Budgeting and YNAB

BUDGETING IS SO MUCH FUN!  Yeah, I’m sure that’s the first thought that comes to people’s minds… but let me tell you that it can be fun, especially if you’re using the right program to help you along the way.

Let me tell you my story.  I don’t have any debt, but I was still in what they call “the credit card float,” meaning that I kept having to withdraw from my savings to pay off my credit card.  It felt like I wasn’t saving any money because the money I set aside for savings each pay period was being pulled right back out.  So what’s the point?  Then I discovered this group on Facebook called JenPlans.com Budgeting and Personal Finance, and a lot of people brought up the Dave Ramsey plan.  His plan is mainly for people who have debt, but I made it work for me.

The thing is that his system is a cash envelope system, meaning you withdraw cash from your bank and put it in an envelope.  You label the envelope whatever category you want, like groceries, etc.  I tried that for a few weeks, but it really hard whenever I was shopping at Target or Walmart.  Would I have to do separate all of my items whenever I went to the cash register?  Annoying.  Instead, I only do the cash envelope system for certain things I want to save up for.

For everyday things, like groceries and toiletries, I use my debit card and You Need A Budget (YNAB).  I love YNAB because it allows me to be flexible with my budget, and I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to pay for things.  The only thing about YNAB is that you’ll have to manually enter your transactions, which might be a deal breaker to some, but I like that because it forces me to stay on top of things.

YNAB has four rules when it comes to budgeting.

Rule 1: Give every dollar a job

You enter your paycheck into YNAB and tell your dollars where to go.

Rule 2: Save for a rainy day

Self explanatory.

Rule 3: Roll with the punches

If you overspend in one category, it’s not the end of the world.  You just subtract money from another category to cover your overspending.

Rule 4: Put this month’s income to next month

Basically, when you get paid, you just send some of your money to next month’s income.  If you keep doing that, you’ll eventually accumulate enough money to live on last month’s income.  It’ll make it easier for you to budget your necessities and bills.

If you’re interested in budgeting, why not give YNAB a try?  You can try it for free for 34 days and then buy it using my referral code: http://ynab.refr.cc/J6JMJVX.  You’ll save $6 using my code.  The original price is $60, which might seem steep, but it’s worth it.

More information about YNAB: YNAB videos

I was not paid to write this post.

Book Review: Big Little Lies

Love psychological thrillers? Then look no further than Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies.

“Who did it?” Someone has died at the Pirriwee Public School Trivia Night. That’s the big questions that come to play when reading “Big Little Lies”. Sometimes, the little lies reveals the corruption beneath the surface.

This rapid, page turning book describes the lives of the mothers whose kids all go to the same school. They live in this small Australian town that may seem ordinary to the naked eye–a bunch of mothers doing boring, everyday things, but outsiders may not know about the secrets in this gossipy town.  The book also explores the interactions between people and social classes.  Liane Moriarty uncovers the skeletons these mothers may be hiding in their closet, from past affairs to predators to bullying and domestic violence.

The book starts off with happily married Madeline tripping in the middle of the street after telling off some teenagers who were texting and driving. Passerby 24-year-old “plain Jane” then comes to her rescue. They don’t have really anything in common, except that their children are in the same kindergarten class. However, they quickly become friends and bring another mother, Celeste, into the mix.

These women hold two big secrets, with Jane holding the bigger one. The thing is that she doesn’t know the entire truth. Some questions will come up about her past, and it turns out Celeste knows someone that is connected to Jane’s past.

Big Little Lies could have ended up as one hot mess with all kinds of unruly details that are out of place, but Moriarty’s overall writing and in depth character development made the book interesting. She gave these characters such a backstory that their pasts intertwine with each other, and that is something a majority of readers may not see coming.  Also, the murder was introduced within the first few scenes of the book, so it did foreshadow the inevitable that will happen later in the book.

However, some readers might find it hard to follow along because the present and future are mixed together. In one paragraph, Moriarty will reference what will happen at trivia night by including police officers and opinions from other mothers. In the next paragraph, she will jump back to the weeks and months leading up to that tragic night.

Still, praise for Moriarty for neatly tying all of the details together in the end. This is a book that will open up all kinds of discussions and keep everyone talking.

Big Little Lies is available in the United States, Canada, Australia and the U.K. through Penguin Publishing.

Book Review: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

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Synopsis: The book is about a group of friends, 4 girls, who are all very close, but they’re about to go their separate ways for the summer.  So the girls tried on this pair of pants, which happened to fit all of them, and decided to share the pants as a way that they’ll always be there for each other.  They also wore the pants to get through tough times.

ThoughtsI loved the book.  I saw the movie a few years ago, but this was my first time reading the book.  The characters were well developed, and it felt like I was experiencing their pain/romantic relationships with them, even though I can’t relate to the characters’ actions 100%, since I’m not a teenager.

Book Review: Fangirl

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IT’S REALLY GOOD!  I just finished reading the book not too long ago.  I saw a bunch of booktubers recommending and reviewing the book, so I just had to read it.  I know there’s a saying that you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, BUT HOW CAN YOU NOT?  IT’S SO CUTE!!

SUMMARY: It’s about this girl named Cath, who is obsessed with the Simon Snow books and spends most of her time writing Simon Snow fan-fiction.  She knows the world is changing around her, but she’s still stuck in her old high school ways.  Because of that, she and her twin sister, Wren, start drifting apart.  That’s until Cath realizes that she needs to grow as a person, allow change, and meet new people.

THOUGHTS: I thought the story was well-written, hilarious, and yet, full of drama.  I loved how the Simon Snow characters were incorporated into the story and how Cath eventually opened up to change.  There was a lot of character development throughout the book.

 

In honor of May…

IT’S GONNA BE MAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Booktubing

Today, I recorded my first video for book-tube.  I always enjoyed watching other people’s book reviews and hauls, so I figured that I should start recording videos.

Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k

So Saturday was the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k, one of the largest 10k’s in the country and the most popular race in town.  Although, this year, it was kinda wet.  However, I ran/jogged the entire thing in an hour and 15 minutes, which I’m very proud of because I’ve never been able to jog the whole race before.  I shaved 12 minutes off from my time last year.

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It was a lot of fun.  Some people even dressed up for the 10k.  I can’t imagine how much work they put into these costumes.  I don’t think I’d like to wear these kind of things in the rain though.

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Friends’ birthday celebration

A few weeks ago, three of my friends decided to have a birthday celebration because their birthdays are around the same date.

Steven’s birthday was March 9th, while Robyn and Shannon’s birthday was on March 17th.  So Steven decided to have all of our friends to get together for dinner and bowling.  We had dinner at a local pho place in town called Pho 1 Grill.  It was good.  I got fried dumplings, plus the dish I usually get at other pho places in town (pork chop with broken rice).  Steven and Shannon both ordered a dish that caught on fire.

We all joked around, talked about life, etc.

Then most of us went to the bowling alley, while some of the group decided to go home.  I went to the bowling alley mainly because of cake.  Robyn and Emma baked a cake in three sections.  This is what it looked like:

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Robyn beat everyone in bowling, while Emma, Shannon’s coworker Emily and I were near or at the bottom of the pack.  I think I bowled somewhere between 60-80 ish.

 

Book Review: I Am Malala

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Summary: This book is about Malala Yousafzai, a young political rights activist who fought for education for young girls in Pakistan.

Before the Taliban took control, she and thousands of other young women had the opportunity to learn, but that was taken away when the Taliban took control.  Her dad, who owned the school she went to, urged her to speak out against the Taliban and to fight for education and rights for young women.

When the Taliban found out about her, they tried to silence her by shooting her in the head at point-blank range at the back of a school bus.  Eventually, she was taken to a hospital in England, where her family eventually relocated.

In this book, she talks about her journey from her village to presenting a speech in front of the United Nations.  Also, at age 16, she became the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Thoughts: I found this book to be inspiring.  Malala proves that young girls can make a difference in this world.  However, there are some graphic details in this book you should be aware of.

Rating: 5/5

My Playlist

I’ve been using Spotify for a while now, and it’s a great way to discover new music. So I thought I should share my playlist with you guys. Enjoy!