Why I started a budget

When it comes to money, I’ve been a stereotypical millennial for the past decade. I handled my expenses backwards. After I got paid, the first thing I would spend money on is whatever fun gizmo I had been wanting. Bills always came last.

My finances were a mess. I lived by a mantra I came up with when I was 18, “spend it while you have it, because it’s going to disappear either way.” Unfortunately, my influence for this attitude came from my landlord/roomate at the time, who was even worse with money than I was.

What got me wanting to change my spending habits was the idea of generating wealth, rather than having just enough to get by. One of my biggest influences for this was Rudy from Alpha Investments, who always has a story to tell, and offers solid life coaching.

Part of the struggle to generate wealth is the amount of time it can take. Again, I identify as stereotypical millennial in this regard, as growing up with the internet has nurtured my impatience. I want things right away.

The silver lining for my impatient attitude is that I didn’t procrastinate. I got into budgeting right after a few hours researching the top budgeting software.

I ended up using YNAB. There are others, but I went with this one because it was not only a solid web based budgeting tool, but it also taught me how to budget. I really had no idea how to do this because I turned down my opportunity to learn from my dad years ago.

The main concept of budgeting is that every dollar gets a job. When I have income, YNAB helps me divvy it into the categories I want to spend money in. One of the default categories in YNAB is “True Expenses,” things like auto obligations and groceries. I put money into this category first, then all income after that is open to help me accomplish my favorite part of budgeting– goals.

Having a budget gives me a clear vision of what I can and cannot afford each month, and helps me accomplish goals like saving up for a new deck of Weiss Schwarz cards or upcoming anime convention.

YNAB told me something I never considered before– my net worth. This only became accurate once I finished adding other accounts, but YNAB has no limit on the number of accounts I can add. I added cryptocurrency investments, collectibles, credit cards, and my stock market portfolio. Once I had these entered, I got a refreshing overall look at where I was financially.

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