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Budgeting Basics

New to budgeting (or maybe just new to budgeting with YNAB)? Pop the bubbly, you’re here! Check out the most popular posts about how to be a better budgeter.

Get to Know Your Finances. No, Really.

Look, although it’s tempting, sticking your head in the sand when it comes to finances never works out well in the long run. Trust us; we’ve studied this extensively.

Budgeting might seem overwhelming at first if you think of it as math, bills, and due dates, but creating a financial road map can help relieve anxiety about upcoming expenses, pay off debt, reach your goals, and justify spending money on fun stuff. It’s only overwhelming until you have a system in place, and we just happen to have a system.

Learn the Whys and Hows of Budgeting

  • How to Create a Budget Template

    So, you’ve decided to sit down and figure out how to create a budget template, once and for all. Or maybe for the third or fourth or fifth time, but you’re serious about the “for all” part on this go around. Good! Let’s get started.
  • YNAB Budgeting Tips: Habits of Successful Budgeters

    This post about best budgeting tips and habits was created in collaboration with Todoist—a popular digital task manager. Someone on Twitter compared our collaboration to the Avengers coming together for the first time, and we feel the same way.
  • Top 10 Frequently Asked YNAB Budgeting Questions

    So, you’ve decided that you need a budget and this is the year you’ll finally tackle your finances! You’ve signed up for YNAB’s free, 34-day trial, then cracked open the app to get started on your shiny new personal budget.

More to Help You Budget Better…

  • A Variable & Non-Monthly Expense List for Your Budget

    If you’re building out a budget for the first time and you’re being your best responsible self, it’s important to understand the advantage of turning those big non-monthly expenses/variable expenses/True Expenses/what-ever-you-call-them into more manageable monthly chunks. We’ve made a build-your-best budget list of non-monthly expenses to help you transform those turbulent ups and downs into …

    Read Blog Located in: Learn to Budget / Blog
  • How Many YNAB Categories Should I Have?

    How many YNAB categories should I have? 12, 24, 158? This is a question we’ve been getting since the dawn of time—err, well, since the dawn of You Need a Budget in 2004.  It’s not just new budgeters that get bogged down with this question, either. As you move farther along the learning curve and …

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  • How Do I Handle My Savings Account In My Budget?

    When you’re setting up a budget and trying to get specific on your long-term financial goals, you might wonder how to treat your savings account in your budget. Well lucky for you, it’s actually pretty simple to start saving. Here at YNAB, we think about things a little differently—especially how something like your bank account …

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  • How to Do Credit Cards in YNAB

    Like your friend Brittany, credit cards in YNAB can be a little…extra. Credit cards in YNAB don’t have a positive balance that feeds the budget like checking and savings accounts. In fact, more often than not, you have a negative balance waiting to be paid off. Prefer to watch instead of read? Watch this video …

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  • How to Start a New Month in YNAB

    One day—probably more than one day—but less than 32 days after you’ve been using You Need a Budget (okay, definitely less, definitely), you’re going to start a new month in YNAB and the old month is going to roll over. And, with the new month, new YNABers across the land watch the budget screen in …

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  • How to Stress Less About Money: 4 Simple Rules

    If you’re new to YNAB, you’ve probably found yourself wondering how to stress less about money at some point. We’re even willing to bet you might’ve tried budgeting before. Maybe it went something like this: You decided you needed to make some sort of financial plan. You listed out your expected income and expenses. It …

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  • 7 Budgeting Challenges in the First Three Months

    If you’ve never budgeted before, you might be surprised how quickly you’ll feel more at peace once you start. We hear this from newbie budgeters from all over the world! There’s something about finally taking action that feels like a weight has been lifted off your chest. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be some …

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  • What Should I Do Before I Start Budgeting?

    It is official. We—the YNAB Team collectively—have talked/debated/discussed/dissected/diagrammed/charted/unpacked budgeting more than any other group of people in the history of the world. That must be true. One thing we come back to time and again is how powerful it is to set and pursue specific goals. The most successful budgeters start with goals, and their …

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  • After Struggling to Budget, This Book Made It Stick

    If there’s a budgeting app out there, I’ve probably tried it (here’s looking at you rhymes-with-shmint). Yep, I’ve tried the well-known apps, my local bank’s app—even my husband’s elaborate spreadsheets. I would start out with a fresh budget and high hopes, but eventually I’d give up—frustrated. I was convinced that I was just bad at …

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  • 3 Essential Traits of a Good Budgeter

    Starting to budget isn’t easy. Maybe we do a month-long spending freeze and feel confident, only to stumble later on a spending splurge. It’s OK! This happens to the best of us. Budgeting might not come naturally at first, but the good news is you can improve over time. Let this blog post serve as …

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You can do this! Today! Right now! For free.

Budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. So what do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress?