Using Technology to Manage Your Money: You Need a Budget

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5 Days of Using Technology to Manage Your Home


Welcome to the final day in my 5 Days of Using Technology to Mange Your Home Series.

Money. We all have to manage it – however much we have or don’t have. God calls us each to be good stewards of our resources. Using technology to manage your money helps you be a good steward.

I quit my job a couple years ago to be home with the boys and to homeschool. It was a tough decision financially. We had to take a leap of faith. Unfortunately, we had not been quite as wise or careful with our money up to that point as we thought we had been or had wanted to be. We decided to get serious about managing our money.

We went through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Class online. Shortly after that Jacob was born. Two weeks later, Josh started a new job. Yeah, 2010 was a crazy year for us. Money was tight. Very tight. I’m still not sure exactly how God stretched what we had to cover our needs. We got settled in 2011 into our new routine and life but 2012 brought big changes.

We made a massive God-size goal at the beginning of 2012: Pay off Josh’s student loan. That was over $6,000 over the next 12 months. Guess what? We did it in 3.5 months. Yes, 3.5 months. You can read more of that story from this spring, but here’s the technology behind that story.

You Need a Budget Logo

You Need a Budget

I manage the details and day to day working of our money. I’m organized. Josh isn’t. But I don’t like numbers. Josh does. I have to have an easy way to make sure that our financial transactions are recorded, our bills are paid on time, and keep track of our budget. I also need a way for Josh to see all the numbers without it overwhelming me.

Enter You Need a Budget.

You Need a Budget is a cross-platform desktop application that runs on these four ideas:

  • Give every dollar a job.
  • Save for a rainy day.
  • Roll with the punches.
  • Stop living paycheck to paycheck.

You Need a Budget has a lot of free online classes and video tutorials available to help you along the way. I watched a lot of the videos before making my final decision to go with You Need a Budget.

Using the Dave Ramsey principles we had learned and the easy to set up budget “envelopes” in YNAB, we created our budget and started tracking every dollar we spent. YNAB made it easy for me to see how much was in each of our monthly “envelopes” as well as our savings “envelopes” for things that are not paid monthly and move money between them as needed.

One of the things that I like is that YNAB does not connect to my bank and download my transactions. First, my bank (which we are also leaving soon) charges me for this “service.” So, I have to go online, do the simple export and that forces me to categorize our spending and get each dollar a name or job to do. At the same time, transactions that occur automatically can be out into the scheduler to save me time.

Using YNAB, I was able to see leftover dollars here and there that I could re-budget and move to our debt pay down “envelope.” It wasn’t much at first, but every dollar really can make a difference. We sold some things and that money went into the envelope. When I had enough to make an extra payment, I sent the payment in.

I put Josh’s student loan into YNAB as a non-budget account. This allowed me to watch the balance fall. That kept us motivated to keep going. Everything came together in 3.5 months. We even found enough cash to take a small vacation as a gift to ourselves for staying strong and on course.

We could not have reached our goal without God, Dave Ramsey, and You Need a Budget. We have three more loans to go: my student loan, our HELOC, and our primary mortgage before we can declare debt freedom.

As soon as we completed paying off Josh’s student loan and enjoying our vacation, we set our next goal: Come up with at least $4,000 by the end of the year towards our HELOC. {We do have a God-goal of $8,000 by the end of the year, but $4,000 in our minimum goal.} We’re praying to have our HELOC paid off in the next 2-3 years.

In addition to managing our regular monthly finances with YNAB, I continue to:

  • budget in YNAB and find those extra dollars to move to our debt pay down category.
  • find ways to downsize and get rid of things we no longer need and put that money into our YNAB debt pay down category.
  • work hard with my blog and my VA business. I have one regular VA job that is solely used for paying down debt. I transfer that money from my business to our personal account and add it to our YNAB debt pay down category. When Josh gets bonuses or works extra jobs, that money goes into the debt pay down “envelope” too.
  • record payments and make adjustments for interest on our HELOC as a non-budget account.

Whether you’re trying to make ends meet, trying to pay off debt, or working towards retirement and savings goals, using technology to mange your money will help you get there faster.

You can get a 34 day trial of You Need a Budget. Purchase a full license for $60. It is well worth every penny and they have a very generous update policy.

What do you think of You Need a Budget as a way to use technology to manage your money? Need help with YNAB? Other favorite applications for using technology to manage your money? Leave a comment!


Please be sure to visit all 21 moms who have banded together to bring your the 5 days of of mothering and homemaking series:

Photo Credit

This post contains affiliate links. I received a NFR license for YNAB. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.


  1. AMEN, Amanda! I agree with you 110%!!! My husband is teaching a Dave Ramsey class this summer to high schoolers in our church… we have used his methods for many years and it has PAID off. What’s funny is that we do MORE things now that we are more careful with our money — we have travelled and have a good savings account because we put our money where it matters, not on frivolous little junk. Add a lot of HARD WORK to that equation and you have success. I realize we are very blessed, but being a good steward of those blessings is what good money management is all about.

    Congrats to you for paying off your husband’s student loan. Car and student loans are such nasty debt. Right now we’re saving to buy me a new van… it will be a few more months, but I can’t wait to walk in and pay CASH for a car! woo hoo!

    • High schoolers? That’s awesome! My student loans are going to take way longer that I would like to admit. We paid cash for Josh’s motorcycle last year. That was a great feeling.

  2. Laura B. says:

    You and I are a like – my husband isn’t organized, but I am. I don’t like numbers either, but my husband does. We took the Dave Ramsey financial class at our church, I can’t remember if it was either 2004 or 2005. I loved learning Dave Ramsey’s financial concept. I wish both my husband and I had that knowledge and wisdom when we first married 18 years ago, but didn’t. On some exciting news, we finally paid off our 5 year vehicle loan after we had received a large tax refund last month. Now, with the extra income we have, we can start paying off several medical bills we had accumulated over the last couple of years. We’re managing better with our fiancés, but still have a long way to go. I have a hard time keeping track of where our money is going so I will try out YNAB and see if that works for me since my husband isn’t a list person and I am. Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. pinned tweeted fb – love it!

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