Real People, Unreal Results. (Really.)

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.

Elizabeth, Galesburg, KS

I am a self-employed, independent distributor of a line of high-fashion jewelry. Married my high school sweetheart and we have four beautiful children, all age six and under. We've been using YNAB for three plus years.

In college, we thought we had it all together financially. We got our bills paid each month and had a little extra to play with. We both worked full time and even bought a couple of brand new cars, because, you know, it's only $500 a month! We can do that! After finishing college (including an MBA for me!), we realized that the best thing for our family would be for me to stay home. This cut back our income, but we still didn't know how to do that as we just had a general notion of how much we could spend a month and gave no thought as to how we spent it.

When our first child was born, both my husband and I were employed full-time and spent like it. We didn't pay much attention to money other than retirement sponsored by our employers. We ate out often and put everything on our credit card and just paid off the balance at the end of each month. After our second child was born, we decided that I would stay home with the boys and start a business to replace part of my income. We tried to cut back, but had no budget, so we got farther and farther behind in paying off the credit card. We ran up about $8000 in credit card debt in a year. As we took a hard look at our finances, we realized we were spending over $300 a month just eating out! We decided me going back to work and putting the kids in daycare was not an option, so we had to learn to control our spending and stick to a budget. Something had to give and our lives had to change.

My dad suggested we speak the the minister of finance at his church who started us out on a pencil and paper budget. After getting the basic concepts down, I was looking for a more efficient way to keep track of our budget and spending as I have never enjoyed checks or balancing a checkbook. I learned about YNAB from a blog (can't remember which one!) and purchased the software and have never looked back. 

I loved how I could check it and keep track all the time in real time so I could continue to use the debit card instead of being tied to a check book. It made me feel like we really were in control. It was so great to see exactly where every dollar was going and not have to spend a ton of time doing it. Just a few minutes here and there to download the bank statements and keep track. We finally could see that we had a plan, and it was so refreshing! We rolled part of the credit card debt into a home refinance, and paid off the rest. We paid off both our vehicle loans early. We then got a good emergency fund and even saved up and bought the necessary full size SUV with cash shortly before our fourth child was born.

We have a $1000 emergency fund as well as a one month's income emergency fund that is a little harder to get to (takes a few days), so we can't do anything rash. We've been able to pay medical bills for our 4th child as they've arisen instead of having to make payments. We are continuing to add to the second emergency fund as well as save to replace our commuter car by paying cash when it becomes necessary in a year or two.

YNAB has made our marriage stronger and our communication better. We are able to talk about our budget and finances without fighting since there is not the stress of always being in the hole. We know exactly what we can and cannot spend. It's also allowed us to set a good example for our children and even show them exactly where our money goes. We are changing our family's financial legacy. After establishing a budget and keeping track of it with YNAB, we had a plan and a purpose for our money.  My husband and I are now able to sit down together for only a few minutes a month and make any changes to the budget we deem necessary. We easily keep track of our spending each month, so we are saving, planning, and giving like never before.




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