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See Someone’s Budget: YNAB Money Snapshots

I Make $27,800, I'm Paying Off Debt, and I'm in a Good Spot

We're excited to introduce our very first installment of 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. 

Want to see other examples? Check out our hub of Money Snapshots for all walks of life!

Today we see how an office admin in California making $27,800 a year spent her money in March.


Name: Lindsay the Great

Age: 33

Location: California

Job: Office Admin

Income: $27,800 in 2019

Savings: $1,600 (plus more in health savings)

Debt total: $36,600 

  • Debt consolidation loan: $19,000
  • Family loan: $16,000
  • Student loan: $1,600

Living situation: Living with family and helping care for my grandmother.

My March Budget

An illustrative example of a budget

My Savings Categories

  • Convention fund: I’m a nerd and go to conventions to be with fellow nerds.
  • Credit card with outstanding balance: I’ve budgeted enough to pay off but I’m holding onto the cash since I have a 1% interest rate through early 2021. Life is weird right now, so cash in my pocket is more appealing. 
  • Next month’s expenses: I’m trying to build a full month’s buffer and I’m almost halfway!

My Month

March was a HECK of a month for rolling with the punches. 

My grandmother, who lives with me, fell and broke her hip at the end of February. I spent the next three weeks at the hospital with her as she got through some complications.

I was barely home long enough to sleep, much less cook—and I was surviving on hospital cafeteria food and drive-thrus.

When she came back home mid-March, we had to restock the house with perishables and figure out my grandma’s new dietary restrictions.

We rented a wheelchair van for the month, hired a live-in caregiver for three days, and bought medical supplies left and right.

Thankfully, I had a health cushion for such things (though originally intended for myself!) and was able to balance things out at the end of the month without missing payments or adding to my debt.

Two years ago, that would *not* have happened.

My Story

In 2016, I quit my job and moved in with my family to try to start my own business. It didn’t go as planned, and I instead wound up with two years of business and living expenses on maxed-out credit cards to the tune of $30,000. 

I’ve been through the debt paydown cycle before so I knew I could make it back to the black, but it was going to take some time.

I’ve been using YNAB on and off for about 10 years now. When it’s just me and my dollars, it’s a wonderful tool and I know exactly where all my money is. When I’m budgeting with a partner or have no income, it’s more of a struggle, and that tends to be the “off” part of my money journey.

Since I started aggressively paying off debt in 2018, I’ve increased my net worth by $14,000 (per YNAB). I took out a debt consolidation loan in October 2019 because I was tired of tracking five different balances and wanted to repair my credit. I’ll be debt-free in 2.5 more years! 

Right now, I feel like I’m in a really good place, but I’ve had to earn it.

My Financial Goals

  1. Building my buffer on living expenses: I currently have about two weeks worth of income saved. I’m trying to get a full month ahead!
  2. Pay off my debt: it’s on autopilot since I consolidated the debt. I’m focusing on building my buffer right now.

I would rate my current financial situation: 4/5

Ready to create a financial future you're excited about? Try YNAB free for 34 days.

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See Someone’s Budget: YNAB Money Snapshots