It all started with a trip to the Jersey Shore. It was 2015, and Dillon DuBois, 25, of North Carolina, had just returned home from a blissful, ocean-filled week of vacation.
Until now, he’d been debt-free, but on this Friday morning, Dillon was awakened by the sound of bank notifications on his phone. He said, “I had a checking account and a secured credit card to build credit. It was set to auto-pay in full, every term, per the advice I had read online about building credit … [my] vacation had pushed me into the red. Talk about a wakeup call.”
As a guy who’s always been actively interested in personal finance, Dillon was surprised—and not in a good way—by his new, negative, bank balance. It was time for action.
Budgets, Not Just for Other People
One of Dillon’s favorite podcasts, Listen Money Matters, often mentions two budgeting apps, YNAB and Mint. He hadn’t paid much attention to either of them. He said, “I’d written off budgeting as something for people who are bad with money. Turns out, I was one of those people.”
Now, to his credit, Dillon wasn’t doing that badly. He’d graduated from college the year before and secured an insurance job, as an underwriter, earning roughly $50k per year. And, thanks to his family, he didn’t have any student debt.
… but Dillon admits that he wasn’t doing that well, either: “I had been working for a year and had nothing to show for it.”
Things were about to change! Determined to do better, Dillon signed up for both YNAB and Mint.
How YNAB Won Him Over
Once he got started, it became clear that YNAB was the best fit. He said, “I found YNAB to be much easier to use. Mint seemed to gloss over a lot of the features, trying to make it a ‘hands-off’ experience.”
He went on to explain the top two reasons that he prefers YNAB:
1. Methodology & Connection to His Cash
“Logging every transaction, and giving every dollar a job, makes you see your money in a completely new light. Instead of being comfortable living paycheck to paycheck, you want to follow the rules YNAB sets out to build a buffer and roll with the punches.“
2. YNAB’s Community
“There are a ton of resources out there for new budgeters learning the ropes. From the YNAB classes, podcasts, and guides to daily reddit posts with more detailed questions and answers, there is always someone there to help you when something doesn’t add up.”
Read between the lines of his story, and you’ll see that there’s a third element that fueled Dillon’s success with YNAB …
A Specific, Actionable, Reasonable Goal
Dillon said, “ … my first goal was to just get out of the red. I didn’t have lofty goals of ageing my money or saving for big expenses. I just didn’t want to keep falling down that hole.”
His remarkable aversion to debt—he was only behind by $290—is what set the stage for Dillon’s total financial transformation, a two-year process that earned him:
- A 1-month buffer in his checking account (breaking the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle!)
- A 3-month emergency fund (you never know!)
- $11,638.18 in savings (applause!)
As of June 2017, Dillon hadn’t just climbed out of the hole, he’d increased his net worth by a ridiculous 6,661.8 percent—moving his balance from -$290 to $19,079.83—with an “age of money” of 101 days!
Not bad, for a guy who just wanted to pay off a few hundred bucks, right? (How’s that for a lesson in momentum? Dillon is proof positive that lifestyle habits really add up!)
Goodbye, Money Worries! Hello Dream-Life.
Now that he’s back in the green, Dillon has so much more confidence about money. He said, “I used to think talking about money was taboo. It was a source of stress, and there never seemed to be enough of it. Now that I have a stable budget, it doesn’t seem so scary. I know that I am safe and can afford to pay the next few months’ expenses if an emergency arises. [YNAB] has also helped me shape my goals for the future.”
He reflected back on his money story and has this advice for would-be budgeters: “After achieving my original goal, I found myself able to put money away each month for the things that are important to me.”
He continued, “ … a budget should facilitate the lifestyle you want to have, not limit it.”
We couldn’t agree more.