For the longest time I've been a Mint user. A few months ago I realized that although it's a great program it wasn't actually working for me. Although I had heard about it from Stephanie before, I finally got serious and decided to give YNAB a try myself.
My middle name is not budget. It's embarrassing but truthful to say that at 31 years old I'm still on the financial learning curve. There will always be unexpected expenses and impromptu things I want to do but for the most part having a budget is the way to keep my money in check. YNAB makes it easy by adhering to four simple rules:
Rule number 2 is something that I'm in the process of doing. My track record at building a savings is pitiful. I self-sabotage and dip into it any time I need $5 or $10 for something. Since using YNAB I've been able to save money and not touch it.
Rule number 3 is the rule I can easily get in line with. Mistakes will happen and overspending ensues. The point is to adjust and keep going. A budget needs to be flexible or it will never work. If you overspent $25 on groceries but have $100 earmarked for clothing, reduce your clothing budget by the amount you overspent and you're back on track.
Rule number four is the dream that I would love to turn into a reality - living on last month's income. Do any of you have this unicorn yet? For right now all I can do is imagine how awesome this must be and do everything I can to reach that point.
What I love most about YNAB is that it's super easy to use. As long as you're aware and adhere to the plan everything will work. If you're like me and can't math then it's an absolute blessing because the software will do all the calculations for you.
If you need help or just have a question YNAB has an excellent support system. There are free online classes from getting started to handling credit cards to dealing with different pay cycles. All the webinars answer any and all questions and if you need to see something again you can always watch them again. I actually had to contact them regarding a question I had and they were prompt and even provided me with a video-answer so that I could see exactly where I had made a mistake.
The software works on both a PC and Mac; has iPhone and Android apps; supports global currencies; and best of all, auto-saves to the Cloud (mine goes to Dropbox). If you're up for it, YNAB offers a free 34-day full access trial so you can really use get a feel for the program.
*I was not compensated for this post in any way. I just really love the program and wanted to share my experience*