18th August 2020

These posts were originally posted on the YNAB forums and MoneySavingForums (a UK money management site), I am moving my journals across to WordPress to have them in chronological order, and because the YNAB forums are closing as of March 2022. I’m not sure how much of other people’s words I’m allowed to copy across from one site to another, so in some sections I may summarise conversations.

This is my first month without paying for any debts which is still highly bizarre to me. Like, none? No Credit Card payment? At all?
Lets have a look at the highlights.

Weekly Spends

  • For Groceries this month I put £160 instead of £150 in. That’s a more accurate measure of what I usually spend anyway, but I must admit I’m not sure where I found that extra £10 so don’t think I can do that most months. 
  • Household, Clothing, Social, and Human Groom categories are all full to their standard amounts
  • RPG Nights and Hobbies are empty – RPG Nights havent restarted yet, I don’t know in advance how much Hobbies money I need and I tend to steal that money from other categories when needed
  • For Birthday of the month I’ve actually put in a few £ less than normal, but I don’t have any significant birthdays as far I am aware until next January, so that doesn’t matter
  • It looks like some of my goals havent changed for some reason so my Stuff I forgot to budget for is higher than it should be but that’s ok – that category is basically designed to be stolen from as I discover where the money is needed
  • Work Misc and Therapy are as normal
  • Takeout, Online Shopping, Charity and Hobbies are all empty this month – if I need them, I’ll find the money for them, but I should be saving money for this upcoming move

Bills/Immediate Obligations
Some differences here this month

  • I have no idea what to do with this medical cartegory. I am full on making this up as I go here. In a few months when the treatments start to settle out into an average I’ll have a better idea what to budget. I currently have £25.81 in there. Where is that from? No idea! It’s certainly not divisble by the current prescription charge (£9.15) I think I tried to top up to the monthly goal but the app used some of the money I spent last pay-month. I just, I don’t know.
  • The Tram Category is my current favourite because I’m topping it up to the level needed to buy a month ticket, but I’m not spending it all within a month, because I’m buying individual journeys and walking more. So this category costs me less each month.
  • Rent, HP Instant Ink, Standard
  • My phone bill is less for the first time, because this will be the first month where I pay for the data plan only and not the device – I’m setting aside what I was paying the device further down into a savings pot for my future Next Phone.


  • All as normal and on target

Savings Pots – where the real money is 😉

  • I made a temporary category called “Binder”. I have a lot of temporary categories right now, but they’ll slowly get used up over time. I wont actually spend from these categories, I just need to hold the money separate so I remember what it’s for – when it’s time to buy it I’ll move the money to a different category like Online Shopping or Clothing and delete the Binder category. If I leave it in the clothing category I’ll forget and spend it on something else. Unfortunately Shapeshifters has temporarily shut down during the pandemic. Just as I had enough money to buy one. Boo. But this is what I wanted to buy. Or maybe in green. Or gold? I hadn’t picked a colour yet. There’s £70 in here as I’m not sure what shipping will be like.
  • I’ve got a temporary category called Winter Running Gear. I set the goal really high, at £80, but that’s only if I buy absolutely everything on my Amazon wishlist so it’s unlikely to cost that much. Some of that wishlist doubles up with an expensive and a cheap version of the same product. I’ve put £40 in it this month.
  • The (temporary) “One Last Brexit Shop” category I’ve almost half funded, I set a goal of £50 and I put £22.57 in. This is honestly a low priority category but I put money in to bring the monthly contribution down, to get it out of the way almost. If I get the chance to do that again next month, I’ll do it with the New Years Whiskey next. Next year I’ll have more time to save for the New Year Whiskey and the monthly cost will be lower – and this will hopefully be the last time I do a Brexit Shop! 
  • The Scrivener category still exists, but I took all the money (£40 of a £50 goal) out of it (I’m not writing right now anyway) and moved all the money to…
  • The Microsoft Office category, which is now at £50 of a £60 goal. However  TechieM2  mentioned a different free program that I will give a try before I commit to the Office Subscription. 
  • [Family Member]’s Wedding, a temporary category that will get used up in September. I will move this money mostly to Social (although maybe a little will go to clothing) to spend and delete the category. It has £100 in. The party is now at their house and much smaller, so this should be enough for gift and taxis and a new shirt.
  • For my Emergency Funds I was able to put £100 in for the first month, before I was putting in £25 each month, I’m up to £1875
  • For my FA Diploma study category – because I put in £400 from my nan the app is acting as if I over-saved this month. I didn’t put in the full usual amount on top of that. In previous months the goal was £25 per month, I recently upped the goal to £34.75 (a carefully calculate amount that I’m beginning to think doesn’t make much sense). I only put in £10 after my nan’s £400, the rest went into other categories this month. 
  • Everything else is on target, there’s not much to say about the rest, I wasn’t able to over-save for anything else

I also have a brand new Master Category called “Vacation” of which there is one sub category – “Canal Boat” with £500 in for lessons sometime in 2021. This year is just not the year. Especially with the move coming up, that might have to be a back up Emergency Fund, it’s not exactly a necessity. But hopefully I can hang onto it and use as intended next year. 

I’ve not created a “Move House” category yet, although I will do at some point – and once it’s created it’ll be a permanent category, as when you’re renting there’s always a Next Move. For now I just want money into the Savings Pots categories – any Savings Pots category, frankly. Once it’s there, I can move it about if need be. I’m not really ready to move money out of the Emergency Funds just yet and see how little is likely to remain, I’d rather Whac-A-Mole as expenses turn up.

According to the YNAB app, my monthly goals add up to £1,313.14 and according to my Spreadsheet my modal salary for 2020 is £1312.34 so as you can see it’s a fine line I’m walking haha

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