Sorting out my budget

I guess I am OK with money, in saying that I never have any spare money.

I always have enough for bills, usually. And have always had a rough mental calculation on my head of what money is going where. But I have started to even budget it better using something called YNAB (you need a budget)

You need a budget is based around 4 rules:

  1. Give every dollar a job – Which means whatever money you have or get give it a job, allocate it to something, doesn’t matter what it’s allocated to just do it. Of course make sure money is put towards bills and important stuff first.
  2. Save for a rainy day – While saving in general is great, it really means put money aside for bills that are coming up in the future, like 6 monthly or yearly stuff.
  3. Roll with the punches – Not everyone is perfect, or stuff happens or emergencies occur, you will need to adapt with it all and just roll with it, in life shit happens.
  4. Live on last months income – The idea behind this is to have a buffer of money just sitting there in case you need it for a real emergency, and to stop living pay check to paycheck.

To help with all of this they have a pretty good program that you can get, and makes the whole thing a whole lot easier. But it does cost $60 US to buy.

I will always support a great product whatever it is, and I think YNAB is a great product. It’s just I don’t have $60 laying around to pay for it. Which sucks, as anyone that doesn’t really have much money spare knows it sucks not being able to pay for things when you want to.

But they do have a free 34 day trial which is good, as it gives people a decent length of time to try it before deciding if they want it. I get paid fortnightly so managed to get two pay days in the trial.

I was googling around about it as I was sort of freaking out that I really liked it, but couldn’t actually pay for it. Then I had this weird thought that I had seen and maybe had brought it ages ago. So I went to gmail and did a search for it and I found a receipt for it from 2008 for $40.

Back then it was slightly different and the rules were in a different order, with rule 4 as rule 1. Which while a good rule to have always seemed like it was unreachable for me as someone who never had any money, glad they changed it around and put it on the end.

It sort of didn’t work for me back in the day as I had stuffed finances as my now ex expected me to pay all utilities and most of the rent while she paid for food and some petrol. She couldn’t understand why I never had any money, umm HELLO it’s cos I’m paying for almost everything.

How to get YNAB cheap

So it turned out I could get the software for $40 due to the historic purchase of it, but I also came across the Steam sale. Which is where steam discounts a whole bunch of games usually in a summer sale and a winter one I think. Turns out YNAB is on there, and you can pick it up for $15 dollars, SCORE.

I should point out here that the main thing about YNAB is the rules they have, the whole idea behind it is changing the way you budget and think about money and it is a method which has a program to help you. You could actually follow the principles and just use a spreadsheet if you wanted, but…. that would be a lot of work, not impossible, just more work then needed.

So the program is good, it’s like a really fancy spreadsheet, I have all my budgeted categories set up in there and what amount of money is going to each one. I even have ones set up for different items I want to save for, I like having things broken down like that, it just seems to be better for me, others may have broader categories, it’s totally up to you.

I also like that they don’t really care what your last months bank statement looks like, sure I could import all that data in, but what the hell is the point? It is better to look ahead and sort out things in the future.

I brought an extra 2 copies as well, one I sold on to my flatmate and the other I gifted to my friend. I think my friend will use it, she is worried that she doesn’t have any money for it to actually work, but I am in the same boat, and am surprised that on payday I have an extra $20 just sitting there, which in theory should increase over time, i am confident in that.

As for the flatmate, well she always says she needs to sort it out then goes and spends money on random stuff. You really need to be honest to yourself sort out your money and just do it. I will be surprised to see if she gets around to it, and or sticks to it.

Need to stick to it, to see trends

That’s the thing, sticking to it. So far this way of looking at money seems to work, it is changing the way I think about things. I was telling my mum all about it, she pulls out this book she has and it turns out she has been doing it for years, old school with a book but the same sort of system. Her uncle had shown her years ago, she said for the longest time it didn’t make much sense, but after a few attempts it’s all working and things are good. Thanks for telling me all about this earlier on in life I thought, it would have helped me out with like everything, I guess sometimes you need to work these things out yourself?

I’ll be making sure my daughter is financially aware and knows the value of money etc, she’s only little at the moment so small steps, but building the foundation for it all will come. She has a money jar where all the random coins go at the moment.

The only thing that isn’t really budgeted for at the moment is the upcoming warrant on the car. A new tyre is definite, plus maybe the breaks will need doing. So to help with all that money I have had a think about some of the stuff I have laying around unused at home and have put them up on Trademe.

So there we go sort of where I am at the moment sorting out my finances.

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