One Step At A Time.

The long road to financial independence.

Category: Toolset

YNAB: Getting out of credit card debt and living on last month's income


Did you get started with a YNAB budget?

If you are in the lucky situation, that you were able to implement all of YNAB rules immediately, then this article is not for you.

If you are like many of us, you will have problems to live on last month's paycheck. And you will have some credit card debt.

Time to do something about it!

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Basics: The rule of 72

photo by Images_of_Money (flickr) shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

The rule of 72 is a rule that can answer you the question: How many years will my money need to double for a given interest rate?

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YNAB Basics: How to get started budgeting

Do you live from paycheck to paycheck?

Is your debt getting bigger and bigger?

You constantly worry about money?

That sounds like me a years ago. Until I started to budget.

Today I save more than half of what I earn. I am quite confident that I can retire in less than 15 years.

Whatever your financial goal is: A budget can help you reach it! No self-deprivation involved. Just you telling your money what to do.

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The magic of small steps

I discovered the secret how you can achieve your goals.

A secret that can change your life. Forever.

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The wonderbag

During World War II resources were scarce. So my german ancestors used so called "hayboxes".

The basic idea was this: You heat your food and then you put it into one of these boxes. The food will stay hot for hours and finish cooking inside of the box.

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Basics: Keeping subscriptions at a minimum

Subscription burn a lot of money over time. Money that I'd rather spent on something I like.

So here is a simple solution to it - "The subscription clean-up"

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Budgeting is fun. A short review about YNAB.

You need a budget logo
Source: YNAB Press kit

In March I stumbled over a programm called "You need a budget" (YNAB).

YNAB is awesome! I think it is time for a short review now.

Why a budget?

Money always made me feel uncomfortable and a little bit out of control.I earn a ton of money - but at the end of the month it was (mostly) gone.

I lived from paycheck to paycheck with only small buffers in place. Kind of stupid if you think about it.

I decided to grow up financially a few times now and failed - but with YNAB it seems to finally work.

What is YNAB?

YNAB is a Personal Budgeting Software for Mac OS, Windows, Android and iOS.

YNAB comes with a great method and training courses that get you started.

The method

1) Whenever you receive a paycheck, you give every dollar a job. You put your money into categories like "Groceries", "Books", "Hosting".

2) You save for rainy days. These "rainy days" for me include (christmas, vacations, a broken washing machine). For some of them you do not know when they will happen but you can still budget money for them. When the next expensive cruise has to be paid I will happily pay the money , without any anciety or stress.

3) Whenever your plan does not work - for example you spent more in the "Groceries" category - you just adjust your budget and take money out of other categories. No guild required.

4) You live on last month's income. If something bad happens you have at least one month buffer. A great feeling.

It's great

A budget looks like this
Source: YNAB Press kit

I had some reservations when I first saw YNAB's price tag. But after using it and taking the courses I believe that it is worth every penny!

Since I have to enter each and every transaction into YNAB (a few minutes of work every day) - I became really aware of all my spendings.

I canceled many recurring subscriptions last month (that I did not really use). I also stopped eating out every lunch and I do not compulsively buy random gadgets when I have money on my bank account.

I rather budget for a new guitar and my next vacation.

I finally grew up financially and it feels like I got a (big) raise.

With the budget in place I have no anciety about the future. I could live of half of my income or even less if I had to. It's a skill that I should have learned long ago.

breeze - Virtual wind chimes

Rain, thunderstorms, the gurgle of a stream — I love to listen to nature to calm down.

I used to use ordinary recordings, but I recently found something better: breeze.

breeze is a collection of virtual wind chimes. You can select the chime that you like the most (I prefer bamboo), select a nature sound and enjoy the chime in action on the screen of your iOS device.

breeze is great. If you are into nature sounds as well, give it a try.

Changing your life — there's an app for that

I try to get rid of bad habits and to introduce beneficial behaviors. On a stressful day, however, it's hard to stick to all my resolutions. 2 months ago I have found a solution that works really well for me: Lift.

The basic idea

You start by feeding all your good resolutions into Lift. Every day you check off all the one's that you achieved. This makes it very transparent, what you did and help's you to not forget your commitments to yourself.


Lift has the concepts of streaks. If I did something for 5 days, for example, this is a 5-day streak.

For me, this works great. I would not think about breaking my 66 day Lumosity streak for example.


On Lift, you get support ("props") from other people. There are some pretty remarkable guys on Lift, that get a ton of stuff done every day.

This got even better when my colleagues joined in. It's amazing to work on habits together and receive positive energy all the time. My colleagues and I also founded a group to work on some habits together.


Lift is the most important app in my life. It helps me to transform myself.

I have over 30 commitments to myself in Lift. Common wisdom says that this is totally bananas. The amazing thing, however, is that, on a normal day, I finish most of them.

I am really grateful for this app. I think you should give it a try as well.

If you like Lift — and I am sure you will — become my friend!

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