One thing that YNAB is good at is making you obsessed with budgeting. I am in there literally 10 times a day. I must say the web version seems much more user friendly than the app, though this could be my inexperience talking. Regardless, it really works to laser focus your budget efforts. Dare I say it, adjusting budget values and categorizing transactions is kind of fun. I get excited when i see there are transactions to import. I think I may be getting old.
Things are starting to become painfully clear with regards to HOW we are spending money. Yes, we have too much discretionary spending. What’s worse is that EVERY paycheck period (2 weeks for us) we spend money we don’t have on the MasterCard, then pay it off two weeks later. Essentially we are spending 2+ weeks beyond our actual income.
WHY do we put literally all the things possible on credit? Well this was a great brainstorm I had a several years ago. The plan was to put as much as possible on credit rack up the frequent flyer miles/store points/cash back (cash back is our current reward of choice). Of course the Hubs was totally on board (“Free stuff? Sure honey!”) so we began the journey to collect all the miles etc we could while (theoretically) paying the card off every time the paychecks came in. Sounds kind of dangerous, doesn’t it?
SOMEHOW along the journey, we started spending beyond what income would allow. This was noticeable when I had to pay off the last bit of the credit card bill with our line of credit. Then I’d have a stern family budget meeting where we needed to cut back our spending ASAP! OR ELSE! It would be fine again for awhile, and then we’d end up doing it again a few months later.
The current situation. UGH.
We’ve now overspent to the point where the bill racks up even before we are paid, thereby money is spent before we earn it. YNAB opened my eyes to this reality. This is something I plan to correct with the help of YNAB (yes, I’m pretty much sold on it right now…just need to finish my trial to make 100% sure). I need to somehow save/make about $3000 to get us to a point where we are only spending money WHEN WE HAVE IT. Blah.
Additionally we’re about to take on about 7k of debt on our line of credit due to the need to upgrade our home heating system (this will pay for itself eventually over the long term – heat pumps – they are the bomb, people! But, it will take years).
So, the plan is to spend some time this week to think about how we can get ourselves out of the 3k credit shuffle, while also budgeting money to pay off the heat pumps. I even scheduled another budget meeting with the Hubs to get the team focused on the goal. If you’ve read this until the end, thanks for sticking with it, and please feel free to leave your comments or questions below! Can’t wait to get one step closer to FIRE!
So far, they are going strong with zero issues after 2 years of heavy use. Our power consumption has gone way down also! I wrote a blog post about our experiences after the first year. To get into the nitty gritty, go here.
YNAB UPDATE 2021
I’ve been using YNAB for over 2 years, and have saved a few thousand, and paid off all of my non-mortgage debt. 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! Also, I offer coaching on setting up and following your budget in YNAB. Please reach out if you are interested in doing business with me!