Why We LOVE YouNeedABudget

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Around Christmastime, Jesse was chatting with his sister’s husband, Justin, about budgets. They are both what I’d lovingly refer to as “nerds”.

You know the kind of people… those people who think spreadsheets are fun. And who geek out over features in Excel. Yup, those kinds of people.

You might as well poke my eyeballs out with a hot iron rod than get to me be giddy over creating spreadsheets. But nevertheless, I love Spreadsheet Nerds because they help keep people like me in line and on track! :)

Anyway, Justin started telling Jesse about YouNeedaBudget (YNAB). We’d both heard of it before had been good with using Quicken for so long that we’d not considered changing to anything else.

Well, when Jesse saw the features of YNAB, he was intrigued enough to sign up for the free trial. And it was pretty much love at first sight.

Truthfully, I can’t even begin to tell you how often I’ve heard him exclaiming to me, to friends, or just to himself something about, “How cool and helpful YNAB is!”

I’m such a pen and paper and cash girl, but after all his raving reviews, I finally gave in and downloaded it on my phone and had him show me how it works. It’s really, really impressive. I’m pretty sure I’ll forever be connected to my green cash, but I love how we can see exactly how we’re doing in every budget in just one glance. unnamed

And since we have multiple budgets for our businesses and personal, it allows us to track them all in one app. Which is so handy!

I asked Jesse to share what he loves about YNAB most. Here’s what he said:

  • I love having mobile access to my budgets.
  • I love being able to access all of my budgets on demand.
  • YouNeedABudget makes budgeting easy by assigning each expense to a category and automatically takes it out of the budget when you record the transaction.
  • If you record the transaction from your phone using the mobile app, YNAB will update the balance and display the new category balance once the transaction is entered.
  • All budgets stay synced on all devices through Dropbox so you always look at the most recent numbers.
  • You can easily import transactions at one time from your bank by importing a downloaded statement on your computer.

YouNeedaBudget

I asked the folks at YNAB to share what sets their Budgeting Software apart from others out there and here’s what they shared:

1) You only budget money you have right now.

2) It is flexible. Rule Three: Roll with the Punches – removes any shame in overspending in a particular category any given month. It will happen. All the time. That doesn’t make you a failure. Just adjust, address it and move on.

3) There is a manual component. We are asking you to be hands on, to be aware of every dollar, to be involved with your budget. This requires a little bit of time (although once you get used to it, it’s super quick and easy), but this is also why it works. Without awareness nothing will change.

4) We want you to live on last month’s income. Yes, this takes some time to achieve for most people, but once you can do this you will be shocked at how little stress you have about money. Once you live on last month’s income, you’ll never go back!

5) A lot of people think of budgeting as restriction, but what YNAB will give you is control over your finances, and that control translates to freedom.

6) A lot of people come to YNAB because they are drowning in credit card debt or paying overdraft fees every month – and YNAB changes their lives.

7) YNAB has a killer support team and offers free, online daily budgeting classes.

ynab4_account_split_trans ynab4_account_import ynab4_report_net_worth ynab4_budget{The four screen grabs above are fictitious examples provided by YNAB.}

Sign Up for a Free Trial

Want to try out YouNeedABudget? Sign up for a free trial here. {Psst! YNAB is free for college students. Details are here.}

Have you used YNAB or another budgeting software before? I’d love to hear about your experiences — both positive or negative.

This post was underwritten by YNAB. We were so happy to share honestly about a product that we’ve found to be a wonderful tool in our home and for our finances. Read my disclosure policy here

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5 Simple Tips for Saving Big on Back to School Expenses

5 Ways to Save Big on Back to School Expenses

School is starting really soon (or has already started!) and that means there are probably a number of different things you need to purchase — from school supplies to clothes for your kids for fall and winter to electronics and more.

Here are five simple tips to help you save big on those back to school expenses:

1. Create a Budget.

You knew I was going to say this first, didn’t you? But it’s imperative to start by knowing how much you have to spend.

Without a budget, you won’t have parameters for what you have to work with and there’s a good chance money will just slip through your fingers like sand.

I always recommend that you consider using a cash budget. Why? Because this gives you instant self-discipline: when the money’s gone, the money’s gone!

If you don’t really have any money to work with at all, is there something you could sell to drum up some extra cash? Could you cash in some of your points on Swagbucks for gift cards you could use toward school supplies? Could you sell last year’s wardrobe that your child outgrew to fund this year’s wardrobe?

Also, consider having a swap meet with your friends to swap school supplies and clothes. Bring what you don’t need/no longer use and swap it with others.

5 Ways to Save Big on Back to School Expenses

2. Identify Needs vs. Wants.

Once you’ve determined your budget, then you need to take a hard look at what you can realistically afford in that budget. If money is especially tight, focus on the most important items first.

If your child desperately needs new shoes because the only ones they have are two sizes too small, that’s a high priority. Start with what is a true need versus just a “would be nice to have” first.

This is a great conversation to have with your children to help them understand what a need is and what a want is. It’s not wrong to spend money on wants, but help your child learn how to prioritize needs first. This is a valuable lesson for them to understand and grasp at an early age and will benefit them all their life.

5 Ways to Save Big on Back to School Expenses

3. Compare Prices

Use an app like Flipp (it’s free to download!) to price compare all of the best deals at local stores in your area. Then, either hit the store with the most deals or, stop at Walmart and price-match all the best deals at your local stores.

To do this, just check the ads, make a list of local prices, take these to Walmart, and tell your cashier what local prices you’re price-matching on the items you’re purchasing. Walmart’s corporate coupon policy says you don’t need an ad in order to price-match, however, I usually bring the ads with me in case there’s any issue or confusion about what the price is. {Flipp makes it really easy to price-match at Walmart because you can have all of the ads right at your fingertips!}

5 Ways to Save Big on Back to School Expenses

4. Buy Used.

Thrift stores, yard sales, consignment sales, and online sites such as ThredUp can be a treasure trove of bargains on back to school clothes for kids. You have to dig, but if you are patient, you can find incredible deals.

One of my favorite ways to find good deals at thrift stores is to go on the dollar days. Not all thrift stores have them, but it’s definitely worth checking into to see if your local thrift stores offer fill a bag for $5 or $1 days. Also, sign up for your thrift store’s email list to be notified of when they are having special offers and sales.

We’ve gotten amazing deals at consignment sales over the years, too. If you have extra time and energy, you can volunteer or sell at a consignment sale and you’ll usually be able to get first dibs on the deals — and possibly better pricing, too.

I’d highly recommend reading this article on how to stockpile clothes by shopping at yard sales. If you want to be even more strategic, check out this article on How to Shop Yard Sales for Free.

For more suggestions on how to maximize your consignment sale shopping experience, check out this article on Saving and Making Money With Consignment Sales and this article on How Selling on Consignment Works For Me.

5 Ways to Save Big on Back to School Expenses

5. Buy Extras.

When looking at the back-to-school sales, don’t just buy what’s on the required list from your local school. Buy extras of things such as glue, crayons, paper, notebooks, markers and other items you use on a regular basis around your home.

These sales are a great opportunity to stock up on office and craft supplies we use on a regular basis—all at the cheapest prices you’ll be able to get all year.

In addition, because many teachers have to pay for some of their classroom supplies out of pocket, how about buying extras of the great deals and donating them to your children’s’ classroom or purchasing them for a local family who is struggling financially?

How do YOU save on back to school supplies?

mail.google.com

This post is underwritten by Flipp — an app that brings all of the weekly sales fliers from your local stores to the digital age in a dynamic and personalized way, and aggregates all your favorite circulars onto one digital device for access anywhere, anytime.

With Flipp, busy parents have seamless access to their favorite weekly ad fliers from their favorite retailers  – and all the savings of each weekly circular right in their fingertips – without lugging around paper or cutting coupons! mail.google.com

What sets Flipp apart from other circular apps is that users can search by retailer (local groceries, larger big-box stores), or search for specific items (backpacks, notebooks, clothes, cereal), or even search for a specific savings amount, and they can create shopping lists to start the shopping experience beforehand or in the store right on their digital device.

With Flipp’s new shopping list feature, shoppers can quickly find the best deals for their weekly essentials. Once they’re in the store, users can easily check off items from their list – built right into the app! – to ensure they pick up everything they need (and also stick to their list!).

Download Flipp on iTunes or Google Play.

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