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Date: Friday, 03 Oct 2014 15:37

Doubling the Size of our Android Team

You see, there’s this guy named Graham. He’s been YNAB’s sole Android developer for a long while now. First he moonlighted, then we wooed him over to work with us full-time. One developer can only do so much.

We’re looking to double the size of our Android team in the next 30 days. From one to two.

(Android/Apple fans that are keeping score, that will mean the iOS and Android teams will be the same size.)

We have big plans for the Android platform.

If you’re an experienced Android developer looking for a full-time, remote gig, read on. If you know an experienced Android developer, forward them this posting!

A Bit About Us

We build the best budgeting software around. Our Android app consistently reviews very well. Your craftsmanship will be seen by hundreds of thousands of YNABers. YNABers really like our Android app, but we’re far from satisfied.

We build software that delights. We focus on helping our users implement YNAB’s Four Rules.

We have one overarching requirement when it comes to having you join our team. Our Cultural Manifesto has to resonate with you. Not on a really weird level but, you know, pretty deep down.

Now, let me sell you on the idea of working with us at YNAB.

I’ll hash these out quickly. This is a bit of a glimpse into how we work:


We’re all adults. There’s no need to punch a clock, or ask for permission to take off early one afternoon to go see the doctor. You set your schedule to your liking. We just ask you to do really cool stuff that YNABers will like. We look at what you’re accomplishing, not how long you sit in front of a computer.

No Crazy Hours

We rarely work more than 40 hours per week. There may be a few times where things go a little crazy and people log some more time. Most make sure to take some extra time off so it all balances out. We’re in this for the long haul. Don’t go crazy on the hours.

Take Vacation

We don’t track vacation, but you’re encouraged to take vacation. I’m not just saying that with a “wink wink” where nobody actually takes vacation. We all like vacation. It’s important to get out and do something. Post pictures of your vacation in our internal chat room, creatively named #office_wall.

Live Where You Want

You can live wherever you want, because we know you do great work. As I write this, Taylor (our CTO) is in Kuala Lumpur. I’m not sure where he was before that, or where he’ll be next. (Taylor’s edit: I’ll be in Singapore next.) Not all of us travel so extensively, but the fact that he does is totally okay because, again, we’re all adults. Just make sure you have a reliable internet connection.

International is Absolutely Okay

If you are Stateside, we’ll set you up as a W2 employee. If you’re international, you’ll be set up as a contractor. Whether you’re an “employee” or “contractor” it’s all the same to us. You’re part of the team. (We are spread all over the world: Australia, Pakistan, Switzerland, Scotland, Canada, and all over the United States.)

If You’re Stateside…

A few notes, specifically if you’re Stateside where we do payroll:
– We have a Traditional and Roth 401k option. YNAB contributes three percent whether you choose to throw any money in there or not.
– We don’t offer health insurance. Your health insurance is your business. We wouldn’t presume to make that decision for you.


We do bonuses. There’s a 40-page document outlining how they’re calculated. Just kidding. Bonuses are awarded when you do cool things. If you were to ship an overhaul of the Android app, I think you’d be due a bonus. Or if you and Graham (the guy from the beginning of this job description) were to ship an Android app that rocked it on a tablet? You’d get a bonus. You may also have random YNABers stopping you on the street wanting to buy you a drink. That’s how much they will love your work!

The YNAB Meetup

We get together every 12-18 months and have a great time: Best Western conference room, powerpoints for hours…and budget talk. Just kidding. This year it’s in Costa Rica. We don’t really work during the meetups. We do eat a lot though.

Do Stuff Besides Work

We all have lives outside of work. Erin, our Lead Teacher goes on long hikes over mountains (in Utah, we call those baby mountains). Kyle flies drones (baby airplanes). Lee is building a tool shed (baby house). We want you to have interests outside of your Android craft.

Stuck in an Elevator

In the end, you have to imagine that you and I, or you and Graham, or you and Taylor (our CTO) were stuck in an elevator together (maybe even in Kuala Lumpur). Besides the claustrophobia and fact that all I had on me were some almonds in a Ziploc, would it otherwise be a pretty great experience? (Taylor’s edit: Maybe not Kuala Lumpur. It’s pretty hot and humid here, especially in elevators, so it’s okay to imagine an air conditioned elevator somewhere instead.) If you think we could make that situation pretty darn enjoyable, then you should continue reading, because now I want to talk about you.

About You

You’re an experienced Android developer who would like to work with us full-time. Compensation will be based on experience.

You would be:

  • Working with an existing, well-architected codebase.
  • Helping us improve performance, fix bugs, etc.
  • Learning an awesome Cloud Sync technology.
  • Creating some cool new features(we have a lot left to do here).

You’re the one we’re looking for if you:

  • Are a top-notch Android developer.
  • Have excellent debugging skills.
  • Have great OO design and architecture skills.
  • Write code that is easy for other programmers to understand and use.
  • Use descriptive variable names in your code.
  • Have excellent spoken and written English (we’re an international team, so accents are fine!)
  • You’re self-motivated, and thrive with directions like:
    • “This part of the program is too slow, and these are the places that might be good to start looking. Do you think you can make it fast, even on this pokey device?”
    • “This component needs to be re-architected to allow for . How do you think we should do it?”
    • “Our code needs to call into a Javascript library (not a typo), but that Javascript library is crashing because it can’t find the setTimeout method. Can you investigate?”

If this sounds like your ideal environment, read on!

How to Apply

  • Your cover letter can be your email. No need to send anything separately.
  • Send your resume in PDF form.
  • Please include links to Android apps you’ve built, and describe your role in building those apps.
  • Include “ANDROID FTW” in the subject line of your email. If you don’t, we won’t read the email.
  • Applications should go to: YNAB-YNAB0766@applications.recruiterbox.com.
  • The deadline for applications is 11:59PM on Friday, October 17th.

Please complete the following two questions, and include them with your cover letter. This shouldn’t take you very long.

(1) Write a method “countTo” that returns a string containing every number from zero to the number passed in. So, when I call ‘countTo’ like so:


It should return the following string: “0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10”

public class YourClass {
    public static String countTo(int value) {
        // Your code goes here

(2) Change the following code so that the view is hidden 5 seconds after the Activity is created, instead of immediately.

    protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {

        View myView = findViewById(R.id.my_view);
Author: "jesse" Tags: "Job Posting"
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Date: Wednesday, 01 Oct 2014 14:00

As many faithful blog readers may have noticed, I’ve been thinking a lot about debt. I passionately implored people to dramatically question their assumptions around debt, we discussed good debt vs. bad debt, and today I want to discuss debt through the lens of the YNAB Method.

These rules, after all, form the foundation of a method that is really successful for me and tens of thousands of YNABers. So what do The Rules say about debt?

On the surface? Nothing.

But when we dig deeper, it turns out to be a whole lot.

At it’s core, the YNAB method is all about prioritizing; YNAB helps you align your money with your priorities, goals, and values. When you do, you’re in control of your money, and you have a broader range of choices and more leverage (not that kind of leverage!).

Take Rule One for example, Give Every Dollar a Job. When we say this, we mean only the dollars you have, and then spending based on those decisions. It’s simple, powerful and assures that you’re spending less than you are earning. It’s the only way that you will really get ahead. By definition, on the other hand, debt is committing yourself to spending dollars you don’t yet have. That’s a big part of where my skepticism of debt comes from. Especially when we’re talking about using credit cards to spend more than you have, which allows you to ignore the prioritizing that is the core of the YNAB method.

The other way that debt impacts Rule One is that debt payments need to be prioritized ahead of a lot of other jobs for your money. YNAB works so well because it helps you get control of your cash flow–how you use and direct your money in the day-to-day and month-to-month. But when you carry a lot of debt, a lot of your cash flow is already prioritized for you. Almost before you even start, your choices are restricted. You’ve got jobs you’d really like your dollars to do, but because you have debt payments, there aren’t enough dollars to go around.

Of course, Rule One is also the perfect tool for solving this dilemma. Rule One’s laser focus on prioritizing is exactly what’s going to help you find the dollars you need to get out from under that debt. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Rule Two is assigning money you have now for expenses that will happen later. It helps you smooth out large, irregular expenses so that you’re prepared. Debt payments, on the other hand, are using money you have now for expenses that have already happened. When I rail against debt, that’s what I’m thinking about. I want you making choices for what’s happening now, and in the future.

When a Rainy Day comes along–and it will–you’re less prepared for it when you’re hamstrung by debt. The money you could have been setting aside has been going to your debt payments. In the worst case, you might need to incur more debt just to get by.

YNAB’s Rule Three is all about flexibility and accountability. When you overspend (and, hey, you will), you need to be flexible and deal with that overspending right away. YNAB is great at this. It’s built for it.

But your debt payments severely impact your flexibility. If thirty percent of your cash flow goes towards debt payments, you simply have fewer options for changing plans. When things aren’t flexible, they break. I don’t want you or your budget to break.

One of your most powerful tools for staying out of debt and being in control is living on last month’s income, YNAB’s Rule Four. This gives time to deal with whatever life might throw at you. You can plan for the whole month at a time, and really appreciate the big picture. But it’s awfully tough to save up your Buffer when you’re writing big checks to credit card or auto loan companies every month. With debt, it simply takes longer to get there.

These are really good reasons not to take on new debt, and why I wrote last time about being selective about what makes for “good debt.” If it’s going to impact your cash flow and your decision making in these ways, I sure want it to be something important, and something that adds value to your life. There’s plenty of room to engage in friendly debate about how mortgages, student loans, and other debt fit into that. The important thing is that it is about your priorities. I think using YNAB has made you a lot better at identifying what those are.

Author: "jesse" Tags: "Debt"
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Date: Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 17:33

*Updated to add: the application deadline for this job has been extended through October 14, 2014 at midnight.

Some of you know YNAB has softly launched a small business services brand called PACE. PACE creates and maintains budgets for small business owners (using YNAB, of course), helping them get off the cash flow roller coaster, pay themselves more, and sleep better at night.

Mark, PACE’s Small Business Consultant, took on his first client back in February, and since then we’ve added over twenty more. Pace is accelerating, and we’re looking for help.

I’m looking for an expert YNABer to fill the role of Client Budget Specialist, keeping clients’ YNAB files current and pristine, allowing Mark to spend his time a) consulting clients, and b) enrolling more of them.

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Building new budgets based on incoming clients’ transaction histories.
  • Updating each client’s budget weekly by adding new transactions, categorizing appropriately, and reconciling accounts.
  • Re-organizing and customizing clients’ budgets based on changes in their business and/or goals.

This position is for you if:

  • You’re immediately available for up to ten hours per week, and open to having your hours increase as PACE’s client count grows.
  • You’re meticulous, bordering on obsessive. The thought of an unreconciled account causes you to lose sleep at night and possibly break out in hives.
  • You love the software and the Four Rules. Spending 10 hours per week in YNAB sounds like a blast to you – maybe even more fun than binge-watching Alias on Netflix.*

*Great news. This position would allow you to do both at the same time. Boom.

YNAB expertise is crucial, so please apply if all of the following are as comfortable as your favorite hoodie:

  • Adding budget accounts with the correct starting balance. Yes, even credit cards. Especially credit cards.
  • Importing transactions in various file formats, including .csv. Especially .csv.
  • Updating large numbers of transactions at once.
  • Editing Payee settings.
  • Creating Off-Budget Accounts and understanding their interaction with Budget Accounts.
  • Exporting budget data to Excel or Google Sheets (which we use to produce Profit and Loss statements clients).

Here are some of the nitty-gritty details for joining the PACE team:

  • You’ll be paid a flat rate per client, per month. Mark has done this work over the last several months, so I can tell you the hourly rate will come out somewhere between $12 and $15 per hour, depending on your efficiency.
  • You’ll be an independent contractor, where you’ll be responsible for your own schedule, equipment, invoicing (you’d invoice YNAB), etc.
  • Your computer needs to be (1) a Mac and (2) reasonably powerful (SSD and plenty of RAM would be a big plus).

Why? Because (1) the YNAB dev team (George, specifically) built us a very handy piece of software to help with PACE’s client management, and it will only run on a Mac, and (2) Dropbox + YNAB x A Couple Dozen Budgets = Pinwheel of Death on an old Mac.

Here’s how to apply:

  1. Send a cover letter and resume to: YNAB-YNAB0224@applications.recruiterbox.com.
  2. In the subject line, include “beats per minute” in some way. If you don’t include it, we won’t read your email. That would be very sad.
  3. Answer the following questions (just include these in your email, don’t do a separate PDF, Word doc, Powerpoint presentation, screencast, etc.):
  1. My clients need me to categorize their income streams in more detail than “Income for this month” or “Income for next month.” Tell me how you’d do this in YNAB.
  2. Sometimes I have to bulk-update the Memo field on dozens (or hundreds) of transactions in YNAB. Explain how you’d tackle this problem.
  3. You have a Budget Account whose Working Balance is $11.58 higher than the bank is saying it should be. What’s your next step?

*Updated to add: the application deadline for this job has been extended through October 14, 2014 at midnight.

Author: "jesse" Tags: "Job Posting"
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 23:00

Well, my last post about debt being your single priority was about as exciting as it gets around here! (Except maybe when we release an iPad app.)

I know the post came across as blunt, hard-headed, opinionated, presumptuous, and a perhaps even a bit mean.

I hope(?) I also managed to get a few of you to question some deeply-held assumptions. That was my goal. The comments were fairly evenly split, which means I might have just about nailed it! ;)

Two themes emerged from your fantastic comments:

  1. What about mortgage debt?
  2. Then more generally, what about “good debt?”

Regarding mortgage debt, I answered in the comments that we paid off our mortgage in 2010. It was a big goal of mine from the time I was 23, my hair grew very long as a result, and I actually ended up owing the IRS money for a few months (I don’t recommend this). I’ll probably write a whole post about this. If you’re interested. Just let me know in the comments.

Good Debt, Defined.

I feel like there are a few ways we can assess whether debt is “good” or “bad.” We all recognize that rules are meant for exceptions, so please see these as…guidelines worth considering. I feel pretty comfortable putting them out there.

  1. What is the return on the purchase that has been financed?
  2. How much debt is begin assumed?
  3. Why?

If you’re purchasing something that goes down in value, it’s bad debt.

I think this is a pretty solid definition. Homes don’t normally go down in value. Especially if you’re going to stay in the home for a long while.

A college degree doesn’t go down in value, though you need to be very careful here. Whether the numbers fall in line with your life’s passions or not, many industries and areas of study do not give much of a “return” on that debt you’ve assumed.

I was speaking with Adam, our Chief Product Officer, and he and I both share a lot of enthusiasm for the whole two-years-at-a-junior-college-then-transfer strategy. I also love state schools. Be crazy about scholarships.

Follow your life’s passion, balanced by a vice-like grip on your wallet. And my heavens, use YNAB for free while you’re a student.

My gut feeling is that the student debt load is not just a reflection of unbelievably sky-high tuition costs. It’s also, to some degree, a reflection of spending that hasn’t been checked. There are stories of students living the high life while on loans, and then stories of students that barely eked by, worked their way through, etc. Be one of those “barely eked by” students. :)

Stuff that goes down in value

That bison burger I just ate? That went down in value. The Disney(!) vacation you just went on? That went down in value. Any vacation goes down in value.

(But Jesse! The memories are priceless! Yes, but financed vacations don’t have a corner on priceless memories.)

I’m struggling to find something you purchase on a credit card that doesn’t go down in value. Cleats for my three boys for soccer… My little girls jeans… dinner last night… that reupholstered chair in the front room…

I like this definition. If you’re purchasing something with debt that goes down in value, that’s bad debt.

A new car’s value drops like a rock. A pretty used car’s value doesn’t drop nearly as fast, but it’s still inevitably headed south.

Can the amount of debt make it bad debt? I think so

The two items we just talked about above, those that hold or increase their value over time, and therefore should be good debt, the idea of a home and a higher education…

Can those become bad debts because of their size?

I think so.

Can a “good” debt like a mortgage become bad?

This is where you see rules of thumb come into play. A popular (though not always achievable if you aren’t really being creative) guideline is a 15-year mortgage at no more than 25% of your take-home pay.

Another rule of thumb to keep good debt from going bad is that no more than 1/3 of your take-home pay should be dedicated to mortgage and utilities.

I’ve recently been reading a book, The Not So Big House. They don’t have a square footage requirement, but they do have a guideline that every room of your house should be used every day.

(Then there’s the Tiny House movement. Julie calls it $30,000 tent living. The book I read called for 200 square feet per person. I think there’s a balance to be struck, but also love when people challenge conventional wisdom and buck wildly entrenched trends, like the trend of square footage increasing steadily for the past seventy years.)

This is all, of course, dependent on where you live. Regardless of where you live, you’ll want to pay careful attention to our third guideline when evaluating whether something is good debt or bad debt.


If you’re taking on a student loan, why? Why for that particularly expensive school? Are there any other (even off-the-beaten-path) options?

If you’re purchasing a home, why in that more expensive location? Have your assumptions around a location been checked, and re-checked?

What about the size of the home? One commenter mentioned in my last post that I must not have any financial regrets. I have several. One was spending $65,000 and nine months on software that I then completely scrapped. Another was purchasing the home I now live in. (I also regret planting 11 fruit trees, a raspberry patch, an asparagus patch, and a strawberry patch, because now it’s going to be even harder to downsize ;))

Here’s one for-instance. Julie and I like entertaining, so we were certain that we needed a dining room. We bought this house with a dining room and guess what else you get with a house that has a dining room? A bigger great room, kitchen (no regret there, I like the large kitchen), an extra bedroom, a larger basement, wider staircase, wider hallways, ridiculous master bedroom… the list goes on. All because we were convinced we needed a dining room. That means there’s more to clean, paint, fix, furnish, decorate and maintain.

That dining room has been used maybe ten times in the six years we’ve lived there. I don’t have any math to back me up, but I think that dining room cost me about $150,000. I’m no longer an accountant, but the “per party” cost is at about fifteen grand.

Recognize that I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek here, but completely honest with you about my regret. Julie and I didn’t do a serious analysis of our true priorities and it led to assuming more debt than needed. The debt still fit okay into our budget, so it wasn’t really bad debt I guess, but it could have been better.

So back to guideline two, where the amount of debt can morph it from good into bad, you really need to work through guideline three, where you ask yourself why again and again, and really get to the brass tacks of your needs and situation.


These guidelines feel pretty good. If what you’re financing goes down in value, it’s bad debt. You can take on some good debt, and make it bad by assuming way too much of it. Finally, ask yourself why all the time, and be brutally honest with yourself.


A few things have come of my somewhat incendiary post from earlier:

  1. I plan on moving my family into an apartment to test the idea of happiness as it relates to living quarters with seven people (some of them rather small people, but large and loud voices). Julie said she’s good for a test that lasts three months. This isn’t a “real” downsizing test, because we know our home will be available when we’re done, but I think it will at least give us some insight into what it would be like to live in a much, much smaller space. This will probably happen in early 2015. Fall is too busy to orchestrate a move. Well, I’m too lazy to orchestrate it.
  2. I increased our giving to help fund scholarships at the School of Accountancy at BYU (my alma mater). That’s one way to help students avoid student loan debt. A few people were really concerned because I didn’t distinguish between debt, and student loan debt. To be clear, I really don’t like student loan debt but can’t pretend to know everyone’s situation.
  3. I’m not going to eat out for sixty days. I’m two days in. Some people really balked at my idea of not eating out. I’ve grown pretty used to eating out. I eat out for lunch four out of five days, probably. Julie and I go on a weekly date and it almost always involves a tasty restaurant. So this is coming from a guy that has a pretty solid habit of frequenting restaurants. I’ll make two exceptions to this: 1) If it’s a legitimate business lunch, where someone invited me. If I invite someone to meet up, I’ll avoid making a meal of it. 2) If I’m traveling and staying in a hotel. If I travel and have access to a kitchen, no eating out.
  4. I really enjoyed writing, and have made myself the sole blog contributor again. (With the exception of a few posts here and there from our Teachers.) Be prepared for many, many more commas. I was told I don’t use them, correctly.
Author: "jesse" Tags: "Debt"
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Date: Monday, 08 Sep 2014 14:00

questionThe first time I set up a budget was way back in 2006 when YNAB was just a spreadsheet for Excel. I’d just added up my credit card debt and I knew I’d need to budget my way out. I set up my categories and entered my income and started working my way down the screen. $60 for the electric bill, $945 for the mortgage and so on.

Then I got down to the grocery category. I stared at it for a long time. How much should I budget for groceries? I had no idea. What did I spend on groceries last month? Again, no idea. I remember feeling like I should know this. It was pretty discouraging. So I did the only thing I could think of.

I guessed. Yup, I just guessed. I figured I was about to learn a lot about my spending and I should just be flexible. I remember making lots of guesses in those early days.

I suppose I could have logged into my bank online and searched through past transactions, but I didn’t think of that. And honestly, even now, it doesn’t sound very appealing.

There’s something very freeing about guessing. You know you’re guessing so you don’t have to be right. There’s much less pressure when you remove the need to perfect. Perfection is overrated anyway. We learn more by reflecting and adapting to information.

We often think perfection in budgeting means setting a budget and sticking to it. But every month would have to be “normal” for that to work. When was the last time you had a normal month? There is no such thing! Thanks to Rule Three, perfection is defined by sticking to the process of budgeting. You evaluate the budget as the month unfolds and make sure that things are still lined up with your priorities. Ahhh, that’s perfection.

If you’re just starting and you’re in the same situation I was, you’ll be guessing a lot. Then, with the help of Rule Three, you’ll be adjusting a lot when you’re guesses aren’t right. But this is a really, really good thing. You’ll gain crystal clear awareness of what’s going on financially. That will lead to better decisions about money.

You’re also going to get lots of practice refining the budget. You’ll be massaging things here, tweaking things there, and constantly reevaluating your priorities. They’ll start to become obvious and will jump right out at you. When you can align your spending with what matters, money management becomes a much more positive and rewarding experience.

Over time something magical will happen. Your guesses will get a lot more accurate. This is partly because you’ll be more aware of your spending habits, but also because you’ll have some data to look back at. For me, I budgeted too little for groceries when I first started. I was constantly adjusting that category. After about 6 months, I was able to see what my average grocery spending had been and I was able to use that as a guideline moving forward.

But don’t worry if that doesn’t happen right away. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy the guessing. When you make an adjustment say, “Hooray! I saw a problem and I fixed it! Go me!”.

My guess is all this guessing will eventually put you in pretty good financial shape.

Author: "erin" Tags: "Uncategorized"
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Date: Friday, 29 Aug 2014 17:52
danodeens.com: http://danodeens.com/focus-1/

danodeens.com: http://danodeens.com/focus-1/

Update 9/16/2014: I’ve clarified this (rather divisive) blog post, to be specifically talking about non-mortgage debt. I’m not a fan of student loan debt, but it’s a gray area when it comes to “good debt verses bad debt.” I plan on writing a post about good debt and bad debt, coming shortly :).

I’ve had this sneaking suspicion, as of late, that we’re becoming—how do I say this— soft in our thinking, which directly affects our actions.

YNAB, as a brand/company, doesn’t talk too much about things beyond the Four Rules. We teach you:

  • Rule One: Prioritize your spending/saving, and recognize the reality of finite resources. You don’t hear us say much about how or what to prioritize.
  • Rule Two: Look ahead for larger, less-frequent expenses, and break them into monthly amounts. Build those monthly amounts into Rule One’s priorities. Again, we don’t take a stance on what larger, less-frequent expenses you should have.
  • Rule Three: Adjust your budget as the need arises. We don’t want you to quit. We don’t want you to define successful budgeting as the ability to guess what will happen in the future. Rule Three is just a way of saying, “Hey, if Rule One and Two are feeling a bit brittle under these new circumstances, it’s okay to change things.” We do not teach you what “needs” would merit changing your budget under…yep…Rule One.
  • Rule Four: We teach you to learn to live on last month’s income (called a buffer). It’s just a really nice place to be. You can get out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle, pay your bills as they come due, and just sleep a little easier at night. We do not tell you that reaching this buffer is mission-critical. We don’t yell and scream about the fact that you don’t yet have your buffer. We let you decide how to prioritize your buffer based on, you guessed it, Rule One.

Rule One’s kind of a Big Deal, no? Lo and behold, your priorities end up being the important part in the whole methodology. We’re saying something like:

Prioritize (r1), now prioritize taking the future into account (r2), now prioritize again when you get new (better) information (r3), now make the whole prioritization process easier by prioritizing a month ahead (r4).

We’re silent on your actual priorities. As “YNAB the Fancy Company” we’re silent.

But I’m going to share my own personal opinion on your priorities. Imagine that you and I know each other very well, you know I care about you, and want the absolute best for you.

This post, where I discuss your priorities, is particularly difficult for me, because I don’t presently share in your struggles. Honestly, I’ve struggled to find what I can write about these days, because I haven’t had serious, or even moderate financial strain since the end of 2009. I feel a little bit like the skinny guy with the lightning-fast metabolism whose chowing down on his third donut while telling you to eat celery, cucumbers, and carrots. (Since I’m assuming we know each other very well, you would know that I find celery, cucumbers, and carrots to be the most useless vegetables of all time.)

At the same time, my current lack of financial strain is a result of 20 years of priorities that we’ll now discuss.

In all of this, I’ve been blessed with tremendous health (a priority of mine), an unbelievably supportive wife (the finding thereof was also a priority, but I think I got really lucky as well), and great parents. Let’s start with my dad.

In 1994, I was 14 years old and my dad gave me two books:

  • Financial Peace
  • The Richest Man in Babylon

When I was 18, my dad gave me The Millionaire Next Door.

Reading those books has framed my priorities for the past 20 years. By “framed” I should say something more like, “I treated them as absolute truths, and didn’t waiver from the instruction.”

Here’s where I write about things you may be doing wrong. In other words, here’s where I start questioning your priorities. Here’s the single biggest mistake I see in your priorities.

You treat debt, especially non-mortgage debt, as a given

You’re being weak here. You’re being manipulated by an environment that’s teaching you that debt is simply a part of life. You’re not questioning your core assumptions around your lifestyle, and because those assumptions aren’t questioned, debt is a given.

If you would flip that on its head, and treat non-mortgage debt like the most absurd proposition of all time, if you would get to a place where you don’t even entertain the idea of debt, your mind would take hold of that thought, and you would unleash your creativity, your resolve, and your force of will on that debt.

In early 2004, I was projecting what mine and Julie’s finances would be like once our first baby came into the picture. I was making great money as an internal audit intern ($14/hour) and had a bit over two years left of school for my Master’s of Accountancy. I was sitting on our Dr. Pepper Can Cooler (wedding present) at the Wal-Mart desk, trying all sorts of scenarios that would 1) allow me to finish school, 2) let Julie quit her job with the state ($11/hour) to stay home with Porter and 3) do it all without borrowing any money. All three were non-negotiable.

My projections were dismal, I was mad, and there didn’t seem to be a solution. I was projecting full-time school, and entertaining the idea of working 30 hours per week at my internship (we technically weren’t “allowed” to work in the accounting program, but I ignored that guideline). It was a road to burnout, but I was entertaining it because I wasn’t entertaining the idea of borrowing the money needed for tuition.

Julie and I got $5 each month for fun money. Our grocery budget was $100 per month. We barely drove the car (I would have sold it except it wouldn’t have made a dent in our shortfall). We skipped a honeymoon. We didn’t eat out. Despite our best frugal efforts, the projected monthly shortfall was about $350. Coincidentally, that was how much we paid in rent.

So I decided to start YNAB.

Had I entertained the idea of borrowing money to cover tuition (the loan would have been “super reasonable,” just about $7,000 for a graduate degree! <—sarcasm intended), I never would have felt the need to build a little business that could conceivably cover rent. Had I entertained the idea of debt, this business never would have been started. What a tragedy that would have been.

Stop treating debt as a given. It’s not. You’re just not willing to sacrifice really hard things in order to get there. You need to prioritize your debt and get obsessed about it.

You are underestimating your creative power. You’re underestimating your work ethic. You’re underestimating your force of will. Stop being content with just chipping away at your debt. Get rid of it. You shouldn’t have it. It’s plenty hard reaching your financial goals presently without having to also be funding your lifestyle from the past.

You don’t question your assumptions.

Your house is obscenely large. Because of that obscenely large home, you pay through the nose to heat and cool the thing so you can enjoy your debt-fueled lifestyle at a comfortable 78 degrees. Your vehicles are insanely expensive. Your restaurant budget is killing your health and your finances. Your grocery shopping approach is aimless. Your “guilty pleasures” are used to avoid confronting tougher emotional issues. Your closet is full of clothes you don’t even know you have. Your garage is full of stuff you can’t even recall. Your holiday spending is a reflection of what you think others think.


Downsize. Sell your home, taking any equity out of it that’s there and get something smaller, cheaper, and more reasonable. You’ll make new friends. Good friends you’ve had, you’ll keep them. Rent for a while. Rent a small apartment. Enjoy the journey. Stick your kids in a school that’s just “so so” and then spend time with them at night to fill in any gaps you’re worried about. Consider an apartment.

Consider an apartment and dirt-cheap rent.

Think about renting an apartment for a while.

Protect the idea from your assumptions that are attacking it right now. Defend your idea. Reframe.

Sell your car(s).

If you’re upside down in your car, you should sell it right now. Borrowing money for an asset that goes down in value is simply insane. INSANE. It’s the ultimate poor man’s move. It’s sickening.

Because this is Jesse, and not YNAB, I’ll be a bit prescriptive: If you have any debt at all, and your cars are worth more than $3,000, you should trade down to something more reasonable. That is exactly what I would do.

Sell a lot of other stuff.

It’s not a good investment, to borrow money to buy a bunch of stuff, and then have to sell it for pennies on the dollar so you don’t have to keep paying for it, but it’s still a good move for you.

You’re stuck with your situation until you decide to do something about it. Go through your garage and get rid of half your stuff. Then get rid of another half. Since you’re moving anyway, this will help that process along. Now we’re making progress, and being efficient to boot.

If you have seasonal gear (skiing, mountain biking, hiking, camping, boating, etc.) it needs to go. Buy that stuff later from someone else who’s trying to get out of debt. Share your story of doing the same thing, and how it transformed your thinking forever, and how it’s hard now, but they will be so happy they did it.

De-clutter to gain visibility.

You should be able to list every item of clothing you own. You don’t need all of those shoes, sweaters, and skirts. Minimize. Sell your excess clothing or just give it away. Pull all of the clothing from every corner of your room and pile it all on your fancy bed.

Grab a laundry basket and fill it with the clothes you want to keep.

Shoot for selling, or giving away 80 percent of your clothing.

De-clutter in every single room of your house. Start from one end of your massive house and move to the other. Get rid of stuff. Sell the kitchen gadgets you barely use. Sell the kids’ toys they’ve forgotten about. Sell everything.

De-cluttering will give you visibility into your consumption, because you’ll now notice every new item that you mistakenly purchase.

Stop eating out.

You lost the privilege when you went into debt. I know it’s convenient, but you don’t get to do convenient things because you used up all of your Convenience Points when you took on the debt that made your life so convenient. (It’s alluringly convenient to not have to pay cash for stuff, because you don’t have to work for it.)

Without even going into the absurdity that surrounds us, with eating-out establishments by the thousands surrounding all of us, without even going into how absurd it is that we pay disgusting prices to eat disgusting food…

We won’t talk about that. I’m just talking about your privilege. It’s been revoked. Eat a can of beans. Eat it right out of the can. Don’t even warm it up in the fancy microwave. Grab the can opener, open the can, grab a spoon, and eat that can of beans. Smile while you’re doing it. In that instant, you’re doing something that others would find absurd, bizarre, or disturbing, and in that moment, you’ll know you’re on the right track.

You will have the last laugh, you crazy, crazy person.

Cancel your vacations.

Obviously you don’t borrow money to go on vacation. But if you choose to go on vacation while you are still in debt, then you are borrowing money to go on vacation and no sane person would ever do that.

Do a stay-cation. A stay-cation is where you stay home and host a garage sale to get rid of all the stuff, right before you list your house for sale to move along with the downsizing process. After all, you can’t fit a ton of your stuff in that small apartment, so it needs to go anyway.

You do not go on vacation when you’re in debt. You don’t even do little “getaways” for the weekend to “recharge.” You don’t need to recharge. You need to work. You don’t get the luxury. You gave up that luxury when you took on debt.

Do you see what happened here? Your past self really sold you a bill of goods. Your past self stuck you with a massive bill for things you aren’t even enjoying anymore. You’ve been conned by the greatest shyster you’ve ever come across, and that shyster is you!

Here you are, not even able to enjoy a simple vacation because that con artist took you for all of your future disposable income that could have been used for a vacation.

The only way to get back at yourself, for conning yourself the way you did, is to pay off the debt. For your current and future self.

Work more.

One of the reasons you can’t take a vacation is because you don’t have any free time. Your free time should be spent doing odd jobs to earn extra money, working overtime at your job, holding your third garage sale, becoming an ebay expert, eliminating every expense possible, and optimizing the expenses that, despite your herculean efforts, can’t be eliminated. Yeah… that doesn’t leave much time for vacations.

Use Facebook for something useful, and let your network know that you’re looking to earn extra money. Let them know that you can help them with any job they can conceive. Show up early, stay late, deliver above and beyond expectations and you’ll probably find yourself with a business bursting at the seams from referrals within a few months.

I’m a family guy (heaven knows, I have five kids) and I would miss my kids terribly if I were gone all of the time, working a second and third job.

Oh well.

The “work more” idea is a sprint. It’s not a life sentence. I’m actually quite a balanced guy. But I’m balanced because I’m not in debt.

Not for you. There’s nothing balanced about your situation. Everything is out of balance. You’re on a teeter-totter where your embarrassing load of debt has you leaning hard left, and the only way you can “be balanced” is to go way, way, way to the right. So far to the right that you’re about to fall off. So far to the right that your friends think you’ve gone crazy. Then you take a breath, and take another big step. To the right.

Eat basic foods. Eat less.

Cut your portion sizes. Eat basic food. Don’t eat anything fancy (like dairy or meat). Your grocery bill will drop. Your pant size will drop and, since you won’t be buying clothes any time soon, you may look a little silly with your pants cinched around your waist. That’s okay though. You’re fine to look silly to a bunch of people that are behaving completely irrationally.

You still aren’t questioning your basic assumptions

The majority of you have read the above and come up with all sorts of excuses. Some of you are just shaking your head.

“Jesse’s gone off his rocker.”

“I always thought Jesse was pretty level-headed. What happened?”

“I don’t like Jesse. He sounds really bossy, presumptuous, and mean.”

Maybe I’m not as level-headed as you thought (I’m not). I’m sure I’m being presumptuous, since I can’t individually work with each one of you. I do take issue to the “mean” comment. You know I really like you, and I want the best for you. Remember, we already went over that.

Your most basic assumption that you need to obliterate from your mind is that debt is an option.

Debt is not an option.

The fact that you have always behaved this way does not make it right. It’s tragic. It means you’ve missed out on an amazing ride of figuring out what really matters to you, and where your priorities really lie. You’ve never had to sacrifice to have those true priorities surface. Don’t keep missing out.

Debt has kept you down and out, a slave to interest (of course), but also a slave to middle-of-the-road thinking and suppressed creativity. The process you will undergo to obliterate every single shred of debt from your life will change you forever. You will be stronger, your thinking will be clearer, your perspective will be sharpened, and your resolve will be immovable.

This is my prescription for your priorities: Pay off your debt. Your debt is a crisis. You don’t have any other priorities. This is a sprint. Start running.

I am rooting for you.

Author: "jesse" Tags: "Debt"
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Date: Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 14:26

Hey YNAB community! Jeremy here, and I’m kicking myself for not remembering to share this early in the summer, but it’s better late than never.

Years ago, I lived 1.6 miles away from where I worked. I rode my bike regularly, but realized the huge benefits of skipping the car altogether while in town. Less ga$, less repair$, fewer oil change$, and rippling calf muscles, to name a few. It was around the time An Inconvenient Truth came out on DVD, so I certainly wasn’t the only one thinking this way.

I figured out what was stopping me from becoming a full-on pedal pusher:

  • Sun/heat/pitting out on the way to work (I live in central Washington State).
  • Snow/cold/getting frostbite on the way to work (I live in central Washington State).
  • I don’t feel like pedaling sometimes.
  • It takes too long to get places. If I’m running late, I grab the car keys.

A friend of mine got a little scooter he drove around town. It was a cool, Vespa-looking type and got a bajillion miles per gallon. His gleaming white helmet reminded me of Wallace from A Close Shave. I was seriously tempted that direction until I priced the scooters out at $1,200 not including tabs, licensing, maintenance, etc.

I was randomly scanning eBay one day (I don’t recommend this) and finally found what I was looking for: an electric bike conversion kit. (That’s a non-affiliate link and the particular one I bought is no longer around. I can’t vouch for any of the kits listed because I haven’t used them.)

Since I already had a cheap Schwinn mountain bike, I got a front tire electric motor kit for $300 and was ready to rock. The main reason I got the front tire version (as opposed to the rear tire)  was to easily shed the 40 lbs of weight it adds. I don’t always want it on, so being able to disconnect the wires and swap out the front tire is a huge plus. It took me about an hour to install and I was on the road.

It uses a thumb throttle, so I control how much power I’m using at all times. I’d love to tell you I don’t use it all the time for the sake of personal fitness, but keeping up with 20-25 mph traffic is too dang fun.

It broke through all the reasons I didn’t bike and paid for itself in three months from fuel I didn’t buy. In the summer, I pedal less and go fast enough to get a breeze going. In the winter, I pedal enough to get my body warmed. With both tires being powered, I cut through snow much easier too. Plus, my calves are rockin’.

Author: "jeremy" Tags: "Frugality"
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Date: Monday, 25 Aug 2014 16:47

The iPad app is here.

It’s a free companion to the desktop app.

How to get the new app on your iPhone or iPad

Do nothing. That’s the future we live in now, people. For many of you, the autoupdate feature of your phone means you already received the latest version. You’ll know if it’s the latest when you pull it up on your iPad.

If the autoupdate hasn’t kicked in (or you’ve turned it off), from any iOS device that has YNAB installed, go to the App Store and tap the Updates tab at the bottom. You should see YNAB available there, ready to rock.

What’s new for the iPad App

It’s a “universal” app, meaning it’s the same install for your iPhone and your iPad. Same app, different UI and features for iPhone or iPad. The iPhone received a lot of nice little fixes, but since we’ve all been waiting for the iPad features, let’s spend the rest of this fine blog post talking about those.

You can budget

I just budgeted the entire month of August on the iPad app. It’s super-fast, super-slick, and super-nerdy for you to like it so much, but you will.

Budget in landscape:


or portrait:


“But wait, won’t that just mean I have to tap a ton?”

No. You use those opposable thumbs, tap on a Budgeted cell for one of your categories and marvel as this fancy—let’s call it your Budget Drawer—pops up. Make heavy use of the NEXT button on the bottom-right.

Type in the amount, next, new amount, next…you get the idea.


Use the Quick taps on the left

My favorite is to utilize the quick taps on the left of the Budget Drawer, so you aren’t typing anything. You’re presented with contextual information right at the moment of decision: “Let’s budget $500 for groceries again!”

“The fancy iPad app says here that our Average spent is $650…”

“Nah. This time we’re extra serious!”


So no, the iPad app won’t force you to address reality, but it will at least present you with relevant information, which you can use to your advantage (or not).

But do you see how powerful those opposable thumbs can be? You cycle through “budgeted last month” or “average spent for the last three months” with your left thumb, and the big fat NEXT button for your right thumb.

Bam. Bam. Bam. Tap. Tap. Smile. Tap. Bam. Smile. Smile. Tap.

Add transactions

Of course you can do this. But it’ll look really familiar, because it’ll be just like the workflow on your phone:


Travel back in time

Swipe right to move back a month. Swipe left to move forward again. With the added screen real estate of the iPad, this made a lot more sense.

See how weird this screenshot looks? That was me using my hands in a very contorted way to swipe halfway between months AND take a screenshot:


We’re just getting started…

Bounce around between multiple budgets

I run my rental properties through a separate budget in YNAB (here’s a podcast episode all about it, and I run YNAB (the business) through YNAB. To switch quickly between budgets, just tap the top-left little hamburger icon, get to the sidebar, tap the back arrow and you’re at our very cool Budget Picker screen that gives you thumbnail views of your budgets:


Quickly adjust budget amounts

What if I have some pesky overspending and I want to follow Rule Three and roll with the punches?

Tap the overspent balance amount and select which category should “fill up” the overspending:


Move money from one category to another

Or, if you’re sitting with what I call “vertical green,” where all of your categories are green and pretty, and you want to move some surplus to another category, just tap on the balance amount and you’ll be able to select the amount to move, and the destination category:


If you try and take too much…we make YNAB yell at you in red:


YNAB on your iPad does everything your phone does, but with a bigger screen AND all of the new features above. It has the Geosmart payees, the smart defaults, and the familiar, intuitive workflow you’ve grown to love.

Speaking of Love…

This took extraordinary effort from the iOS team, and I feel like they’ve really delivered a highly-polished product that is an absolute delight to use. Many of YNAB’s team members report that they prefer the iPad as their primary budgeting device.

Why is this a free app? Because 1) you already bought the desktop app, which the iPad app requires and 2) we love you.

AND because you’re going to help us spread the word about YNAB by leaving an awesome review on the App Store.

AND, I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank you already for all of the friends and family you’ve shared YNAB with up to this point. We are truly grateful for your business and confidence.

P.S. What about Android? We updated the UI to be much more Android-esque, and made many improvements. It’s in beta as I write this, and early beta feedback has been very, very positive. Android friends, you will like it. We have plenty more in store for Android.

Attached Media: audio/mpeg ( 0 ko)
Author: "jesse" Tags: "iPhone, News, Updates"
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Date: Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 14:42

Consumption to ProductionMy husband and I try to be pretty intentional about goal-setting and whatnot, so back in June we got to thinking about how we could cut expenses across the board and have a cheaper lifestyle overall. We were pretty much primed and ready for it because we were coming off of a pretty expensive year. We had an exchange student living with us, and we didn’t want her to have a totally un-American experience of frugality. Hehe.

But after looking at our budget, we were definitely ready for some drastic changes. We were ready to move from consumption to production. Don’t get me wrong, though, the pampered American existence can be pretty nice, but it’s also not the ultimate goal for which one should strive. Contentment and satisfaction in life can actually be found in working hard for things.

So back in June we began making a list of things that we could do to become more intentional about this goal of moving from a lifestyle that works against us to one that actually works for us. We opened up our trusty online task manager – Checkvist, and we started listing it all out.

  • Move from consumption to production with food
    • Go a month without Costco and co-op
    • Create a schedule of different shopping methods
  • Move from consumption to production with transportation
    • Create an area for Michael to work at home
    • Sell second car
  • Move from consumption to production with energy
    • Get an energy audit
    • Create an action plan
  • Move from consumption to production with fitness
    • Revisit gym membership
    • Work out with yoga at home
  • Move from consumption to production with clothing
  • Find our baseline lifestyle

We’ve already worked at these a ton, and some have even been completed (like yard work), which is why there are not too many sub-tasks underneath the main tasks, but there’s a lot more to do! Over the next few months I’d like to share with you about each of the main tasks and tell you what’s working for us and what’s not working, why we’re doing what we’re doing, and if we’d do anything differently.  So think of this as your introduction to a new series I’ll be starting. I’m looking forward to sharing what I’m learning!


Author: "annie" Tags: "Frugality"
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Date: Monday, 18 Aug 2014 15:13

boxing-gloveI love Rule Three. In fact, I’ve decided that it’s my favorite rule. I love that it removes the shame associated with overspending. You’re no longer punished for not being able to predict the future with 100% accuracy. I love that it gives you a way to answer the question, “Where’s the money going to come from?”. I love that it keeps you nimble and flexible.

The truth is it’s more important to stick to the process of budgeting – the give and take of priorities – than it is to stick to one set of numbers that made sense a week ago, but that doesn’t make sense today. When information changes, we change and adapt. Lee, one of our teachers, always says, “I never understood why people would tell me I couldn’t change the budget.  I’m the one who typed those numbers in there in the first place.” Exactly.

Rule Three is a beautiful thing.

However, when I teach this concept in the “Getting Started with YNAB” course, inevitably a few people express concern that you could be too flexible, and then you could lose sight of goals and what you’re trying to accomplish. The concern is, if you’re changing things whenever you want, why budget in the first place? It’s a great question.

But Rule Three doesn’t mean changing everything. It’s about evaluating your priorities and adjusting as needed, if needed.  During class as I’m walking through the software demonstration, we get to a point where I overspend on a gift. Here’s what the budget looks like at that point:

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 9.39.35 PM


I ask the class to tell me where they’d take the money from. Then I pause and wait while attendees look over the screen.

Then the responses start coming in. There are usually several votes for clothing, some for restaurants, maybe one or two for car repairs.

Of course, it’s a little bit of a trick question, isn’t it? This screen just shows you a budget, it doesn’t show you the life and person behind the budget.

What if the cupboards are full and there’s 2 days left in the month? In that case taking the money from groceries might be ok. The same could be true for fuel.

Maybe this person is driving a newer car and just had a bunch of work done. So taking $17.50 out of car repairs would be fine. It really depends, and that’s always a worthwhile discussion. But here’s the interesting thing, and the big point I want to make.

No one has ever suggested taking the money from the car payment category. Not once. The responses are always thoughtful and responsible. I’ve always believed that people will make the right decisions for their lives, when they have the right information. But the key is having the right information.  The budget gives you that.  You can look everything over and decide what to do. You’ll know where you can shuffle funds from, and you’ll know what you shouldn’t touch.

I have certain categories in my budget that I’m more likely to shuffle from. I have some that I wouldn’t touch unless I absolutely had to. Everyone draws those lines in different places.

It’s important to the trust the budget when making decisions, but it’s equally important to trust yourself to make those decisions.  Look things over, think about what’s going on financially, and you’ll make a good decision.


Author: "erin" Tags: "Budgeting, Uncategorized"
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Date: Wednesday, 13 Aug 2014 14:12

ynabI love hearing YNAB success stories, so I recently put out a call out to the YNAB forum community asking for people to share theirs. 

I received a whopping 40 responses. (You can read the thread here if you have a forum login and feel like being inspired.) Rather than share one or two in their entirety — which is all I’d have room for here — I decided to focus on what kept cropping up in one response after another: the ideas of control and awareness.


  • “What YNAB has allowed us to do is see where we were and see where we can go. … YNAB has been amazing in helping ease the anxiety of being controlled by money. We can make decisions and know the exact impact it has on our finances.”
  • YNAB “showed us the areas we could cut … without too much pain, just by being smarter. It made me aware of my finances and saved me fees. … We’re not wasting money on things that aren’t priorities now that we can see it add up. … I don’t stress about money anymore.”
  • “Basically, YNAB created order where none previously existed. And with that organization came clarity.”
  • “What was the biggest change? My mindset. I am determined to live within my budget. I check my categories before I spend a dime. Every purchase is now done with knowledge and consideration.”
  • “Since using [YNAB], I am more aware of what I spend and have definitely cut back on frivolous coffees and so on, but I can still allocate a portion of money to eating out or buying a pair of shoes and not feel guilty.”
  • “Knowing where our money is going and giving every dollar a job has completely changed our outlook.”
  • “We’ve made some sacrifices, scaled back on some things, but what’s made the biggest difference is being able to use a ‘fine-tooth comb’ to look at all of our expenses and make informed decisions.”
  • “Overall I feel a lot more in control as we have a broad view and an intimate view of how things are going. The control is the key thing for me to stay motivated and less anxious.”
  • “YNAB speaks the truth in ways that my spreadsheets and Quicken never did for me.”
  • YNAB “gave me clear sight as to what I was paying for and hence whether or not I really wanted to pay for it. … I feel like a driver and not a passenger in my financial life.”
  • “My stress is much lower because for the first time I feel like I’m in control of my finances, not the other way around.”
  • “I’m pretty good at the head-in-the-sand thing. … With YNAB, I traded in the stress of not knowing for the stress of knowing, and I much prefer the latter!”

Another recurring theme throughout the success stories thread had to do with YNAB and relationships (always a popular topic!). I’
ll share some of those quotes in my next post.

Author: "jessiebird" Tags: "Success Stories"
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Date: Tuesday, 12 Aug 2014 15:23

I was barely bigger than a Boise spud when our family began visiting my grandparent’s small farm in Idaho. With all that the wide open spaces and roaming cattle had to offer a little girl from the suburbs, nothing thrilled me more than getting a tap on the shoulder from Grandpa as he gestured towards a shiny, wire-covered coop out back.

“C’mon! Let’s go count the chickens.”

I’d squeal and grab his hand, pulling him as fast as my pint-sized strength would allow. He would unlock the gate and a sea of clucking, white puffballs would surround my feet. The joke was that I could never actually count all of the chickens. They seemed to multiply before my very eyes! I would chase them and laugh and dance in the rainfall of feathers…

…until the summer my Grandpa added a new rooster to the hen house.

Like clockwork, I ran to the fence doorway, ready to commiserate with my farmyard friends, but as soon as Grandpa opened the coop, Big Red had me in his sights. He jumped on my back and scratched with his claws. I can still feel his wings flapping furiously against my face. He sunk his talons into my fluorescent orange hoodie (apparently an infuriating color to roosters). It felt like forever until my Grandpa finally freed me from his grasp. I ran screaming from the pen with some pretty nasty gashes down my back, and a brand new—very real—fear of birds.

I swore off every winged creature that day and never looked back. But for all my talk of leaving the birds behind, I realized that I was still metaphorically playing that childhood game by relying on one of the oldest clichés on the planet: Counting my chickens before they hatched.

In the recent past, I was an expert at liquidating money before it even hit our bank account. Future bonuses, side jobs or tax returns were long spent before they even reached my hot, little hand. They were my golden parachute anytime I overextended the budget. I’d smile sheepishly each time my husband would be going over our accounts and point out an extravagant receipt,

“It’s okay! We’ll just use (fill in the blank) to cover it.”

But there are only so many “fill in the blanks” to go around before you find yourself in the Hen House of Debt, struggling to keep track of the slippery chickens you were so sure you could count on.

When the Christmas budget was bursting at the seams, I’d earmark incoming monetary Christmas gifts to cover it- until I remembered that the Christmas money we knew we’d be receiving was already slotted to cover the new rug we purchased to match our freshly painted living room. From there, I’d look even further to a bonus coming four months down the road. It would easily clean up the Christmas mess, but would leave us with next to nothing for summer vacation. Maybe we could use the following quarterly bonus for that? But wait—weren’t we using that money as savings for next Christmas…?

Round and round we went.

Luckily we escaped our “fowl” habits (I had to!) with only a few scratches. Our scuffle with the consequences of relying on money we didn’t yet have has instilled a healthy fear in us that rivals the impact of Big Red’s talons.

As we nurse our wounds from mistakes of the past, YNAB is helping us stay accountable to our current financial status. While there is freedom in how we disperse our money within the categories, we are pulled back into reality every time the numbers don’t add up. (You’ve all seen the bright red, “over budget” warning up in the corner of your YNAB spreadsheet, right? Terrifying!)

It’s not easy patching up what remains of our careless choices and poor planning, but the alternative is far worse.  So we wait and save and plan for a future where all the chickens are properly hatched……and at least 500 feet away from me. 

Tell me, my fine, feathered YNAB friends: Are you “playing chicken” with your budget? Do you find yourself scrambling to escape the Hen House of Debt? Have you scuffled with spending money you didn’t yet have? How did YNAB free you from the financial albatross around your neck? (Ten bonus points if you use a bird pun!)

Author: "christy" Tags: "Budgeting"
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Date: Monday, 11 Aug 2014 20:31

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 2.29.31 PMMostly because I’m only at step two of his seven-step path to getting a grip on my money, while everyone around me seems to be sitting fat and pretty at number seven. I know, I know, it’s an illusion. But still.

Okay, let’s back up. I (Alex) don’t really even know this Dave Ramsey fellow. I only heard about him because I’ve read every comment that my village mates leave on my YNAB posts, so this evening I took a little trip across Google to find out the score. I didn’t go too far into the website, because, of course, YNAB is the budget to beat all budgets, and I really only wanted to know what else this fellow has to offer besides budgeting advice.

I stumbled upon his seven-steps page, and realized with fresh horror that I am hopelessly far behind in the race to financial independence. I have my $1000 for emergencies (if you count the money I’ve saved this past year for travelling abroad with my sons, or the $2000 I’ve saved for my “retirement”, haha, let’s just have a moment to giggle about that one). I haven’t got any debt, but that’s only through the grace of a banking system that lets debt-riddled people throw up their hands, press RESET on the Great Green Debt Machine, and start over at GO.

At any rate, I’ve got the first two steps covered. As for having saved three to six months in expenses? For someone who has to choose between a package of paper towels or another squeeze at the gas pump, that seems as preposterous as me as strapping on my mukluks and flying to the moon. I’ll never get there.

Which means I’ll never get to the fourth step, either: investing 15% of my income for growth. And as far as step five goes, while I am currently saving for Thing Two’s university costs (Thing One, as an amputee, gets his first degree paid for by the War Amps, blessed be), step six makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time. Pay off my house early? Dude, I don’t even have a house. I live in a one-bedroom apartment in which I squash silverfish the size of gummy worms on a thrice-daily basis.

Sometimes it all just sucks.

But then. Then. Then . . . I take a deep breath, and I look back to where I was a year ago. Two years ago. Three, four and five years ago. And I realize that – thanks entirely, and only, to YNAB – I’m on my way somewhere. I have a travel fund. I have a retirement fund. I have a fund – many, actually – to cover expenses that I know are going to pop up when I least expect them. I have no clue where I’m going to end up, and unless I sell a hella good novel or scratch the right winning ticket, it sure as heck won’t in my own home, but I’ll be in a better place.

And damn it, I’ll have great eyelashes.

Author: "alex" Tags: "Psychology"
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Date: Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 14:25

Airbnb ContentmentSo I have what you call “the travel bug”. I love it. I don’t see it as extravagant or indulgent because it’s a huge value of mine since it has changed me so much by adding such value to my life and the life of my family. But let me tell ya…I’m not staying at fancy resorts, either.

We’ve been doing the Airbnb* thing, and I have to tell you…it’s changing me.

Airbnb is a website that allows you find people that are renting out all sorts of spaces – extra rooms, entire homes, and unique accommodations from glamping to castles. You can then safely book through Airbnb, allowing you also to vet the owners.

The other side to Airbnb is that you can list your own space on there, which is what we’ve done. So when we book our house out for a week, we go on a vacation to a place that is cheaper than our house. See what we did there? Simple math. ;)

This, however, is not for everyone. If you want to stay somewhere that is totally predictable and simple and not have to interact with others, then this is not for you. On the other hand, if you want to live like a local, meet interesting people, and have unique experiences, then try it!

But the mind game that it’s playing on me is phenomenal in a good way. I’m learning things like contentment and relying on my skills and wits and not my stuff while staying at places that are cheaper than my house.

And a funny thing happened yesterday. The sweet girl that’s staying at my house with her family was kind enough to friend me on Instagram to help with trust and whatnot. So yesterday I saw two pictures. The first was of everyone in my pool. And the second was of her and her 5 year old nephew laying on my couch. I’ll be honest. It was weird. That was MY stuff. MY couch. MY throw pillow. MY pool. MY water.

It made me want to never rent my house out again. Then the interesting awakening happened. It’s just stuff.

I’m fortunate enough to have a house to rent out for a decent rate. I’m fortunate enough to have a good decorating eye so that my house looks pretty good, if I do say so. And my husband is so fortunate to have a flexible job so that we can spend a week on an organic gogi berry farm in New Mexico for a week. It’s just stuff.

Why do we have such a hard time sharing? Why is acquisition more important to us than community and generosity? (You could argue that true generosity doesn’t charge, but I digress.)

So why am I sharing all of this on a budgeting blog? I think it’s all linked, truly. Budgeting becomes so much easier when you don’t have an attachment to stuff. Your options are wide open when you’re not a slave to things. Contentment and goals are achievable. 

Whether you’re just starting out and facing the harsh reality of needing to cut some categories in order for everything to balance, or you’ve been YNABing for five years like me and want to find greater contentment and make long-term goals, it’s much easier when you’re not attached to stuff.

*Airbnb is not paying me for this. I just really like it. ;)
Author: "annie" Tags: "Frugality"
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Date: Monday, 28 Jul 2014 18:29

Welcome back, Grasshoppa! I, Jeremy, have awaited your return. If you missed it, last time we covered some credit score basics and provided a path to getting a free copy of your credit report.

If you are now or will ever be a mortgage shopper, the following will serve you well. I have seen many a mortgage application die at the hands of the cunning FICO, so let us not delay.

[*POOF!* I disappear from my seated lotus position in a bluish cloud of smoke and reappear beside a living, breathing credit report. “Gah!” you gasp.]

Be not afraid, Grasshoppa! By learning the furious five parts of its anatomy we can uncover corresponding attacks. The percentage shown is the weight each part carries in your total score.

Part 1 – Payment History (35%). Late payments hurt. A lot. For seven years. (!) Lenders will check your credit before approval and sometimes again before closing. If you have missed any payments during that time, FICO could deal a fatal wound to your mortgage application and slay your homeownership dreams on the spot.

  • Myth 1 (thanks to a helpful comment by MrMcLargeHuge): “An unblemished credit report is suspicious. Lenders want to see some kind of mistake in your credit history.”
  • Combat tactic: Noble lenders look for healthy borrowers while predators look for weaknesses. Colorful ad slogans like “Bad credit? No problem!” should warn you like the bright bands of the deadly coral snake.
  • Myth 2: “Never pay off your balance completely.”
  • Combat tactic: Know which credit lines you have open (by seeing your report) and make sure to keep them paid. If you can only pay the minimum, do it. DO pay your balance off each month; however, DO NOT necessarily close the account. We’ll cover that later.

Part 2 – How Much You Owe (30%). If you have a car loan, student loans, and three credit cards maxed out, this indicates a risk that you will be unable to repay your obligations should something unexpected happen (illness, loss of job, an “amazing” shoe sale, etc). Even if you are keeping up on your payments, FICO will ding you for maxing out.

Also, if you have more credit lines available than you could ever hope to repay, it negatively affects your score.

  • Myth 1: “As long as you pay them off every month, you can max out your credit cards.”
  • Combat tactic: Keep your balances at or below 25% (some even say 10%). For example, if you have a $1,000 credit limit, only spend $250 before it’s paid off.
  • Myth 2: “If I have a lot of credit available to me, it shows lenders I can handle the responsibility.”
  • Combat tactic: If you earn $4,000/month, it will make FICO nervous if you can dive into $20,000 of credit card debt at 22% interest rate in a moment’s notice. Limit your credit cards to three.

Which three? Ahhh, you show wisdom for one so good looking, Grasshoppa. Don’t go creating credit card confetti with your katana just yet.  Next time we meet, we will explore the three remaining parts of credit score anatomy and bring the whole creature into view.

*You have, no doubt, heard many myths and developed your own tactics. I cordially invite your questions and comments. When you do, we all get stronger.

Author: "jeremy" Tags: "Miscellaneous"
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Date: Friday, 25 Jul 2014 15:10

photo 2Recently, my fellow YNAB blogger Alex wrote a great post about how her budget allows her to afford certain indulgences. She’s right: Even if you’re living on a shoestring, you can consciously plan for the special things that bring a little sunshine into your life, without letting them drain your bank account.

But the budget isn’t just for people who want to keep their luxury spending from getting out of hand; it can also liberate those of us who tend to avoid ever spending money on ourselves, even for necessities. (Surely I’m not the only one?)

For example: I’ve been hiking with our new dog a lot this summer. And because I am a cheapskate, I’ve been doing it wearing my only suitable outdoor shoes, a pair of 3- or 4-year-old sneakers that a couple of years ago went from being my primary indoor workout shoes to my beat-up yard work shoes. These were already nearly useless for hiking when I started in May. As of last week, my toes were poking through the mesh and the smooth-worn soles were flapping with every step. (I tripped a lot.)

But, thanks to the budget, I had been saving up for a pair of actual hiking shoes. They cost $100 ($100!) — knocked down to $80 with a coupon code. That’s pretty cheap as far as light trail shoes go, but for me it might as well be a million dollars.

Before the budget, I never would have been able to justify to myself the cost of these shoes. If I had bought them, I would have felt a guilty pang in my stomach every time I put them on. I shouldn’t have indulged myself in something I could have lived without, I would have told myself, because the money could have been better spent elsewhere.

YNAB has changed that kind of thinking for me.

Now that I have a dedicated clothing/shoe category, I can plan for more expensive purchases — even for things I don’t strictly need. I always believed I didn’t deserve Nice Things, because they cost money. I felt kind of noble going without Nice Things because that proved that I was careful with money (though somehow I was always broke).

Now, thanks to the budget, I am able to spend more on myself — plus I have more money for everything else. Go figure.

I’ll probably never get over my innate tightwad tendencies. Heck, before YNAB it took me six months to pull the $7 trigger on a new manual can opener (well, I already had one that kind of worked even though it hurt my hand, and who needs two can openers?).

But my point is this: While most people tend to think of a budget as a way to control their spending, I use mine to help me be less frugal.

When I head out on my morning hike in a few minutes, I’ll be wearing my new Merrells. And thanks to YNAB, I’ll be smiling all the way.

Author: "jessiebird" Tags: "Budgeting, Psychology"
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 15:59

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 10.14.03 AMFew things make an engaged couple happier than having a store clerk hand you a registration laser gun followed by the permissive, “Have at it”. I (Christy) think my squeals were audible. I know I blew imaginary smoke that (wasn’t) flowing from my laser pointer after I scanned each item and I definitely swirled the scanner gun around and shoved it in my imaginary holster while annoying my husband to death with exaggerated cowgirl speak: “Well, how-do little darlin’! I reckon I’ll take that, there cheese grater.” (You’re asking yourself how my husband made it to the altar knowing he was marrying such a nerd, aren’t you?)

My adventures with the registration scanner aside, I was thrilled to death to have my pick from the rows upon rows of kitchenware. The colorful measuring cups and brightly patterned dishes, garlic presses and salad spinners, all seemed to whisper the promise of a warm, bustling kitchen in the center of a happy home.

As our years together progressed, I became more and more confident as a home cook and my meals expanded both in difficulty and ingredients. I remember how proud I was when I tackled my first Thanksgiving dinner—including three pies made from scratch! I enjoyed spending time in the kitchen and creating moments where our family could come together over a yummy feast.

Fast forward to last year: My husband’s job was at its most demanding. We were lucky to see him for a few hours on Sunday after church. The little time he did have off was spent on operating tables or doctor’s offices.  Our house was in a constant state of disarray—our kitchen being the biggest disaster area—due to a damaging flood. We were adjusting to a new baby and all of the joy (and extreme sleep deprivation) that went along with her.  (Oh, but that new baby smell- it’s magic, I tell you!)

My bountiful, inviting dinner table had gone from home cooked meals and meaningful conversations to three different dinner times and leftover scraps from takeout boxes. Our weekend, eat out splurges had now become an everyday survival tool for me. The idea of getting a meal on the table was overwhelming…..little did I know that I was completely overwhelming our budget as well.

Slowly our life began to heal from the “Year of Disasters”, but old, convenient habits die hard. At least five days a week we were eating from plastic “to-go” containers. Take out was my new crutch, and what’s worse, I was crippling our bank account.

When we sat down to input our spending into YNAB, I was slapped with the reality that we were spending well over $600 a month (and that’s being conservative!) on restaurant eating. It was a hard truth to stomach (pun intended) and I knew it was time to get cooking!

I was nervous that after a full year and a half of avoiding our kitchen, I might’ve needed a refresher course in slicing and dicing, but the comforts of simmering pots and delicious smells filling the house quickly awakened my joy of cooking. I took a cue from YNAB and became much more organized with my meal planning and shopping trips. I’m no longer staring into the fridge at 5 o’clock hoping a three course meal will appear on the second shelf. Our daily meals are set in advance, keeping dinner time anxiety free.

In the past 6 weeks we’ve eaten out three times…..THREE!! Our eat-out category has been flush and we’ve saved over $500 a month! I admit that I dreaded making this change. I was sure I would miss the ease of someone else handling our meals and freeing me up for other duties, but I was surprisingly mistaken. So many aspects of our life were improved when we committed to making this change: Our physical health, our financial health, our time together as a family. The benefits keep rolling in.

Of course everyone has days that require sending out a “bat signal” and surrendering to the chaos of the day with a pizza run or an escape to your favorite restaurant. I’ll always be grateful to have that option in my back pocket. But more than that, I’m proud of the progress we’ve made by rediscovering our kitchen and recommitting to a full fridge and a happy bank account.

Has YNAB helped you break some unhealthy habits? Have you had a recent victory in your budgeting? Let’s celebrate!! Share them with me and your fellow YNABers! Crunching those numbers can be stressful at times so let’s take a moment to focus on the amazing progress we’ve made! I’ll whip up something tasty for us while you’re writing…

Author: "christy" Tags: "Budgeting"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 15:37

I had told you about how we just got back from Europe, and Sarah in the comments had asked: “How did you track your expenses while on vacation?”

So my husband and I got to talking about it, and, using much of what he commented back to Sarah with, we came up with this post.

While it’s a challenge, keeping to a budget on vacation requires a LOT of preparation and foresight. We’ve now gone to Europe three times on a YNAB budget, and at this very moment I’m sitting in a cabin in Taos on another vacation. (I plan on telling you next how I manage my travel addiction.) So hopefully this will help in Europe or wherever your heart takes you next.

1. Before you purchase anything, know your conversion rate!

It’s not board game money, as much as you feel like it is. It’s real money; trust me. If you don’t want to do the math, then get an app for your phone that can do it for you.

2. Pay for as much as you can while you’re still home.

If you plan on traveling by train or bus once you’re there, then buy the tickets as early as they’ll let you. Many of the companies mail you the ticket, and others simply email them. But trust me, don’t wait until the last minute. Also, pay for any shows or tours that you plan on going to in advance. This helps a ton.

3. Check the admission prices on the websites of everything else you plan on attending and public transportation passes, and budget for all of those.

I made the mistake once of just estimating what I thought the museum admission prices would be, and it ended up being about 2-3 times more. If you spend a couple of days at home on your itinerary, you won’t regret it. You don’t even have to nail down the itinerary day by day, just list the things that you definitely want to do, and then plan then play it by ear, planning around the events that are set in stone. Also, do a search on the public transportation of the cities that you’re going to so that you can maximize on the passes that you’ll surely want to buy.

4. Give yourself a budget for gifts and souvenirs, and get cash out for those.

Once you have your cash, then use an envelope system for this. Keep you cash safe in a money belt or traveler’s wallet. This will also keep you from making regrettable impulse buys.

5. Give yourself a per diem for food and use cash.

Again, you’ll want to use the envelope system for this, keeping the cash safe in a traveler’s wallet or money belt. Also, be sure to do an internet search for what is customary tipping procedure. You may end up saving a little dough that way.

6. Make sure you and whomever you’re traveling with all have a chip in your credit/debit card.

If you don’t already have one, get this sent to you a few months in advance of your trip. Many vendors, especially in Eastern Europe, don’t take a credit card with a swipe. This prevented me from renting a bike one day because each of us needed our own card to register, so it was a major bummer. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMV - the US will be doing this very soon. (Tip: Call your credit card company and bank before you leave to let them know you’ll be overseas.)

7. Give yourself (if possible) a few hundred dollars of buffer so that mistakes or minor emergencies aren’t a big deal. You’re on vacation, and it’s awesome, and you don’t know when you’ll get to come back, and that this doesn’t happen every day, so you don’t want to be stressing out about money! A buffer will ease the stress as long as you don’t rely on it too heavily.

8. Download your transactions every night.

Any credit card/debit transactions will show up almost immediately as converted into dollars, so if you’re doing a best guess conversion during the day, at night you can look at your pending transactions and you’ll see those transactions in dollars. Make sure you use a credit card that doesn’t charge you a huge conversion fee (we use the Barclay Travel card because of its rewards and for this reason too).

9.  Use Yelp or Trip Advisor to find places to eat out of the tourist areas to save money.

If you do this beforehand, it’s great. But if you don’t, you might consider getting data on your phone to make things easier (you can buy a prepaid SIM card while you’re there that’s pretty reasonable), but we managed to find enough places with free Wi-Fi to get the information we needed (the Trip Advisor app was my favorite). A lot of times you can end up going a few blocks outside of the normal tourist trap and get something more authentic and much cheaper. So I’d recommend looking at your itinerary now and finding options for where you’re going to be. I think the most expensive aspect of our trip was the panic-and-eat-out-at-a-tourist-trap scenario.

And as far as the nuts-and-bolts of your categories and whatnot, that’s up to you. We just had one category with a simple list of the budget in the notes. Some of you will probably want a master category with sub-categories for each thing (food, souvenirs, etc.), and that’s fine, too. My personal taste is to keep it a little simpler.

I hope this helps! Happy travels!

Author: "annie" Tags: "Budgeting"
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Date: Monday, 21 Jul 2014 16:59

Alex here. I admit it. I’m a fool for fakery.

Specifically, I’m a fool for having hundreds of synthetic polyester fibres painstakingly glued to my face every four weeks.

Fake lashes. Lots of ‘em. And they cost me a pretty penny, which I always find is an interesting exercise in explanation whenever someone asks me how much they cost.

See, people who know me understand I live and die by My Budget. I turn people down for drinks because It’s Not In The Budget. I decline going out for lunch because I’ve Already Spent This Month’s Restaurant Budget. Yet I turn around and drop a hundred bucks a month on something that seems so frivolous.

But there it is. I love the time saved by no longer having to put on makeup. I love not worrying about my mascara smudging when I’m slinging tires at the gym. I love how they give me an instant eye-lift in a world that makes women feel crummy if we’re not Botoxing and threading and Juvederming and trying to look like we’re twenty-eight instead of however old we really are.

We all have our luxuries. And in my (tightly-budgeted, single-parenting, self-employed) world, I have two: wine and eyelashes. (When I first threw my hat into the ring to get this blogging gig with YNAB, I confessed to Mark that I spend the equivalent of a plane trip to Guatemala every year…on wine. But that’s for another post. (And sometimes I share it with others.) And besides, that’s nothing compared to the return trip to Singapore I’m hucking away on eyelashes.)

I save for my children’s education. I save for their braces. I pay hundreds for life, critical illness and disability insurance. I save for Thing One’s trumpet lessons, for Thing Two’s gymnastics lessons, for their annual passes to the museum, the pool and Miniature World. As for me? My monthly clothing budget is $30 (oh yeah, baby, it’s Alex what’s keeping Value Village #yyj in business). My electricity budget is $20. My iTunes Store budget is $5. So I’m not a reckless spender. What YNABer is?

But – and I’m sure others who have oddball luxuries that they seem to spend ridiculous amounts of money on will agree – this apparent inconsistency in meting out money to the various fiscal arenas of life is sometimes difficult to explain to people who aren’t acquainted with a) YNAB, or b) budgeting in general. And it still raises eyebrows, even when I explain that it’s a measured choice. That I can afford the lashes because I have cut away the other frivolities, like Starbucks coffee, and new shoes, and movies out, and pedicures, and things at Costco that aren’t really necessary but which are such a good price they just have to be purchased.

I explain it anyway.

So now it’s your go: What expenses do you find tricky to justify to those people who challenge your budget allocations?

Author: "alex" Tags: "Budgeting"
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Date: Friday, 18 Jul 2014 15:15

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 10.54.29 AMAssemble, budgeting bushido! I, Jeremy, am sporting my pointy hat and fu manchu in preparation to bestow upon you, Grasshoppa, some basic techniques in the ancient art of FICO defense.

[Wooden flute plays while I balance atop my bamboo cane.]

The terms “FICO” and “credit score” are essentially the same creature and those terms are interchanged by bankers, since FICO is the company many use to get your credit report. Despite your or my feelings about it, your FICO…is. Though shrouded in mystery, since it can work either for or against you, it is wise to study its ways. Let us begin…


If it is a mortgage you seek, you must face your FICO since banks employ it heavily in guiding their lending decisions. If married, you will not face it alone (though you may wish you could if your spouse has been tiger-style with their borrowing, yet sloth-style in paying back.)

FICO has no feelings about your borrowing history. FICO does not hear sincere reasons, nor poor excuses. It peers unbiasedly through you and gives you a score ranging from 300 to 850, with higher being better. Like middle-aged man’s abs, building your score up is long and difficult, while sagging is quick and easy.

FICO sees only darkness. FICO will not mention the time you ate only wild beetles, drank dew droplets, and lived without electricity to pay off your 30 year mortgage in seven grueling months. FICO will, however, point out the time you spent forty days meditating on Youtube cat videos and were late on paying your Target card…five years ago.

Let not your anger control you, Grasshoppa. Neither be seized by worry if you are now trying to remember every little thing you may have ever done wrong. The best course of action is to bring your FICO into the light. Journey to www.AnnualCreditReport.com where you can request your credit report once per year without charge.

[There are many sites (even some banks/credit cards) which offer this service for a fee. Unless you want to monitor your credit score more than annually, this is letting your money take the way of the cherry blossom in the wind.]

Like waxing car and painting fence, checking your score is more than going through the motions since they are not always accurate. Be not intimidated! FICO will back down when confronted with good evidence of payment sent on time. Even a sincere call to the company reporting a genuine late payment may suffice. “Hello, friendly cell phone carrier person. I see I had a late payment last year. I was unconscious due to a nunchaku-induced head injury, but I paid as soon as I woke up and was never late otherwise. What might I do to clear that up?” It might do the trick, if it is the honest truth.

Many an unwary mortgage shoppa has been bitten in the backside by FICO and thus denied in their quest. When next we meet, I will teach of the anatomy of the FICO, and how to avoid those attacks. I will offer you further techniques, but they will be more valuable to you once you have seen your credit report with your own eyes.

That will be all for now, enlightened one. Now go and find what it is you seek.

Author: "jeremy" Tags: "Miscellaneous"
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