The “B” Word

Of course by “B” word, I mean the dirty word: budget. Every well meaning family’s nemesis. The dreaded checks and balances which causes the fearful to spend more than they make.

I’ve taken the liberty to compare two “do it yourself” budgets. One is the popular Dave Ramsey. The other is a little known budget software called YNAB (why-nab) which stands for “You Need a Budget”.

First is cost. You can do the Dave Ramsey budgeting course online for $99. If you want to take it in person at local teaching sites, the cost jumps to $149. And you can join their Lifetime Membership for $100. Plus there are books and extra accessories you can purchase, such as special envelopes to store your cash in as well as special access to a website that will help you track your budget.

For YNAB you get everything you need, online, for a one time fee of $59.95. There are free training sessions both online and via phone call conferences to help get you started.

Next is ease of use. Dave Ramsey has several steps in the process of budgeting and then finally, becoming debt-free. So many steps that it almost feels overwhelming when you get started. There are the steps of setting aside an emergency fund, putting together a budget (which isn’t laid out very clearly), setting aside six month’s income in savings, investing, and so on.

YNAB has a very easy to use spreadsheet that is already created for you. You just enter the information from your check register and it tracks everything. If you keep up with it weekly, it’s clear what you have spent and have left to spend.

So you can see which one I’m leaning toward. However, Dave Ramsey isn’t all bad. There are people out there (maybe you’re one of them) that need a serious financial overhaul. If you’re patient and buy the accessories and attend the classes, it’s a life changing experience. Hopefully you will have a good guide or teacher through the classes though, because when I went through it I had many questions that went unanswered. But all in all, not a total loss.

As for YNAB, it is, quite simply, a budgeting tool. It takes a while to get used to the layout, but it’s an easy to use budgeting tool. So if that’s all you need help with, skip the extra steps of Dave Ramsey and head to www.youneedabudget.com

Happy saving everyone.