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.
I am a freelance graphic designer and technical consultant. My wife is an elementary school teacher. We have two guinea pigs: Penelope and Mabel. Our first month of YNAB in full effect was March 2010.
We thought we had pretty good control of our finances but always felt like we could do better. Several times over the last few years, when our credit card bill started creeping up too high, we would take inventory of our expenses and figure out a budget. Much to our horror, we discovered that--between the two of us--we were spending $50 a month on a coffee, $300 a month eating out, and $600 a month on groceries! So, resolute to change our ways, we'd pay down the credit card. This would lull us into a false sense of accomplishment because, several months later, we would find ourselves in the same boat. Despite two healthy incomes, we were never able to get ahead or put much away.
Then I was laid off. To add insult to injury my wife was pink-slipped due to declining enrollment a few months later. In the worst job market in decades, we found ourselves with little in the way of savings, a sizable chunk of credit card debt, a mortgage, a car payment, student loans and little to no hope. We knew we had to do something fast or we were going to lose our house and everything we had worked for.
The first month wasn't easy. To say the least, we did not not find it a pleasant experience to budget for the entire month and keep to it. My wife and I both hated "The Budget" for the first six weeks, but gradually it began to feel good taking control, no matter how difficult the change.
We really hit our stride about three months in. With each month we got better at predicting our needs and better at staying within budget. Despite a dramatically reduced income, our savings and checking accounts were growing! We were hooked. We spoke of the budget fondly. We were finally playing a game that we felt like we could win and YNAB made it possible!
It's been a year since I was laid-off, and my wife and I are still without permanent employment. My wife works as a substitute teacher, and I freelance whenever I can--but the bottom line is we are making 50% of what we were before the layoffs. Perhaps the best testament to the power of this software and the philosophy behind it is this: despite a year of the worst financial situation we have ever seen, we are still in our home (never missed a payment), we paid off our car early, reduced our credit card debt, and have increased our net worth by 450%! Our friends and family look at us in amazement when they hear what we've done by using YNAB. So much so, that my sister and my sister-in-law and are both using it now and love it!
Looking back on the last nine months and the hardships we have endured, I truly believe that without YNAB, we would have lost our home. YNAB enabled us to thrive against the odds and be stronger people for it. We now have faith in our ability to deal with tough financial times in the future and to achieve a stability that seemed out of our grasp. So yes, we have felt the effect in many areas of our lives. It's been good for our hearts, our marriage, and quality of life. Best of all, the habits that YNAB helped us form will serve us well for the rest of our lives.
the habits that YNAB helped us form will serve us well for the rest of our lives