Managing money has never been a strength in my life. I have taken the Dave Ramsey course, Financial Peace University several times and have for a short time done OK. But I got discouraged quickly and gave up because according to Dave Ramsey we are either a geek or free spirit. The geek is the saver and the free spirit is the spender. The problem in my family, my wife and I are both free spirits. So, I have tried to use software (i.e. quicken, money, mint, envelopes) to help me become a geek but it hasn't worked. The promises these software budgets gave to me never became a reality. Well, I think I have found the system that has turned me into the geek I have been longing to become. It is called You Need a Budge (YNAB). It has worked so well for me that I am buying the software for several close friends and family members for Christmas.
The system has 4 major concepts:
- Give every dollar a job. Each month you assign your available dollars to spending/savings categories. This process takes 20 minutes and revolutionizes the way you think about your money.
- Save for a rainy day. You’ll anticipate larger, less-frequent expenses and will be ready for them. Insurance premium due in six months for $600? Save $100 each month and watch the Car Insurance balance grow.
- Roll with the punches. The key is to keep moving even when you fail (you will).YNAB will make small adjustments when you overspend, ensuring that you fix those mistakes before you go to the next month.
- Stop living paycheck to paycheck. It wants you to work toward living on last month’s income. Both the software and methodology will help you do just that.
In the short time that I have used this system, I have been able to free up money that I thought I did not have. I have been able to give more and I believe honor God in being a good steward of what He has given me. Our culture is constantly telling us that we need to make more money so that we can live in a way that is comfortable and enjoyable. We cannot listen to that lie, but instead, we need to listen to God’s word and handle the money He entrusts us with in manner that is pleasing to him. For a biblical understanding of money I highly recommend Randy Alcorn’s book Money,Possessions and Eternity.