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No. of Recommendations: 14
ishtarastarte: Discloser: I'm a YNAB junkie! It's helped a LOT even when my income was very low - and it's still not all that high

This resonates with my experience, though it was not YNAB when I first realized I needed a handle on my spending, it was "Managing Your Money."

The author, Andrew Tobias, had a sense of humor and a "you can do it" attitude that inspired my trust and loyalty for years. The world moved on to Quicken and eventually I had to move, too. But the lesson I learned from Tobias was to start small...just begin entering stuff and let the program help with organization. After a while, a picture begins to take shape.

In my case, the picture was of a sinking boat. It was sinking not because of a huge hole in the hull but because of dozens of small leaks. After I had used the program for about a year I could see the leaks and I could see the effects on the bottom line as I plugged each leak.

If my budget had a "fuel" category but one month I was able to save by taking metro to a job location, I could see when that small change also made a small change in the bottom line. Same thing when I found extra money in my paycheck. Especially gratifying (and a big surprise to me because I had not thought about it in my callow youth) were the months when I got three paychecks instead of two. Once I had drawn up my monthly budget for bills, a three paycheck month left me reeling with riches and an insight into how to pay down long time debt faster and save money faster and blah blah.

Perhaps the best result was that MYM helped me convince my first wife that we could get control of our finances even though we did not make a lot of money. She was adamant that she would not keep track of her personal expenses, but she allowed me to pool our money and put us each on small monthly allowances for personal expenses. She was more frugal than I was in that respect so she was able to accumulate cash for periodic splurges. Even though she never used MYM herself, she became comfortable enough with my use of the program that she would ask me to check the "oracle" to see if we had enough money to buy a couch or take a trip or...

The above goes to ishtarastarte's excellent suggestion (intimation) that to bring a spouse on board, maybe one needs something more interactive or illustrative than a ledger. The project can be started by one person, but for it to really work, both must be on board.

Otherwise, as aj points out down thread, the one drilling holes in the hull can work a lot faster than the one plugging them.

skorthos (gets seasick standing on a dock)
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