You Need A Budget https://www.youneedabudget.com Personal Budgeting Software for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android Mon, 17 Jan 2022 21:34:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Expense Tracking Isn’t Budgeting https://www.youneedabudget.com/three-simple-steps-to-help-you-transition-from-expense-tracking-to-real-budgeting/ https://www.youneedabudget.com/three-simple-steps-to-help-you-transition-from-expense-tracking-to-real-budgeting/#respond Mon, 17 Jan 2022 11:00:00 +0000 https://www.youneedabudget.com/three-simple-steps-to-help-you-transition-from-expense-tracking-to-real-bud/ A lot of people think tracking expenses is budgeting. It is not. An expense tracker is simply a record of the money you’ve already spent; a budget is an actual plan that you make for spending and saving.  So while an expense tracker may provide valuable insight into where your money is going, a budget …

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A lot of people think tracking expenses is budgeting. It is not. An expense tracker is simply a record of the money you’ve already spent; a budget is an actual plan that you make for spending and saving. 

So while an expense tracker may provide valuable insight into where your money is going, a budget can serve the same purpose while also helping you meet your savings goals. Let’s dive in to see if you’re actually budgeting or not.

Watch Hannah explain expense tracking vs. budgeting.

What is Expense Tracking?

Long before I got my head on straight and started using YNAB for its brilliantly-intended purpose, I used it as accounting software to manage my small business’s books. This was expense tracking in its purest form:

On the first of every month, I downloaded the previous month’s transactions from my business bank account and Paypal.

I categorized the transactions, made sure YNAB’s account balances reconciled with my online statements, and then—wait for it—I’d use the amount spent in the category as the budgeted amount.

In other words, I was “budgeting” after I’d already spent. That’s expense tracking.

You might be tracking expenses (rather than budgeting) if:

  • You fill in the budgeted amounts for a category at the end of the budgeting period (instead of the beginning).
  • You consistently budget the exact same amount to a category, even though you always spend more. (This is how YNABers grow their credit card balances in spite of “budgeting” every month.)
  • You rarely (or never)  check your category balances before spending, but you always make sure to enter transactions and reconcile your accounts.

My expense tracking habit wasn’t all bad. My books were clean and current, and when it was time to send a Profit & Loss statement to the accountant in January, it was one quick export out of YNAB. Simple, reactive expense tracking did reduce my stress—a little.

Interested in learning more about how YNAB can help with annual expense reporting? 

Why Budgeting is Better

See how much you have available to spend and save (while also tracking expenses) with a budget.
See how much you have available to spend and save with a budget.

The ideal would be to transition from expense tracking to real budgeting. Jenifer left this comment on a previous post:

When working with budget-resistant people, I introduce the process as “expense tracking.” Once we get a sense of their “lifestyle”—then we create categories for each aspect of their lifestyle and design a budget (that usually matches the actual expenses for a bit).

And then, we identify their goals—debt reduction, buffer, investment/savings. Then we create a budget that doesn’t feel like a sacrifice.

Once they get addicted to debt reduction/buffer/investment-savings, then they tighten up their budget into a more frugal one.

It’s a great comment, and a great plan for taking someone from expense tracker to mindful YNABer.

3 Steps to Quit the Expense Tracker and Start a Budget

Ready to start budgeting for real? Here’s three steps to help you get started:

  1. If you’ve been expense tracking for a while, use your spending history to determine comfortable amounts for each category. (Acknowledging, of course, that your total budget can’t exceed your income.)
  2. Identify key goals, and force a small space in the budget for each one. In other words, trim a few of your normal categories to free up some cash flow for your goals. My personal preference is to have just one goal at a time in my budget. The only money goal I’m thinking about right now is eliminating debt.
  3. Get in the habit of checking the amount remaining in each category prior to spending and let your budget guide your choices. 

Allow yourself to get addicted to progress, and let that addiction motivate you to squeeze your daily spending for the benefit of accelerating your goals. This way, your enthusiasm naturally guides you to frugality, rather than trying to cut spending because you think you “should.”

You’ll know you’ve fully transitioned to budgeting (rather than expense tracking) when you use your budget to tell your money what to do—instead of using it to tell you what your money already did.

Ready to ditch spreadsheets and expense tracker apps for a budget that can help you take control of your finances? Try YNAB for free for 34 days. 

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Humbly Confident Part-Time Support Specialist https://www.youneedabudget.com/part-time-support-specialist-jan-22/ Fri, 14 Jan 2022 20:30:16 +0000 https://www.youneedabudget.com/?p=103910 About Us and Why We’re Hiring We build “You Need a Budget,” the best budgeting software around. (But people in the know call us YNAB, which is pronounced “why-nab”). For more than a decade, people have been buying YNAB and then telling their friends what a difference it has made in their lives. Google us, or …

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About Us and Why We’re Hiring

We build “You Need a Budget,” the best budgeting software around. (But people in the know call us YNAB, which is pronounced “why-nab”). For more than a decade, people have been buying YNAB and then telling their friends what a difference it has made in their lives. Google us, or read some of our reviews on the app store, and you’ll see what we mean. We love building something that literally changes people’s lives, and we have an impressive (if we do say so ourselves) ecosystem of apps, live classes, and stellar support.

As YNAB continues to grow, we are looking for friendly, technically-savvy customer support specialists to join our team! It’s a part-time (25-29 hours a week) remote position, and you might just be a perfect fit. You’ll know it if you’re somewhat of a YNAB wizard already (or are quick to learn!), and are known for being helpful, empathetic, patient, and awesome–particularly when it comes to technical problem solving and explaining complicated things in a way anyone can understand.

We love our YNAB customers, and we want to make sure they love their support experience. You’ll look forward to every chat message and email, because it’s an opportunity to help another person gain control of their money and become a better budgeter.

That’s a super-brief intro, and there’s a lot more to it. But first, you need to know if you’ll even like working with us. (We think you will.)

Requirements:

  • Understanding of, or willingness to learn, YNAB
  • Tech-savvy. We’re not saying you need to know C++, but navigating multiple programs at once and troubleshooting technical issues shouldn’t scare you
  • Excellent written English
  • Available to work 5-6 hours a day, five days a week (including a Saturday or Sunday)

We’re profitable, bootstrapped, and growing. YNAB started in 2004, and we haven’t taken any outside funding—we’re in it for the long haul.

We have one overarching requirement when it comes to joining our team: our Core Values need to really click with you. If you’re nodding emphatically while reading it, you’ll probably fit right in, in which case, we can’t wait to hear from you!

First, let’s talk about life at YNAB, and then we’ll go into detail about what we’re looking for.

Who You’ll Be Working With:

Natalie is our Support Onboarding Manager—which means she has the best job ever. She walks you through your first few months on the team and helps you learn all there is to know about supporting our users. When not working, you’ll find her spending time with her family, planning her next vacation, or taste-testing queso.
Your Team: During your first few months, you’ll be a part of a team of other new support specialists, along with a few seasoned specialists who support you in your new role. You’ll have your own Slack channel, and work together as you navigate your new position at YNAB. After the onboarding period, you’ll transition to a permanent team of experienced specialists and a passionate manager who are eager to help you continue to learn and grow with the team!

How You’ll Work at YNAB

We work really hard to make working at YNAB an amazing experience (we’ve even been named Fortune’s #1 Best Small Company to Work For) and have a team full of truly exceptional people—the kind you’ll be excited to work with. Here’s how we operate:

Live Where You Want

We’re a fully distributed team, so you can live and work wherever you want. Proximity doesn’t influence productivity. Just make sure you have a reliable internet connection and are available for your scheduled shifts.

Take Vacation (Seriously)

Just because you can work from anywhere, it doesn’t mean you should—we want you to take vacation. It’s important to get out and do something. We offer a PTO plan for our part-time team members that kicks in after your first 8 weeks, and look forward to seeing pictures of your vacation in our in our #office_wall Slack channel. 

International is Absolutely Okay

Our team is spread all over the world, including Switzerland, Argentina, Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, and all over the United States. We currently set up team members who live in the U.S. or U.K. as employees, and those who live in other countries as independent contractors. 

Retirement Benefits

We offer retirement benefits for our employees in the U.S. and the U.K. In the U.K., we contribute six percent to your pension; in the U.S., we offer both Traditional and Roth 401k options, and we match your contributions up to six percent of your paycheck. You’re eligible after your first eight weeks and YNAB’s matches vest immediately. (Are you a personal finance junkie like our founder Jesse? He set up YNAB’s 401k to have the lowest fee structure possible, where all plan costs are paid by YNAB, not your retirement nest egg. The investment funds available are fantastic, passively-managed, ultra low-cost index funds. You’re not a PF junkie? Trust us, it’s awesome.)

Scheduling

We want your schedule to be sustainable, so we’ll work with you to find one that works well in your life. This typically looks like a total of 25-29 hours spread across 5 days of the week, including one Saturday or Sunday. Of course, life happens and you may need to chat with your manager about adjusting your hours from time to time, but you should anticipate working the same schedule each week. 

Your First Eight Weeks

All support specialist roles begin with an eight week temporary employment agreement. Maybe you’ve never had a remote position before, or it’s your first time working in email or chat support. This temporary period helps both you and us confirm this job is a good fit. Our onboarding period provides extensive training and feedback while you learn the ins and outs of the role. While we don’t expect any issues (we only offer positions to those we feel confident in), these first few weeks are also an opportunity for us to double-check that you can meet the expectations we have for our specialists. At the end of week 8, if we’re both feeling great about it, we’ll send a new employee agreement for a permanent position on the team.

Other Tidbits

  • After your onboarding period, we DEMAND (in a friendly, ALL CAPS IS YELLING way) that you fill out your Bucket List spreadsheet with 50 items. (That’s harder than it sounds!) Good things then follow.
  • The bucket list also really helps in deciding what we should give you for your birthday and Christmas. 
  • After your first 8-weeks, we’ll set you up with a shiny new computer
  • Did I mention we make a huge, positive difference in people’s lives? You may not think that matters much, but then a few months down the road you’ll realize it’s made your job really, really enjoyable. Don’t underestimate this one!
  • If this sounds like your ideal environment, read on because now I want to talk about you. You will play a big part in helping people succeed at budgeting with YNAB. You will change lives.

Apply Now

Now, back to you, our new Support Specialist…

What Success Looks Like:

At YNAB, our goal is for our users to achieve life-changing financial control. No small thing, right? You’ll join our ever-growing support team and work together to deliver quick, accurate, and friendly responses via email and chat.

You balance clarity, accuracy, personalization, and speed as you craft a reply to a user’s email. Then with time and practice, you’ll be comfortable taking on the most difficult conversations.

You’re incredibly passionate about great customer support. While you may not have an official support background, you understand the role it plays in the success of a business and know the work you do makes a real difference to our users.

You love problem-solving. You’ll have the impossible task of seeing the forest and the trees. You’ll dive into the depths of a customer’s issue, infer from their (sometimes vague) descriptions exactly what’s going on, anticipate where they may get confused next, and clearly explain what they need to do in order to have continued success with YNAB.

You’re tech-savvy. Maybe you’ve dabbled in APIs or geek out over data in a spreadsheet, or maybe you’re simply the go-to person for friends and family when an app or program isn’t working. Regardless, you know your way around a computer, and can easily navigate the multiple tools and programs we use every day (often simultaneously!). And when something doesn’t work as expected, you feel confident troubleshooting the issue yourself. 

You don’t mind answering the same question multiple times a day, because it’s a different customer each time—another chance to make someone’s day. You manage to exceed expectations even when delivering a different answer than the customer was hoping for. You also love that repetition gives you a chance to identify improvements and efficiencies in our work, and are quick to share what you find with the team. 

You’re really good at switching gears. You’ll answer three emails in a row—one about how to get a reluctant spouse to budget, the next about a bank not pulling in transactions, and another from a college student who realized they really need a budget for all their pizza and ramen—and not miss a beat.

You know that speed of response is extremely important, but you can walk that fine line between speed and accuracy. You are a master of being clear and friendly within the same sentence, and consistently meet or exceed our team-wide metrics. Though you might be a perfectionist, you know when it’s time to ship it and click send.

You play really nicely with others. You’re flexible. You adapt and adjust. You pick up conversations mid-stream from a colleague who is off for the weekend, and offer a virtual high-five when the conversation is closed: customer satisfied. And when we ask you to jump in on a project with other support specialists, or lend your skills to a fellow team member, it’s your best week ever. We’re a team of helpful and friendly people; you fit right in.

You love to learn. You love constructive feedback because it helps you improve. You look forward to getting feedback on your responses because you know it is an opportunity to learn and see someone else’s point of view.

You enjoy taking that one extra step beyond what’s expected. You’re creative in that way. You consistently force us to ask you questions like, “How did you know the customer meant ‘x’, when he was saying ‘y’ the whole time?”

You’re open-minded. Even if you do have prior customer support experience, you’re not afraid to learn about how we do things at YNAB, and seeing how our team goes above and beyond.

A Day in the Life…

You always know your schedule, because it’s consistent week after week. Let’s say you work Tuesday through Saturday from 5pm – 10pm UTC (that’s 1pm-6pm Eastern Time). It’s Wednesday, and you’ve opened your laptop to start working. You clock in and spend a few minutes catching up on any important updates since yesterday.

It’s the first day of the month, so the queue is busier than normal, but that’s expected. To warm up, you take care of any follow-ups that may be lingering since you were last in the queue. A few are from users letting you know your last responses solved their issues perfectly, so your day is off to a great start!

Then, you head to the back of the queue and pick up a couple of the oldest conversations. You’re often surprised by the complexity of questions you see, but you’re excited for the challenge each one brings. And you know you can skip the ones beyond your knowledge level, after tagging it with your name so you can learn what you didn’t know.

Once the email queue is in good shape, you begin your chat shift and enjoy the wide range of topics coming your way. After a couple hours, you finish up your chat shift and follow up with a few chatters via email. 

Today you have your regular one-to-one with your manager, so you pop in your headphones and hop on a video call to talk about your metrics, goals, and bring up some ideas you have on how we can make the support experience more effortless for our users.

Before you know it your work day is over, so you say goodbye to your team in Slack, change your Slack status, and quickly scan your task list and calendar for tomorrow. Satisfied with the day’s work, you close your laptop and move on with the rest of your day.

You’re our ideal candidate if you:

  • Are an excellent self-manager and can send up to 9 email replies per hour.
  • Can flawlessly navigate live chat conversations.
  • Can commit to a set schedule of 25-29 hours per week, with one shift on Saturday or Sunday. 
  • Value excellence and continuous improvement. At the same time.
  • Have excellent written English.
  • You easily adapt to change—things move quickly around here.
  • Understand how every support response is an expression of the YNAB culture and brand.
  • Are considered a stellar communicator.
  • Love to brighten someone’s day.
  • Can tactfully deliver difficult news and get a thank you for it. You’re that good.
  • Enjoy trying things you haven’t ever done before.
  • Aren’t afraid to ask questions and come to every 1:1 with topics to discuss.
  • Are wildly productive and independent, but a team-player at heart.
  • Have a laptop or computer for your 8-week training period (a tablet or Chromebook won’t quite cut it for some of the programs we use).

Bonus points if:

  • You already use and love YNAB.
  • You have experience working remotely.
  • You have customer support experience.
  • You have teaching experience.

Pay for this role is $20 an hour during the 8-week temporary training period, and increases to $22 an hour for permanent part-time team members. 

YNAB is an equal opportunity employer. We believe diversity of backgrounds, beliefs, abilities, and experiences to be critical to our success and are passionate about creating a welcoming, supportive, and collaborative environment for all employees. All are encouraged to apply as we continue to grow a smart, hard-working, and diverse team who love working together to build something that matters.

How to Apply:

Please submit your application by 11:59pm PST on Friday, January 28, 2022.

Attach a PDF of your cover letter. In your cover letter:

  • Introduce yourself and explain why this position is of interest to you, and why you would be a great fit. Please limit this section of the cover letter to 1 page.
  • On a separate page of your cover letter, answer the following questions (with each response being about a paragraph in length): 
  1. What excites you most about this position? 
  2. What is your favorite company to be a customer of? 
  3. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of your current or most recent  job?
  4. Tell us about a time when you had to learn something new to excel at your job. 
  • If you have a prepared resume, attach it in PDF form. If you don’t have a resume because you aren’t even sure you’re looking to change jobs, that’s fine! An informal list of your work and education history is all we’re looking for.
  • Please let us know if you would like to disclose a need for accommodation in connection with the recruitment and hiring process. If so, contact us at accommodations@youneedabudget.com and indicate in the subject line that you’re applying for the Support Specialist role.
  • Note: though we know it is customary in some areas, we’d prefer if you didn’t share a headshot in your application materials. Thank you!

We’re excited to hear from you!

P.S. We’ll send you a confirmation email once you apply. Please add that email to your safe sender list, to ensure that future emails come through. (If you don’t receive it, please check your Promotions inbox, junk folder, or any filters you may have set up.)

P.P.S. If you’re not interested in or available for this position, but know someone who is, we would really appreciate it if you passed this along!

Apply Now

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We’re Hiring a Humbly Confident Product Designer https://www.youneedabudget.com/product-designer-jan-22/ Fri, 14 Jan 2022 19:54:22 +0000 https://www.youneedabudget.com/?p=103904 About Us and Why We’re Hiring We build “You Need a Budget,” the best budgeting software around. (But people in the know call us YNAB, which is pronounced “why-nab.”) For more than a decade, people have been buying YNAB and then telling their friends what a difference it has made in their lives. Google us, or …

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About Us and Why We’re Hiring

We build “You Need a Budget,” the best budgeting software around. (But people in the know call us YNAB, which is pronounced “why-nab.”) For more than a decade, people have been buying YNAB and then telling their friends what a difference it has made in their lives. Google us, or read some of our reviews on the app store, and you’ll see what we mean. We love building something that has a huge positive impact on people’s lives.

We’re a software ecosystem that includes personal budgeting apps for web, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Android phones. Our mission is to make sure the whole world knows that a budget is the best life and financial planning tool ever invented—and help make it simple and joyful to use one.

If you’re the product designer we’re looking for, you have experience designing great interfaces and experiences for most of the platforms listed above. More importantly, you’re a designer who views your job as that of a problem solver. You have a knack for interaction design and love logical UI patterns, but you also foster a deep empathy for people. We design our software to fit our customers more than our fancy, and you enjoy digging through (and conducting!) research that leads the way in the design process. You’ve been around the block a few times and know what it means to design a mature, evolving product. 

Requirements (these are real, actual requirements): 

  • You must have at least three years of experience working in product or game design. Familiarity with complex or data-rich interfaces is a plus. If your experience is primarily in game design, please indicate in your cover letter why you are interested in moving to product design. 
  • You have experience designing applications for both web and mobile. In your cover letter, please include the platforms for which you have designed and your level of experience with them. 
  • We are looking for a designer who has a strong background in user experience and usability but who also can design interfaces independently. This is a truly mixed position where you will be responsible for activities traditionally held in the “UX” and “UI” wheelhouses. And the usability testing / research wheelhouse, too. (Can you have three wheelhouses? Are they still wheelhouses? Yes, we do philosophical tangents, too.)

That’s a super-brief intro to what we’re looking for. But first, you need to know if you’ll even like working with us. Let’s talk a bit about life at YNAB, and then we’ll go into more detail about this role. 

We’re profitable, bootstrapped, and growing. YNAB was founded in 2004 and we haven’t taken any outside funding—we’re in it for the long haul. We have one overarching requirement when it comes to joining our team: our original Core Values Manifesto has to really click with you. If you’re nodding emphatically while reading it, you’ll probably really like it here, and we can’t wait to hear from you!

We live our Core Values every day at YNAB, and we mean it when we say we are an equal opportunity employer. We believe that a diversity of backgrounds, abilities, beliefs, and experiences are critical to our success, and we are passionate about creating a welcoming, supportive, and collaborative environment for all employees. All are encouraged to apply as we continue to grow a smart, hard-working, and diverse team who loves working together to build something that matters.

We also work really hard, together, to make working at YNAB an amazing experience, and we were (humbly) proud to be named Fortune’s #1 Best Small Company to Work For for the last two years. We have a team full of truly exceptional people—the kind you’ll be excited to work with. We’d love to introduce you to a few of them!

Who you’d be working with:

We’re talking product design here, so you’ll be working with a lot of different people. We can’t even list them all, really. So we’ll start with a few of your seven fellow product designers: Alan, Cindy, Dylan, Emily, and Adam. 

Alan can be seen wearing many hats—and loving every second of it. He could be interviewing customers one day and programming a prototype in Framer the next. He loves exploring ideas with teammates and lives for that rush when the team discovers a novel solution to a difficult problem. When he’s not busy designing, he’s probably either at the gym or working to improve his culinary skills… or contemplating the conflicts that occasionally arise between the two.

Cindy sweats the small details when it comes to crafting simple, intuitive experiences. Her favorite part about the design process is learning from our customers to understand their needs. She makes research and user testing a top priority in her workflow. In her downtime, you can bet she’s starting another home improvement project—which she swears she’ll finish soon—or hiking with her dog, Summit.

Dylan loves all things design, especially getting to the simplicity found on the other side of complexity. Above his desk (ahem, kitchen table, it’s a small apartment after all) sits an inconspicuous letterpressed card with Dieter Rams’ 10 principles of good design on it. In his spare time he’s probably doing something active, watching a film, taking photos, practicing piano, reading a book. 

Emily is a design generalist, through and through. What she loves most about being a designer—besides the obvious draw of working with a team to build things people love—is how much there is to learn. Right now she’s focused on honing her coding skills enough to be able to put up the occasional pull request as well as practicing the art of writing great microcopy. She enjoys reading books, cooking, biking, lifting weights, and spending time outdoors. 

Adam is a product designer from Ireland who loves to focus on how people experience YNAB, especially first-time users. He obsesses over the small details, while keeping the bigger picture in mind. You’ll probably find him living in Figma, thinking about solutions to problems or finding new ways to approach things. When he’s not busy with design, he’ll be spending time with his two boys, Charlie and Max, and his wonderful partner, Annie!

And as we said above, you’ll also cross paths with—well—probably everyone else. People like Chris and Sophie (a couple of our engineers), Hannah or Jacob (both product managers), Jannelle (one of our technical support managers), and Kelly (our product marketing specialist).

How You’ll Work at YNAB

Now that you’ve met some of your potential future teammates, let’s talk more about YNAB as a company. Here’s how we operate:

Live Where You Want

We’re a fully remote team, so you can live and work wherever you want (with a reliable internet connection!). That said, you’ll be working predominantly with folks based in North America, so we expect that you’ll be willing and able to work North American hours for a significant portion of your time. Proximity doesn’t influence productivity, but it sure does help with communication sometimes.

No Outrageous Hours

We want everyone to have a full life outside of YNAB, and we seldom work more than 40 hours per week. There have been a few occasions where things got busy and people had to put some extra time in. But then they took some extra time off, so it all balances out. We work hard and smart but we’re in this for the long haul.

Take Vacation (Seriously)

We want you to take vacation. In fact, we have a minimum vacation policy of three weeks per year. Five weeks feels about right (plus two extra weeks for our company-wide December break). It’s important to get plenty of downtime and get out and do something. We’ll look forward to seeing pictures of your adventures in our #office_wall or #travel Slack channel!

The YNAB Retreat

When the pandemic isn’t keeping us from traveling, we get the teams together once a year to catch up on spreadsheets and powerpoints in a Best Western conference room. Just kidding. So far, we’ve done Costa Rica, a gigantic cabin in the mountains, a beach house in the Outer Banks, a ranch in Montana, and most recently, Laguna Beach. We work together, play together, and reinforce the bonds we’ve made as a team and company. Every year, we leave refreshed, motivated, and excited for the year ahead together.

Up Your Game

We’re serious about helping you improve your craft. We budget for it (hey-o!). Think conferences, online courses and subscriptions, dedicated time away from work to learn something new… it’s really up to you and your manager. But we love to see our people growing.  

U.S. or International? Great!

Our team is spread all over the world, including Switzerland, Argentina, Scotland, Canada, and all over the United States. We currently set up team members who live in the U.S. or U.K. as employees, and those who live in other countries as independent contractors. You’re an equal part of the team no matter where you live!

Benefits

For full-time W2 employees in the U.S., we offer fantastic health, dental, and vision insurance, where we cover 100% of the premium for you and your family. No need to check your vision, you read that right—100%. Although if you did need to check your vision, NBD, we’ve got you covered!

We also have a Traditional and Roth 401(k) option. YNAB matches your contributions up to six percent, and matches vest immediately. (Are you a personal finance junkie like our founder Jesse? He set up YNAB’s 401k to have the lowest fee structure possible, where all plan costs are paid by YNAB, not your retirement nest egg. The investment funds available are fantastic, passively-managed, ultra low-cost index funds. You’re not a PF junkie? Trust us, it’s awesome.) For U.K. employees, we also contribute six percent to your pension.

Competitive Compensation

The starting salary range for this position is $98,000 – $121,000 USD annually. We consider raises every year, and have a bi-annual profit-share bonus, which you’re in on from day one. YNAB wins, you win—that kind of thing.

Other Tidbits

  • Once you start, we DEMAND (in a friendly, ALL CAPS IS YELLING way) that you fill out your “Bucket List” spreadsheet with 50 items. (That’s harder than it sounds!) 
  • The bucket list really helps in deciding what we should give you for your birthday and the holidays.
  • We’re all adults. There’s no need to punch a clock, or ask for permission to take off early one afternoon to go see the doctor. We look at what you accomplish, not how long you’re in front of a computer.
  • We want you firing on all cylinders so we’ll set you up with a shiny new computer and replace it every three years.
  • Did we mention that YNAB makes a huge, positive difference in people’s lives? You may not think that matters much, but then a few months down the road you’ll realize it’s made your job really, really enjoyable. Don’t underestimate this one!

If this sounds like your ideal environment, read on because now we want to talk about you, and how you’ll play a big part in changing people’s lives.

Apply Now

Now, back to you, our new Product Designer…

What Success Looks Like: 

Our goal is for every customer to achieve life-changing financial control—and for the whole planet to realize it’s possible. No small thing, right? In 2022, we’re focused on making YNAB effortless for new budgeters from their very first experience, and also helping all customers see YNAB fit their needs—functional, social, and emotional—as they resolve financial struggles.

You’ll need to: 

  • Understand the journey our customers take, not just as they use our apps, but in the real world as they seek to take control of their financial lives.
  • Learn the principles, design system, and financial logic of our apps like the back of your hand. You have no problem designing a cross-platform feature for the web and mobile apps. You can clearly discern and navigate the relationship between the UI and the available data behind the scenes. 
  • Solve design problems in a customer-centric feedback loop. Research plays a big part in our design process so you’ll need to break down quantitative analytics and qualitative feedback to make informed design decisions. You’ll also follow up on the data gathered after the feature is released and continue to iterate and improve your designs until the data confirms success. 
  • Guide your work from ideation to release. You will document your work for review with fellow designers, developers, product managers, and stakeholders, make agreed-upon refinements, and will work with the developers on the upcoming feature. Design reviews during the development process examine form and function and you will see the feature through to the end. 
  • Be comfortable iterating with low-fidelity designs and prototypes while working in cross-functional teams made up of developers, product managers, marketers, and customer-facing team members (waterfalls are for rivers!), while continuing to pursue a meticulous and thorough design.
  • Communicate and document the styling, flows, and the impact of your designs on other parts of the system. You’ll update this documentation as feedback comes in and the apps evolve. On the flip side, you’ll provide feedback in design reviews that is clear and helpful in moving our products forward. We sell software, not mockups. 
  • Communicate, explain, persuade, explore and otherwise get all the things done in writing. Yes, we like talking to each other, but as a remote team, much of our collaboration is asynchronous and written.
  • Be comfortable writing a first pass at UI copy which is then refined with the help of your team in design reviews. There’s no lorem ipsum here. 
  • Speak the language of software development. If you’re also comfortable diving into HTML and CSS (or any of the programming languages in our development stack!) to help implement your design work, that’s a plus, but it’s not a requirement.
  • We use Figma for the vast majority of design work and maintaining our design system. You will aid in the expansion and maintenance of the design system and feel comfortable contributing new UI for our applications and website. If you have experience developing and maintaining design systems and can help us strike a balance between fighting for consistency and pushing the design system forward, that’s another plus.
  • Be comfortable talking to customers in interviews and usability testing. You have a knack for summarizing research in a concise way to share with teammates. 

Finally, the success of a designer at YNAB hinges upon the ability to approach design as holistic problem solving for both customer and business goals. We work collaboratively here and you’ll listen to ideas, questions, and critiques from teammates with grace and patience. That said, you know your stuff and can eloquently and logically explain design decisions. You see this type of exchange as critical to the success of yourself and our product: it is through sharing ideas and being open to the brilliance of others that we arrive at the best solutions.

How to Apply

  • Apply below by 11:59pm PST on Sunday, January 30th. Firm. It’s a real deadline. The kind you love.
  • Attach a PDF of your cover letter (1.5 pages at most). In your cover letter:
    • Introduce yourself and explain why this position is of interest to you, and why you would be a great fit. 
    • Please include the platforms for which you have designed and your level of experience with them. 
    • If your experience is primarily in game design, please indicate why you are interested in moving to product design. 
    • We love a designer with a perspective. What’s yours? Feel free to touch on your beliefs on how design should be done, what it’s used for, or why it’s important. 
  • Please include a portfolio that contains the following: 
    • Design work across web and mobile 
    • Your design process (for example, sketches, interviews, documentation, etc.)
    • Links to any live work 
    • Please state the role you played on each project
  • If you have a prepared resume, attach it in PDF form. If you don’t have a resume because you aren’t even sure you’re looking to change jobs, that’s fine! An informal list of your work and education history is all we’re looking for.
  • Please let us know if you would like to disclose a need for accommodation in connection with the recruitment and hiring process. If so, contact us at accommodations@youneedabudget.com and indicate in the subject line that you’re applying for the Product Designer role.
  • Note: though we know it is customary in some countries, we’d prefer if you didn’t share a headshot in your application materials. Thank you!

We’re excited to hear from you!

Apply Now

P.S. We’ll send you a confirmation email once you apply. Please add that email to your safe sender list, to ensure that future emails come through. (If you don’t receive it, please check your Promotions inbox, junk folder, or any filters you may have set up.)

P.P.S. If you’re not interested in or available for this position, but know someone who is, we would really appreciate it if you passed this along!

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How to Budget With Irregular Income https://www.youneedabudget.com/say-goodbye-to-crazytown-mastering-your-variable-income/ Thu, 13 Jan 2022 11:00:00 +0000 https://www.youneedabudget.com/say-goodbye-to-crazytown-mastering-your-variable-income/ If you’re trying to figure out how to budget with irregular income, we’ve got the solution for you. We can’t change the fact that you don’t know exactly when or how much you will get paid, but we can teach you to be in total control of your money, and stop stressing about it! This …

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If you’re trying to figure out how to budget with irregular income, we’ve got the solution for you.

We can’t change the fact that you don’t know exactly when or how much you will get paid, but we can teach you to be in total control of your money, and stop stressing about it! This eight-part series will teach you exactly how to budget successfully and meet your financial goals despite your irregular income.

You’ve got a good thing going. Maybe you sell real estate, (or subscriptions or packaging or pharmaceuticals), or you own your own business or take pictures or design websites or write copy. Some sort of job that involves fluctuating income. 

You work hard—there is no doubt a lot of hustle involved—but you also have a lot of flexibility. Sometimes you can’t really believe that people pay you to do the thing you love, or use the app you developed, or that the more you sell, the more you’ll earn.

It might have seemed a little wild to the very responsible 9-to-5 people in your life, but you’re doing it. And it is a little wild. Especially the part about never knowing exactly what amount of money you will make or when that income is received. Yeah, it makes creating a budget to meet your monthly expenses more challenging. 

But you keep telling yourself, you are living the dream. At least part of the dream? On some days? Because the rest of the time you are just plain stressed. Well, anxious and stressed.

And it’s probably not the work. It’s the money—or lack thereof—or maybe just the not knowing about the money and the waiting for the money. Or the flaky clients, late invoices, and unexpected expenses. Sound familiar?

The Irregular Income Rollercoaster

It isn’t just you. Living on an unpredictable income is a wild ride. The highs are high (So much work! Big invoices paid on time! New business! Extra money! Feeling rich!) and the lows are low (Uncertainty. Doubt. Fear. Feeling stuck and poor. Dwindling emergency fund. Credit card debt. So poor. What if you never get another job again?).

Or maybe you work seasonally, and a few large expenses blindside you just as you transition to your slowest months.You’re stressed about money just about every minute of the day—and night, because you can’t sleep when you are stressed about money.

Why did you ever think this would work?

Because it can. Once you understand how to tame the irregular income beast.

Oh, and also, once you accept, love and honor the all-knowing power of living a budget-based life. 

Don’t Believe The Irregular Income Hype

The problem is, someone probably told you that budgets don’t work with irregular income, and you believed them. Or maybe your own experience has made you quite sure that “irregular income” is synonymous with money stress. You’ve tried to forecast. You’ve tried to budget. Nothing has worked.

The good news (yes, there is good news!) is there are a couple of simple reasons why what you’ve tried in the past hasn’t worked. And better yet, some very specific solutions you can put in place to change your relationship with your money, giving you more control of your finances and your business than you ever thought possible. Also—bonus!—the best sleep of your life.

Learn more about small businesses and budgeting with the Budget Nerds.

Everyone Needs A Budget—But Especially You

Let’s get this straight—everyone needs a budget. But you–you and your variable income–need one even more.

The budget will help you to flatten out the highs and the lows. The budget will give you boundaries so you aren’t always guessing. The budget allows you to save money, plan for the future, and position yourself to take calculated risks. The budget will give you the confidence to make better decisions. The budget will ensure that you can eat in all the months, not just the good ones.

If your budget hasn’t worked/isn’t working, it’s probably because:

1. Your Budget is Set in Stone.

Talk about a budget, and most people imagine something you set at the beginning of the month (or, worse, the year!) and then twist yourself in knots trying to match it. Or else you failed. Everything in your life changes week-to-week and day-to-day, why pretend a budget is different? Budgets can and should be flexible.

2. Your Budget Is Built Around Anticipated Income.

Budgeting money you don’t have yet is like a farmer promising exact deliveries of crops to his neighbors the day after he puts seeds in the ground. It doesn’t work. Instead, he should wait until the crops actually grow, then take stock and divvy them up appropriately. What you actually have is different from what you think you might have.

A budget that replicates itself each month without thinking or a budget built on a hopeful forecast of what money might come in is, at its best ineffective; at its worst, downright dangerous—especially with variable income.

Not Just Any Budget

You need a budget that is as nimble and adaptive as you are (or hope to be). You need a budget that works with the amount of income you already have in hand, and that helps you prepare for your future plans.  And the things you don’t know about yet. A budget that puts you in the driver’s seat.

Over the next eight posts in this series, right here in this space, we will teach you how to build and maintain a flexible budget that will become one of your greatest tools. Your business—and your life—will never be the same.

In the meantime, ask yourself, “What would I do with my career or my business if you weren’t always stressed about money?”

Next: Part 2: How to Make Spending Decisions When Your Income is Unpredictable

Have you been believing the “it’s too hard to budget with irregular income” myth? Take the first step towards changing your life with a free trial of YNAB!

 

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How to Establish Healthy Money Habits https://www.youneedabudget.com/these-money-habits-will-supercharge-your-budget/ Wed, 12 Jan 2022 11:00:00 +0000 https://www.youneedabudget.com/?p=58882 One of the YNAB team members made an excellent point about the recurring cycle of exercise resolutions that so many of us find ourselves stuck in every January: “I had to stop thinking about exercise as something I did and start treating it as part of my identity. Instead of saying ‘I exercise three times …

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One of the YNAB team members made an excellent point about the recurring cycle of exercise resolutions that so many of us find ourselves stuck in every January:

“I had to stop thinking about exercise as something I did and start treating it as part of my identity. Instead of saying ‘I exercise three times a week’, I would tell myself ‘I’m the type of person that never misses a workout’. ”

His take aligns with my own experiences, and it exposes an important aspect of habit change—that we have to be able to find a version of ourselves that can accomplish the goals that we yearn to fulfill.

The thing is, changing ourselves can be scary, whether we’re conscious of it or not, so we often resist it. As Seth Godin said:

“Your audacious life goals are fabulous. We’re proud of you for having them. But it’s possible that those goals are designed to distract you from the thing that’s really frightening you—the shift in daily habits that would mean a re-invention of how you see yourself.”

Establish Healthy Money Habits

If, as one of your resolutions, you’ve decided to give budgeting a try, you probably have some big financial goals (and we are proud of you for that!). Maybe you’d like to get out of debt or save up to buy your first home or start establishing more healthy money habits. Wonderful! Don’t lose sight of what motivated you to start in the first place.

But, perhaps, it would be helpful—especially if you’re feeling at all overwhelmed—to focus on something small. To pick a habit to practice.

Choose Something That Feels Doable

Imagine how different your finances could look in a year if you were the kind of person who cooked more at home, instead of grabbing food on the go? Or if you planned to spend a little money on fun each month, rather than caving into your whims? What if your “impulse buys” became planned purchases instead? What if your spending habits aligned with your life’s priorities instead of the day’s mood?

Challenge yourself to pick a habit, something that feels doable, and commit! To get you started, I interviewed Team YNAB for some of their favorite financial habits—the ones that they feel make the biggest impact for the smallest input.

The YNAB Team’s Healthy Money Habits

  • “It helps to have your categories dialed in—you need them to be specific enough that you’re able to effectively evaluate your spending. For example, we added a fast-food category because we wanted to really track that and see if we could spend a little less on grabbing food in a pinch. We also wanted to be more intentional with our overall non-grocery food spending.” —Ryan, Digital Marketer
  • “I like to have one overarching goal to motivate me. Right now, it’s paying off my mortgage.” —Ernie, Educator
  • “Entering transactions manually and reconciling weekly keeps my eyes on my budget, which gives me constant awareness of how I’m progressing toward my goals. This also gives me the freedom to adjust, in the moment, when I’m not doing as well as I want to be.” —Jacob, Customer Support Manager
  • “Allowing some wiggle room (which happens automatically with YNAB) … I let myself have fun money.” —Emily, Executive Assistant
  • “As we work on getting out of debt, keeping an eye on how much we’ve paid off over time using the net worth and/or spending reports has been a huge motivator … having something tangible to look at as we progress helps to keep us on the path to debt freedom.” —Justin, Q.A. Owner
  • “It’s really motivating to add a category just for a special thing you want to purchase, and then put a couple dollars here and there towards it (like the Wish Farm!)” —Michele, Support Specialist
  • “I try to enter expenses, as they happen, to stay on top of things and split out those pesky Target/Amazon/Costco receipts so that I am prepared to accept the matching import as soon as it happens. Once I start falling behind, it’s so easy to keep putting it off.” —Amanda, Support Specialist
  • “I always do a quick rundown of the budget with my spouse before the weekend or before we’re about to do something out of the norm. For example, when he goes up north for hunting, we’ll quickly go over how much we have in the transportation, dining out, and hunting categories. That way, he knows what’s available to spend on gas, food and any gear he might need, and I’m able to move money around if one of the categories is lacking. It helps us reduce our unnecessary spending because we’re conscious about it beforehand.” —Sarah S., Support Specialist
  • “I set a target for most categories so there is an indicator if I try to move too much money to another category. It’s a reminder of the priorities I set when I was thinking more clearly.” —Kari, Customer Support Director
  • “When there’s a red dot on my YNAB mobile app, I know there’s something I need to do in the budget, and I clear it up within the day.” —Jen, Support Specialist
  • “I check my budget every morning over tea (associating it with another existing habit makes it easier). I also turned on text alerts from my bank, so I don’t even bother getting a receipt for most spending. I just sit in the car and enter the transaction right there.” —Kat, Support Specialist
  • “Daily. Reconciliation. Period. If I go longer than four or five days before reconciling, I spend exponentially more time on my budget. Daily reconciling decreases my budgeting time so much, helping me focus on life!” —Dan, Support Specialist
  • “Watching the net worth report keeps me on track. Sure, it goes up and down, but if it’s trending up, I know YNAB is working.” —Arturo, Marketing Developer
  • “Setting goals helps remind me of our priorities. In a weak moment, looking at my goals is the reminder I need to stay on track.” —Shannon F., Support Specialist

Choose Your Healthy Money Habit

So, what will your first new habit be? If you’re still considering the possibilities, why not sign up for a free, online Q & A session for a how-to and pep talk? Bring your questions, our teachers are happy to help.

Ready to create a budget to help you track your spending, save money, and establish healthy money habits? Try a free trial of YNAB for 34 days. No credit card required!

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How to Pay Off Debt Fast: 12 Ideas https://www.youneedabudget.com/read-this-when-you-are-ready-to-become-a-debt-slaying-maniac/ Tue, 11 Jan 2022 11:00:00 +0000 https://www.youneedabudget.com/?p=39032 Trying to figure out how to pay off debt fast? Good for you. Once you commit—like, really commit—to tackling your debt, you might find that you get a little bit obsessed (in the best way!) with paying off your debt as aggressively as possible…and that’s the best way to get out of debt for good.  …

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Trying to figure out how to pay off debt fast? Good for you. Once you commit—like, really commit—to tackling your debt, you might find that you get a little bit obsessed (in the best way!) with paying off your debt as aggressively as possible…and that’s the best way to get out of debt for good. 

Yes! Aggressive debt pay-down! This is where things start to get interesting! So, sit back and prepare to question absolutely everything. 

How to Pay off Debt Quickly 

Think drastic and dramatic—but also temporary. Freeing up cash is the name of the game and you will become a debt-slaying maniac! Here are a few ideas to get you started on the path to becoming debt free:

1. Work Down a List of Quick Wins

You said you wanted to get aggressive, so, what can you give up, or dial back, or do without for a little while? Remember this is short-term. This is a sprint. These are not forever changes, they are short-term strategies to free up cash:

  • Do you need A/C in the whole house? Can you just keep it in one room just for a while?
  • Are you paying for a faster internet speed than you really need?
  • Do you need Netflix and Hulu? Maybe you could live without one (or both?) for a season?
  • Put your bills under a microscope. What’s really going on with the phone bill? Are you paying for unlimited data that you never use? Look at your monthly payments critically.
  • Does your ten-year-old car need collision insurance?

Make it a game (and a reality) by joining the More Money Challenge. There are just three simple rules to follow for 34 days:

  1. Track your spending
  2. Only buy essentials
  3. No eating out

Can you do it? Join here! The key here is to question everything

2. Evaluate Wants Vs. Needs—Be Brutal

You may find it helpful to look at your budget categories and sort them into wants and needs. This exercise can help give you new perspective and a framework for weighing decisions and priorities in a whole new light. Focus on paying for wants first. 

Already have a YNAB budget? See how to make this happen.

3. Stop Eating Out

I know, I know. But remember: short-term sprint! Maybe you can’t cut it out altogether but could you cut it in half? Or limit yourself to once a week? Gamify the challenge by joining the More Money Challenge for extra inspiration.

4. Cut Cable

You don’t need cable. Netflix can get you through the lonely cable-free nights while you get out of debt. That money adds up fast and can help you pay off debt faster!

5. Experiment With A Spending Freeze

Look at all of your categories and identify some areas where you could institute a spending freeze. Could you go without clothes? No movies? What if you didn’t enter the doors of Target until your debt was paid off? Remember, question all of your assumptions—you have a debt-killing mission to prioritize!

6. Negotiate Lower Interest Rates

Call your creditors and ask them for a lower interest rate. This sounds crazy, but it actually works way more often than you’d think. Asking makes the difference. Any money you aren’t spending on interest is money that can go straight toward your debt. Start with the highest interest rate and work your way down the list. Win-win.

7. Get Creative

Instead of spending money to replace something—could you borrow it or rent it? Instead of getting a babysitter, could you do a babysitting swap with a friend? Could you carpool? Scarcity forces you to be more creative, but you might find out you were capable of so much more than you ever thought possible.

8. Extra Cash Is Extra Cash

What can you sell? What are you not using? How could you declutter or simplify, and make some extra money along the way? It’s a one-time influx of cash, but it could give you a little boost! And cash is king, especially while you are aggressively paying off debt! Throw any “found” money towards increasing your minimum payment for a while. 

You Thought That Was Aggressive…

Ok, are you getting warmed up? Starting to feel more aggressive? Good, because now we’re going to tip-toe into really, really aggressive territory. The next four suggestions are a little more major in scope, sacrifice, and consequence—but they will shift you into hyperdrive in terms of getting your debt down to a big, fat zero. Forget everything you think you know and consider:

9. Could You Share A Car?

Do you really need both (all?) of your cars? Could you get by with one car? Selling a vehicle will deliver a lump sum, but you’ll also save every month with less insurance, gas, and maintenance. You might think through the logistics and decide it simply won’t work for you. That’s OK, but the discussion is important; you need to put it all on the table, nothing is safe from the scrutiny of this journey.

10. Should You Downsize?

Could you move to a smaller place? Do you need that extra bedroom or parking spot? Again, maybe you really do. Or maybe moving would generate so many extra expenses the math doesn’t work out. But for so many of us the lion’s share of our monthly expenses goes toward rent/mortgage and downsizing can free up significant cash flow.

11. Could You Find a Second Job or a Side Hustle?

If you’ve cut spending as much as you’re comfortable with and you still want to move things faster, the other side of the coin is making more money. The beauty of a second job or a side hustle is that it’s like free money, it isn’t accounted for in any way and you can put it all directly toward your debt.

Time is money, so make sure you think it through from all angles, but in terms of speeding up paying off your debt, the extra money is where it’s at. Ask yourself:

  • How much could you bring in by working more?
  • How much faster would you be able to pay down your debt?
  • How long would you need to keep it up?
  • What are the trade-offs?
  • Is this a season where it is viable to have less time with family and friends?
  • Are there other commitments you would need to let go of?

12. Should You Change Zip Codes?

Yep, this is about as crazy as it gets. But it’s no secret: your dollars go further in some places compared to others. Trust me, I know this one first hand after moving from Seattle to Metro Detroit. Do I have eight coffee shops within walking distance now? Nope. Do I have mountains, ferries, and a bustling arts culture a bike ride away? Nope. Don’t get me wrong, I lost some serious cool points after the move, but for us, having really firm financial health has given me a lot of warm fuzzies that equalled if not exceeded the joys I found in living in a thriving coastal city.

I’m definitely not saying people in high cost-of-living areas should move (they’re expensive for a reason! They’re usually pretty cool!), but if you’re not in absolutely in love with where you live, maybe this is an opportunity to make a change in a big way toward your long-term financial goals.

Tools to Help You Pay Off Debt Quickly

Want a fun, digestible guide on exactly how to prioritize your debts and ensure your payoff is a successful one? Check out our video course on how to pay off debt for a short, informative, and occasionally hilarious roadmap. Runtime is just over an hour.

YNAB’s loan planner is another great tool to help keep you motivated to pay off your mortgage, car loans, personal loans, student loans, and more, so check that out too!

.

The Loan Planner lets you experiment with seeing how much time and interest you can save with extra or increased payments.
The Loan Planner lets you experiment with seeing how much time and interest you can save with extra or increased payments.

Check out 5 Best Apps to Help You Pay Off Debt for even more ideas.

Stretch Yourself, But Be Realistic

The worst thing that could happen is that you are so aggressive paying off your debt that you put yourself in a position where you actually incur new debt. Which would just be demoralizing and we don’t want that. Aggressive is great—we are big advocates of temporary, aggressive tactics for big impact—but ultimately, slow and steady still wins the race.

Make sure you are leaving yourself enough breathing room to roll with some measure of unexpected. Sacrifice, be willing to go a little bit out of your comfort zone but don’t create a situation where you are so miserable that you’re likely to give up.

You will not believe how amazing it feels to not have your debt holding you back. Now, go get it!

Don’t have a budget yet? That part is important. Try YNAB for free for 34 days and pay down your debt quickly!

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How to Do Credit Cards in YNAB https://www.youneedabudget.com/how-to-do-credit-cards-in-ynab/ Mon, 10 Jan 2022 11:00:00 +0000 https://www.youneedabudget.com/?p=54347 Like your friend Brittany, credit cards in YNAB can be a little extra. Credit cards in YNAB don’t have a positive balance that feeds the budget like checking and savings accounts. In fact, more often than not, you have a negative balance waiting to be paid off. Prefer to watch instead of read? Watch this …

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Like your friend Brittany, credit cards in YNAB can be a little extra. Credit cards in YNAB don’t have a positive balance that feeds the budget like checking and savings accounts. In fact, more often than not, you have a negative balance waiting to be paid off.

Prefer to watch instead of read? Watch this video on setting up credit cards in YNAB.

Let’s say you have a -$2,400 balance on a Visa card. While you might not be able to pay it off right now, you do know you can make a payment of $300 each month to chip away at that balance.

When you set this up in your YNAB budget, you’ll see a new account listed with a negative balance of -$2,400 showing up in red text. Plus, you’ll also get a Credit Card Payment category added to your budget itself with a monthly target amount of $300. See what that looks like in the video below:

How to add a credit card in YNAB and pay off the amount over time.

See how these new budgeters set up credit cards in their YNAB budget.

What Happens When I Buy Things With My Credit Card?

When you spend money on a credit card, you create a little bit of debt. Did you buy that gum? Well, sort of, but you haven’t actually spent any of your money. The credit card bought the gum for you and eventually you will pay them back. That’s debt

The important thing is that you reserve the money to pay off that debt, and that is what your YNAB budget is designed to do. Here’s how it works, using that gum (yes, silly) as an example:

  1. When you add a credit card to YNAB, a Credit Card Payments Category is automatically created.
  2. Assign some money to your groceries category (using money you already have!).
  3. When you swipe your credit card to pay for the gum, enter a spending transaction for groceries in your credit card account. When you do this, the money to cover the gum purchase will move from that Groceries category to your credit card payments category. Automatically.
Buying gum at the grocery store and paying with your credit card? Money will move automatically from the Groceries category to the Credit Card Payments to prep for your future credit card bill.

Now, your money sits there in the Credit Card Payment Category. Twiddling its thumbs. And that’s a good thing, because in this world nothing is certain, except death and taxes…and your credit card bill. Here’s how to do that last one in YNAB:

But What About Credit Card Interest?

Now, some of you may be asking, “OK, I get that, but my credit card company charges interest. How do I handle that?”

Interest is the fee that your credit card company charges you for extra time to pay off debt. Pretty much the only good thing about interest, is that it might motivate you to pay off your debt faster to avoid the extra charge.

As with any expense, you need to budget for interest payments. To do this, set up an “Interest” category in YNAB. If you don’t know exactly how much the interest will be, budget a little more than you expect.

Then, when interest hits your credit card balance, record it in your credit card account, just like any other expense. Instead of buying groceries (or something fun), you’re buying more time to pay off your debt.

Eyes on the Prize

The faster you pay off your credit card, the less interest you’ll pay, so be aggressive! YNAB is designed to help, that’s why our software handles credit cards this way—we want to help you focus on budgeting your cash, and avoid going further into debt, so that you can finally be debt-free!

Want More Help With Using Credit Cards in YNAB?

Our wonderful teachers offer free, live classes and have workshops specifically to master your credit cards and create a debt paydown plan.

Browse Workshops

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We’re Looking for a Product Manager https://www.youneedabudget.com/product-manager-jan2021/ Fri, 07 Jan 2022 22:02:45 +0000 https://www.youneedabudget.com/?p=103795 About Us and Why We’re Hiring We build “You Need a Budget,” the best budgeting software around. (But people in the know call us YNAB, which is pronounced “why-nab.”) For more than a decade, people have been buying YNAB and then telling their friends what a difference it has made in their lives. Google us, or …

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About Us and Why We’re Hiring

We build “You Need a Budget,” the best budgeting software around. (But people in the know call us YNAB, which is pronounced “why-nab.”) For more than a decade, people have been buying YNAB and then telling their friends what a difference it has made in their lives. Google us, or read some of our reviews on the app store, and you’ll see what we mean. We love building something that has a huge positive impact on people’s lives.

We’re a software ecosystem that includes personal budgeting apps for web, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Android phones. Our mission is to make sure the whole world knows that a budget is the best life and financial planning tool ever invented—and help make it simple and joyful to use one.

YNAB is growing, and so is our product team. You’re the product manager we’re looking for if you’re collaborative, results-oriented, creative, persistent, and disciplined. (So far, so good?) You love solving complex problems—both internally and for our users—and know what it means to build a mature, evolving product. You’re customer-centric and have a knack for developing a deep understanding of users’ needs, and you could say the same about understanding the challenges a SaaS business like YNAB faces in the larger market landscape. You probably organize things in your sleep and enjoy making sense of chaos, but you’re also comfortable living in spots where messy is THE place to be. You communicate for a living and you know it, so you understand the language of development and design, marketing and support, and use those languages well in all mediums, from face-to-face, to long-form, to comments in a Figma file. You expound on decision-making strategies for way too long at summer barbeques, but somehow keep people listening. 

Requirements (these are real, actual requirements): 

  • You must have at least five years of experience working in the SaaS industry, at least four of which were as a product manager. Complex, data-rich applications are a plus.
  • You must have experience in cross-functional product development. And we really mean that cross-functional part.

That’s a super-brief intro to what we’re looking for. But first, you need to know if you’ll even like working with us. Let’s talk a bit about life at YNAB, and then we’ll go into more detail about this role. 

We’re profitable, bootstrapped, and growing. YNAB was founded in 2004 and we haven’t taken any outside funding—we’re in it for the long haul. We have one overarching requirement when it comes to joining our team: our original Core Values Manifesto has to really click with you. If you’re nodding emphatically while reading it, you’ll probably really like it here, and we can’t wait to hear from you!

We live our Core Values every day at YNAB, and we mean it when we say we are an equal opportunity employer. We believe that a diversity of backgrounds, abilities, beliefs, and experiences are critical to our success, and we are passionate about creating a welcoming, supportive, and collaborative environment for all employees. All are encouraged to apply as we continue to grow a smart, hard-working, and diverse team who loves working together to build something that matters.

We also work really hard, together, to make working at YNAB an amazing experience, and we were (humbly) proud to be named Fortune’s #1 Best Small Company to Work For for the last two years. We have a team full of truly exceptional people—the kind you’ll be excited to work with. We’d love to introduce you to a few of them!

Who you’d be working with:

We’re talking product management here, so you’ll be working with a lot of different people. We can’t even list them all, really. So we’ll start with (just a few of) your fellow product managers: Elena, Hannah, Lee, and Milène. 

Elena started at YNAB as a support specialist, and empathy for the user experience remains a big focal point for her. Elena is an ever-optimizer, constantly trying to make our processes more efficient. Pre-YNAB she worked in the cheese industry—if you’re a fan of fromage, you can look forward to many tasty recommendations!

Hannah loves building empowered, innovative, and trust-filled teams and is deeply invested in helping individuals and communities change their financial narratives and realities. She has a penchant for prepositional phrases and an abiding absorption with acronyms (and alliteration). She’s also a dancer and performing artist. 

Lee is passionate about pattern recognition and paring down complex problems into simple solutions. He loves trivia, word puzzles, and finding the exact right vacuum attachment for the job. Lee firmly believes that some leftovers are better when not reheated.

Milène joined YNAB from the data world and is eager to make YNAB more data-informed but not data-obsessed. She regularly helps her friends better manage their finances and can now scale this passion through her job. Outside of work, you can find Milène trying the latest NYC restaurants, planning her next travel adventure, or emptying her mind with a jigsaw puzzle.   

And as we said above, you’ll also cross paths with—well—probably everyone else. People like Sophie and Scott (a couple of our developers), Niki or Adam (both designers), Angela (our Head of Support), and Kelly (our product marketing specialist).

How You’ll Work at YNAB

Now that you’ve met some of your potential future teammates, let’s talk more about YNAB as a company. Here’s how we operate:

Live Where You Want

We’re a fully remote team, so you can live and work wherever you want (with a reliable internet connection!). That said, you’ll be working predominantly with folks based in North America, so we expect that you’ll be willing and able to work North American hours for a significant portion of your time. Proximity doesn’t influence productivity, but it sure does help with communication sometimes.

No Outrageous Hours

We want everyone to have a full life outside of YNAB, and we seldom work more than 40 hours per week. There have been a few occasions where things got busy and people had to put some extra time in. But then they took some extra time off, so it all balances out. We work hard and smart but we’re in this for the long haul.

Take Vacation (Seriously)

We want you to take vacation. In fact, we have a minimum vacation policy of three weeks per year. Five weeks feels about right (plus two extra weeks for our company-wide December break). It’s important to get plenty of downtime and get out and do something. We’ll look forward to seeing pictures of your adventures in our #office_wall Slack channel!

The YNAB Retreat

When the pandemic isn’t keeping us from traveling, we get the teams together once a year to catch up on spreadsheets and powerpoints in a Best Western conference room. Just kidding. So far, we’ve done Costa Rica, a gigantic cabin in the mountains, a beach house in the Outer Banks, a ranch in Montana, and most recently, Laguna Beach. We work together, play together, and reinforce the bonds we’ve made as a team and company. Every year, we leave refreshed, motivated, and excited for the year ahead together.

Up Your Game

We’re serious about helping you improve your craft. We budget for it (hey-o!). Think conferences, online courses and subscriptions, dedicated time away from work to learn something new… it’s really up to you and your manager. But we love to see our people growing.  

U.S. or International? Great!

Our team is spread all over the world, including Switzerland, Argentina, Scotland, Canada, Iceland, and all over the United States. We currently set up team members who live in the U.S. or U.K. as employees, and those who live in other countries as independent contractors. You’re an equal part of the team no matter where you live!

Benefits

For full-time W2 employees in the U.S., we offer fantastic health, dental, and vision insurance, where we cover 100% of the premium for you and your family. No need to check your vision, you read that right—100%. Although if you did need to check your vision, NBD, we’ve got you covered!

For full- and part-time W2 employees in the U.S., we also have a Traditional and Roth 401(k) option. YNAB matches your contributions up to six percent, and matches vest immediately. (Are you a personal finance junkie like our founder Jesse? He set up YNAB’s 401k to have the lowest fee structure possible, where all plan costs are paid by YNAB, not your retirement nest egg. The investment funds available are fantastic, passively-managed, ultra low-cost index funds. You’re not a PF junkie? Trust us, it’s awesome.) For U.K. employees, we also contribute six percent to your pension.

Competitive Compensation

The starting salary range for this position is $105,000 – $121,000 annually. We consider raises every year, and have a bi-annual profit-share bonus. YNAB wins, you win—that kind of thing.

Other Tidbits

  • Once you start, we DEMAND (in a friendly, ALL CAPS IS YELLING way) that you fill out your “Bucket List” spreadsheet with 50 items. (That’s harder than it sounds!) 
  • The bucket list really helps in deciding what we should give you for your birthday and the holidays.
  • We’re all adults. There’s no need to punch a clock, or ask for permission to take off early one afternoon to go see the doctor. We look at what you accomplish, not how long you’re in front of a computer.
  • We want you firing on all cylinders so we’ll set you up with a shiny new computer and replace it every three years.
  • Did we mention that YNAB makes a huge, positive difference in people’s lives? You may not think that matters much, but then a few months down the road you’ll realize it’s made your job really, really enjoyable. Don’t underestimate this one!

If this sounds like your ideal environment, read on because now we want to talk about you, and how you’ll play a big part in changing people’s lives.

Apply

Now, back to you, our new Product Manager…

What Success Looks Like: 

Our goal is for every YNAB user to achieve life-changing financial control—and for the whole planet to realize it is possible. No small thing, right? In 2022, we’re focused on helping all users see YNAB fit their needs—functional, social, and emotional—as they resolve financial struggles.

Looking inward, you’ll also help us evolve our systems and processes to deliver top-notch, dare we say life-changing, experiences to our users. We’ve been growing. A lot. We’ve worked hard to create teams that are autonomous and outcome-focused, but we’ll never be ones to rest on our laurels. We expect you to speak up when you see an opportunity to improve our organization and processes, and to embrace change as we continue to grow.

You’ll need to: 

  • Regularly ship real value to our users. You can both live two years ahead of your team and support them in the present moment as you shepherd work from discovery to ideation to release to follow-up. In particular, you’ll work hand-in-hand with a product designer on your team to jointly develop vision, prioritize, and execute on strategy.
  • Understand the user journey, not just the one in our apps, but also the one in the real world as users resolve their financial struggles.
  • Be comfortable with multiple discovery and ideation strategies in your quest to make YNAB consistently better. You enjoy talking to customers in user interviews and usability testing and have a knack for summarizing research in a concise way for teammates. 
  • Be a curious, persistent, and quick learner, staying ahead of new ideas, technologies and other opportunities to help YNAB users take total control of their money, and maybe even sleep better at night.
  • Understand deeply that at YNAB “cross-functional” isn’t code for “designers and engineers.” We know that great ideas can come from anywhere, so Support Specialists and Marketers are also members of our flat product teams. 
  • Learn the design principles and financial logic of our apps like the back of your hand. Then learn our engineering processes like the back of your other hand. Then find another hand for internalizing our brand, marketing strategies, and support ethic.
  • Synthesize and make sense of ALL THE DATA and information about our products, for yourself and to help others across the organization make better decisions. You’re fluent in quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis—and are cautious about the failings of each.
  • Communicate, explain, persuade, explore and otherwise get all the things done in asynchronous formats. Yes, we like talking to each other in real time, but as a remote team, much of our collaboration is asynchronous and written.
  • Be intensely curious. Period.
  • Oh, also, not to the exclusion of anything else, but you’re intensely curious about how people learn, what motivates them, how they change and develop habits, and how behavior inside a product might change behavior outside it.
  • Be comfortable speaking the language of software development and product design. If you’re also comfortable diving into HTML and CSS (or even one of the programming languages in our development stack!), that’s a plus, but it’s not a requirement. Being conversant across all disciplines is key.
  • Manage key partner relationships, from day-to-day communication to contract negotiation.

That’s twelve bullets, but let’s still say that your success as a product manager comes down to this: Your ability to approach product development as holistic, simultaneous, problem-solving of both user and business goals. 

And if we haven’t yet spilled enough metaphorical ink on this idea: We work collaboratively here so you’ll listen to ideas, questions, and critiques from teammates with grace and patience—not because that’s nice, but because you see this as critical to our shared success. That said, you know your stuff and can eloquently and logically explain decisions and, not for nothing, make them when the rubber hits the road. Full stop.

How to Apply

  • Apply below by 11:59pm PST on Sunday, January 23rd. Firm. It’s a real deadline. The kind you love.
  • Attach a PDF of your cover letter. 
    • In your cover letter, introduce yourself and explain why this position is of interest to you, and why you would be a great fit. Please limit this section of the cover letter to 1.5 pages at most.
    • Include the word “evaluate” somewhere in your cover letter. 
    • On a separate page of your cover letter, answer the following questions (with each response being about a paragraph in length):
      • What attracted you to this position? (This is not about what attracted you to the software.)
      • What criteria do you look for when searching for your next company or position?
      • What are your favorite and least favorite parts of your current job?
      • Tell us about a time when you had to learn something new to excel at your job.
      • We love someone with a perspective about product development. Answer, in one paragraph: How early is too early to ship? How late is too late?
  • If you have a prepared resume, attach it in PDF form. If you don’t have a resume because you aren’t even sure you’re looking to change jobs, that’s fine! An informal list of your work and education history is all we’re looking for.
  • Please let us know if you would like to disclose a need for accommodation in connection with the recruitment and hiring process. If so, contact us at accommodations@youneedabudget.com and indicate in the subject line that you’re applying for the Product Manager role. Please only use this email address for that purpose.
  • Note: though we know it is customary in some countries, we’d prefer if you didn’t share a headshot in your application materials. Thank you!

We’re excited to hear from you!

Apply

P.S. We’ll send you a confirmation email once you apply. Please add that email to your safe sender list, to ensure that future emails come through. (If you don’t receive it, please check your Promotions inbox, junk folder, or any filters you may have set up.)

P.P.S. If you’re not interested in or available for this position, but know someone who is, we would really appreciate it if you passed this along!

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10 Ways to Get a Month Ahead of Your Expenses https://www.youneedabudget.com/10-ways-to-get-a-month-ahead-of-your-expenses/ Fri, 07 Jan 2022 11:00:00 +0000 https://www.youneedabudget.com/?p=55788 Learn how to get a month ahead with your bills and budget for less stress and you’ll never have to worry about over drafting. We’ve got some ideas to get you started. Picture this: ten bills with the same due dates and instead of wallowing in despair, you just pay them—without batting an eyelash. The …

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Learn how to get a month ahead with your bills and budget for less stress and you’ll never have to worry about over drafting. We’ve got some ideas to get you started.

Picture this: ten bills with the same due dates and instead of wallowing in despair, you just pay them—without batting an eyelash. The money has been sitting right there in your checking account for a month (or longer!). Sound like magic?

But how can an ordinary person, with an ordinary salary, get so far ahead of their expenses that an entire month’s worth of new paychecks simply lay, unused, on top of the pile? 

The answer is bit by bit, month by month, and budgeting. Get creative, find ways to spend less, new ways of earning money, and watch your money grow (old). Here’s some ideas on how to reach that blissful state of being a full month ahead with your bills, car insurance, debt payments, savings goals, and stay there. Kiss living paycheck to paycheck goodbye once and for all.

How You, Too, Can Have Old Money.

Unfortunately, you can’t simply take your dollars to the beach, sans sunscreen, and let the sun work it’s age-accelerating magic. You’re stuck waiting on the sands of time to get the job done. Luckily, there are unlimited ways to ramp up your savings as you wait for those gainful granules to fall. And here are ten strategies to put to use.

Unfortunately, you can’t simply take your dollars to the beach, sans sunscreen, and let the sun work it’s age-accelerating magic. You’re stuck waiting on the sands of time to get the job done. Luckily, there are unlimited ways to ramp up your savings as you wait for those gainful granules to fall. And here are ten strategies to put to use.

1. Sell Stuff You Don’t Use

Just the other day I had an old pair of skis collecting dust in the garage. A few quick clicks and a Facebook Marketplace listing later, I had $50 of cold, hard cash.

You know how the old saying goes: one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Sites like Facebook Marketplace, Poshmark, and Ebay make it easy to turn a basement of clutter into a gold mine and earn extra money.

2. Cancel, Cancel, Cancel

This one’s obvious, but it gets really good if you can be merciless. You can dramatically minimize your monthly bills with a few keen evaluations of the subscriptions you actually need and want. No use to pay bills for things you don’t need. Here are some examples:

  • Cut down on your streaming subscriptions (do you really need all seven?)
  • Cancel an audiobook streaming service (many podcasts are free!)
  • Switching from a paid service to a similar, freemium service (or downgrading your account for more cost-friendly pricing)
  • Canceling a gym membership (Exercise is free!)
  • Cut ties with the monthly box membership that sends you more stuff than you could possibly need in a month.

3. Try the More Money Challenge

Sometimes we just need to hit the reset button with our spending. Maybe it was an out-of-control online shopping binge, or just a credit-card hangover from holiday spending. Swing the pendulum the other way with the help of an intense, all-out savings challenge! For 30 days, follow three simple rules:

  1. Track your spending (every dollar)
  2. Only buy essentials (you decide what’s an essential)
  3. No eating out (say what now?)

After 30 days of this intense sprinting, the average participant had over $1,000. Just think: in just over a month from now you could make some serious progress on your month-ahead goals with a little elbow grease and motivation from this challenge.

Learn more about the challenge.

4. Cook Your Own Meals

The degree of difficulty for this one depends on your lifestyle, but it packs a punch! Do some research for budget-friendly recipes, and you’ll really feel the difference. Bonus: cooking at home can help you minimize your spending and your waistline.

5. Get Cheap, Real Cheap

I know some folks are very loyal to their favorite brands, but think about it. Would you rather pay more to bathe, or save that money and enjoy financial peace a decade early? Now, I’m not about to start throwing out brands or categories only to deeply offend, but I will challenge you to try generic on things you don’t actually care that much about.

For me, that means a lot of my grocery staples come in the form of the grocery store brand, I’ve yet to splurge on a $90 bottle of moisturizer (the $16 version seems to be working just fine), I get books from the library rather than buying, and for big ticket items I try to rent or buy used before purchasing. 

On their own, each of these little scootches toward frugalness add up to $1 here, $10 there. But once you start stacking these on top of each other, you might see savings of hundreds of dollars each month! Your savings account will thank you. Heck, it might even hug you, if it could do such a thing!

6. Keep the Car and Fix It

The cheapest car is usually the one you’re driving right now. It is oh-so-tempting to sail into a different car with a low monthly payment and no money down once the $1,000 maintenance bills start showing up. But here’s the thing, paying to fix your old car (especially if you own it outright or are about to) keeps more money in your pocket than shelling out a monthly payment on a depreciating car that is a nice-to-have but not a need-to-have.

I drive a car that was made the same year that frosted tips and Motorola phones were all the rage. It’s old. A few months ago I paid $800 to fix something. What I fixed, I don’t know. My husband does though and apparently it was a fair price. But we own it outright. In the next year or two it will likely require another $1K-$2K of repairs. 

Things like these mental hacks are one of the best-kept secrets of being debt free or paying off debt faster. What if—instead of fixing—I decided it was time to get a new-to-me car with a $350/month payment. After a single year of ownership, that new-to-me car has gobbled up $4,200 of my hard-earned cash. After two years, $8,400.

If I would’ve just kept my old car and kept repairing it for about $1,000 a year, I’d have saved $6,400 from that decision alone! That’s enough for many folks to be a month ahead (or more!).

7. Just Use Less

Turn down the heat, turn up the AC, drive less or get off of your phone! Look at your bills that fluctuate with use, and see what you can do to minimize your usage. Once we started meal planning and using up more food that was already in our pantry, we saw our grocery bill drop by over $100 a month! Of course, that won’t be possible for everyone, but what other bill could you affect with a behavior change?

8. Minimize Gift Purchases

People that love you will understand if you can’t participate in this year’s gift exchange. They want to see your face, and enjoy your company—that’s what really matters! So opt-out, or try something more economical.

Another idea that I came across, last year, was totally free: trading ‘grateful fors’. That family’s gathering sounded so fun, I might try it myself! Here’s how it works: Everyone writes down the top three things that they were grateful for that year. Then they go around the room sharing their memories. For a modest price increase, you could add hot cocoa, too. Sounds merry and bright to me.

Finally, you can gift experiences! A day hiking with Dad. An afternoon watching the entirety of a favorite movie series with your sister. If you thoughtfully customize this one for the recipient, it might just be their favorite gift from you, yet.

9. Save Your Surges!

When you get money from tax returns, bonus checks, gifts from grandparents and, yes, even that ‘extra’ check in longer months? Treat them like fine cheese, and age them! These infrequent surges are much easier to bank, because they’re not part of your regular monthly income.

10. Hustle!

If you can find a way to add more income to your life with a side hustle, you’ll age your money at warp speed! Get a seasonal or part-time job—be strategic and pick an industry that you’d enjoy when you’re not at your full-time job.

Or offer your professional talents as a freelancer (just make sure you’re not violating anything in your employee contract). For motivation, check out the this Heard it From Hannah video and get inspired.

How to Track Your Progress

You can make more money, you can spend less, but what will help tremendously in this process is a system to measure your progress. And we wholeheartedly suggest you need a budget if you don’t already have one. We’re on-brand, what can we say?

A zero-based budget will help you see exactly how much you need every month: everything from your monthly bills to your yearly car insurance and holiday spending. Plus, it helps earmark things like your emergency fund or savings goals to protect that cash too. 

With your monthly baseline, say it’s $3,500/month—you’ll know that you need to have $3,500 every month. If you make $4,000/month, you’ll know that in just seven months you’ll be there in glorious month-ahead land without too many difficulties. 

If you’re not currently using a zero-based budget, try YNAB for free! Use it to find your monthly number and then track your progress to breaking the paycheck to paycheck cycle. It’s only a matter of time before you’re out!

Remember, This Is Temporary.

As with most things in life, the speed at which you age your cash will vary. And remember, none of these suggestions has to be your new normal! Streamline your lifestyle for a tolerable amount of time, save up some dollars, and then adjust. You might find that you really don’t mind spending less in some areas, and keep some of your new habits, too!

For more help getting a month ahead, drop into one of our free, interactive sessions about cutting spending or saving money on groceries. It’s a place to ask questions and our teachers are wildly brilliant, relatable, and here to help.

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My Experience Doing the YNAB More Money Challenge https://www.youneedabudget.com/moremoneychallenge-experience/ Thu, 06 Jan 2022 10:34:00 +0000 https://www.youneedabudget.com/?p=102866 How I spent less and saved $900 in a month doing YNAB’s More Money Challenge. I’m a frequent Amazon shopper. No joke, the Amazon Prime driver actually waved to me while driving down our street the other day (and we weren’t even getting a delivery!). While I don’t spend a ton of money on discretionary …

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How I spent less and saved $900 in a month doing YNAB’s More Money Challenge.

I’m a frequent Amazon shopper. No joke, the Amazon Prime driver actually waved to me while driving down our street the other day (and we weren’t even getting a delivery!). While I don’t spend a ton of money on discretionary purchases, I’m definitely an impulsive shopper and the Internet makes it way too easy. It’s amazing how I can want something one day, and have it at my doorstep within 24-48 hours.

The month before I did the More Money Challenge, I paid off my last credit card (yahoo!). Since I now had a bit of extra money in my budget, I spent a lot of time thinking about where those dollars should go. I was feeling very motivated to throw as much money as I could at my next debt—my seemingly insurmountable student loans (cue dramatic music). 

When the More Money Challenge came along, I saw it as an opportunity to see just how much I could milk my budget, and find out how much wiggle room I really had. The challenge had three simple rules to do each day for 30 days:

  1. Track your spending, every penny.
  2. Only buy essentials (you decide what your essentials are).
  3. No eating out (go ahead, wince). 

By the end of the challenge, we would be lean, intentional, mindful of our money, and with roughly $1,000 extra dollars in our pockets. I was a little nervous to begin.

Sound like your cup of tea? Join the challenge!

We Ordered One Last Pizza

Before the challenge started, we ordered one last pizza and I hoped for the best. I was tempted to go on a spending spree before starting, but I didn’t do that, which felt like a win. 

There were several other team members doing the challenge and I found that very motivating. Knowing that I was not alone made the challenge much easier to do, and it was helpful to have others to commiserate (and celebrate!) with.

We Set Our List of Essentials

While “No Eating Out” is rule #3 of the challenge, you do get to decide what counts as essential and what counts as groceries. I swapped our delivery pizza nights for frozen pizza—which, surprisingly, turned out to be just as satisfying. Turns out it’s less about the pizza and more about not cooking! I tried to whittle back on otherwise indulgent grocery purchases, but this wasn’t a diet—I still bought cookies and a few bars of chocolate. 

Now that I think about it, I’d say that the grocery aspect was the most difficult for me. I spend a ton of money buying groceries that are convenient but definitely not necessary (think frozen waffles, pancake mix, etc). I also love sweets (hence the chocolate and cookies). While I didn’t cut back entirely on these purchases, I definitely felt more aware of them during the challenge. 

See some tips for how to spend less, shop less, and have more fun in the kitchen!

YNAB’s More Money Challenge is a Sprint

Strangely enough, I didn’t miss online shopping as much as I anticipated. I think the fact that the challenge was finite really helped. I wasn’t changing my habits forever, just for 30 days. Hey, I could do that! I found that it helped to keep a list of items that I wanted to buy. Adding them to my online cart felt just as satisfying, and allowed me to “shop” without breaking any rules. 

After the first two weeks or so, this quickly felt like my new normal. 

I Was Motivated to Look for Ways to Bring in More Cash

The challenge turned out to be a motivating spark to look hard at ways I could bring in extra money. Here’s what I did:

  • I had purchased a membership to our children’s museum a few months before COVID hit. They were closed for several months, and although they are now open with restrictions, I don’t feel comfortable going there right now. I contacted them and was able to receive a refund of 50% of my membership fee. 
  • I had a subscription that I paid for but never used (buyer’s remorse!). Again, with just a quick e-mail, I was able to get my money back—close to $100.
  • I downgraded my American Express card to avoid the $95 membership fee that was about to hit my account. 
  • I sold things that had been sitting in my closet for months. 

Our kids are small (3 and 16 months), so we hadn’t been going out much to begin with with COVID restrictions in place, but we had cut way back on unnecessary outings and our social lives had dwindled considerably. In the end, if you save $1,000, it doesn’t matter if COVID restrictions made it easier or harder—you still have $1,000.

I put all “found” money right into the category I had created. It was an easy way to build it up! Around the 30-day mark, things started to feel pretty tight. Having already whittled down my discretionary categories, it became harder and harder to bring in extra money. I stuck with the spending aspect of the challenge and ended up with just over $900 saved!

5 Tips to Make YNAB’s More Money Challenge Work for You 

  1. Think of something you want to use the money for. Something you’re excited about. Make it motivating.
  2. If shopping is your weakness, remove external triggers. Delete apps. Unsubscribe from e-mails. Immediately recycle catalogs, circulars, etc.
  3. Look hard at your expenses. Ask yourself, “How can I reduce this expense?” Then ask yourself again. And again. 
  4. If you slip up, don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead, consider what you can do to prevent the slip for the rest of the challenge. Ask yourself what you were trying to do when you “broke the rules”. Were you bored? Hungry? Upset? Make a plan to better address these feelings next time. 
  5. Lean on the YNAB community for support. You’ve got this!

Do something radical. The More Money Challenge is designed to help you save more, spend less, and line up your money with what matters most. Ready to begin?

Join the Challenge

The post My Experience Doing the YNAB More Money Challenge appeared first on You Need A Budget.

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