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.
David is a consultant for a company that resells Oracle Software. He does a lot of traveling which used to be hard to manage business expenses versus personal expenses. I stay at home with the kids. Thus, there is only one family income. We have three kids. A boy and a girl in middle-school who are very active in sports that require a lot of equipment, travel, registration fees. We also have a son in elementary who has severe allergies and requires many medical visits and medications.
At the time we started YNAB, we were not in severe financial crisis, but we were definitely on our way to digging that big hole. The biggest problem was that I had no idea where my money was going. I would pay everything on the credit card and hope at the end of the month I would have enough money to pay it off. If I didn't, that balance would accrue until we would recieve David's quarterly bonus. The problem was, I would mentally account for things in my head and would forget about extra purchases and it seemed we were spending the bonus before we would recieve it. So we were putting very little into savings. I would try and keep our regular savings account around $5,000 for emergencies, but I found myself dipping into that, too.
My husband insisted in July 2008 that we start YNAB. I have a background as an accountant so learning the process was not too difficult. I was very irritated though when David insisted that we account for every single penny!!! Man, cash is hard to keep track of, especially when there are two people spending and one person tracking. In addition, I didn't think I was going to have money for out-of-the-ordinary expenses as it was needed. A few months into YNAB, I fully understood how to use it and had everything entered correctly. I realized I had money there for what I needed and could spend with peace of mind. We began to bank for David and Cindy's fun-money and maintenance and it was amazing how the money was there when we would need it.
I CAN NOT LIVE WITHOUT YNAB now!!!!!!! If I go a few days without YNABing, I get grouchy and feel out of control. Okay, so I am a little type A. But I love knowing how much I could spend on groceries and know which weeks to say no to novelty items. I love buying clothes without feeling guilty and buying with confidence knowing the money is there to pay for it. In fact, my friends were amazed one time when we went out for a group dinner and I caught a mistake on my credit card charge. They all said they never look at their statements and would never have noticed!!!!! I love knowing that the line items on my credit card are exactly what I have spent and it is so easy to download into YNAB and classify into categories. Oh yah,and we no longer make large purchases like buying furniture until we have money in the bank for it. We've realized that putting off for a few months until the money is there isn't as difficult as it seems
We currently have a balance in our savings account of over $18,000 and I have put away over $12,000 in college funds for the kids. We still do everything we use to do, including a couple family vacations a year with very little change in income. By bucketing money each month for expenses in the next six months, we are no longer using quarterly bonuses to catch up. Instead, we put it into savings or use it for major purchases that previously went on credit.
In addition to improving our overall financial situation, YNABing and the habits it created have had such a positive impact on our children's lives. My 7-year-old asked me in the car the other day, "Mom, what happens if you spent more than you budget?" What a great thing to teach children. Don't buy on Credit and only spend within your means! They have also learned to wait a week, a month or whatever to buy something that they don't really have to have that day.
I'm just sooo thankful that David insisted we start YNAB. Buying Christmas presents is a lot less stressful when you know you have the money sitting in your account to pay for them!
I have put away over $12,000 in college funds for the kids.