Posts in Habits & Strategies
How to make your life easier and richer (with science!)

Humans are great short term thinkers, and pretty poor long-term thinkers. We want things and we want them now. This makes things like paying down old debts, saving for the future, and cutting carbs oh-so-tough. Not paying debt and eating pasta is just...better than the alternative. At least, until a few years later when we’re cursing our younger selves and trying to repair the damage that was done.

A big part of this reason is that in essence, we’re actually of two “brains” here - an emotional (short term) brain, and a logical (long-term) brain. As one author of a study on economic behavior said, “Our emotional brain wants to max out the credit card, order dessert and smoke a cigarette. Our logical brain knows we should save for retirement, go for a jog and quit smoking.” Even the most logical among us has felt this tug, and it’s telling to know that we’re really hardwired to respond to short-term stimuli. Flashing lights, great sales, oncoming tigers.

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YNAB 101: How to Get Started

So you’ve decided to try out YNAB.

Maybe you’re doing it because your brother-in-law keeps pestering you about it; you saw it on Reddit, or or maybe you found my blog post drooling about how much I love it.

If you want to know how to get started using YNAB, you’re in the right place! I’ve been using YNAB for over a decade and teaching other people how to use it for several years. YNAB is my jam. I love walking people through it, step by step, so that they not only learn how and why to use this magical, life changing money management tool, but also how to make it fit their actual life.

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Resolve to...make better resolutions

You’ve probably heard that most New Year’s resolutions fail. I’m betting you don’t need a scientist to tell you that, if you’ve ever set one yourself. So how do you improve the odds? Here are some research backed tips to making this year one in which you move ever closer to your ideal self.  

  1. Make goals so small that it’s hard to fail

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The 2 biggest money black holes (and how to destroy them)

We’ve all got areas of our spending that just seem like black holes. You know the ones - the parts of our budget that you can never seem to get under control, that start to suck in all the money around them, until whoops, you’re out of money again (or - whoops, the credit card bill this month has its own gravitational pull). What even happened there, anyway?

Let’s talk about the most common ones I see with my clients, and what, exactly, to do with them so they stop ruining the rest of your finances.

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Don't forget! (to put these things in your budget)

One of the first things I ask people to do when they begin working with me is to document all of their expenses - what they spend money on, how much, how often, that sort of thing. What day is the car payment deducted, how much do you really spend on groceries, how much do you spend on the holidays?

Oof. That last one is a doozy, isn’t it? At least with the groceries, you can look back over the last few months and come up with a number, but then there’s things like the holidays that are a little more...vague.

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How to get back on the (budgeting) wagon

So, you fell off the wagon. You were doing good for a little while - you’d started managing your money differently. Maybe you were keeping track of your expenses, keeping your awareness around your spending high. You had stopped using your credit cards, maybe even started putting money away for emergency savings, you’d made a plan and had been chugging away at it. Things were going well, if slowly.

And then.

So, you fell off the wagon. You were doing good for a little while - you’d started managing your money differently. Maybe you were keeping track of your expenses, keeping your awareness around your spending high. You had stopped using your credit cards, maybe even started putting money away for emergency savings, you’d made a plan and had been chugging away at it. Things were going well, if slowly.

And then.

And then, something happened.

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You need a budget - How to tell if YNAB is right for you

This was going to be a review of You Need A Budget (YNAB). You know, an unbiased look at the pros and cons of a very popular piece of personal finance software. And while I am going to talk about the pros and cons of YNAB, I can’t bury the lead.

You guys, I love YNAB so much.

I’m a YNAB evangelist and I don’t care who knows it. I can’t pretend to be unbiased about this at all. I’ve been using YNAB for a decade and use it with 100% of my clients. I’ve tried other tools and they just...fall short.

That said, YNAB isn’t for everyone (who said that?? Not me!). Here’s how to tell if it’s right for you.

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