You Need A Budget, Especially Now


Brianna O'Callaghan, Reporter

I’ve been using You Need a Budget (YNAB) for about a year, and my spending habits have changed drastically. How I started budgeting is a way that I wish everybody could start. My parents got together, and they decided to give me more experience with budgeting and a better idea of what a steady income would look like. They rounded up all the money they spent on me throughout an entire year, divided it by 12, and gave me that amount each month. That way I am responsible for all the money I get, spend, and save without relying on my parents for much help. For example, instead of having my parents give me money for school shopping or an oil change, I am saving a specific amount of money each month for those occasions.


With the holidays already here, it is important to keep track of the money you have. Save up for those memorable gifts given by the Christmas tree with YNAB today. Below is a rundown of how YNAB works and how you can start budgeting right now:


    1. Connect your bank account. I set up a linked account so that every transaction I made went directly to YNAB, but you also have the option of manually putting in each transaction. If you’d like more steps on this click here.
    2. Plan out your categories. How I set up mine might be different than how you would. I set my categories as Bills, Expenses, Food, Fun Money, and Savings. The bills are anything I need to pay right away like dance bills. Expenses are things that you need in life but don’t necessarily have to pay for immediately: gas, groceries, personal care, and clothes. If you’d like more steps on this, click here.
    3. Set up your subcategories. Under each category, you need to figure out what kind of subcategories should go under. If Bills are used, subcategories could be gas, electrical, any activity bill, and rent. There are also some subcategories you wouldn’t normally think of. I really like buying gifts for friends, so I should definitely have a subcategory for this. Things like this should be noted.
    4. Add goals (optional). This is pretty advanced for a beginner budgeter, but this is how I started with YNAB. Each subcategory should have a money amount goal that you’d like to be in those areas of your budget each month. I need to save $15 a month in car maintenance for oil changes that happen three times a year. Setting goals will make you see the amount needed in each category. If you would like to see more steps on this click here.
    5. Set up your money. Getting your first paycheck is super exciting when you first start budgeting on YNAB. This is where you plan out your money and figure out which categories need more money and others, less. If you’d like more steps on this click here.
    6. Start your budgeting journey!