A huge thank you to, YOU NEED A BUDGET, for sponsoring today’s post.
There’s nothing I love more than pumpkin spice season! And when I say nothing, I mean… NOTHING. I actually have to carve out a little bit of extra space in my budget every time fall rolls around. I already know I’m going to be making more Starbucks trips than should even be allowed. I’ll admit that things got a little out of hand between myself, PSL frapps, and Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew last month. I went a little bit over budget in the coffee category, BUT it’s okay. I’m not sweating it because I use You Need A Budget (YNAB) – an amazing budgeting app that has helped me and my husband take control of our finances!
Now, you guys know that I would never introduce you to anything that I have not already tried. To say that I like this budgeting app is an understatement! I really want to share how YNAB works, what it has done for me, and what it can do for YOU. I’m very passionate about educating my community – especially the black community – because money has been considered a taboo topic for too long. The only way we’re all going to get better at managing it is if we start having an open conversation about what works.
Learning to Budget with YNAB
YNAB was designed to help you do three things: stop living paycheck-to-paycheck, get out of dent, and save money. I’m here to tell you that their design WORKS!!
A few years ago, I was living paycheck-to-paycheck, just making sure my bills were paid, I’d pretty much do whatever I wanted with the leftover funds. Although my method worked for immediate situations, it did not help me plan for the future or any kind of emergency. Now, I wasn’t living paycheck-to-paycheck when I started using YNAB, but that doesn’t mean I was managing my money well. I was still in debt and didn’t have much of a savings to speak of. Today, YNAB has helped me all but reach debt-free status (wow, does that feel good to say!). They also taught me simple, but effective ways to save money. Work smarter, not harder, isn’t that how the saying goes?
YNAB Proven & Award Winning 4 step system for budgeting:
- Give every dollar a job –This kind of like the old school “envelope method” – a system for allocating where your money will be spent before you spend it.
- Embrace your expenses – Don’t shy away from expenses that are inevitably coming. Start planning ahead of time for worst case scenarios, major purchases, and events.
- Roll with the punches – Be flexible! We never know what is going to happen in the future and that’s okay. If you go over on an area of your budget that has suddenly become high priority, move funds from an area of your budget that is of lower priority this month.
- Age your money (HONEY!) –YNAB sets you up so that you are able to literally budget out so well that you are spending money that is leftover from last month’s budget on this month’s bills. Eventually, you will get to a point where you can put an entire paycheck into your savings fund because you’ll have more than one month all budgeted out.
Now let’s talk about budgeting as a couple
When you’re married, budgeting only works if both partners are on the same page. The initial process of combining your incomes and deciding how much money you’ll need for each aspect of your budget can be overwhelming, but YNAB makes it SO EASY. There are three ways to budget with YNAB as a couple:
- Separate accounts
- Joint account
Jesse and I started out with each having an account for our individual finances/expenses. We also had a third account for our joint expenses. Eventually, we found that having a single shared account was easier. This way we were able to handle and we wanted to cover. And more importantly in the event something happened to ether of us; we’d each have access to the account/funds. With a single account, we won’t have to go through any difficult processes to access the other person’s money. Once we combined the accounts, together we worked out our budget for our regular bills. As well as personal recurring expenses such as: hair, nails, coffee, etc. Finally separate from everything else, we have “play savings” – and money that is just for ourselves!
By guiding us to create personal “play savings,” YNAB taught us that we can’t pester each other about what we’re doing with our money.
Our “play savings” is ours and ours alone to do whatever we want with! This usually means a new video game for Jesse and a new purse for mama. Just as getting your finances organized as a couple is important, I think that it’s absolutely crucial to have date nights with your significant other, no matter how long you’ve been together.
Date night allows you to enjoy each other’s company, unwind, and treat yourselves to a special experience “just because.” The biggest problem with date night is that it can get EXPENSIVE! Have you been to the movies lately? I mean we’re talking like $70 when all is said and done! As a rule of thumb, Jesse and I set aside a certain amount for date night each month. This way we don’t have to stress about whether or not we can afford a fancy night out. But here’s where it gets good: when we spend date night at home, we roll those unused funds over to our budget to the next month. This is exactly what YNAB means by “age your money!” And because we had a few date nights at home in September, we were able to use our padded budget on our trip to King & Prince Resort!
Shifting the perspective on budgets
A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to Kelly, a YNAB teacher (you can watch the IG Live here). In it she reminded me of something that I thought was really powerful. She said, “a budget is not meant to be restrictive, it’s meant to make sure that we’re spending our money on the things that matter to us the most!” I literally was said “oh wow” – it was yet another lightbulb moment for me. Some months, there will be things in your budget that matter more than they do other months, and that’s okay. With YNAB, you’ll easily be able to see all of your money laid out. Then you decide for yourself where and how it will be spent.
If you’re ready to experience financial FREEDOM, you just have to try out YNAB! You can try their budgeting app for FREE for 34-days, no credit card needed. Click here to sign up! Once you’ve signed up, you can also take advantage of their free educational videos, expert advice, and live classes!
Drop me a message after you’ve signed up for YNAB so I can congratulate you!