YNAB tree logoAustralian flag
It looks like you're located in Australia.
We have an Australian version of our website.

Please confirm your location and we’ll send you to the appropriate site!

Use Your Spending Trends As A Force For Good, Not Guilt

Just in case you missed it, we recently launched Reports.

At some point, eventually, I promise we will stop screaming about it, but at this point, we are still pretty excited.

Last week, I discussed the Net Worth report and how to get the most value from it. Your Net Worth isn’t everything. It isn’t a complete financial picture, but it is a great way to measure your progress.

In the same way, the Spending Trends report can be a really helpful tool as long as you consider the whole context.

With Good Data, Comes Great Responsibility

The Spending Trends report allows you to drill down into individual categories of spending and see exactly what’s happening at a more granular level. And then you can drill in deeper and understand more about your behaviors and habits and weaknesses, that you might not have realized without stepping back and looking at the whole.

Looking back is useful because there is no normal month—anyone who has budgeted at all knows this. Looking back allows us to assess averages, with perspective.

The temptation is to become sucked into the past, avoid dealing with the harder questions about what your money should be doing right now. Resist! Use the tool for asking and answering tough questions: What is really going on here? What is happening? What does this mean? Is this what I want my money to be doing? Is this what I care about most?

Take Action, Move Forward

What your Spending Trends reveal, should spur deeper questions, not just shallow, busy work, wasting time clicking around, logging time in your budget.

I also want to release you from any guilt this report might stir up. The past is in the past. Sometimes we make mistakes, and looking back, the best we can do is figure out how to avoid that same mistake in the future.

The idea is not to make you feel bad about what you’ve done, it’s to help you improve as you move forward. Always moving forward.

A Force For Good, Not Guilt

You have more information now, how can you harness it to get more laser-focused on your priorities and your goals?

The point of looking back is not to dwell on should haves, could haves, or what ifs. It's just a tool to inform how you move forward. Allow the data to help you ask and answer the questions that get things moving and help you make real financial progress! At the end of the day, we're all about the progress! Use your Spending Trends as a force for good and not for evil!

If you can't wait until next week for more whiteboard wisdom, subscribe to our YouTube channel. If you have a question or an idea you'd like us to address in a future Whiteboard Wednesday episode—we'd love to hear from you: help@youneedabudget.com.

Related Articles
Use Your Spending Trends As A Force For Good, Not Guilt