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See Our Budget: $40K/Year

YNAB Money Snapshots

Welcome to YNAB Money Snapshots—where you see a real picture of someone else’s budget and finances. They’re all anonymous, because sharing money is still a squirrelly topic for many, but we think airing them out in the open makes you better with your own money story. 

As you read these budgets, keep in mind that some people make lots of money and some people make a little bit of money, but we know it’s what you do with that money and how you feel about that money means more than any yearly salary. 

See how a family in North Carolina making roughly $40K/year spends their money.


  • Name: Geek on Fleek & Geek With Flair
  • Age: 34 & 35
  • Location: North Carolina (average COL)
  • Job: Franchise Coordinator & Student (Recently unemployed due to Covid-19)
  • Living situation: Married with three kids

Income: It’s Complicated

  • Pre-Covid: $62,000/year
  • Currently: Roughly $40,000/year

Savings:  $1,347

Debt: $256,650

  • Student Loans: $76,000
  • Credit Card: ~$10,000
  • Auto Loan: $15,600
  • Mortgage: $154,000
  • Medical: $1,050

August Inflows: $2,633.85

  • Payroll: $1,721.85
  • Unemployment income: $912

My Savings Categories

We’re trying to keep ahead of the bills by at least a month, until we both graduate next year with Computer Programming Degrees and hopefully better incomes.

My Month

Excess spending was on school supplies and setting up for virtual education since we choose to remain in self isolation rather than attend in-person classes due to Covid-19. Also, the cost of groceries have increased in my area. With a family of five (one a tween and another a teenager who grew three inches over the summer), my grocery budget has skyrocketed as compared from just March of this year.

My Story

My husband grew up middle class (and stable), and I grew up very poor. So we had vastly different ways to handle money. He would purchase items based on unit prices to get the best deal; I would purchase the cheap stuff to make our money at the time stretch, even though it cost us more in the long run. 

We could never find a budget that would work for us. He would mostly remember to put in the receipts for the day...and would balance the checkbook because I always got a different number from his. I have the children most days and would forget to input expenses or just never get a receipt and in the craze of the day forget to ask for one. So our budgeting was always a struggle. 

We found YNAB on a fluke from a free audible book and watched a YouTube video that showed how to set up a budget with YNAB. For Lent 2020, we chose to take advantage of the free trial. What could go wrong? If we didn't like it, no harm. If we did and it worked, then we could finally have something to help us stop living paycheck to paycheck. 

In February, both my husband and I were full-time employed, so we were looking forward to the challenge. We took the plunge and dove into the new budget. Since that time we thank our lucky stars that we began YNAB for Lent! Since the onset of the pandemic, my husband lost his job and his father passed away due to cancer. I went from full-time employment to part-time working from home. 

Jobs are scarce in my area, unless you are willing to take a minimum wage position in a warehouse. So, we decided to return to school to learn computer programming and have the opportunity to better our circumstances. Until then, I have returned to full-time while working from home most of the time. 

My children are going to school virtually, and this increases our food budget considerably, but we plan our meals and eat leftovers for lunch pretty frequently. Gas consumption is very low due to only needing to drive the car on Mondays; I live in a rural area and drive to town about 24 miles round trip. I do errands on the way back home to better conserve our gas consumption. My electric bill is on equal payment, but I fully expect it to rise next year due to the increase of electricity use from computers and general family goings on. 

We order movies sometimes for fun and get the occasional pizza, or 7-11 slushie as a treat, when it's on a good deal. We put the stimulus payment directly to the future bills, whereas in the past we would have used it to better our living situation such as working to better the curb appeal of our home or purchasing a new bed for our children. 

With the future being so uncertain we felt that it was better put to use as a financial buffer in case of any emergencies that might come up. It's tight, but if we're careful we'll make it until graduation in the winter of 2021. Almost every extra cent goes to pay off the bills for the following months in order to create a sense of security that we can tighten the belt on variables with our set and necessary bills covered.

My Financial Goals

We want to save to have a cushion. We need to survive on one income until the winter of 2021, because with the children in virtual school and my working full-time, we need an adult at home to help keep them on track. It's a role reversal for sure, in 2008-2013 we were in a similar financial situation due to the Recession where I was the stay-at-home parent and my husband worked full time. We know that if we're careful, very careful, we can do it. The light is at the end of the tunnel and it looks like financial security. Just one year to go. We've got this.

I would rate my current financial situation: 4/5

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See Our Budget: $40K/Year