Level Up My YNAB Budget

You may have been expecting another Mins Game post today, but I’m still working on that… So I’m going to start on another topic that I haven’t touched on in a while… my finances! I haven’t done a financial update post in a long, long time… (Last one was June 2018.) But don’t worry, I haven’t stopped budgeting or using my beloved YNAB (You Need A Budget)… So today I wanted to give you a small update on how all that is going…

Note: this post is not sponsored in any way, I just really love YNAB.

I don’t think it’ll come as a surprise to anyone who has been reading my blog for a few years that I love YNAB. It’s a budgeting application that really speaks to me. Originally, when I started using it, it was a software that you purchased (one time purchase), and it used your own drop box account to share the budget between different computers or mobile apps. In recent years, they have moved to a web based app with an annual subscription fee, but you were still able to continue to use your one time purchased software if you wanted. And so I did, because I hate being pushed in to annual subscription fees…

But… Last fall, I decided to finally check out the new app (I think I was actually forced to because a new operating system on our home computer was no longer compatible with the older version that I had been using). They offer a free trial (34 days – so you can go through a full month – and if you use my referral link to sign up we can both get a free month!), which I did before I committed. I exported my existing budget data, and transferred it all to the new app… I didn’t want to lose any of the historical information stored in the years of budgeting that I had done. I will admit that there were some hiccups in the transfer, and the first month in the new app I have purposely noted that it is the “transition” month because there were some messy things I had to do to get the numbers to line up. But… since that process was done, I really liked the new features, and also appreciated that the synchronizing between devices was seamless. It was “supposed” to be before, but there were always weird things that didn’t mesh well when inputting on the phone app, then looking at them on the computer program…

Anyway, fast forward to last month, and I’ve been using the new app for a while, things are going pretty good. I figured I knew what I was doing with the app. I was using it well. We have been through a few changes in our finances, had some large expenses and gained some new debt, had some variable income… We are coming out the other side now, and things are starting to settle out, and then… BAM! I found the YNAB youtube channel… And man, the game changers that I have learned in the last few weeks of watching their videos… It’s not that I was using the app incorrectly, it’s just that there was so much more that I could do. And so I wanted to quickly go over some of those things and how they are helping me get ahead with out finances.

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December 2015 Budget Review

2016 starts tomorrow, and even if I do spend some more money today, the transaction wouldn’t go through until next month (or next year!!) so I can do the budget review today.

This will be the last budget and review that I do this way.  I’ve decided that having all these actual cash numbers out on the internet for the world to see makes me a little nervous, so I’m going to move to a different format for the new year, which I will share with you “next year”!  (It never gets old!)  But I figure I would finish off with this final review before switching it up.

So, let’s get started… To put it simply… We did the classic holiday overspend.  We spent more on gifts that we had in the budget, bought lots of food and drink for all the celebrations, and went out with friends and family more than we had budgeted for.  Lucky for us, we have a buffer and using the YNAB software we can move things around to make it hurt a little less, and it just means that our available budget for January is smaller.  No problem… The benefits of living off last month’s income and keeping rainy day funds in a lot of categories.

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November Budget Review & December Budget Preview

November Budget Review & December Budget Preview

Another month has finished, so it is time for yet another budget review and preview post.  We are starting the last month of 2015, so this will be my last post like this for the year.  That means that I’ve met my goal of budgeting every month for the entire year! Woohoo!  🙂

Before I get started on reviewing November, I wanted to revisit October quickly… I made mention in my review of our October spending that I had business expenses that would be reimbursed and I wasn’t sure how I was going to deal with them in YNAB.  I ended up splitting the reimbursement payment in to two so that the expenses in October were covered by part of the payment, and the ones I paid for in November were covered by the other part of it.  It makes it not 100% match my bank statements, but it makes the summary numbers for the month make more sense.  I’m not going to update that post, but our spending for the month of October looks much nicer now and is under $8000, and it also makes it so our “overspending” in October went down so it now looks like we didn’t budget everything in November…

Oct&Nov Business Expenses

Okay, so now for the spending numbers for November…

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October Budget Review & November Budget Preview

Oct Nov Budget

October was a crazy month for me.  Not only was it a three pay cheque month for me, but I was pretty much away for work the entire month for work, so I worked a ton of overtime.  It definitely inflated our income for November’s budget and has helped to complete a few of my financial goals.

I was extremely proud of how low our spending was in September, and while October seems to have been a bit more expensive according to the YNAB numbers, it includes some work expenses that will be reimbursed once I submit my receipts, and we are still miles below the summer months.  I’m very happy about that… but I have to take it with a grain of salt… I was away for work almost the entire month, so I didn’t really have any opportunity to spend… and our food budget is really only for one person (my husband) for most of the month… so we’ll have to see how things work once I’m home again… whenever that is…

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September Budget Review & October Budget Preview

September Budget Review & October Budget Preview

I’ve been away for work for a while (still am actually) and haven’t really been too active on the blog… Have you missed me?  And now it’s already a few days in to October, so I better get this September spending review and October budget figured out…

September marks the six month mark of using YNAB software budget.  I’ve written about how much I love YNAB many times, but I have had a lot of fun comparing my monthly spending over the past six months with one of the reports that they have.  Take a look:

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August 2015 Budget Review & September 2015 Budget

August 2015 Budget

I can’t believe that it is already September.  I know that technically the season of summer doesn’t end until mid/late September, but I totally feel that summer has ended with the beginning of September (probably because that’s when school traditionally starts…)  It also doesn’t help that the weather changed over the last few days and brought some nasty rain and wind, and then I got sick, so spent the last few days snuggling under a blanket on my couch.

Anyway, I’m feeling a bit better now, and so it is time to do my monthly budget review and preview…

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July 2015 Budget Review & August 2015 Budget

July 2015 Budget

It’s a little later than I’ve been normally posting my budget reviews… but here it is… Oh, and that means that there are already expenses put in to the August budget… but oh well…

Before I get started, I have to share a little epiphany that I had this month while playing in my YNAB software… so maybe a bunch of you know this already… but I’ve been doing it wrong all along when I’m using the YNAB software… okay, maybe not “wrong” but I found out in the chaos of being spendy this month, that if I budget for a certain amount in a category, and I go over… it uses up everything from that category, and then just takes my “over budget” spending out of the following month’s money… so I didn’t have to do all that crazy moving stuff around that I’ve been doing… or at least not to the same extent… Anyway, I already did all the moving around this month (and there was a lot of it), but for August, I’m going to try to be realistic (I try every month) but then deal with the overages (if they occur) using that feature and see if I like it…

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June 2015 Budget Review & July 2015 Budget

June 2015 Budget

I’ve been dreading writing this post… I know we spent a lot in June… and I knew I was going to have to explain it… so I’ve been putting it off… but I guess it’s time to get it done…

First, the pretty graph:


June 2015 Results Graph

Yes, that huge number in the middle is our total spending for June… over $ XXXXX**!!!  Some was planned spending, but still… the number is crazy high!

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May 2015 Budget Review & June 2015 Budget

I started combining my review and my preview of my budget last month, and it turns out I liked having them together, instead of separate as before, so this is how I’ll do it from now on.

This was my second month using the YNAB software, and I cannot sing the praises of this software enough.  It makes me happy.  And shows me pretty graphs… I splurged and bought a license this month.  $60 USD turned out to be almost $75 CDN with the exchange rate.  But the enjoyment and accountability that I get from this software is worth the expense.

So, let’s take a look at what the YNAB software can show us about our May spending…

May 2015 Results Graph


So our total spending is down from April (by almost $ XXXX**), which is a good sign… and as usual, the big spending categories are always the mortgage and our food & drink… but this month our planned spending was up, as I’m sure it will be for the next couple months as we pay for all the things we’ve been saving up for (our new roof got started yesterday).

Let’s look at the numbers in detail…

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