Staying on right side of the fiscal cliff


One of my goals this year was to get my finances into fighting shape. My budget program of choice, You Need A Budget (or YNAB – I wrote about it before) has been helpful to get me to think more in terms of staying on budget, however, I noticed that I was still struggling a bit between paychecks and unable to make any contributions to my savings accounts. So I decided to take the time to take advantage of the many webinars, video tutorials, and fairly active forum YNAB makes available to learn how to use this awesome program. What’s the point of having a sword if you don’t know how to wield it?

I signed up for one of the introductory webinars and, you guys, I learned to much! I can’t believe I didn’t take one sooner. I was content with just reading the how-to’s and tutorials but that obviously wasn’t working. Sometimes you just need additional help. During the webinar, I realized my problems had stemmed from an incorrectly designated budget account. I made my savings account and “on-budget” account, meaning that that money was being counted as spendable, but I was only spending money from my checking account. You can see where the issue lies.

Now that I’m properly educated on how to use YNAB, I’m excited to get going again. I reorganized my budget categories, correctly assigned my accounts, and instead of budgeting for the whole month, I’m now budgeting with each paycheck so I can make sure each dollar is being distributed. I have a few aggressive savings goals for this year that pretty much hinges on getting my finances correct. I have benchmarks for an emergency savings fund, my everyday savings, our wedding fund, our apartment fund, and I need to set aside some money for my life insurance that I want to set up and start making a real dent into my student loans. Look at how grown up and responsible I am.

Even though I just started on the new regime, I’m really excited. I keep checking my YNAB app as if there were some changes since I last added transactions (of course, there hasn’t) and I look forward to payday just so I can fiddle with my budget again. It’s nice to know that I’m taking the first steps towards being in control of my finances and to stop being controlled by them.

What are your financial goals this year? What are you doing to reach them?

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