Make no mistake: this app (and website platform) is definitely for the seriously money-minded.... Not in terms of spending and spending and spending. And believe it or not, it doesn't mean this app will actually keep you from spending and save, save, save either! It won't limit you. It won't set a 'boundary', so to speak. Rather, it empowers you to focus on the age-old timeless best practice existing since the day paper was invented.
Remember the Envelope System?
Those of us who actually still have that little thing called "dollars" in our pockets might actually know what that is. In this day and age when cryptocurrency rules cyberspace and the digital banking stratosphere, and plastic cards seem to get passed around even more than paper checks, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone answering immediately when asked the question: What is the "envelope system"?
When you got your income in -- usually in big paper bags, we think -- the common adage in terms of financial responsibility was to stick certain amounts of money in separate actual envelopes. Then you basically stash them away and sort of 'forget' about them. This ensures you don't spend any of that money. You've designated certain 'roles' for the money you've made.
The system worked quite well until banks made it easier for you to, well, remember where your money is and not lose any of it. Because, let's be fair -- it's easy losing coins and dollars in the sofa. So someone had the smart idea to create BANK ACCOUNTS. And to make it even easier, you can manage these accounts ONLINE! I know, right? Crazy.
Needless to say, this proved to be a novel idea, one of convenience. The problem was technology also made it that much easier to spend all of your money on stuff not designated with an "envelope." Which made you broke. Hence debt, and more debt. People going out of business. People going bankrupt. You get the picture.
The Fact Is the "Envelope System" Stopped Working All Because of That
But YNAB took that same system and implemented it digitally through a die-hard logistical and responsible plan of action practically forcing you to assign a "duty" to each dollar you make. You can kind of call them "digital envelopes" if you want.
This isn't for the timid. The fact is you can break these rules if you want to. It's not like you don't have access to your own money using this app. But if you're that serious about saving money, the technology is designed to keep tabs on your "digital envelopes" for a price of $83.99 a year, or $6.99 a month, after a 34-day free trial. Here's one particular bonus if the price sort of scares you a bit: students get 12 months free! All you would need to do is provide proof of your enrollment.
What You Have to Understand Is That YNAB Makes You RESPONSIBLE
So when you think about it, the cost of this app is well worth it. The technology took one of the oldest budgeting systems known to man and digitized it for you. You sync your bank accounts automatically through this app/website, categorize specific amounts toward everything from "entertainment" to "bills" to "pizza," or what have you.
Then all you need to do (and for some, this may be the hardest part) IS FOLLOW THE PLAN.
I personally find that worth every penny especially with everyone saying that technology seems to be "taking over everything" and turning us into mindless nobodies. Guess what: we still have the power, we're still masters of our destiny. We just like to use technology to help us stay that way, okay?
Now throw those envelopes away, man.