I have been on a long journey to discover a personal finance software that works for my situation. In the past, I have tried: Mint, Mvelopes, FinanceWorks, QuickBooks, and many more. All of them had certain features that made them unique from the others.
About a year ago, someone referred me to YNAB.com. It simple stands for You Need a Budget. What I love most about the company is their dedication to financial education. While their software is great, they also offer webinars, videos, and ebook downloads to help you improve your finances.
4 Simple Rules to Improve Your Finances
Rule #1 – Give Every Dollar a Job
You have probably heard this concept before. It is based on the idea of zero-based budgeting. You tell your dollars where to go instead of wondering where they went. The YNAB Software makes this process easy.
One of the reasons I love YNAB is that it encourages me to only budget money I have available. I think this is smart. I have tried budgeting on a monthly basis, and it just doesn’t work for me. Why budget money you do not have? Now, I do understand the value in forecasting. There are a few ways you can do this with YNAB. However, the eventual goal will be to get to Rule #4. More on this in a bit.
Rule #2 – Save for a Rainy Day
No one disputes the value in saving your money. Yet, not many of us are doing this. I think what has often hurt me in the past is the “known” expenses that only happen a few times a year. This can be things like birthdays, vacations, car insurance premiums, car registration fees, etc.
We know these expenses are coming, yet we do nothing about them. YNAB allows you to easily create your own categories. You can choose to have one big category for Occasional Spending or divide them up into specific categories. If your goal is to have $1200 for Christmas, then you need $100 a month. Another idea is to just fill up some of these categories whenever you get extra cash.
Rule #3 – Roll with the Punches
I am so glad they chose to include this rule in the YNAB Software. In the past, I used to get completely aggravated in two areas:
- Spending more money than I budgeted for in a category
- Spending too much money in the miscellaneous category
YNAB has given me freedom from the two frustrations above. First, if you overspend in a category the software takes it away from you “Available Money to Budget” for next month. I was confused by this at first, but now it makes sense. It is just like borrowing from yourself. You are forced to pay it back next month.
Secondly, the roll with the punches rule allows me to ease up and relax. If we go on vacation and spend a few more dollars than I was planning, it is okay. I can either adjust by moving money from one category to the next or just wait till I budget for the next month.
Rule #4 – Live on Last Month’s Income
This is where you ultimately want to be with your money. Using last month’s income to pay this month’s bills will give you peace of mind. This is what sets apart the YNAB Personal Finance Software from the rest.
YNAB uses what they call a Buffer. Any money not needed goes into the “buffer.” Your goal is to get the buffer large enough with your current available cash to fill up next month’s budgeted categories.
I know you might be thinking this just isn’t possible. However, I want to tell you first hand that it is possible. Just use the software the way it was designed and you can begin to obtain financial peace in your life.
Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck
Statistics tell us that close to 8 out of 10 homes are living paycheck to paycheck. No wonder we are stressed! No wonder life is stressful when we lose our jobs! We are one decision away from a financial disaster.
The New YNAB 4.0 Software
YNAB just recently announced their latest version of the software. I was quick to upgrade because of some of the awesome new features listed. Here are a few:
- All New Design – I just love the feel and the look of the new software. It is simple, fast and I just enjoy using it.
- New & Improved Reporting – If you love to run reports, then you will love the new options inside YNAB.
- Automatic Cloud Sync – I have been waiting for this and so glad it is finally here! Been using the auto sync feature for the past week and it works like a charm. Now you can have the YNAB software on multiple computers and phones. Update your finances anywhere!
- Improved iPhone/iPad/Android Apps – all of the mobile apps have been updated to seamlessly work with the cloud.
- Lightning Fast Budgeting – with just a click you can fill in all of your categories when budgeting for the next month if you would like.
- Responsible Overspending – I mentioned this before, but it is a huge feature for me. Overspending is no longer a headache. The YNAB software takes care of overspending for you. What a huge relief!
Take YNAB Personal Finance Software for a Free Spin – 34 Day Free Trial
The free trial is what convinced me to give YNAB a try. After doing so, I was hooked. It is rare for me to stick with the same software for more than a year. That is why I am a big believer in YNAB. If you want to give it a trial run, you can do so here: YNAB.com