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You Need a Budget (YNAB) Review

If you’re looking to make a grand per month to help you reach your savings or budget goals, you’d likely welcome a program that helps you stop living paycheck to paycheck.  That’s what I was searching for when I happened upon You Need a Budget (YNAB).

You Need a Budget was developed by Jesse Mecham when he was in college and engaged.  The system gave him financial control, and several years later, after many friends had asked for copies of the program, he decided to make it public and sell it.  In the years since, YNAB has become his full-time job, and he also has a number of people working for him.

What Makes You Need a Budget Different?

YNAB is a program designed to help you create the budget that will work for you.  You won’t find the program advising you to spend no more than a certain amount of your income on spending or housing.  This is your budget, and you make it work for you.  If you go over budget in one category, that’s okay.  You just find another category to take money from, or you carry over the deficit to the next month.  YNAB is a living budget.

YNAB does advise that you have one month’s worth of salary in your bank account.  So, when you hit September 1st, for example, you’re paying all of your expenses from the money you made in August.  That way, you stop the paycheck to paycheck cycle and gain a bit of financial security.  Saving this amount should take precedence over paying extra on debt, for example.

In addition, unlike some other budgeting programs out there, YNAB does not require that you enter any sensitive personal account information.  You simply list the names of your accounts and the balances.  There is no identifiable information to be stolen by a hacker.  I liked this feature, and it’s one of the reasons I went with YNAB over other programs.

Downsides to YNAB

There are some downsides to YNAB.  Because you’re not directly linking to your bank and credit card accounts, you must record what you spend–when, where and on what.  Then, you must record it in YNAB.  If you have a smart phone, this is easy enough, but if you still use paper and pencil, this may be a bit cumbersome until you are used to it.

Also, some people may not like that YNAB doesn’t tell you how much you should aim to spend in each category.  However, I love the flexibility and don’t find this a problem.

Other Features

YNAB offers a free 34 day trial, which is enough to let you use it for one complete month before you have to decide if you want to pay for the service.  I love this feature because you have ample time to determine if the program is right for you.

In addition, you can sign up for their special 10 day newsletter which explains how to start a workable budget and find financial security.

Finally, YNAB has an active community and blog.  On the blog right now, they are analyzing the budgets of YNAB users.  The community seems very supportive and encouraging.  I see very little in the way of snarky, hurtful comments.

If you are struggling with financial issues, consider implementing YNAB to get a better handle on your financial situation.  Between better budgeting skills and making an extra grand per month, financial peace of mind may come easier.


This post is from Melissa at Mom’s Plans.

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