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How to Teach YNAB: The Follow-Up

Help a Friend Gain Total Control of Their Money: Part 3

This is part of a three-part series on teaching a friend how to budget in YNAB:

You’ve helped build a budget template and now your friend has started playing around with their budget. Now it’s time for some of the more practical aspects of using the software. It can be a video call or in-person call—whatever is more convenient. 

1. Take Questions

As they’ve started playing around with the budget, they’ll probably have questions about some part of the software or how to do something. Start by hearing their questions.

2. Categorize Transactions

If they’ve set up Direct Import, they’ll have some transactions to review. Go through them together as they learn how to categorize.

3. Move Money

Show them how to move money from one category to another. Try moving $5 from gas to eating out and then back again.

4. How to Age Money

Rule 4: Age Your Money is an important talking point of this meeting. If their dollars didn’t fill up all their categories, that’s ok! They'll just keep building up these categories and each month they get a little closer to living on last month’s income. If they already have a decent-sized cushion, this conversation can center around how their savings categories or non-monthly expenses will grow each month.

5. The YNAB Routine

Budgeting is an ongoing activity, it’s not just a set-it-and-forget-it tool. The time requirement goes wayyyy down now after setting up a budget template, but there are still frequent checkpoints. There are four main times they’ll look at YNAB:

  1. Before any purchase to make sure they’ve budgeted for the spending (5 seconds)
  2. Once a day to categorize all expenses (1 minute)
  3. When they get paid to give those new dollars jobs (5 minutes) 
  4. When expenses change, to add or hide categories (15 minutes)

Explain these checkpoints to help encourage a rhythm and also to take away the intimidation of time required.

6. Encourage Community

YNAB has communities galore for the blossoming budgeter. Share the links below if they want more resources to to get plugged in:

Join a Community:

Connect with Us:

7. Next Paycheck & Next Month Check-In

There are two last big events to cover. Plan to touch base with your friend when they get their next paycheck and another one to check in on the last day of the month. They might have questions, they might not, but those are both good times to check-in.

That’s it! Congrats, you’ve earned your budgeting wings!! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping share the YNAB budgeting way. We are eternally grateful for people like you who bravely delve into your friend’s finances to help show them a better way. For that, thank you from all of us!

Additional Resources

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How to Teach YNAB: The Follow-Up