Finances

A New Budget App

April has been a busy month. I took another part of the test at work and found out I passed the day before my birthday! Then it was time to celebrate and relax. I just have one more test left and I will be DONE!! As per usual, we bought a nice bottle of tequila to celebrate.

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We will buy one more bottle when I am done done. We’ve been eyeballing some expensive ones in the locked area of the liquor store. There’s so many good choices.

Anyway, one of the things you might have noticed this month other than how absent I’ve been is that I didn’t do a March budget comparison. At the end of March I decided to start test driving a different budget app called ‘You Need a Budget’ or ‘YNAB’*.  YNAB is a lot different from Mint. One of the things that I dont like about Mint is that there isn’t a good indicator of how much you have versus how much you are budgeting. Another thing I dont like is that there are no ‘consequences’ for going over budget. Sure you get an ugly red line but that’s really it. YNAB’s thing is you can only budget the amount of money you have in your account. Every dollar has a ‘job’ so you prioritize necessities and then if there is anything left over you can budget for other things.

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At the top here, you can see that I am overspent in two categories and I have no money left to be budgeted which makes sense because it’s the end of the month. If I click on where it says Overspent Categories, it asks me to move money from categories where there is still room in the budget to cover the overspending. In this scenario, I’m not doing it because where I’m overspent is food and hotels for my work travel this month. They wont be overspent after I get my reimbursement checks. I dont love the way YNAB handles reimbursements. On Mint, I can exclude them from the budget. YNAB treats them like regular spending.

YNAB has several different preset budget categories that you can also adjust if you want. One of the presets though is ‘Stuff I Forgot to Budget For’ which I really like. It’s easy for me to set aside $30-50 in that category instead of trying to plan for every contingency like when we pitch in for random gifts or potlucks at work.

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You can also establish goals. For example, in one my previous posts I talked about setting up $300 a month to go toward vacation. I set that up as a goal and now YNAB will remind me to budget for it. It will also tell me how much I need to put towards the goal to catch up if I fall behind.

The biggest downside to YNAB is that it isnt free. It costs $7 per month. Right now I have a free trial for 2 months.  I have to decide if its worth $7 per month. There’s also Dave Ramsey’s Every Dollar app that has a free version. I downloaded it a few days ago but haven’t really started using it. It’s a similar concept as far as giving every dollar a job thus the name of the app.

Next week I plan on talking about progress towards my saving goals and a concept called ‘The Credit Card Float’.

*this is not a paid post. I just really like talking about budgeting.

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