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.
We moved from Oakland, CA (too expensive and dangerous!) to Portland, OR (still expensive, but not as expensive). Did I mention we moved five minutes before the housing bubble burst? It costs a lot, and we need to manage that. I'm an English teacher--online and--as we say--live. I work for a community college in Salem OR and also teach one online class for my former school in CA. I am the teacher in the coffee shop you wonder about. What does SHE do? And the one who corrects comma errors in students' heartbreaking stories of the death of a beloved pet.
I'm married and we have one child, adopted from China. She is super wonderful and we live here partly so she can go to a strong public school with a great Mandarin program.
We've been using YNAB for two years (with hiccups--but I'm getting it at last). I was really lost before I used YNAB; it sounds corny but is so true. I struggled with various financial software and talked with my financially brainy brother who manages big money in pencil on a pad of paper. I was deeply, meaningfully in debt and confused about everything. Biggest confusion: why and how can I SAVE while paying off DEBT? And so I didn't save, paid off some debt, all my appliances died at once and we used credit to buy new ones. A typical tragedy.
My pivot point was more of a pivot--ball. Bigger than a point. It was a series of things: support (talks at lunch with girlfriends about money and about YNAB), fearful research (my dear hubby suspected we should try some of the more extreme solutions to debt. I got mad, researched, and found this less extreme, more life changing method: YNAB), and--frankly, we had some bad things happen that helped us financially--including working overtime and having a car accident. Those lemons helped us--along with YNAB--make lemonade.
I loved YNAB but got confused. During my first few months of learning, the software also upgraded. I did one of the live chat training sessions, loved it, and have always been a fan of the customer service,emails, and personality behind my life jacket. The one time I got lost you guys helped me get found again.
A few months into YNAB, I became more regular and dependent on it, and I also got the YNAB app for my iPhone, which helped even more to make my categories and budgeting visible. I began to visualize success against my debt. I didn't have to become a monk or a lady eating beans in a cheap hotel to succeed. (Although those could've reduced the entertainment expenses).
I feel wildly better about my finances now even though we still have debt that is high enough to make an accountant throw up. But, we have money at the end of the month, 1500 in savings, a budget for both emergencies and planned summer travel to see our parents back East. We live, work, budget, and anticipate that in 3-5 years, our debt will be... low enough that we, too, can complain someday, Hey! I have $5000 in debt! And people like me, now, will roll their eyes. Childcare, adoption, moving from CA to OR, and fixing up a house left us in big fat debt. We look forward to it being a little, skinny debt, then disappearing like Casper the friendly ghost. Also, at age 45, I see getting out of debt with YNAB as a way to "half retire" at 50--to go down to regular, not overtime, work. It will be a vacation, comparatively!
I am so much more ahead and organized because of YNAB--not just financially, but with Christmas shopping, vacation planning, and work projects. Sometimes I have to slow down and remember the world isn't sped up, just I am. I've even started exercising again--a long put off thing, since having a child and working so much made me put myself last so often. Time, too, can be organized. I'm not perfectly organized, but I am better, and more relaxed about a world I can anticipate and respond to with some buffers and safety nets. YNAB has been amazingly helpful to my marriage, my stomach (I am exercising today!), and my goal of one day being a Zen-like, relaxed person whose not haunted by money. I don't wake up depressed about money anymore. What a great personal revolution!
I am so much more ahead and organized because of YNAB