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You Need a Budget Musings and Questions

Is GT one of the places on the internet that is obsessed with YNAB? There seem to be a lot of them. I like numbers and looking at my money so I signed up for the trial a few days ago and I dunno if it’s just not right for my money style or if I’m doing it wrong.

Financial privilege and details (but no numbers, unless people really want to know) below:

I’m pretty frugal by nature (I buy: rent, utilities, food and booze, and pretty much nothing else) and I use a credit card for ~90% of my purchases so I can keep track of them. My normal routine is that on payday I pay off my credit card, transfer money to a joint account with my boyfriend for joint expenses and split whatever is left over between a high-yield savings account (emergency fund/when you graduate you will probably need to buy a lot of things and pay student loans fund) and an IRA (I’m in grad school, no employer-run retirement for me). I also leave a buffer of a few hundred dollars in my credit union checking and savings accounts so I can get cash/have access to money quickly if I need it for an emergency.

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It seems like YNAB wants me to keep a bunch of money liquid so I can earmark it for specific future purchases (like setting aside ~$x/paycheck for vacation) but I’m confused about where the money is supposed to be. Same thing for the “live on last month’s income” rule. Does it want me to have a whole month of pay (plus vacation money and Christmas money and tuition for next semester) saved in the account I pay bills out of (which gets like ~0.05% interest or something dumb)? That seems like a lot of money to just have sitting around.

I know YNAB has worked for a lot of people, and I guess I’m just wondering if I should change my approach to fit better with YNAB or if I should call it quits and stick with my current approach. I’d love to hear your experiences (I just typed experiments accidentally, but those too) in figuring out money methods!

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