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You Need A Budget.  The first time I saw these words I thought to myself “duh, I know”.  How you manage your money is a private issue, really.  Not one to discuss in polite conversation, but also one that I rarely discuss in conversations with my most trusted friends.  Until now.  I am so into the plan that we use to manage our finances on a day-to-day basis that I wanted to share.

get $6 off YNAB with this unique coupon code: http://ynab.refr.cc/ZTB2WL2  : mrsharper blog, deboe studio, ynab

My husband and I joined our financial forces prior to getting married and have done a decent job of creating and maintaining monthly budgets and goals etc.  Yet, the primary maintenance of the budget and paying of bills usually fell to one or the other of us.  At one point it was primarily Wes handling, then his schedule got too crazy and I took over because mine was more flexible.  This worked only in that, someone was always at least handling it and ensuring our bills were paid on time.  What did not work about this approach is that whichever one of us wasn’t in charge, always felt a little out of the loop or like we were spending a little blindly.  Even looking at the bank balance daily online does not give you an honest up-to-date picture of what there is to spend because typically much of that money is already spoken for.  We spend X amount per week on groceries, dining out, household goods, gasoline and then of course all the monthly bills, savings and rainy day funds.

Enter: You Need a Budget, or as it’s more commonly referred: YNAB.  I honestly can’t link to where I first read about YNAB as I simply don’t remember, but I wish I could because it was a real game-changer.

YNAB ensures that you’re never spending blindly.  It is also designed for both parties to actively participate in real time through their convenient iPhone app that updates the desktop version through the cloud so that all versions work off the most recently updated file.  If I go out for lunch, before I even leave the table, I open the YNAB app, enter the total amount I spent and click on “lunches out” category and hit enter.  Voila!  Wes then, can open the app on his phone, across town and see that the money we have to spend on “lunches out” before we get paid again has just decreased.

When income comes in you assign every single dollar a “job” and then as you find yourself at Target wanting to buy running shorts I can open the app and see if my budget has anymore dollars available for the clothing category at this time.  If the app says $0 for clothing then, I either don’t buy it, or I know that I have to find that money in the budget to cover the cost.  This means, that if I spend $38 un-budgeted dollars on clothes at Target, I have to take $38 out of my dining out category or out of my rainy day fund or savings or somewhere else to cover that cost. This connects me to my money in a way I’ve never experienced before.

2014 has been the year of getting all my ducks in a row.  My financial ducks, my fitness ducks, my career ducks, my garden ducks…all the ducks!  YNAB really was a game changer and I would highly recommend it to anyone!

This was not a sponsored post.  Anyone who signs up for YNAB gets a coupon code to share (brilliant marketing if you ask me!).  I’ve been using YNAB now for 4 months and am ready to promote and share this code as I can now confidently stand behind it.

GET $6 off with this coupon code: