Do We Need You Need a Budget?

So I’m thinking of spending money to… make money? save money? watch money? I’m not sure, but I’m considering You Need a Budget, even though it will cost $60 after the free trial ends. I haven’t downloaded the free trial yet, but I am pretty convinced based on a days’ worth of reading on the subject that this tool could go far in helping us track our current expenses and rein in unnecessary spending. Mr. BiBR is a gadget-y kind of guy, so I like that we could sync it across our phones and computers and stay on the same page as far as our expenditures go. I’ll probably pilot it with just my own info to start and then convince him to use it based on how successful the trial is (I’m an early-adopter, jump-right-in kinda person and he’s less detail-oriented, so I can see how this kind of tracking could be a big turnoff for him.) I like that there are free courses that go along with it and a simple ideological conceit behind its design. All of this personal finance knowledge is great in theory, but until you actually set aside the time to do the nitty-gritty work, it really doesn’t count for anything.

Spending money on something like this when we’re so far in debt (and $60 is not a small amount of money to us right now) feels very counter-intuitive. I can hear Dave and Suze shouting at me in the back of my mind. Amy Dacyczyn would have built the software herself already out of used twine and recycled Ziplocs. But for me, spending this money for something that could organize my thinking, help my shaky math, and get my husband on board so we’re united in this effort seems more like an investment than an unnecessary expenditure. Let’s see if the free trial solidifies this gut feeling or whether it’s just a waste of typing for a month.

Links that helped me come to this decision:

Free Money Finance: YNAB versus Mint (Comments as helpful as article. Also, I currently use Mint on my geriatric/broken & dying iPhone 3G, but it’s mostly just to check my balances and sigh at debt mountain. It doesn’t work well enough on my phone for me to really update transactions at point-of-sale without squinting past the cracks and dead spots on my screen, but I imagine these mechanical issues will hamper my mobile usage of YNAB equally.)

Three Thrifty Guys: YNAB Software Review

Wealth Pilgrim: YNAB Review (Step-by-step walkthrough incredibly thorough and very much appreciated.)

Mended Wheels: Mint vs YNAB vs Dave Ramsey: Budget Software Wars! (Introduces a third player, but Dave Ramsay apparently doesn’t do Mac, so a non-choice for me.)

Mr. Money Mustache Forums: Can we talk about Mint vs YNAB?

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