You Need a Bud­get


iPhone Life Magazine - - News - BY KEN­NETH BOSHELL

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.

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