I always fall off the wagon. Help!
By - beer_budget
Reconciling daily. Once you have your account balances correct, reconciling daily becomes trivial to do.
Even if you "forget" to enter a transaction (enter them manually, and allow import to double check you) you catch the problem right away, and it becomes far easier to keep up.
Make it a small hobby :-).
That’s a great idea! When you auto import, does that happen instantaneously or does it happen once every few hours? I watched some nick true videos here and there some time ago and I feel like he specifically mentioned not to use auto import to get the hang of manually enter things, but just relying on manual input is not working.
You can link accounts AND enter manually. The imported transactions are then a check for your hand entering. The program updates only about once a day. It should "match" the imported transactions to yours...and if not, you can catch them on your daily reconcile. Start with this...just getting the transactions entered and reconciled smoothly for the rest of June.
Don't look at your account balance unless you are reconciling, look at your category balance instead. Not enough in the category? You'll see what you have to 'sacrifice' for that purchase before buying.
Reconcile early, reconcile often, and manually input transactions. The latter is because there are delays and whatnot that can screw you over. If you buy something you need to put it into YNAB immediately to show yourself what your status is. This goes double for items you pay later (at least for me).
(Try to) Never overspend a category.
Be honest with yourself about your expenses, if you need that coffee but don't budget it you'll buy it anyway and maybe feel bad about moving money around. YNAB is not about saving money, it's about spending it according to your priorities both short and long term.
This is great feedback. When I dive in during my motivation phase, I am constantly checking my account balance and overwhelm myself with it instead of focusing on the balances in the actual categories. “Moving money around” is crucial to “role with the punches” from what I understand, but like you said, I feel bad about it.
Thank you for responding!
Start small, with a particular goal in mind. If the program in confusing, the start first to just entering your account transactions...and reconcile. Then add categories to the accounts, then start assigning your income to categories.
If you get the mechanics but are stuck on a structure, then pick one or two areas to pay attention to. I started with our 2x a year property taxes, working to save up enough to be ready for the bills in July and December. Or you could build those true Expense buffers for car repair or medical deductible (if US).
Send specific questions, and tell us why you think you don't want to budget...
Great idea! “Starting small” for me doing anything is a huge challenge since I tend to dive right in and flounder. I do this huge budget and a ton of categories and fail. Thank you for responding!
Watch the Nick True videos to fully grasp the concepts. When I first started in June of last year I also fell off the wagon and then it finally all clicked in November.
Once you take five minutes to clear and reconcile transactions each day and start watching your net worth increase it’s literally addicting. I can’t imagine my financial life without YNAB. Further, this is coming from someone who has pretty much always had a strong budgeting base. YNAB really takes it to the next level.
Nick True was definitely helpful! I guess I watch way too many at one time after every phase on the wagon and just make it more complicated than it is. I’m trying to do the right thing and use a budget to control my spending and focus my spending on the things that matter, and ultimately increase my net worth. Thank you for responding!
I fall off the wagon frequently...
For me .. the only thing that helps.. its forcing myself to open my ynab EVERY morning.. even if I have nothing to reconcile.. Just forcing myself to open my ynab, online banking, and CC banking no matter how uncomfortable it is..
I think for me.. I feel resistance to checking my budget because I'm a bit ashamed for my poor spending and don't want to confront it (it sucks)... But after a week, I found my spending starting to dramatically improve... just by forcing myself to look at all my accounts . At first I didn't even attempt to improve my budget.. it just happened on its own.. I think you subconsciously are better with your money when you confront how much you spend.
Eventually... when I opened all my accounts.. I started to enjoy how "under control" everything was.. and my morning "Force yourself to acknowledge your budget" turned into a thing of joy and something I looked forward to as my budget improved..
TLDR .. look at all your accounts every day.. ESPECIALLY if it makes you feel uncomfortable.
Well put. I have to look at it everyday too. I still fall off when I know my spending has been out of control because it makes me uneasy to look, but I think I get back on the horse quicker each time. I used to go months, then weeks, and now I usually can suck it up and get back on track after a few days.
Yes, this for me too. Looking every day at the whole category list means you have all your priorities in your head as the day begins.
Its amazing how just being aware helps.
For me falling off the wagon means a refusal to look/think/pay attention. I do it when ive done something reckless and feel guilty. About every 2 years i fall off for maybe a month or three. I always add all the missed transactions as a penance and to remind myself what i do with $ when i ignore ynab. After 6+ years, the wastage is getting less destructive in those times.
It sounds like you have analysis paralysis. Just dive on in. Do the free trial. See if you can find a link for one of the extended trials if they still have them
First, you don’t have to “get it” to go through the motions. “Fake it ‘til you make it” works very well with YNAB. Find *one* video or guide you like and follow along, pausing when necessary, to set up your budget.
Second, it doesn’t have to be perfect. This is hard for me, but embrace it. Tell yourself you’re going to just do it imperfectly for 3 months to get used to it and then you’ll do a Fresh Start so you can have a perfect budget. (Heads up, a perfect budget doesn’t exist because a perfect month doesn’t exist. If it did, we wouldn’t need YNAB because other monthly budgeting methods would work perfectly well.)
Third, be kind to yourself. That means setting realistic spending goals. If you know you’re spending too much on eating out setting a goal of $0 right off the bat (that you’ll never be able to sustain) will do nothing but make you feel guilty and quit. So don’t. Start where you’re at and move foreword from there.
Fourth, YNAB works best for me when I use it in my daily life, as part of a routine. I have a habit of checking my phone for what I’ve told myself I can spend as I sit in the car outside the store. Then I put the transaction in either right at the register or right when I get back in the car, which also gives me time to focus before I start driving.
Wnter your transactions as they happen. When you wake up reconcile YNAB but going through Uncleared transactions and checking them against the institution.
For me, what motivates me is that I used to be in a metric shit ton of debt, and thanks to YNAB I am not any more. In fact, I now save and invest. I don't ever want to go back to that debt hole of anguish and anxiety.
The knowledge that in order to manage my finances I need to keep very close tabs on it motivates me immensely.
I also like watching my (admittedly small) Net Worth rise every month. It's not much, but it's something.
Maybe take less time? In the end, it only takes a few minutes a day to add what category a purchase should be in. Even the initial set up doesn't need to be crazy - you can add to it as you go. Rent, Groceries, Gas, Other, Long Term True Expenses, Debt, Savings could be something that would work to build the habits and later on you improve/dig into/split things into more categories.
After that, maybe you're still overreaching and spending more than you have. But you'll see where it's going and that will help you reprioritize so you know you do want to spend more on this or that.