You Need A Budget, YNAB
I have no financial partnership with YNAB. I won’t get paid if you decide to use them or decide not to use them. They’re not paying a dime towards my hair transplantation. With that out of the way…
There are so many ways to budget your income towards your expenses. The most important concept is to works towards a goal. If you haven’t done so sit down somewhere ideally early in the morning with a cup of coffee and no distraction and write down your goals, your wants, your desires, things you want to achieve. Be vague initially then as you keep writing be more specific. My main goal is to not have to rely on steady employment for income. I’d like to have enough tangible or paper investments that I can live off their income.
I loved YNAB. It completely changed my thinking about money and finances. I love the free courses they offered, I loved the free live sessions they had (they still do both). I no longer use YNAB. That’s the beauty of it, after 2-3 years I learned enough that I graduated to being able to mentally budget. YNAB works off the concept of assigning every income dollar a job. Let’s assume you get $8,000 after-tax on January 14th. You have assigned a category for every expense in your life. Rent, Groceries, Insurance, Cell, Gas, Utilities, Student Loans, Credit Card Bills, Gender Change Operation, Travel and Investments. So you start from the most important and work your way down. You always pay yourself first right? So, $4,000 goes towards your Investments category, $1,000 towards Rent, $300 towards Groceries, $20 towards Cell, $1,500 towards Student Loans and so on. You do this until there is $0 left from the $8k. Now, you haven’t paid any of these bills or made any of these payments yet. The point is that as soon as your money comes in this is what you decide that money needs to do for you. Then, when it comes to paying bills you look at each category and you spend within its limit. Maybe you have $100 carryover from the previous month in groceries… great, you can stock up on licorice. You may have had an unexpected car repair so your Vehicle category jumped to $800. No problem, you can take some money out of Travel and put it towards the car category. Or you could go carless like Dr. Mo recommended.
Downsides To YNAB
The software is easy to use ($60 , but fully functional 30 day free trial) and they have a the light version for iPhones and androids. I wish they had a cloud based version of the desktop software but essentially you must have the software installed on your Mac or PC. If you got a Chromebook I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be able to use YNAB. It doesn’t take much time at all to import the data from your bank or credit card. You want to import your accounts so you can reconcile the them.
Increase Your Net Worth
Final word about budgeting… do it! It can feel tedious but just like anything if you do it a few days in a row it becomes a habit. 6 pack abs is doing sit-ups every morning (assuming your muscles aren’t hidden by adiposity). You will feel so much better about your money, you will feel in control, your money will no longer control you. My net worth was -$100,000. I had more student loans and credit cards than I had money saved in the bank.
What are you using for your personal budgeting needs?
Do you budget or do you wing it?