I've been following Jill over at Hagler Happenings for a while now. Recently she's been posting about getting her financial house in order. It must be in the air because not only are we trying to gain back some control, but I have a dear friend who is doing the same thing. I think we are all going about it a little differently, well, ok I think Jill and Laurie are going about the same way - I'm the different one, natch!
They are using the Dave Ramsey method but I chose You Need a Budget (YNAB). I'm not sure what drew me to this program but something about it clicked with me, and I guess that's the most important thing when you are trying to keep your money under control! Do what works for you.
The program isn't free ($60 for use on all the computers in your house), but they do have a 34 day free trial, which I'm using right now. I did fork out the $4.99 for the iPhone app though. I know you're thinking "Why spend money on something you could manage for free?"
The answer is simple - I can't manage it on my own. I don't have to try to remember how much I have left for groceries while I'm standing in the store eyeballing the Twinkies, nope, I can look on my phone and know if I have enough. For me this alone is worth the price of both programs. But believe me, I'm waiting until the last day to buy it! Why should I give up my free days? LOL I know, you're thinking 'what about the envelope system?' We thought about that and rejected it as completely inconvenient since we don't bank locally getting the money required for the envelopes would be a two or three day ordeal.
So far I've discovered quite a few things about YNAB that I really like. I like the four rules; give every dollar a job, save for a rainy day, roll with the punches, quit living paycheck to paycheck. The quit living paycheck to paycheck part is my favorite part - you create a buffer of one months income, then you live off last months paycheck, with the current months income moving to next months budget. Priceless. You always have one month to figure out what how you are going to handle Mr. Murphy's visits. Because he always does right when you think you have it under control!
So yes, I will somehow find the money to pay the $60 because in the last two weeks we've managed to start setting money aside for the things that only come up occasionally and the things we really want to do (vacation, have a few bucks to be able to go to Myrtle Beach on a whim) fun things that you can do if you are making your money work for you. I will even have a small buffer started at the end of April. And yes, one of my categories is 'extra debt payment' so I'm not ignoring the fact that we have debt that we need to work on.
No one at YNAB asked me to write this, I just wanted to share the way that I believe is going to work the best for us.
Here's hoping we all get it under control!
Until next time ~ Kris