spending, new car savings, etc.

Coming to the realization that you don’t have enough dollars for the jobs you want to give them is…painful. But also, eye opening. It immediately throws you into the mindset of “how do I find more dollars to do the jobs I want them to do?”

As you know, the FIRE principle is based on accelerating your savings as well as your income. In the past week, here’s where I was able to save money:

  • Checked around for a cheaper cell phone plan for me and Hubs. Savings: $470 over the next year. Update 2020: I found an EVEN CHEAPER cell phone plan with Public Mobile. If you want to sign up, order a SIM card online and use my referral code when you activate for a $10 credit on your first bill: NR2OR4.
  • Got quotes on home and car insurance. Savings: $1600 over the next year.
  • Signed up for PayTM, a digital wallet service for paying bills. Savings: Approx. $240 over the next year (PayTM will give me gas cards which will lower my costs). UPDATE 2020: I cancelled my PayTM account. They no longer give you gift cards without you spending your own money first, making savings and convenience negligable. I’ll let you know if I find a viable alternative.

Total dollars to give new jobs to: $2310!!!!

Now, YNAB didn’t *make* me go and research all of these options, but it did motivate me in the direction. I’m thinking about money differently, which is the idea. I’m really looking forward to being able to invest this extra money in some adventure that will help direct me towards FIRE. There is no way I would have done the investigative work on my own. There is no question, the tool has already paid for itself. UPDATE: I’ve just finished my trial membership. If you’d like to try YNAB, please use my referral code by clicking here. That way, if you decide to sign up after 34 days, you will get a free extra month!

Finally, if you don’t want to buy the YNAB subscription but you’re interested in learning more about the methods and principles, you can purchase Jesse Mecham’s book on Amazon using this link. I highly recommend it!


 This post contains affiliate links on which I make a commission if you purchase something. Happy YNAB-ing!

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