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I’ve briefly mentioned I fell in love with a new budgeting software, but it’s about time I told you the full story. I had heard about YNAB a while back through Words of Williams, one of my favorite personal finances blogs. $60 seemed like too high of a price to pay for something that I could do for free with just a piece of paper and an envelope.
YNAB offers a free 34 day trial, and I decided there was no better time than the present to try it out. After one day, I knew I’d be buying the software.
Just like Dave Ramsey has his seven baby steps, YNAB has 4 rules:
1) Give every dollar a job.
2) Plan for those bigger, less frequent expenses.
3) Roll with the punches.
4) Live on last month’s income (also known as making a buffer.)
Before YNAB, I had already been following Rules 1 and 3. Thanks to YNAB, I am now following Rule 2 and can now save for my bigger expenses like car taxes without having to pull the money from my checking account and transfer it to savings (which is always a hassle.)
But how do you accomplish Rule 4? Simple! Make a budget category called “Buffer.” When you finally have enough money for a full month’s bills, you just pull it out of the budget (by putting a minus sign in front of the amount.) Tah-dah!
YNAB is easy to use with the envelope budget as well. You just create a Cash account (to go along with your checking) and record the purchases like normal. No more recording purchases with scraps of paper or saving every single receipt!
For all of my college student friends, YNAB is free for college students. If you’ve already graduated (like me), don’t despair!