I used to think that I had to become a wholly different person to be more financially stable and savvy. If I just thought differently, followed the rules, and stuck with it (no matter what), I’d wake up one day feeling great and having a complete grasp on my finances.
Thinking this way for so long was my first mistake.
Budgeting isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. My financial situation and spending habits are different from my husband’s. I think differently about money than my sister. Budgets are very personal, and not all of us will be successful at staying within a strict confine of predetermined categories and recommended allocation of funds.
Over the years, I’ve developed a better relationship with money and learned how to create a budget that works for me.
I’ve been using YNAB for a few years now, and I absolutely credit them with making budgeting simple and, dare I say, fun(ish).
I like to start the year off fresh with a new budget. I sit down, take a long look at my spending habits, and adjust the new year’s budget accordingly. With the help of YNAB, I can now do this activity without feeling shame or guilt. Using YNAB has given me the space to be curious about my spending versus feeling shameful about expenditures. By looking closer at the numbers, I’m able to notice things, see patterns, and, if needed, adjust slightly. No total overhaul is necessary.
Here are a few things I’m changing this year when it comes to my budgeting approach:
- Organize in a way that makes sense to me. I used to shoehorn my spending habits according to specific categories because I thought that would make me “super organized.” It turns out, I don’t spend like a “super organized” person. With YNAB, I can customize labels and organize the data to make sense to ME. For example, I’ve got an “Amazon” category to track all of the purchases made on Amazon. I don’t think in terms of “groceries” or “entertainment,” but I can budget and allocate for a larger “Amazon” category. This way, I’m not spending precious hours splitting up purchases to fit into categories that don’t make sense for my life. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to budget, only “YOUR” way.
- Plan for my current scenario. YNAB helped me start saving small (with the money I do have), so I can save big. Rather than budgeting for large projects or unattainable purchases, I set up smaller goals to hit first. These smaller goals get rolled up into bigger ones and more significant numbers. Example: I don’t think I would’ve been able to budget for an entire kitchen remodel without giving up immediately. Rather than plan for the whole project, I budget for individual elements like “dishwasher,” “paint,” and “floors.” I like to cross things off my lists, and seeing when I hit these smaller milestones gives me confidence that I can hit the bigger ones.
- Keep in mind that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. When I get excited, I dive in headfirst. I’m all in, and I am committed. This zeal usually lasts for a few weeks before I get bored, overwhelmed, or both. Rather than go all-in immediately with budgeting, I’ve set aside one hour every Sunday to go through transactions. Setting aside time each week, I avoid the burnout I felt when I was in the books daily and the “what was I thinking” feeling when I would only check monthly. It’s all about balance.
- Stop worrying about a budget. Remember that burnout stage I was just discussing avoiding? If I do need to walk away or adjust how often I review transactions, I can. The budget is set, and I can pick up from where I left off with little to no headache. When I come back, my budget will still be intact and I can start assigning my money with a fresh set of eyes.
- Remember that community is everything. There is no shortage of resources available with YNAB. From tutorials, to blogs, to podcasts, to videos, YNAB has everything you need at your fingertips to manage your finances in a way that fits YOUR personality and spending habits. YNABers are everywhere and this community has helped me navigate a few bumps in the road in my budgeting journey.
Editor’s Note: This post was sponsored by You Need a Budget. The compensation we receive in exchange for placement on Wit & Delight is used to purchase props, hire a photographer, write/edit the blog post, and support the larger team behind Wit & Delight.
While compensation was received in exchange for coverage, all thoughts and opinions are always my own. Sponsored posts like these allow us to continue to develop dynamic unsponsored content. Thank you for supporting our partners!