The police officer, school teacher, engineer, firefighter, attorney, doctor, professor, designer, manager and rocket scientist all have one thing in common: they’re killing it financially with YNAB.
My wife and I have two sons--a seven-year-old and a four-year-old. For the past nine years, I worked for a local non-profit organization which is affiliated with a large charity. While I certainly wasn't making a ton of money, it was fuilfilling work. Eventually, the stress caught up to me and I would dread the time away from my family. I was working 60+ hour weeks in the fall and 45-50 hour weeks the rest of the year. It was taking a toll on me emotionally and physically. After much discussion, I decided to make a career change. I am now teaching math and English at a small Christian school. This has really been positive for my family and me. I am less stressed and doing something that I really believe is making an impact. The only downside of the position is that I took about a 40 percent pay cut. We were already tight financially and this has made us have to watch every penny.
We have been using YNAB for about 16 months. We haven't always been fully "compliant" every month but we do try. We used to use the Windows version in VMWare Fusion but now are loving the native Mac version and the iPhone version.
Prior to YNAB, we had gotten about $40,000 in debt with credit cards. We also took a loss on a house sale and that caused us to spiral downward and rely too much on the plastic. About five years ago we started a debt management plan that lowered our interest rates, stopped late and overlimit fees, and allowed us to make one payment each month on our credit cards. Some people confuse this with debt settlement, but that is not the case. We are paying over $1,000 per month (almost 30% of income) and by the time we are finished, will pay nearly $75,000 in principal and interest. The payment plan literally saved us by forcing us to close the credit cards, and pay them off with one regular payment. YNAB has helped us stick to this plan by helping us to use what money we have left over wisely, and making sure we learn how to use cash properly. When we finish our plan in a few months, we will come out of it with credit that is getting healthier every day and a new-found freedom to be financially sufficient thanks to YNAB.
The learning process with YNAB is difficult, because it forces you to look at finances in a different way. You can't spend money that you don't have and the "four rules" along with the software design really help to bring that into focus. What drew us to YNAB was the fact that you weren't just making a transactional purchase of software, you were joining a group of people who had been through this, and were willing to help you through it. I took about every class that was taught by Erin and began to feel comfortable with what we were doing. I especially liked the fact that if we "fell off the wagon" we could restart without any issue. That support and training system is INVALUABLE for users of YNAB. Can you imagine Quicken doing this? I can't.
We are feeling better about our finances every month. I think that each month I use YNAB, I buy in more and more. The iPhone app has been amazing; to put a transaction into YNAB right at the register is all sorts of cool. No more excuses! I look forward to using it more and more and learning what it can do. I hope to start taking advantage of the reporting aspects of the software as well.
We'll be finished with our debt management plan in April and will be debt free (except for one car and student loan). We are now looking at money a different way. The first thing we will do with the extra $1,000 per month is develop a FULL YNAB BUFFER so that this can never, ever happen again. When you have to "give every dollar a job" it forces you to look at the bigger picture. At first, we thought about treating ourselves to a big vacation once we were debt-free. Then, once we started crunching the numbers, it made more sense to think about saving for a house of our own, instead of renting like we do now. YNAB encourages you to make choices and really think about how you want to live your life. It's not just the software; it's the methodology--the way YNAB makes you THINK about your spending that is key to its success.
We see changes in our life since using YNAB. We value each dollar more, which has caused us to evaluate our spending in all areas. Is it worth going to the movies and spending $30 or is it better to redbox or watch something on cable? Do we really need to go shopping an hour away, or can we look at garage sales? I think we understand the value of life a little bit more, and we appreciate all that YNAB has done for us in that regard.
We really appreciate what Jesse and everyone at YNAB have done for us. Not only do you have a great product, you really do back it up with support, not just from a technical perspective. We really count you as a partner in what we've accomplished. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel now and we always share with others how YNAB has changed our life. Thank you.
YNAB encourages you to make choices and really think about how you want to live your life