You Need a Budget

So, I think as a child it was for sure pushed on me the value of a dollar and making sure you save money! I still think that way and Jordan is very “you can’t take it with you”, so he and I make a really nice balance in our life together!

As you know we will be adding another member to our family in March which you need money for! To keep us on track and get to our goals we have set for ourselves I like to use the YNAB app. Which means you need a budget! I personally have been using it for 6 years and LOVE it. 

Step 1: Open a YNAB account! I used to use the manual program that was a one time fee and you downloaded it to the computer, but I now use their online version that will pull your transactions directly from your bank account! Use this link and get 1 month free! 

Step 2: Once you have your account set up you will want to link your bank accounts to the system. We have our Checking, Saving, Credit Cards, and Investment savings linked to our.

Step 3: You want to set up your categories! They have them broken out into Immediate Obligations, which we consider things like mortgage and other bills you are guaranteed to have every month. True Expenses, which we use for all other items. Then you have your Quality of Life goals, which is how we track savings for certain things such as hospital bills, vacation, and our emergency fund. 

To get your started these are the basic items we have in each category:

Immediate Obligations:

  • Mortgage
  • Cell Phones
  • Car Note
  • Car Insurance
  • Streaming Services
  • Security System
  • Electric
  • Gas
  • Water

True Expenses:

  • Giving
  • Baby
  • Coffee-Boy Jordan
  • Health
  • Personal Care
  • Gifts
  • Household Items
  • Groceries
  • Fuel
  • Eating Out
  • Dog Care
  • Joint Entertainment
  • Boy Money
  • Girl Money
  • Rainy Day
  • Uncategorized

Obviously your categories might look a little different, but this is just to help give you ideas on what we use! This is how it looks when you are looking at your budget. The green available you see is just left over money from previous months where we budgeted higher than needed to prepare for extra spend in the holidays! 

How we breakdown our budget:

Jordan and I have lived pretty freely our first couple years of marriage, but with the baby on the way we decided it was easier to live strictly now rather than wait. So he and I now live only off one of our salaries. The other’s salary goes directly into our savings account/investment account. It was a huge adjustment for us in the beginning, but after a month or 2 we really got the hang of it. And we still have more money in categories than we would have expected, you just prioritize differently. 

How YNAB works:

Another thing that was difficult for me to wrap my head around at first was YNAB is set up so all of your money is allocated. So when you go in and budget for each category you want your top amount to reach $0. Which in our case means we take the leftover money at the beginning of the month and allocate it to one of our Quality of life Goals. This will get your Ready To assign as seen below down to $0

We also try and put a certain amount of money each month into the rainy day category, this is money that continues to rollover each month and is there in our checking account in case we ever come across car troubles, or just something we weren’t already budgeting for and planning on spending the money on. As your month goes on you will see in the Activity Column it will tell you how much you have spent toward that category, and then the Available column shows how much you have remaining. 

Now to the importing fun. Once your account is set up you can pull transactions from your bank account or credit card account directly into the system. When you first begin everything will need to be assigned to a category. BUT once you have assigned say Chick-Fil-A to Eating out every time going forward you spend money at Chick-fil-a it will auto assign it to Eating out, and you won’t have to do it again. Once it gets a groove on you all you have to do is pull the transactions, and approve they are assigned to the right category, and you made the purchase! 

As seen above you can choose to categorize something in your existing categories, split it between 2 categories, or mark as a transfer to another account you have set up in YNAB.

Reports:

The other thing I really love about YNAB is the reports feature. This made it way easier for us to change our lifestyle since I was able to look back on the average amount we spent in each of our categories, and where we could cut back. You can manipulate everything you want to look at, and export it as well! 

After using YNAB for years I couldn’t go back to a simple spreadsheet, and I LOVE spreadsheets. Give it a try and I hope you love it as much as we do. And by we…I mean me.

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