You Need a Budget

I have never been much of a budgeter. In fact, I would be what Dave Ramsey calls a free spirit, someone whose default is to spend and not to save. Things are shiny right? I have paper that gets me shiny. Why save paper and not buy shiny?

When my wife and I got married, I did our "budgeting" in my head. If I was going to spend $2.75, I would round that up to $3.00 in my head as I swiped my debit card. That way I would never overdraft our checking account. Then we took Financial Peace University from Dave Ramsey.

Here is a video by Rachel Cruze explaining how to do a zero-based budget.

We started doing what is called a zero-based budget. That is where we put a name to every dollar that came in so there were none that were just floating around waiting to be spent by me. 

My wife and I started making a budget with a spreadsheet our friend made (who is a wiz at Excel). After a few years we wanted to switch to something that we both could edit easier and sync with our phones. We switched from a spreadsheet to an app on our phones about 6 months ago and about 6 years into our budgeting journey. 

The first app we used synced, but the interface really bothered me. I am a tech guy and I need good design. That is when I found You Need a Budget, YNAB for short. I had seen it before, but at $60 I could not justify the expense. This past December, during the Steam holiday sale, YNAB went on sale at 75% off. I could spend $15 on it. In fact after using it for a month, I would be willing to spend the full $60.

Quick tour YNAB and it's four rules.

YNAB has both phone and tablet apps that are designed and work well. It can sync between our devices and split transactions into multiple categories, something we have been needing for a while. Also, it has an almost drag and drop simple interface across all platforms.

We could not be happier with YNAB and would encourage anyone to check it out, along with Financial Peace University

What are you currently using for your budgeting needs?