Now I still need to learn how to stick to the budget and stop going over, especially in certain categories that I consistently plan to spend X but seem to always end up spending X + $75... That is the current stress point in my life that I would love to resolve. I use YNAB also and have found it very, very helpful. I did want to respond to this as a YNAB user.1. I've found that I do best with YNAB if I don't stress so much on whether I "stick" to the budget but more that I focus on overall spending what I have available to spend. That is, let's say I have $100 in a particular category and I need -- or want -- to spend $150 on that category during the month instead. The value of YNAB for me is that to do that I need to make a choice. I've filled out my YNAB budget at the beginning of the month, giving every dollar a job. It is fine for me to spend $150 instead of $100 in a category but I need to take it from somewhere else. Maybe I cut $25 from the grocery category and another $25 from my auto repair category which is very healthy or whatever. The thing is that I consider all of the sticking to the budget so long as I'm finding a place to take the money from where I can afford to do that without imperiling future plans.2. It used to frustrate me when there were categories that I was consistently overbudget on. At some point I realized that in most instances one of two things was going on. First, it might be a category that I didn't really like spending money on so I always hoped I could spend less. So I would underbudget through kind of a hope springs eternal mechanism. I used to do this with home repair for example. I realized that my budgeting was just inadequate for those categories and I needed to budget more realistically. Second, there were times when I was constantly going overbudget on a category because that category really was a higher priority to me than I was showing with my budget. Early this year I set a dining out budget that was really low. The thing is that the budget clashed with how much I really did want us to eat out. After a few months I raised the dining out budget. It is a category I watch -- it is less than half of what it was a couple of years ago -- but now my budget better matches how much of a priority it really is for me (of course, I had to take money out of another category so I could raise the dining out budget a bit).
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