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.
So I was watching YNAB’s latest two videos on end or start of month rituals as I just thought I’d talk briefly on here – ironically, only to say that I don’t really have any. Because I get paid on the 19th, I can’t do much until then.
I make a few notes on my Excel spreadsheet, because I still track some values on there – for the 1st of the month, I would make a note of how my Net Worth, Age Of Money and balance of my main account compared to last month (this last one is a hangover from when I didn’t really know how to track Net Worth: I just like seeing the numbers go up but it doesn’t mean much anymore)
My Net Worth increased significantly in August compared to previous months but I think that was due to my Nan’s inheritance. Age of Money is a YNAB concept – literally, how old is that money you just spent? How long ago did you get it? They use this grain silo metaphor where you put money in at the top and take money out at the bottom and the idea is to take less money out than goes in so you build up a reserve and your money “ages” and anyway older is better and my A.O.M was 104 days in August. It seems to have plateaued in the early 100’s
House hunting is frustrating and upsetting. All my conversation with letting agents are 30 seconds long because they wont talk to me past hearing I have a dog and there just aren’t many places online right now.
I went into town today to buy a new shirt for my family member’s wedding and it turned out Primark was having a sale so I ended up buying three, and some shorts, which mild guilt about and I’m a lil stressed about money before the money but it was only £22 total. I got a full price more formal grey shirt in case I feel a little conservative on the day, but I also got two ugly-cute shirts that just scream “disaster Queer”. I also bought shorts, as I said, which is kind of big deal for me as I haven’t bared my legs since I stopped shaving in October 2018. Admittedly it might a little while before it’s shorts weather again… but we might get a hot spell in September!
On the YNAB app you can put Emojis in the category names and I thought I’d talking about something I do with those names. On my budget I have little hearts next to each category – green, yellow, orange and red hearts – which are code for how easy it is to move money from that category. It’s not necessarily how important it is to fund that category, although there is often a lot of overlap.
💚 Green – Go Ahead – Examples: Take Out, Social Spends
💛 Yellow – Cautiously, Within Reason – Examples: Human Groom, Dog Groom
🧡 Orange – Someone Better Be Dying – Examples: Medical, FA Diploma
❤️ Red – No – Examples: Rent, Phone Bill
So if I’ve overspent in one category I take money from green categories first, then yellow.
A category might not always the colour you would have initially thought, though. For example, Amazon Prime (now cancelled) and HP Instant Ink were/are both red. It’s not that I need those to live: it’s that I need to take an extra step to cancel them. They’re set up to leave my account automatically, so I can’t just decide not to pay them this month, I need to actually go and do something about it. If I don’t cancel them, and I don’t have money in that category, there’s a problem.
Meanwhile, Groceries are yellow. I can’t take from them indefinitely, but if times are bad I can cut back and literally Rice and Beans if I need to. As much as I whine about grocery overspending, if I really really had to, if it was for a good cause, I could.
Only three of my 22 (ish) savings pots are green – the “Holding Category”, Next Fitbit, and New Year Whiskey. Those are things that would be pretty easy to give up if need be.