You Need a Budget
MANAGE YOUR FINANCES & FINALLY START SAVING MONEY
Create Your Account
You Need a Budget (YNAB) is one of the best budgeting apps I've ever used. It forced me to take a hard look at my spending and get hands on with it. The app is based on simple principles put into an effective and efficient format to help you get and stay out of debt. After you sign up for a subscription, you'll be taken to your budgeting page. Tap Accounts from the bottom menu and you can link directly to your bank account through a secure process. Don't want to do that? It's okay. You can make a manual budget instead. Track Your Net Worth
Click on Reports and you'll be taken to a screen showing your net worth. It'll look blank—but don't panic, that's normal! After some time, you'll get a matured overview of your net worth, tracked by month, which will help you to make additional course corrections as needed. You'll also see an Age of Money chart to help you understand how long you let your dollars sit before you give them a job (which is the whole point of a budget). This will help you determine how best to make your money work for you. So relax, and don't stress. If you ever wonder what to do, the help files and support community are broad and deep. Adjust Your Budget Limit as Needed
The whole point of YNAB is to get down and dirty with your budget. Make changes, adjust as needed, and tweak your budget to your heart's content. Just tap on a field and type your projected expenses for each budget category. You can even add custom categories if you want. Then, when you make a transaction, file it under the right category and watch as the app automatically subtracts the amount from your projected budget. Once you hit your limit, you either stop spending in that area or you can transfer money from another category to account for the overage with no stress involved. Here's a beginner's tip: always type in the decimal amount, even if they're zeroes, that way the app registers the correct amount. Record Your Transactions
Make sure that you always, always, always record your transactions. If you connected your budget to your bank account, then you get to skip this step, since YNAB will automatically import your income and expenses into the app. Then you just have to sort everything into the right categories. Pictured here, you can see me recording a credit card expense. You can select an individual account, determine which payee the money comes from, and even color code your transactions, depending on your needs at the time or your organizational habits. Pay Down Your Credit Card
Speaking of credit cards, with YNAB you can set up a credit card account and keep track of your debt that way. This is a great feature that a lot of people new to YNAB don't know about. To add a card, just go to the Accounts tab and change the account type to Credit Card. Input the amount you owe, and YNAB will take you to another screen that gives you goals to help you pay down your debt. Now your transactions will directly apply to this account, making it really easy to stick to your plan since you'll see it every time you open the app.