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Maya's Daydreams

A Dumbass Tries to Learn to Budget

Today's fixation is the You Need a Budget (YNAB) system. I have been working very hard to simplify my life lately. Saying that feels like an oxymoron, but it's true! It really is work when you're actually "working on yourself." One thing that I have been starting to realize is that when I avoid things because they stress me out, they still are stressing me out. Out of sight, out of mind doesn't really work for me. Does it work for anyone? I have been trying several platforms over the last few months to track my spending and set a budget. Google Sheets and Excel were great for tracking and making pretty charts... but manually inputting every thing thing I spent money on stressed me out, and I felt guilty for everything, even if it was "in the budget." Everything always went over, or something came up that I couldn't anticipate and threw the whole thing off...

I also tried out budgeting in Notion for a while, and I actually might keep including it in my little daily / weekly tracking database, just to see how my spending behaviors and how all the other things going on in my life may or may not be related. Like, "oh that week where I took on way too much at work was the one where I bought lunch out a lot!" or "I always seem to buy courses at the start of a new month because I'm going to change my life and reinvent myself!"

I tried tracking my spending in my planner and keeping an analog category tracker. This one has actually stuck for the last few months, but it mainly serves as a visual queue and I don't need to be buying anymore books this month, or that maybe I should FINISH a crochet project before ordering a bunch of yarn for a new one. I can't really plan ahead with it.

Next, I tried Rocket Money. This was definitely an upgrade from Notion just for the fact alone that my transactions were automated. I also like the visuals of how much I spent from month to month as a benchmark if I'm making progress in reducing spending. It's also nice having the reminders about subscriptions. I have cancelled SO many of them since starting to use this app... But I still felt like I can't really plan ahead / see a way out of my particular cycles that I don't want to get into here, but I needed help prioritizing I guess?

This was how I came around to YNAB... It's been less than a week so maybe I'll come back with an update post on this topic if it stuck, but I feel like I found a nice balance with seeing what my expenses are, what I think I want to spend on the unpredicatables of life, and how much I want at certain points in the future for different things. I can go in more detail in the update post as I document my experience a little bit more, but for some reason planning based on the money you have instead of what you are going to make throughout the month is really helping me with those short-term decisions and seeing how they impact long-term ones. Once again, these were lightly edited, semi-stream of consciousness morning pages thoughts, so I am not 100% sure if they fully made sense.

See you tomorrow!

All of May 2024, I will be participating in weblog posting month created by Apple Annie

For a list of other participants, go here

For a list of my topic ideas and some rules I wrote for myself, go here

Post 3/31