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Two Hearts, Four Habits: YNAB Couples Share Their Success Stories

Get inspired by these real-life partners who used YNAB to transform their relationship with money—and each other.

Are you or your partner a little too well-acquainted with the Amazon delivery driver?

Does one of you have a habit of trying to downplay the existence of newly-purchased items? (No, babe, that flamingo floor lamp has always been there!) 

Maybe one of you needs lots of little treats to survive and the other spends money as if they’ve taken a sacred vow to forsake all earthly goods? 

Regardless of your spending compatibility, it’s common for one partner to bear most of the responsibility for managing the household finances—and that partner often has to be the “bad guy” when it comes to communication around spending habits. 

What if you could stop arguing about money and start achieving shared goals with a simple set of habits to help guide your spending decisions? Using YNAB is like having a built-in relationship counselor and money mediator—there is no bad guy, just a single source of truth. 

Whether you want to stop arguing about someone’s daily coffee shop stop or are ready to go above and beyond to make your dreams come true (overwater bungalow in the Maldives, anyone?), let’s dive right into some heartwarming tales of couples who've transformed their relationships—with money and each other—using YNAB together!

Carsen & Ulysses

“Uly promised to use YNAB in his wedding vows.”
Carsen and Uly, YNAB super fans
I have been a YNAB user since 2016, and it changed my life, so anybody who knows me has heard about it at some point. When I first began using YNAB, I was single, but I started a wedding category all the same and put a few bucks each month into it.

In 2021, I pulled some money from that category to buy a ring, book a luxury picnic, and hire a photographer—and I proposed to Uly. After that, the amount of money going into that category shot way up, because we had a wedding to plan—and it wasn't cheap.

I set up a separate budget in YNAB for the wedding, and we used that mostly for tracking purposes. We made categories for all the things we needed, and then once we got a quote, we'd assign that money to the category.

Our dream wedding had a fairytale theme and was held at Hammond Castle near Boston, MA. We both dressed as fairytale princes, and all of our guests dressed as fairytale characters. The wedding cost us well over $30K, but we were able to pay for it all without taking on any debt.

Knowing how big of a deal YNAB is to me, Uly decided to include in his vows a promise to "Always use YNAB," much to the delight of myself and our guests (most of whom, at least on my side, have heard me talk about YNAB). Now, it’s helping us discover a way to integrate our finances that works for both of us.

Jonathan & Samie

“Our arguments about money have magically evaporated.”
Jonathan & Samie, a YNAB user couple
In 2020, my future fiancé and I moved out of our respective parents' houses and got an apartment together. For two years, we struggled to pay rent and manage our finances.

We thought, "Now we are adults, so we gotta buy all the consumer items we dreamed of." We bought the Vitamix blender, the Wacom Cintiq monitor, and many more items.

Around this time, I read the book version of YNAB because I had a problem. Even though I was watching my money in Mint, the numbers were always going in the wrong direction. I had built a fair-sized cash buffer before the move, but I was spending around $300 more each month than I brought in from all sources. I knew this was unsustainable. I was losing sleep, and somehow the daily commute to the office felt even worse because I knew every month, no matter what I did, I was still digging myself a financial hole.

We got engaged in 2021 and started trying to plan a wedding, and I said my only "must-have" was to have no debt. I refused to go into debt for a party. Why pretend to be rich? This turned into a bitter argument because Samie had a wedding vision. Nothing too extravagant...no helicopters or anything...but when she totaled up what she did want, it was well over $40k CAD. I gulped, wondering how we'd save that.

Luckily, in 2023, I happened to turn our new Samsung Smart TV to a YNAB beginner video. Samie was instantly intrigued. She loves logic and numbers and software, so she was really curious to try YNAB, the app. "Finally!" I thought. "Maybe we can get on the same page!" She took to YNAB like a duck to water. In fact, she became more passionate than I was! 

We broke down the wedding into categories. We set a wedding date, and now both of us could see how much we had to save TODAY to make our dream wedding happen. Finally, after 3 months of YNAB, I got my spending under control, and we started saving intently for True Expenses. 

Every expense was questioned. Every dollar was assigned. Now our net worth is creeping upward. It's such a relief. I'm sleeping better now. Our arguments about money have magically evaporated. And my commute is nice now. I feel like I'm making progress every day, and I connect doing a good job at work with a potential raise in the future and even more freedom. For me, now, every dollar is valued like a precious baby bird.

We still have a few luxuries...we have Starbucks dates Friday mornings, but we really value that treat. We listen to The YNAB Podcast, watch the YouTube videos, and read the book often. I can't tell you how much better life is now that we have YNAB clarifying our priorities. 

Matthew & His Wife

“YNAB has brought so much freedom and joy to our relationship and marriage.”
Matthew, a long-time YNAB user, and his wife
My dad taught me to use YNAB when I got my first job. I worked at a bakery making doughnuts before school (starting at 5am). I got the job to save $1,000 in one year so I could go on a mission trip to Thailand to help out at an orphanage.

I saved the $1,000 using YNAB, went on the mission trip, and this success gave me a taste for money management and fulfillment in saving.

Fast forward to 2023: I’ve been using YNAB for over 16 years. I’ve been married for 2 years. My wife and I bought our first home in 2022 with a $65K deposit saved in YNAB. We’ve funded cars, created shared investments, and changed spending habits through reports. Along the way, I have told anyone who was willing to listen about YNAB and the financial freedom that can be found in prioritizing and understanding where your money goes. Heck, even one of the first dates with my wife was showing her how to use it! 

We have a YNAB date night once a month now where we go out to a nice restaurant and budget out our categories together. I have discovered along the way that doing YNAB with a partner who is 100% on board and bought into the system is so powerful. We rarely fight about money, we both know what we are working towards, we both know when we need to tighten the screws and when we have margin to splurge a little. I cannot recommend it highly enough!

Teisha & Her Partner

“We paid off student loans and our credit line.”
Teisha and her partner wearing YNAB sweatshirts
I graduated in 2012, and I had been carrying my student loan for years, paying the required balance and thinking I will never pay this off.

We started YNAB, and we instantly realized where our money was going and were able to reduce our spending to put more towards our debt.

Seeing the progress in YNAB kept us rolling, and in 2020, I paid off my student loan after getting serious in 2019. 

We also paid off our credit line and have been able to cash flow big expenses. We tell everyone about YNAB, because it has literally changed our lives. We even have a custom license plate that says “YNABERS!”

YNAB keeps us in check always. Even when we get off track, we know we have to "face" YNAB, and it keeps us in line. 

Your journey with money is a shared adventure, and it's not just about the numbers. It's about the energy you invest in building a life you love with financial freedom—together. Imagine what can happen when you break down the financial walls between you and your partner. (Hint: the world is your oyster when you get on the same page about your short-term priorities and long-term goals.)

Sharing the covers is hard. Sharing your finances shouldn’t be!

Build a better life together with four simple habits for managing your money. Learn more about why YNAB is different before signing up for a free trial of your own. You can invite your partner to share your subscription (and your spending plan!) at no extra cost! 

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Two Hearts, Four Habits: YNAB Couples Share Their Success Stories