You Need A budget

MY16_ynab-icon“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.” Charles Dickens

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” Epictetus, a Greek philosopher around 2,000 years ago.

Life in the 21st century discourages us from these two very basic truths:

  • if we spend less than our income we will be happier.
  • If we want less than we can afford we will be happier.

Our country’s economy wants us to spend more and more, our banking system and our housing system encourage us to borrow — the word for spending more than we have. We are daily exposed to advertising that encourages us to feel and be poor — craving things we do not have.

When money is tight life can be full of unpleasant financial surprises. If managing money seems like a hopeless enterprise you might just give up and live hand-to-mouth, you might use occasional windfalls to have a splurge of spending pleasure, you might borrow or use credit cards to try and escape. None of these are winning strategies.

You Need a Budget is a method for taking control of your money

YNAB 4 Rules

MY16_ynab-rule1When you Give Every Dollar a Job, your money is dialed in. You know exactly what you can spend on eating out. On clothes. On everything. No more worrying you’ll accidentally spend the money needed for next week’s bills.

MY16_ynab-rule2As you Embrace Your True Expenses, you smooth out your cash flow by breaking down larger, less-frequent expenses (holidays, birthday presents, insurance), and treating them like monthly expenses—saving for them each month. Goodbye financial roller coaster, hullo financial… minivan?

MY16_ynab-rule3Roll with the Punches when you go over budget. (It will happen and it’s okay.) Spent too much on groceries this month? Just cover it with your fun money category. Covering overspending keeps you out of debt and on track.

MY16_ynab-rule4Then the fun begins. You’ll Age Your Money, working toward spending money you earned at least 30 days ago. Say goodbye to the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, timing bills, and money stress. When a bill comes in, you’ll just pay it. If an emergency happens, you’ve got time to come up with a plan.

Using it

You Need a Budget works in a web browser on a computer, tablet or phone. You can safely do this on the computers in the library.

There is a 34 day free trial. Then it costs $5us a month (about $7.50). If your spending is feeling out of control you could save that amount each month.

Learn more

  • Take the tour:
  • Watch videos
  • Attend live online classes
    • Learn To Prioritize
    • Deal With Your Debt
    • Age Your Money
  • Download free books
    • Learn To Prioritize
    • Deal With Your Debt
    • Age Your Money (work towards living on last month’s money)
    • Think long, act now
    • Join forces (budgeting as a family)

“When you gain control of your money, you gain control of your life and it feels great” the You Need A Budget makers tell us.

You Need a Budget does not tell you how you should spend your money. What it does do is let you match your life and your own priorities to your money.

To begin, you set up your budget, putting in all the things you know and a category called “Things I forgot to budget for” which you will use a lot in your first few months, less as you begin to really know your true expenses.

Each time money come in, you apply it across your list of priorities.

One of its big strengths is that you only ever budget money that you actually have. Until it is in your bank or your hand it is not in your budget. When you look at your budget you see exactly what you have and where you want to spend it.

Conscious choices

You consult your budget before you spend anything. If you have a smart phone, then you will have your budget in your pocket. Did I allow money for this purchase? If not, is it more important than the other priorities I have set money aside for? Part of the magic is that you are consciously weighing your own priorities as you decide whether or not to spend. Yes, I can buy this thing, but there will be less money for the school holidays, or I’ll have to delay buying firewood to next month. Do I want it that much?

You record your purchses as you go if you have a smart phone, or next time you are on your computer or tablet if you don’t. Socks bought — the category for clothes now has less in it.


There is plenty of help and encouragement from others using You Need a Budget in their online forum. You can read what ten thousand people have done to improve their finances today. (“I love this thread. It inspires me to keep in mind things I can do every day.”). “Small Victories — share yours!” Over 400 people are completing the “Almighty budget APRIL (No Spend Challenge)”. Over 700 hundred are participating in the “The Official 2016 Debt Smackdown!” and more than 19,000 people are watching.

Taking charge

Getting in charge of your money is a challenge. You Need a Budget can help. Others using it will encourage you and inspire you. They will help when you get stuck — whether it is in controlling your spending, using the software or making those hard financial decisions.

Give it a try.