Hi everyone! As I'm writing this, I'm finding myself completely stoked about a new version of my favorite budgeting software coming out, which feels utterly bizarre. Three months ago, my life was a complete mess. I've never had any sort of control over my finances whatsoever. My entire life I've wasted money on useless stuff as soon as the money entered my life. I never made the distinction between having money on hand to buy something, and actually being able to afford it. I paid bills when I absolutely had to - like when they were here to cut my power or my internet connection, or when they were about to evict me from my apartment - otherwise I spent my money on whatever I felt like buying. Of course, this made me constantly worry and feel horrible about myself, but I just tried to push it out of my head. One method I was fond of using was to just not check my mailbox for months at a time, so I wouldn't have to see the debt collection notices (I apologize if this is not the correct term, I'm a dirty foreigner and not a native speaker). When the mailbox got full, I'd just throw all the unopened letters in the garbage bin. I could not see a future for me, and I had resigned myself to that.
So what happened? I'm not sure. In March of this year I was going for a walk, worried sick about the possibility of being evicted later that month. I started thinking about how I'd managed to mess my life up so badly, and that there was no way out of said mess. The walk cleared my head, though. I would give it a shot, I would call all my creditors and try to make deals with them about paying back what I owed, and I would start using a budget. I discovered YNAB, and started using the trial. I remember smirking a bit at Jesse's statement that I wouldn't need the 34 day trial, that I'd be convinced it was worth the money in just a few days. Well, he was right.
I called my creditors and figured out how much I owed, and to my great relief they were all very reasonable. Through trial and error, I made my first ever budget. It took some time to get used to the budgeting concepts of YNAB, but me not ever having budgeted anything before may have helped me there? I'm not sure. All I know is I started geeking out hard over my budget. I spent hours and hours fiddling with it (still do!), and I loved figuring out just how much debt I could pay off each month and how that would affect the time it would take for me to get debt free. Now, "luckily" my bad credit had made me unable to take up any car loans or mortgages, so I should be completely debt free in about 15 months if everything goes as planned. Everything won't, of course, but I'm prepared to roll with the punches, Rule #3 style.
So. Here I am. It's been 3 months, but it feels like a lifetime. My life has completely changed. I don't spend money I don't have anymore; in fact, when I got my bonus this year, I got super excited about being able to pay down more debt! Three months ago, that money would have been wasted on who knows what. I was living paycheck to paycheck, so payday was a huge deal; I would be able to go buy cool stuff again. Now, payday is predictable and kind of boring, but boy do I prefer that to how things used to be.
I have so much more confidence in myself now, and not having to constantly worry about my financial situation feels so incredibly liberating. That awful lump in my stomach that made it so hard for me to fall asleep is gone. Before I started with YNAB, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to stick to the budget, that I'd give up at some point on the way. I'm not worried about that at ALL anymore. Why would I go back to living like that? No way, I'm getting rid of this stupid, useless debt and cleaning up my credit rating. Who knows, maybe I can do something I always thought would never EVER happen... maybe I can even buy myself a home and stop renting?
Anyway. I'm sorry this got so long and personal, I just feel so grateful to Jesse and the people behind YNAB, and I needed to tell someone. You guys helped me change and save my life - I honestly don't know how long I would've been able to keep living like that -and for that I will be forever thankful. Thanks for reading, now I'm going to go geek out over those new YNAB 4 blog posts!