18th March 2021

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.

Guys I’m so happy, I was literally crying last night from all the feels. 
So the other days whilst doing some maths on my hands I realised that, if my rough calculations for how much my bonus would be post-deductions was correct, I might be able to hit my goal for my Emergency Fund. And I did!
I now have a 3k Emergency Fund. 

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I was beyond myself with excitement and impatience waiting for my salary to drop so I could find out if my maths would correct or not, but when I saw how much arrived I immediately pretty much knew – but the way my budget is set up, my Emergency Fund is last on the list so last to get funded. Especially this month, because it was bonus money I was putting in there, I needed to fill other categories first to make sure I had enough bonus money left.
But when I changed that goal from “monthly contribution” to “target balance” and saw that I had enough to fill it to the max… my dog had to come give me a little cuddle, I don’t think he understands happy tears!

~*~

3k isn’t quite 3 months salary for me, but YNAB says my average monthly spend (from Jan 2020 to now) is £1018. Obviously if I lost my job (the logic behind having 3 months of money set aside) then I would cut some of my expenses almost immediately. Some of my other savings categories are also very much raidable if I become unemployed. 
I never thought I’d be here, guys. This is a massive achievement for me. It’s also crazy that this morning my net worth is £9222 – like, hello? That’s not real. That’s monopoly money. But that’s a different post. My point is I feel I can now de-prioritise my Emergency Fund for a bit and stop contributing to it, and focus on other savings goals.  

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Even after I filled out my Emergency Fund, I had £195.63 left over. This is on top of the fact that many of my categories were already overfunded because it’s my birthday month. For example I put £50 in takeout because I intend to get takeout twice this weekend. I put £40 instead of £10 in my sims category. I wanted to make a charity donation this month so I put £50 in there. 
But because I had this £195 extra left over, I decided to sprinkle a little more – £55 – across 6 categories. I put an extra £10 in Groceries, Hobbies, Charity, Easter Eggs and Sims, and an extra £5 in my tea subscription because there’s a particular one I want to try. This is on top of the overfunding I mentioned a moment ago.
I was then able to put £140.63 into my Next Move category.

~*~

I see people talk on the forum a lot about debt snowballs, but I feel like I’ve almost had a savings snowball effect. As I’ve filled out various one-off categories and got my true expenses to where they need to be, I’ve then been able to apply that money to other savings categories.
I said earlier I’m going to stop contributing to my Emergency fund for a bit so I can focus on other goals, the Next Move category is my next goal. I want to fill that up to £1000, so that I have a deposit up front and I can hire a van if ever family members cant help me out. That category is currently at £465.80, and from next month I’m going to be able to contribute £240 per month to it. When that’s full (in 3 months, most likely) I’ll start work on getting a month ahead by YNAB’s definition – so that I can budget on the 1st of the month. Hopefully by the end of ’21 I can be one month ahead. 
I intend to do the method where I put my salary into a category and wait until the 1st of the month to release it into all the other categories.
After I’m a month ahead I’m divided on where to go next. At some point I want to turn my Emergency Fund into three months INCOME instead of three months SPENDING, but also I want to start saving for a house deposit? But seeing as getting a month ahead will take me all of 2021, I have time to think about it.

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Finally, I’ve given in to the idea of a YNAB wish farm, although I’m still doing my own modified version of it. Basically I had this problem where every time I had an idea of what to save up for, I was throwing it straight into YNAB. I had too many savings goals. I did have a wishlist on Excel that I was meant to maintain, but YNAB is more accessible on my phone.
So now I have a “Wish List” category on my YNAB. Any savings idea or goal that I intend to fulfil at some point, just not yet, goes there. Those ideas are essentially waiting to be used. When I’m ready to start working on that goal I’ll move it up to my “Savings Pots” category. 
 
Items on my wish list are:
Next Months Income/Month Ahead (£1312)
Swimming Costume (no goal amount set yet)
Dr Martens Work Shoes (£200) (Right now I keep buying rubbish £20 Primark shoes that fall apart every other month) (Vimes Boots Theory Of Wealth, anyone?)
Weighted Blanket (£200)
A Particular Etsy Shop Artwork (Custom Piece, so no goal amount set yet)
 
Hopefully if I put all my savings goals down here and release them only one at a time, I can be more disciplined about what to do with any “spare” money each month.
I’ve also decided to put a big, emotional, savings goal on my budget. Whilst I do want to buy a house, I don’t always connect to that idea emotionally. It’s a large amount to save up, and my parents never owned a house when I was a kid, always rented, so the idea seems a little abstract to me. Again, hopefully by putting a big emotional goal (sorry, I don’t want to share what that goal is just yet) on there, I can can be more disciplined with spare money. I don’t know exactly how much it’ll cost but it’ll be similar to a house purchase and is several years away. I haven’t set up a regular contribution yet, I’m hoping just having the category there will be reminder enough.

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So many emotions, y’all. 

~*~

In response to several congratulations comments, and one commenter mentioning a product in that etsy shop they liked the look of

Thanks everyone! I’m so happy  🙂 🙂 🙂

And yeah their stuff is really good, I plan on purchasing a custom piece with the little mantra I tell my dog when I leave the house – “Be Good, Be Brave, Be Kind, Be Intelligent, Be Handsome” (though am I saying to him, or to me?) 

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