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Day 17) You Need a Budget Pro Giveaway and Coupon Code

Welcome to Day 17 of Where’s My Money Going? Month! This February 2009, I’m challenging readers (and myself) to track spending manually for 28 days. Don’t worry if you’re late to the party, you’re still welcome to join. Consider tracking your spending into March.

Earlier this month, I reviewed You Need a Budget. I’ve been using YNAB as part of my spending tracking this month and so far have found it quite handy. After reading the review, the people at YNAB contacted me and offered a giveaway copy for one of my readers and a coupon code that will be active from today (Feb 17th) through February 19th.

To win a copy of You Need a Budget Pro, leave a comment on this post about your current budgeting system and why you think using YNAB would work better for you. You must use a valid e-mail address (which won’t be revealed). The giveaway ends midnight on February 28th. I’ll use random.org to select a qualifying comment. The winner will be announced on March 1st or 2nd (and notified by e-mail). Void where prohibited and “qualification” is at my discretion.

The coupon code is mrsmicah and will get you 10% off a purchase of either You Need a Budget or You Need a Budget Pro. To use it, go to youneedabudget.com and enter it when you check out. Again, the code will be active from today the 17th through the 19th.

What is YNAB?

In brief, there are forms of You Need a Budget (YNAB and YNAB Pro), based on the same underlying program and principle. The basic YNAB is a tricked-out spreadsheet which includes a budget section and register for recording purchases (which are automatically taken out of the budget).

YNAB Pro is its own program with the ability to import data and more flexiblity in categorization and the like. YNAB Pro is comparable to a simplified Quicken, covering all the basics including splitting transactions, monitoring spending trends, and comparing spending one category to another. It only takes a couple minutes to enter a few days of transactions, less if you import them. The program is also set up with categories that encourage you to get one month ahead in your spending, though you don’t have to.

Neither YNAB is meant to be a high-tech program. Instead, it’s what you need to track your spending, keep a budget, and work on getting ahead. The philosophy of YNAB is to get one month ahead in your finances and give every dollar a job. With the software, you get a built-in ability to designate income (or a certain part of your income) for next month. Through using a Buffer category, you can also budget savings for next month.

For a more detailed explanation, check out my review.

If you think it sounds like something you can use, then enter the giveaway before February 28th. Just leave a comment below about how you currently handle your spending/budgeting (if at all) and why you’d like to try YNAB!

This post was part of Where’s My Money Going? Month.


{ 4 trackbacks }

Why Not Just Start With a Budget?
February 18, 2009 at 7:02 am
Spending Report - Where’s My Money Going
February 22, 2009 at 7:03 am
Financial Tracking Takeaways
February 26, 2009 at 7:05 am
Where Did My Money Go Last Month?
February 28, 2009 at 10:25 am

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily@remodelingthislife February 17, 2009 at 9:02 am

I currently use pear budget but would love to try ynab.

Susan Troidle February 17, 2009 at 9:05 am

I have tried Mvelops, spreadsheets and Quicken and haven’t been able to stick with any of them. Desperately need a budget that is easy to create and easy to update.

Steve February 17, 2009 at 9:08 am

I currently use a customized spreadsheet to manage our household budget. After reading your review, I think the idea of getting 1 month ahead would be a tremendous way to relieve the stress of living paycheck-to-paycheck. I’d like to try YNAB’s approach to budgeting 1 month ahead.

Jusitn February 17, 2009 at 10:10 am

I’m currently Quicken Deluxe. The budgeting software in Quicken leaves something to be desired.

Laurie February 17, 2009 at 11:08 am

I currently use about 10 different spreadsheets of my own design and enter everything manually. Your review (and Gather Little by Little’s) have me interested. I’m a little tired of keeping track by hand.

KCDesi February 17, 2009 at 11:38 am

I have been buxfer for a few months now and its been great help to manage by budget. I can login from any computer and enter the data and track my expenses.

KCDesi

Roger February 17, 2009 at 11:44 am

Currently, I’m using a combination of Mint, close monitoring of my accounts, and recently, posting weekly updates of my finances on my blog. It seems to be working out pretty well. Still, I’d be interested in something that made it easier to monitor and control my expenses.

Kristi February 17, 2009 at 11:45 am

I currently use a self-designed spreadsheet to track expenses. I’m right up to date this month thanks to your challenge. I also use another one monthly to enter all items that generate a networth snap shot. Sounds like YNAB would take me to the next level. Thanks. I’m really enjoying this challenge month.

Christine February 17, 2009 at 11:58 am

Right now I use a google spreadsheet where I track my spending; but it’s just looking at where my money’s going, not really at where it should go next time around. It’s a tracker, not a budget.

I’ve been reading about YNAB recently and I think that it’d be a really useful system for me, particularly since my income is irregular both in terms of the amount I take home and when I take it home. This means that a lot of the time I’m just scraping by while waiting for the next (elusive) cheque. I think that YNAB would be very helpful for me in terms of the whole “not living paycheque to paycheque” thing that they’ve got going on. Plus, it’s shiny.

Christine February 17, 2009 at 12:02 pm

PS — on another note, it’s a little too bad that the coupon discount is happening before your giveaway, and not afterwards. Some might not want to buy before they know if they’ll win…

Rose February 17, 2009 at 12:16 pm

I have used MS Money (used 5 years) and Quicken Deluxe (1 year) in the past, but am not currently using any software. They are nice BUSY programs but try to do so much that I feel YNAB would serve me better. It will make me focus on where my money has gone and is going to go instead of getting bogged down by trying to track too much at one time. My husband and I have ample non-liquid assets, but also have some credit card debt. I’m optimistic that YNAB will help us curb our frivolous purchases having us review and analyze our spending, allowing us to pay down our debt more efficiently. Thank you for the opportunity to try to win a copy of the software.

Juli February 17, 2009 at 1:12 pm

I have tried during our whole 17 years of marriage to try different programs and have never stuck with any of them for very long, even using pencil and paper. The principles of YNAB seem so incredibly logical to me and really “clicked” the first time I read them. I would love to try YNAB Pro, but will definitely be buying the regular YNAB program in March if I don’t. Thanks!

sarah February 17, 2009 at 2:28 pm

I currently used an excel spreadsheet that’s 100% manual, but would be interested in upgrading to YNAB based on reviews. I’m hesitant to spend money on something if I’m not confident it will fully meet my needs.

Kate February 17, 2009 at 2:31 pm

I’m still using a homemade Excel spreadsheet. It isn’t bad, but it requires a lot of manual entering and transferring.

In order to meet my 2009 goal of paying off all non-mortgage debt, I need to get a little more sophisticated!

Kenny D. February 17, 2009 at 2:37 pm

I have tried nearly every free money management program I could get my hands on and every one I could find that had a free trial version available on the Mac.

I’ll leave out the list of programs and what I think of the best ones so I don’t bore anyone to death.

Since 3 1/2 years ago, when my wife & I went through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class we have been using an envelope system for budgeting and have been using Budget for the last two years.

We have been using a combination of a custom spreadsheet I made http://www.diyplanner.com/node/4675 and Budget by Snowmint Creative Solutions http://www.snowmintcs.com/ Budget assumes that you are using this month’s income to pay this month’s bills so I put all my income in a “Next Month” envelope and then budget whatever is in the “Next Month” envelope using my spreadsheet. Unfortunately the spreadsheet isn’t good at tracking my spending and Budget isn’t good at giving you a broad overview of your finances other than what you currently have in your envelopes.

YNAB would be a huge help since it is the only program that does the idea of this month’s bills are paid with last month’s income. That has been a huge blessing as I was laid off a month ago but should be going back to my old job shortly. I hope to have some kind of freelance backup plan so I won’t have to worry about this next time around.

It also looks to be the easiest way to get a view of how close or far you are from hitting your limits in the different budget categories.

Liz February 17, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Right now we call the bank line and track everything a week at a time. Not good. I’d love to get YNAB because my Hubs is self employed and living a month ahead would revolutionize the way we deal with money.

Alice February 17, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Our current budgeting system is pretty weak…and DH and I don’t communicate that well about it. I’d love to have a nice program that might help us move together in the same direction.

Tami B February 18, 2009 at 1:41 am

I’ve been reading your blog for the past couple of months – I’ve enjoyed it very much. I must admit, I haven’t started the February tracking my money, tho. A friend and I just started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. I’m slowly making progress, but it’s very hard to change old/bad habits!!!
I would love to try out YNAB. I’ve used Quicken in the past, but have just been doing the budget manually for the last couple of years.
I’m glad to see young people taking charge of theif finances – I wish I hadn’t waited so long! Keep up the good work, and good luck on your journey.

Katie February 18, 2009 at 8:33 am

Currently, I do all my budgeting the old fashion way- paper and pencil, baby!! I’ve tried Quicken before, but like previous comments mention, it’s not a budget tool (or at least I didn’t use it as one), it’s a tracking tool. I watched the demo videos for YNAB and LOVE it. I hope random.org picks me!!!! 🙂

celticbuffy February 18, 2009 at 1:34 pm

I have been using Mint.com and Rudder. Neither is good nor bad, they’re just there. Neither one is particulary inspiring or maybe it’s just me. 🙂

Aleriel February 18, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Right now I’m using a spreadsheet with multiple tabs for monthly budgets and a separate tab for charts that are tracking my savings progress. I’ll be adding charts that track my debt repayment shortly. A separate spreadsheet tracks my daily spending.

I’ve tried MS Money/Quicken before and they both have been too complex and high-maintenance for programs that were supposed to make budgeting easier. (Also, $100/yr for a new version that can give a cash flow forecast for me? No, thanks.)

I’d love to give YNAB a shot and save myself some manual effort.

mjkw February 18, 2009 at 3:31 pm

i have tried several different types of programs including financial planning by bukett. Not a lot of luck. Now mostly just write down whats due when and whats coming in and when pretty old fashioned. Hoping to do better with 2009 then the past few years.

Tuba February 18, 2009 at 3:45 pm

My current budget system is non-existent. My bonus varies greatly from year to year and lately my expenses have as well (bought an apartment, got married, etc.). So I sort-of ball park my expenses and compare it to my paycheck. It comes out about even which means my bonus is gravy (or used to cover extraordinary expenses).
YNAB Pro seems right up my alley. It should help the tension caused by not knowing where we stand financially and hopefully give us an idea of what we can afford and can’t afford (saving for kids, apartment improvements, vacations, etc.).

Leah S February 18, 2009 at 11:46 pm

My current budget method is pen and paper! With a potential paycut ahead, I’ll be needing to tighten the budget better.

Cheryl February 19, 2009 at 6:22 am

I currently do not have a budget laid out. I was going to try Quicken but this sounds easier!

Justin February 20, 2009 at 12:15 pm

I just ran across ynab today. I have been using gnucash to track spending for about the past 6 months. I like the double accounting entry form, but the budgeting section is not so good. I have been using a google spreadsheet for about the past 3 months to hold my budget. Currently, under my main checking account in gnucash I set up my budget categories as sub accounts. Once a week, i input my salary into the checking, then transfer from there into my budget accounts, then “pay” from my budget accounts to expense categories. This becomes tedious, usaully taking at least 1 hour a week to do and if i pay my bills and enter receipts it usaully takes longer. Also, i don’t ever know whats actually in my checking account because it messes that amount up. I have been chceking out the ynab website for about the past 2 hours and I think this is something I am looking for. Switching back and forth between programs to get this done is not working for me. YNAB would save me alot of time and grief!

Jim February 20, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Right now I am using GNU Cash. It is great for checkbook tracking but budgeting is not good. So I attempt to use a spreadsheet. The problem is my wife and I always loose receipts.

I would love to try YNAB.

Peggy Troller February 22, 2009 at 9:39 am

I have never used a budgeting program but am now determined to know much more precisely where my money is going and for what!!!!
Peggy

Jamie loves zpetals.com February 22, 2009 at 4:27 pm

I’ve been using manual word documents forever—a couple of different ones to ‘track’ due dates and auto payments/savings. Just in January, I started to use pearbudget, and I’ve found it decent, but have kept up with the other methods I’ve always used. I’d love to try YNAB, for consolidation of resources as well as ease. And, that ‘living one paycheck ahead’ bit really intrigues me. I was pretty much there last fall for a few months, then….

I’ve been tracking our spending EXACTLY TO THE in February (thanks, Mrs. Micah), although it’s not a ‘normal’ month for us. We haven’t been spending much and I’ve transferred all of our emergency savings, as neither my husband nor myself has had our ‘normal’ paychecks this month. That should straighten out this Friday, but it’s been difficult. I think I’ll keep tracking through March as well, just to get a clearer view of where our money really goes.

Cathi Myers February 23, 2009 at 6:33 pm

We’ve been doing the Feb. tracking, and shopping budget software. This one is #1 on our list.

sabrina thiel February 23, 2009 at 10:30 pm

Our new years resolution was to track our income and expenses. We use a two column accounting sheets. Obviously this is not creating a budget but just writing everything we do. We need to learn how to create a budget and I want the simplest program out there. I found YNAB and have researched Quicken, SoftMoney, YNAB comparing them all. The logical choice is YNAB. My next step is getting YNAB and learn how to budget and track our lifestyle. Thank you.

Lindsey February 25, 2009 at 11:03 pm

Currently, we don’t have a budgeting system, hence our problem, lol. We have a little spread sheet in Excel where we input our bills, how much they were that month, and the date we paid them, but it doesn’t include gas, groceries, or anything like that. Just flat out bills we get in the mail.

I think YNAB will give us a “go to” place, a place to input our receipts, and really keep track of how much we’re spending and on what. It will give us the jumping off place we’ve been looking for, so that we can move forward from here!

Thanks for the giveaway!

Deanna February 26, 2009 at 8:30 am

I am currently using Neobudget.com (which I like)but would love to give YNAB a try.

YNAB simplicity is appealing.

Lise February 26, 2009 at 10:52 am

I feel like I’ve tried so many systems for budgeting, and none has felt quite right for me.

– I started with a plain ol’ Excel spreadsheet, which was a lot of work to maintain.
– I “traded up” to Checkbook, a small, inexpensive program for Macs. I like it, but it doesn’t really have any budgeting functions – I still keep my budget in a separate document.
– I’ve tried to play around with Mint, too, but haven’t really been pleased with it – it won’t pull in some of my accounts, “loses” others of them, and categorizing the transactions is a nightmare.

I like the philosophy of YNAB, from what you’ve explained, and I would love to have a piece of financial tracking software that actually incorporates a budget.

Glenn February 26, 2009 at 12:30 pm

YNAB sounds very good. I’ve been trying to figure out what the differences between using Quicken’s budgeting and checking register vs YNAB Pro’s budget and register might be. I’d love to win a copy and have a “spendfree” day

CaGirl February 26, 2009 at 1:49 pm

I would love to win YNAB Pro! I’ve been tracking my spending for the past year, every day, in excel and have a decent worksheet that summarizes all spending into different categories that I chose. Unfortunately, not only were we already living close to the line, but now my fiance was laid off, so we need to cut expenses even more. My spreadsheet has been great at helping us figure out where money was going, but I think I need to move up to the next level.

Judith February 26, 2009 at 1:52 pm

I desparately need help with our budgeting. And I find Quicken intimidating ……. YNAB sounds perfect!
I hope, hope, hope I get picked!
Thanks for the possibility.

Katrina February 27, 2009 at 6:01 pm

We don’t currently budget at all but know that we should. I could REALLY use this program!

Marie Perry February 28, 2009 at 12:51 am

I currently use a combination of an Excel document and Quicken. I’d love to have a copy of YNAB Pro. I’ve had my eye on it for some time now.

Klippety March 1, 2009 at 12:12 am

Great Blog! I’ve been using a Word table for my budget, because I hate Excel. I’d love a copy of YNAB pro….. I’m 50 minutes away from the deadline, LOL.

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