I started using YNAB last June. I downloaded the free trial for 10 days and that was all I needed, I was hooked! I had never budgeted before in my life, hence how I ended up with over 8K in credit card debt. During college I just swiped, and swiped, and swiped until I was laying under a pile of guilt and credit card bills which I had no idea how to get out of. Mindless shopping sprees, eating out, and buying things that I never even took the tags off of. It allll ads up!
Finding YNAB was a blessing, I really wanted to move out of my parents house and buy one of my own, but it just wasn't an option with the bills I had. So, I set a goal for myself. In one year I was going to have my credit card paid off, and I was going to buy a house. I was pretty diligent with it, going online at least 3 days a week, if not daily, entering everything I spent into the register. Took the credit card out of my wallet so I wouldn't be tempted to spend. I had to live off of the money in my pocket, or keep a close eye on my debit card to know how much was going in/coming out. Believe me, there were one too many times when I was in the mall holding on to a pair of jeans or a cute shirt and I had to put it down and say, is this worth it? No, it wasn't. I had a bigger goal to accomplish than looking cute in a pair of new jeans, lol.
One month after using YNAB, I could already see the difference in my checking account. I set up automatic payments in my online banking site to transfer the funds from the checking account to my credit card bill, and 2 separate savings accounts, but I still had excess money, play money if you will, to do the things I liked doing. I budgeted money for dining out, shopping, gym costs. So I wasn't completely depriving myself of the fun things in life. In my opinion, if you try to eliminate everything, you'll fail... just life fad diets. You need to learn to change your habits over time, no quick fixes, they don't stick.
After a about 6 months of YNAB, I was sitting pretty. I had all my bills paid at the beginning of the month, and my savings accounts were growing, the credit card bill was getting smaller. There was a sigh of relief, it was working. i was doing it right! I didn't have to enter my spendings daily anymore, I did it weekly, or maybe bi-weekly depending on how I felt. I had changed my bad habits! I had money put aside for Christmas, that I had budgeted in the past 6 months, so it wasn't a complete shock to the budget when I had to buy gifts. I was one happy girl. Around this time, my boyfriend (of 8 years) and I decided that we wanted to start looking for a house. A little premature, because I still had credit debt, but I knew the process would take awhile, so we looked, and looked, and in the meantime I kept saving and paying off debt.
Well, it's been almost a year, and I just sent in the payment that is going to give me a ZERO balance on my credit card and I've got more money just sitting in my bank account than I had ever dreamed of seeing there! We put an offer in on a house, which we're waiting to close on and hopefully we'll be moving in in the coming month. YNAB has truly changed my life, and I am so thankful. Also, these forums have been a great way to keep motivated, I loved coming on in the beginning and reading the success stories posted by others.
Now it's time to make new goals for myself, especially with buying a house. Can't wait to enter my new categories for mortgage payments, gas, sewer, electric... lol. Ok, maybe that's not something to be excited about, but at least I'm ready for it!