Because the principles behind YNAB are different than traditional budgeting, it can be a little tricky to get started. However, once you take the first steps to figure it all out, it’s a game changer for your money. Here’s exactly what you need to do to get set up and start using YNAB.
It’s been a while since I put up a YNAB tutorial, especially a video one (too long I think!). I’ve been getting some requests from people that need help setting up their budget, but I’m busier than a CPA in tax season (oh, wait, that’s exactly what’s going on here…).
So, I thought it would be helpful to do a quick tutorial to show exactly how I:
- Set up YNAB budget accounts (such as checking, savings, and credit cards)
- Set up YNAB categories (and which ones I use!)
- Create your initial budget
- Budget for your first paycheck
You can watch the video tutorial, or if you prefer a written version, I’ve got a short written summary below.
Set up Your Budget Accounts
The first thing you need to do is let YNAB know about your cash, bank account, and credit card balances. Remember, budgeting with YNAB isn’t the typical budgeting exercise of adding all your income and subtracting all your expenses. It’s about assigning a job to each and every dollar that you have.
The basic accounts to set up include:
- Online Savings
- Credit Cards
Once you’ve set up all your accounts, you may wish to directly link them to the banks so that you can import transactions. I highly recommend this, but realize that some people may be nervous about this. At a minimum, I would suggest linking credit card accounts, especially if you’re like me and most of your day-to-day spending is done with credit cards.
Set up Your Categories
Next, you’ll need to set up your categories, or money buckets as I like to think of them. It’s important to make your categories as useful as possible for you. If you’re having trouble with overspending in a certain area (such as food), it may be helpful to break that category out in a detailed manner (i.e. groceries, lunches out, dinners out, coffee, etc.).
If you’d like to download a printable of the exact categories I use in YNAB, you can sign up below.