Still a long way to go, but YNAB changed/saved my life

KennefKennef Posts: 14Member
edited April 2013 in Success Stories
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!
Post edited by Unknown User on
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Comments

  • litterbuglitterbug Posts: 3,646Member, Beta Tester
    Thanks for your post, kennef. You've made an amazing turnaround in an amazingly short time, and I look forward to hearing how things go. I'm particularly imposed with how you've taken the bull by the horns by taking ownership of your debts. You should think about starting a journal over in the journal forum.
  • mozzie61mozzie61 Posts: 2,040Member, Beta Tester
    Welcome to the wonderful world of YNAB Kennef. Finding YNAB and applying its proven methodology was a life transforming experience for me and my family too, and the amazing effect it has had in turning your situation and attitude around is testament again to just how well it works when you follow the rules.

    The release of YNAB 4 is an exciting time, and it will make budgeting the YNAB way even easier (and more fun for us budget geeks :)), but remember it's the rules not the wrapper that makes YNAB work. Congrats on your great start, and I look forward to reading more success stories from you. Best wishes.
  • kmorgan221kmorgan221 Posts: 523Member, Beta Tester
    Wow, your story sounds similar to my own as I have had many of the same experiences you have, just add a wife and two kids to the mix as well. I'm about 7 months in to using YNAB now and like you, it has literally changed my life.

    Welcome aboard, and like litterbug suggested, head over to the Journals area and keep us up to date on your progress.
  • TrevorTrevor Posts: 724Member, Beta Tester
    It's always a relief to see that others have the same budget geekery that I do. I'm not sure that it could have been as big a part of my life if YNAB didn't get me excited about budgeting. The new version is bringing some additional excitement.

    Congratulations on that awesome turnaround.
  • Budget_NinjaBudget_Ninja Posts: 4,670Member, Beta Tester
    Kennef wrote:
    .... 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....

    We've been 'using' for about 10 months now and my wife was just saying this yesterday!
  • litterbuglitterbug Posts: 3,646Member, Beta Tester
    I only know it's payday because my scheduled transaction for my salary deposit asks to be approved.
    heidihill
  • jessiebirdjessiebird Posts: 3,836Member, Beta Tester
    Thanks for sharing. I feel the same. (I know that horrible lump in the stomach. I never threw away unopened bills, though; I'd just leave them in the mailbox for a couple of weeks, then move them to my desk and hope they decomposed on their own.

    I know a couple of people who are that same level of despair and I would love to share some YNAB success stories with them because I feel like they can't see living any other way right now.
  • DonGatelyDonGately Posts: 637Member, Beta Tester
    Kennef welcome to YNAB and congrats on the success you've achieved so far. As good as the past three months have been for you I think everyone here will agree things will get even before as you stay with YNAB into the future. This software and philosophy achieves amazing results.
  • KennefKennef Posts: 14Member
    Thank you all for your replies, it's always nice to see that other people have had similar experiences and are still going strong. I don't know if writing a journal is for me, I'll definitely check that subforum out!
    kmorgan221 wrote:
    Wow, your story sounds similar to my own as I have had many of the same experiences you have, just add a wife and two kids to the mix as well.
    Yikes, I'm very glad to hear you've managed to turn things around for you and your family! I told myself I didn't want to bring anyone else into my mess, so I've avoided relationships. I'm reconsidering that philosophy now. ;)
    jessiebird wrote:
    Thanks for sharing. I feel the same. (I know that horrible lump in the stomach. I never threw away unopened bills, though; I'd just leave them in the mailbox for a couple of weeks, then move them to my desk and hope they decomposed on their own.

    I know a couple of people who are that same level of despair and I would love to share some YNAB success stories with them because I feel like they can't see living any other way right now.
    Reading an article in a newspaper, I was surprised to find out that not emptying your mail box was kind of normal for people in my situation. I thought I was the only one. As for success stories, reading some of them on this forum certainly helped me realise that I could actually do this. Feel free to share mine if you think it could help, I wrote it in part to put into words this weird elation and relief I was feeling, and part to perhaps give some hope to someone who's in the same position I was in.
  • DarxDarx Posts: 613Member
    Kennef wrote:
    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.
    ...
    I have so much more confidence in myself now, and not having to constantly worry about my financial situation feels so incredibly liberating.

    I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story, because it's very inspiring, and also a big me, too to both of these bits. I have become a complete budget geek almost overnight, and the peace of mind that it gives me is astonishing. How did I never know about this option before? I think I knew but never really understood, and until I found YNAB there was nothing that made it so easy.

    Looking forward to reading whatever else of your story you feel like sharing in Journals or elsewhere. For me it helps to know that other people are working on this stuff and making these changes in their lives. It helps my fortitude to stick to the program myself. Thanks.
  • DarxDarx Posts: 613Member
    Woo hoo! Way to go, you!!
  • jessiebirdjessiebird Posts: 3,836Member, Beta Tester
    Congratulations! Once you get the idea in your head, it's hard to wait for the debt payoff.

    You have just given yourself a nice, bright future.
  • rollercoasterrollercoaster Posts: 429Member
    Kennef wrote:
    Just a little update: I was planning on paying off my last creditor September 2013, but things didn't work out like that. Instead, I paid off my last creditor TODAY, which means I'm completely debt free! I don't OWN anything yet (such as a house or a car), but I don't OWE anything either. And it feels amazing!

    Thanks again, YNAB. :)

    Awesome!!! Congratulations!
  • acaciabaileyanaacaciabaileyana Posts: 73Member
    Wowie. Wowie Kazowie. Kennef, that is amazing!

    Amazing, because you decided you needed to act.....and you did.....and you didn't let hiccups along the way stop you in your tracks. You kept your eye on your priorities and kept plugging away.

    You needed a budget, you got a budget, and you have a budget now for whatever you want to do next. Your turnaround is incredible. Well done.
  • ChristineDChristineD Posts: 53Member
    Wow! What a great success! And just think of what you've done to change your entire future! You have so many great options now. Good for you!
  • Bee&BeaBee&Bea Posts: 616Member
    Yay, 5 months early on the debt-free front! Have you been doing cartwheels all day? :D
  • KennefKennef Posts: 14Member
    Cartwheels? Hah, I wish! :)

    Thanks guys, it really is an incredible feeling. I highly recommend it! ;)
  • Wayfinder70Wayfinder70 Posts: 40Member
    Grats on your debt freedom :D
  • mnmpmnmp Posts: 562Member
    Woo hoo!!! Congrats!!!!!!
  • imnotplutoniumimnotplutonium Posts: 29Member
    Great job! It takes hard work and dedication but with the help of YNAB you can definitely do it! Keep up the good work!
  • CSCSSSCSCSSS Posts: 4Member
    Awesome! Congratulations.
  • cynewbiecynewbie Posts: 2,197Member
    Way to go! Congrats on your freedom from debt, and kudos on the intensity you've applied to getting it done. Awesome!!
  • inab3663inab3663 Posts: 22Member
    Awesome!! Congratulations!!
  • simplymomsimplymom Posts: 27Member
    That is great!!!!
  • AndyWillsAndyWills Posts: 56Member
    Kennef said:
    I paid off my last creditor TODAY, which means I'm completely debt free! 
    Way to go! Well done on turning your life around. =D>
  • maggie_girlmaggie_girl Posts: 2Member
    You're an inspiration! Keep up the good work. 
  • SuperboneSuperbone Posts: 1,246Member
    Now the fun part begins.  Actually saving money and securing your future.
  • adolfoxadolfox Posts: 3Member
    edited August 2013
    @Kennef, I loved reading your story.  It was even more awesome to see your post about paying off all your debt.  Congrats again.  Very inspiring.
    Post edited by adolfox on
  • Spreadsheet_geekSpreadsheet_geek Posts: 80Member
    Wow, don't apologise for getting personal, that was the best bit.
    Well done you!

    I've had mindset changes too. It's weird how it just seems to dawn on you. You know you should be doing the right thing but you never let it truly set in your mind and then one day it's just there...boom!

    Best of luck with the changes.
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