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Budget Nerds

English, Education, 1 season, 61 episodes, 1 day, 18 hours, 25 minutes
Personal finance experts Ben Barlowe and Ernie Reppe get nerdy with numbers as they share budgeting tips, strategies for categorizing transactions, and lessons learned from using the revolutionary budgeting system known as You Need a Budget.
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#90 - YNAB Mega Wins: Round Two

Ben and Ernie open their inboxes for another mega round of YNAB wins -- stories from YNAB users about positive outcomes, reduced stress, and newfound confidence with their money. In today's mega episode, they have broken up the wins into several themes: Partner wins Gaining control Getting a month ahead Paying down debt Clarity Stress reduction Building confidence Simplifying Priorities Saving   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
5/15/20241 hour, 3 minutes, 4 seconds
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#89 - Find the Money First

YNAB is well known for the Four Rules, or what many YNAB'ers are now calling the Four Habits, which describe the process of gaining control of your money and learning to spend with joy rather than shame or regret. The Four Rules are: Give every dollar a job Embrace your true expenses Roll with the punches Age your money In today's episode, Ben and Ernie discuss a concept that is implicit in the rules, but perhaps should be it's own rule -- find the money first! Findng the money first means that when you want something that is not in your plan, you need to find the money somewhere else in the plan, that is, re-allocate money from one category to cover your new purchase. This action makes it clear that you are making a tradeoff -- in order to get one thing, you must give up another thing. It may seem arbitrary, but it's an important move! All too often, people will buy something they want without finding the money first, which sets of a cycle of anxiety and fear over whether they can afford it, or whether they will be able to pay off the credit card bill when it comes due. At the very least, spending before you find the money distances you from your money and your priorities, because it obscures the tradeoff.   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
5/1/202435 minutes, 56 seconds
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#88 - Swim Fins and Why You Shouldn't Compare Yourself to Others

In today's episode, Ben shares a story about swimming at the YMCA. One of Ben's favorite forms of exercise is swimming laps at his local YMCA, and while it's a great solitary form of exercise, sometimes you can't help but notice how your pace compares to others in the pool. One day Ben started swimming laps only to notice an older lady absolutely hauling in another lane. Which was... discouraging, to say the least. However, as she was exiting the pool Ben noticed she was wearing swim fins, and her blazing performance began to make sense.   This woman had a huge advantage, but it was hidden under the water. In the waves and froth of the water, Ben couldn't see it. It's a good analogy for financial circumstances. For the most part, we only see the outward indicators of other people's financial life -- the things they can afford to buy, the places they can afford to live -- and even those obversations can be greatly skewed if those people are buying things with debt! It's important to realize that other people have different advantages in life, and those can significantly influence their financial circumstances. So Ben urges you not to compare yourself to others, because you don't know what advantages they've had, and you can't see their full financial picture from your standpoint. As the saying goes, comparison is the thief of joy!   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
4/17/202435 minutes, 36 seconds
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#87 - Stop Making Boring Financial Goals

Ben and Ernie respond to a recent survey reported by Jill Schlesinger on CBS Morning about American's 2024 financial resolutions. The top responses: save more money (41%), pay down debt (38%), and spend less (30%). BORING! Ben rants about why "spending less money" is not a good financial plan, and Ernie highlights the importance of putting a why behind goals like paying down debt. There's nothing wrong with paying down debt, of course, but to be successful, and to to truly practice the YNAB habits, there needs to be a reason why you want to pay down the debt. Maybe it's to fund a vacation that you haven't been able to take before, maybe it's to buy something big for your favorite hobby, or maybe it's to fund a charitable cause. As Ben explains, your spending is part of the way you express yourself in the world, so you need to be clear with your priorities and values.   To that end, Ben and Ernie share some of the most interesting financial goals and resolutions sent in by fellow budget nerds. From buying a forever violin, to founding a college endowment, to traveling the US in a custom-built bus, there are very creative and meaningul responses!     Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
4/3/202444 minutes, 52 seconds
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#86 - Cash Categories vs Cash Accounts

In today's episode, Ben and Ernie discuss what to do with cold, hard cash money. For many YNAB'ers debit and credit card spending fits nicely into the YNAB paradigm, since YNAB can interface directly with financial institutions and pull online banking data. Cash transactions, on the other hand, can create a stumbling block since they exist outside the easily trackable, traceable online banking system. Some decide to just not track cash at all. Cash is money, however, and it probably should be part of your spending plan, so Ben and Ernie recommend tracking it in YNAB. It's not that hard!   There are essentially two ways to track cash in YNAB: in a "cash" category, or in a cash account (there's a special cash account type you can select in YNAB). Ben and Ernie break down the pros and cons to each approach.   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
3/20/202440 minutes, 13 seconds
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#85 - Do I Have to Give EVERY Dollar A Job?

The short answer is yes. But why? Ben and Ernie dig into the reasons why giving every dollar a job is essential to creating a stress-free life around money. As Ben explains, the point of YNAB is to ruthlessly root out self-delusion, and be honest about both what you want your money to do for you and what tradeoffs you will have to make to accomplish that.   When you leave money in the Ready to Assign category, you are putting off making decsions about tradeoffs, and thus obfuscating the real purpose of that money. It's even the same with cash buffers in checking accounts or emergency funds held outside YNAB -- these wads of cash actually obscure what your goal with the money is, because it's unclear how much of it is allocated to each job. That money can create a false sense of security, when you assume that the amount is big enough to handle any emergency that could arise. What if the water heater, the fence, and the roof need to be replaced in one year? The totals can really add up, and leaving cash in an amorphous blob in a checking or savings account does not give you clarity on what and how much it can cover.   So, to truly follow YNAB's Four Rules is to, first, give every dollar a job, and start making tradeoffs. Understanding your tradeoffs helps you get clarity on what you really want your money to do for you!   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
3/6/202443 minutes, 6 seconds
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#84 - How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Unexpected Expenses

Rule Two of YNAB's Four Rules is "embrace your true expenses." True expenses are expenses that may not be regular, but are a normal part of life: new tires, HVAC repairs, emergency doctor visits. Sometimes they are expected -- every car and house will need repairs eventually -- and sometimes they are unexpected, like a trip to the emergency room. All the same, we usually end up cursing them when we have to pay up!   In today's episode, Ben and Ernie invite you to change your thinking about true expenses, especially unexpected expenses. With a shift in mindset, unexpected expenses can be a wonderful expression of the things your value. Need a costly tree removal in your backyard? Perhaps that's the price of giving your kids a safe place to play outside. Frustrated about an expensive birthday party? Maybe it's something your spouse really values. As Ernie points out, embracing your unexpected expenses can be an exercise in thinking outside yourself and your own desires.   So, the next time you get hit with an unexpected expense... take a deep breath, then consider how you could not only accept it without anger, but even love it.   Ben's blog post:   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
2/21/202443 minutes, 12 seconds
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#83 - Kath Eats: An Interview with Nutrition Blogger Kath Younger, RD

Ben and Ernie invite Kath Younger, Registered Dietitian and popular nutrition and wellness blogger, onto the show to discuss how her health journey led her to seek financial health and wellness. Kath started her blog in 2007 to record her experiences exploring healthy foods and healthier eating habits, and has now expanded to cover natural beauty products as well as lifestyle topics like fitness and motherhood. In 2016, Kath began using YNAB and started improving her financial health. Today she is a bona fide budget nerd!   In today's episode Kath breaks down her financial plan in detail, including her groups and categories (the structure of which was inspired by Ramit Sethi), how she manages checking and savings accounts, how she and her husband share spending and planning responsibilities, and much more!   You can follow Kath at the links below: Blog: Kath's YNAB categories: Instagram:   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
2/7/20241 hour, 15 minutes, 2 seconds
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#82 - YNAB's Four... Habits?

Behind every rule, there's a habit. In today's episode, Ben and Ernie explore YNAB's Four Rules, but in the context of the habits they build. After all, budgeting well is not so much about following (or breaking) hard rules, but rather consistently following certain habits, to help you plan and make better tradeoffs with your money.   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
1/24/202446 minutes, 47 seconds
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#81 - YNAB Wins Mega Episode

Through 80 episodes (and counting!), passionate YNAB'ers have been sharing their personal finance wins, big and small, with Ben and Ernie. Whether it's paying off debt, handling an emergency expense, or simply feeling more relaxed and at peace about money, we cherish each win and love to put a spotlight on them all. In today's episode, Ben and Ernie catch up on their backlog of YNAB wins with a mega episode of stories from YNAB'ers across the globe and from all walks of life.   Ben and Ernie classified today's wins into five categories, including: Clarity Giving Priorities Peace of mind Options   Here's to many more YNAB wins in 2024. Happy New Year!   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
1/10/202432 minutes, 34 seconds
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#80 - There's No Such Thing As Saving Money

What if... saving money wasn't actually a thing? Crazy, right?! Well, if you subscribe to YNAB's philosophy -- the Four Rules -- then money is properly understand as a spending tool. The whole point of money, and your budget, is to plan how to spend your money. Savings is really just money that you plan to spend later, whether it's three days later at the grocery, three months later for an oil change you know you need to get, or thirty years later when you retire from the workforce!   Ben and Ernie explore this idea, prompted by a blog post Ben wrote back in September. Saving money is a bummer for a lot of people, and perhaps the reason is because they were thinking about it all wrong!   There's No Such Thing as Saving Money (Blog Post) by Ben Barlowe:     Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
12/27/202339 minutes, 39 seconds
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BONUS - Live Q&A on YouTube (11/29/2023)

Ben and Ernie went live on YouTube on November 29, 2023 to answer questions, share their budgets, and nerd out about YNAB. This bonus episode is a rebroadcast of the YouTube live, which you can find by following the link to the YouTube channel below.   Link to Q&A on YouTube:   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
12/1/20231 hour, 6 minutes, 39 seconds
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#79 - ANNOUNCEMENT! Live Q&A Today at 3:00pm EST (Nov 29th, 2023)

Set your reminders, Ben are Ernie are going live on the YouTube channel today at 3:00pm EST. They'll be answering your questions and getting nerdy about finances, so join in! If you are tuning in after the Q&A, you can still watch the replay -- just go to the Budget Nerds YouTube channel in the link below.   If you want to send them a question to answer during the Q&A, send it via email here! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
11/29/20232 minutes, 12 seconds
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#78 - Are Impulse Purchases Wrecking Your Finances? A YNAB Study Finds Out

Everyone spends on impulse from time to time, even the most staunch adherents to frugality. According to a new study funded by YNAB, 94% of Americans admit to impulse spending. It's common nowadays to "treat yo'self" after a hard day, for instance. But is impulse spending a bad thing? Not necessarily! If your spending is aligned with your values and priorities, then spending should be fun. It should bring you joy. And with a good spending plan, it doesn't have to wreck your finances either!   Ben and Ernie explore the YNAB study that asked various questions about impulse purchases, including the various reasons it happens: emotional support, fear of missing out (FOMO), dining out, and seasonal influences (like Christmas). By understanding the nature of impulse spending, you can plan for it and set aside some money for indulgances, so you don't miss the money when other bills come due. Ben and Ernie also offer some tips for experienced YNAB'ers struggling with overspending in their categories due to impulse spending.   The YNAB Study:   How to Make Your Budget More Fun by Ben Barlowe:     Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
11/15/202337 minutes, 52 seconds
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#77 - Are You On the Credit Card Float? Credit Card Alerts Can Help

The credit card float, as it has been termed, is the situation in which a person is reliant on the month-long grace period of the credit card to meet their obligations. In other words, they spend money now with a credit card, which they pay off later when their paycheck comes in. A person in this situation may pay off their card in full each month and never pay interest! But the fact remains that, if they are on the float, they are in debt -- they do not have the cash to handle their current expenses.   What's insidiuous about the credit card float is that it can happen slowly. As life changes and spending changes along with it, credit card expenses can slowly start to overwhelm the amount of cash you have coming in. Fortunately, YNAB has features to help you manage that!   Ben and Ernie walk through the new credit card alert feature in YNAB, which alerts you when overspending in a category causes you to not have enough cash to cover your credit card balance. Or, if you add a credit card to YNAB with an existing balance, it will alert you to assign dollars to cover that existing balance before handling other expenses.   Heard It from Hannah on the Credit Card Float:   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
11/1/202339 minutes, 52 seconds
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#76 - The Most Elegant Budget We've Ever Seen? An Interview with Budget Nerd Lee Bond

As the principal budget nerds at YNAB, Ben and Ernie have seen their fair share of elegant budgets, but the one featured in today's episode might take the cake for the most refined of all time! Long time YNAB'er and bona fide budget nerd Lee Bond joins the podcast to discuss his history of using YNAB, his category structures, his unique use of "transfers," and his various adventures trying to push the boundaries and break YNAB.   Lee has thought through every category and transaction with precision and an eye for cleanliness and efficiency. If you call yourself a hardcore budget nerd, or aspire to be one, then you will enjoy this episode with Lee!   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
10/18/20231 hour, 25 minutes, 33 seconds
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#75 - The Ultimate Guide to Targets in YNAB

Forecasting is kind of a dirty word at YNAB, because the Four Rule are all about budgeting the dollars you have now, and not counting on future dollars that haven't arrived yet. However, it's still useful to plan for future expenses, and understand how the timing of those expenses will affect how much money you need to set aside each month to cover them when they come due. Expense timing can be complex, too -- some things hit weekly, biweekly, monthly, others hit at odd intervals like every 3 weeks or 6 months. YNAB has tools to handle these! Targets are a powerful way to organize and understand your expenses no matter how complex the timing is.   Ben and Ernie dive deep into the various target types available in YNAB, and clever ways you can use them to track expenses, track debt pay down, and more.   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
10/4/202357 minutes, 5 seconds
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#74 - The Unexpected Benefits of Budgeting

Ben and Ernie share insightful comments from a recent conversation in the YNAB Fans Group on Facebook in which one YNAB'er asked: what's one benefit to using YNAB that surprised you? YNAB is of course all about getting your money straight, but the reality is that when you get your money right, other aspects of life tend to follow suit. After all, getting your money right means alinging your spending with your values.   Whether it's improved friendships and marriages, reduced stress and worry, discovering new insight into your behaviors through tracking expenses, or simply watching your bank account balance climb to historic levels -- there are many benefits to budgeting that affect all aspects of life!   YNAB Fans on Facebook:   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
9/20/202338 minutes, 25 seconds
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#73 - Saving Dollars? Sure, But How About Saving Time!

YNAB is all about giving dollars a job, but what about your time? Ben and Ernie poke at the edges of common budgeting practices in YNAB to determine what is really necessary, and what can be thrown out in the name of efficiency and time management. It's a fun exercise -- and often insightful -- to take practices or "rules" that you take for granted and tear them down to see how essential they are to the task of budgeting.   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
9/6/202349 minutes, 55 seconds
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#72 - Paying Off the Mortgage: Erin Walks Through How She Did It

Long time YNAB'er and Lead Educator at YNAB, Erin Lowell, shares her experience paying off her mortgage using YNAB principles.   Mortgage Professor loan calculator     Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
8/23/202342 minutes, 37 seconds
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#71 - Inside the Categories with Budget Nerd Gabi Bradley

Ben and Ernie interview fellow budget nerd and YNAB power user Gabi Bradley. Gabi is a busy mom balancing work, family, and changing financial obligations (including daycare!). She shares her unique category structure, which she assembled using various strategies outlined on Heard It from Hannah and Budget Nerds, and how her family uses the budget to handle their ever-changing financial needs.     Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
8/9/202353 minutes, 9 seconds
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#70 - Focused Views: A Powerful New YNAB Feature!

Ben and Ernie discuss the exciting possibilities of a powerful new feature in YNAB called "Focused Views." Focused Views allow you to see a subset of your categories depending on what you want to learn, analyze, or review. Sometimes you just want to drill down on a particular  piece of your budget to understand what's going on with your money -- like consistently underfunded or overfunded categories. Or maybe you want to share the most important parts of the budget with your parnter without bogging them down with too many category details. Perhaps you have wish farm with a variety of wants.   Whatever the case may be, you can create a focused view to help you (and your partner!) better understand your money. And you can use emojis!   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
7/26/202335 minutes, 41 seconds
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#69 - Budgeting a Month Ahead

Ben and Ernie share their different strategies for applying Rule Four -- aging your money -- and specifically budgeting for the month ahead. Ben budgets for the next month in real time, allocating paychecks to categories in the next month on the calendar. Ernie, on the other hand, uses a holding category to park dollars that will be applied to the next month, and waits until the beginning of the month to actually allocate thoses dollars. They debate the pros and cons to each approach, and discuss some hybrid approaches that might be the best of both worlds!   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
7/12/202344 minutes, 28 seconds
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#68 - Applying YNAB Principles Outside the Budget

Ben and Ernie discuss YNAB's Four Rules, and whether they can be applied to other areas of life outside the budget. As it turns out, yes they can! Whether it's Ernie's favorite pasttime (lawncare) or Ben's devotion to good systems, the Four Rules tap into some universal principles of effective resource management that can be applied to a wide range of things in life.   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
6/28/202343 minutes, 28 seconds
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#67 - 9 Ways to Master the Memo

Ben and Ernie return to their nerdy roots and talk memos today, all about that little field in the transactions next to the category and balance. Turns out, the memo field can be used in many clever and creative ways to add more utility and depth to your budget, whether it's tracking important purchase information such as serial numbers, or tracking how many times you bought gifts or spent time with friends and family. Using memos can help your budget tell a more complete story of how you spend your money and whether that aligns with your priorities.   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
6/14/202345 minutes, 29 seconds
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#66 - Emergency Fund vs Month Ahead

YNAB is not like other budgeting methods. Rule Four is "age your money" and it encourages folks to spend last month's earnings on this month's expenses, thereby breaking the paycheck to paycheck cycle in which so many find themselves stuck. Many YNAB'ers work diligently toward getting a month ahead of their expenses, budgeting the dollars they currently have in the bank account for expenses due in the next calendar month. But what about emergency funds?   Many budgeting methods encourage the idea of an emergency fund, a pile of money that is only touched to handle unexpected expenses not accounted for in the budget. A wise (or as Ben would say, prudent) thing to have! In a perfect world, however, YNAB'ers would not need emergency funds -- they would have saved enough money for future expenses via Rule Two to handle anything that could come their way. Alas, the world is not perfect, however, and many YNAB'ers choose to incorporate an emergency fund category in their budget.   Do you have to choose between having an emergency fund or living a month ahead? Of course not! Ben reminds us that even if you choose to setup your budget for month-ahead, you can always undo it and go back to an emergency fund. Or vice versa. The dollars are still there, however you decide to allocate them.   Ernie recommends that you should take your emotions into account too. For many folks, including himself, it just feels better to have a big pile of money that you can see in one category. It offers a greater sense of security than seeing mulitple categories funded in the next month.   So, really, you can't lose. If you've been thinking about going month-ahead, go for it! There's always the undo button.   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
5/31/202338 minutes, 11 seconds
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#65 - Gamifying YNAB

Budgeting is pretty fun already... if you're a budget nerd. But what's even more fun than reconciling your account, or assigning that fresh pay check that just hit your account? Making a game out of it! Ben and Ernie discuss the various ways they have "gamified" YNAB, to have some fun with the process, to hit stretch goals, and to improve their spending decisions and willpower when funds in a certain category get tight.   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
5/17/202352 minutes, 56 seconds
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#64 - Real Life Debt Pay Down (Without the Guilt)

Ben and Ernie tackle the topic of paying off debt, with a different bent than the typical personal finance podcast or blog. Where many sources focus on paying debt off at all costs, using extreme measures or simply throwing every dollar at debt, Ben and Ernie prefer a paydown approach which focuses on your priorities. What is most important in your life? Find a way to continue doing those things, while cutting back on non-essential aspects of your life to free up money for debt pay down.   Often this means deliberately paying off your debt slower than you could with a more extreme approach. And that's OK! Paying off large amounts of debt in a short time makes for great stories, but most of the time it leads to burnout and accumulating more debt. Throwing every dollar at debt can also leave you financially vulnerable, as you have no cash cushion available to handle unexpected expenses.   To that end, Ben and Ernie share their own stories about paying off debt, what they were willing to give up to pay it off faster, and what they were NOT willing to give up. Their stories demonstrate that life can still go on, even when you're paying off debt!   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
5/3/202341 minutes, 18 seconds
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BONUS: Budget With Ernie Livestream!

Ernie is hosting a live "Budget with Me" session on the Budget Nerds YouTube channel. Ernie will be sharing his actual budget and demonstrating his process for budgeting his April paychecks.   The livestream will air on May 1, 2023 at 7:00pm Eastern here:   If you missed it, you can still view the recording of the livestream on the Budget Nerds YouTube channel.   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]  
4/27/20231 minute, 40 seconds
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Ben Shares His Categories

It's Ben's turn! Ben shares a whopping 84 categories from his budget on today's show, from "BMI" to "sundries" (Ben's favorite word).   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
4/19/20231 hour, 5 minutes, 57 seconds
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Ernie Shares His Categories

Ever wonder what Ben and Ernie's budget looks like, in detail? Today you'll find out! Ernie shares every category in his budget -- all 60 of them -- how he uses them, and how they developed over time.   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
4/5/202346 minutes, 44 seconds
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#61 - The Wide, Wonderful YNAB Community

Ben and Ernie discuss the rich and diverse YNAB community across the web, from subreddits to Facebook groups to YNAB-hosted seminars and workshops. There are YNAB groups for multiple languages, YNAB groups for people with disabilities, and YNAB groups for people following other financial help programs. Whoever you are and whatever your background, there's almost certainly someone else out there using YNAB!   YNAB Community Links YNAB main subreddit YNAB (You Need a Budget) Fans! Friendly YNAB (You Need a Budget) Support Debt Bootcamp More Money Challenge #YNABCommunity (Instagram)   Share your YNAB wins with Ben and Ernie! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
3/22/202343 minutes, 12 seconds
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#60 - Can I Afford This?

Ben and Ernie tackle the age-old question: can I afford it? Many people who are stressed about money face this question regularly, and without a solid plan for their money, there's not a good answer to the question. The answer usually comes down to this: how much money is in my bank account right now, how much do I owe right now (do some mental math), and is the remainder enough to buy this thing?   As we all know, the bank balance and mental math approach to this question is a slippery slope, and prone to a lot of errors. But with a solid plan, following YNAB's Four Rules, you don't have to worry anymore! There's either money in the category for the thing you want to buy, because you assigned dollars to it already, or there's not. If there's not enough money in the category, then you can move money from other categories to see if there's enough to cover the cost -- and if you are OK with the tradeoff. Maybe you're OK with zeroing out your coffee budget for a month to buy this thing, whereas taking money from the rent category would obviously be a non-starter!   Ben and Ernie go beyond the dollars and cents, however, and discuss the hidden costs of things. There are things with ongoing maintenance costs -- like Ernie and his lawn equipment -- then are things which have a potential non-monetary cost, like Ben's new One Wheel. When you ask the question "can I afford it," especially for big ticket items, it's important to consider all the angles!   Ben and Ernie want to hear about your YNAB wins! Send them an email: [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
3/8/202350 minutes, 30 seconds
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#59 - LIVE Q&A on YouTube (Feb 22, 2023)

ANNOUNCEMENT: Ben and Ernie are going LIVE on YouTube on Feb. 22, 3:00pm EST to chat with you and answer your questions.   If you missed the Q&A, you can still watch the replay -- just head on over to the YouTube channel linked below.   YouTube Live Q&A:   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
2/22/20232 minutes, 23 seconds
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#58 - All About Pets with Hannah (Heard It From Hannah)

Ben and Ernie invite Hannah, from the popular YouTube budgeting show Heard It From Hannah, on to the show to talk about everyone's favorite topic -- pets! Dogs, of course, are man's best friend (sorry cat people), but they can also be expensive! If you own a pet, it's essential to include them in your budget plans.   Ben, Ernie, and Hannah discuss the ways they have included their pets into the Four Rules, from things as simple as monthly kibble, to pet insurance, to unexpected surgical procedures.   Watch Heard It from Hannah on Youtube:   Ben and Ernie want to hear about your YNAB wins! Send them an email: [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:      
2/8/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 22 seconds
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#57 - Ben and Ernie Review Their 2022 Purchases

The good, the bad, the meh, and everything in between -- Ben and Ernie review their most memorable purchases in 2022. Ben discovers that tree management is actually a true expense (and not a small one at that), while Ernie battles rodents and fart spray at his house.   Ben and Ernie want to hear about your YNAB wins! Send them an email: [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:  
1/25/20231 hour, 41 seconds
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#56 - Simplify

Simplification is kind of a running theme in Budget Nerds, but Ben and Ernie haven't done a whole show dedicated to simplifying -- simplifying the budget, your bank accounts, even your life! Today they discuss various ways they've tried to simplify their finances over the years, what has worked and what hasn't.   Do I Need a Savings Account? by Ben Barlowe   Is It Bad to Keep Money in a Savings Account? by Matthew Amster-Burton   Ben and Ernie want to hear about your YNAB wins! Send them an email: [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:  
1/11/202348 minutes, 58 seconds
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#55 - 2022 Year In Review

Ben and Ernie look back at 2022 and discuss the themes for the year, celebrate some budgeting wins, and identify areas for improvement next year.   Ben and Ernie want to hear about your YNAB wins! Send them an email: [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:  
12/28/202247 minutes, 20 seconds
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#54 - Budgeting Together: A First Look at the New Feature "YNAB Together"

Ben and Ernie introduce the brand new YNAB feature "YNAB Together," which allows partners and families to share a budget via group login, with varying levels of permissions. During the extensive beta testing process, the YNAB team hammered out the many challenges of shared logins and permissions, but the process also revealed something unexpected -- shared budgets made partners and families feel connected with their money in a way that they never had before, when just one person "owned" the budget.   YNAB Together: A Guide   How to Budget with a Partner     Ben and Ernie want to hear about your YNAB wins! Send them an email: [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:  
11/30/202229 minutes, 7 seconds
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#53 - Tradeoffs

Budgeting is all about tradeoffs. Tradeoffs are built right into the Four Rules (in particular Rule One and Rule Three)! Ben and Ernie revisit the idea of tradeoffs in budgeting, and discuss the kinds of tradeoffs they had to make when they first started budgeting and the kinds of tradeoffs they find themselves making now as seasoned budgeters.   Ben and Ernie want to hear about your YNAB wins! Send them an email: [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:  
11/16/202249 minutes, 43 seconds
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#52 - The Other Little Habits of Successful YNABers

Last year, Ben and Ernie shared the 6 Habits of Successful YNABers, but there's a lot little things they do which have made them effective budgeters over the long run. Today they share those little habits, and Ben finally spends money out of a category he's been funding for a loooong time.   Ben and Ernie want to hear about your YNAB wins! Send them an email: [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:  
11/2/202246 minutes, 34 seconds
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#51 - Ernie Changes His Budget, Again

Ernie shares some big changes he's made to his budget recently, including revised categories, more hands-on input, LESS automation, and fresh goals.   Ben and Ernie want to hear about your YNAB wins! Send them an email: [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:  
10/19/202232 minutes, 3 seconds
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#50 - A Brief History of the YNAB Rules

Before there were four rules, there were... no rules at all! Ben and Ernie take a trip in the Wayback Machine to collect every iteration of the YNAB Rules they could find, going all the way back to 2004 when Jesse started the company. As Jesse developed the ideas behind his budget spreadsheet, the rules start forming, but it took a few years before the rules as we know them today came into focus.   The YNAB Team is always looking for ways to explain the YNAB method in clearer terms, but looking back at old versions of the Four Rules gives some insight into how the budgeting method and the software have changed over time.   Ben and Ernie want to hear about your YNAB wins! Send them an email: [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:  
10/5/202235 minutes, 50 seconds
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#49 - A Look Behind the API Curtain: Ben and Ernie Tour the YNAB API

Is this the nerdiest Budget Nerds episdoe to date? Ben and Ernie take a tour of the YNAB API, the programming interface behind the YNAB software which allows app developers to interact with the software and build cool tools. They share some of their favorite API apps and offer suggestions for their dream features. Any developers listening out there?   Ben and Ernie want to hear about your YNAB wins! Send them an email: [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:  
9/21/202237 minutes, 59 seconds
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#48 - When the Budget Gets Boring: Budgeting in Between Priorities

Ben and Ernie discuss a listener question... what does your budgeting process look like when you're not chasing a goal? After you've paid off the debt, paid off the house, or achieved some other big financial goal, how do you stay on target and keep your head in the game? Ben and Ernie remind us that it's OK for the budget to be boring, but at the same time there are some ways to shake up your process and re-evaluate things even when you don't have a goal to drive your focus.   Send Ben and Ernie your YNAB wins! [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:  
9/7/202244 minutes, 16 seconds
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#47 - Budget Nerds Celebrates Two Years!

Ben and Ernie celebrate the two year anniversary of hosting Budget Nerds, and share some of the important things they've learned doing the show. They also discuss some of the ways their budgeting habits have evolved since starting the show.   Get your Budget Nerds sticker here!   Big shout out to Kalix who took Ben's jingle idea and made it into reality! You can write into the show at: [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
8/24/202239 minutes, 12 seconds
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#46 - Ben and Ernie Start a Wishfarm

Ben and Ernie discuss what things made their "wish farm" list, that is, the purchases they have specifcally outlined in their budget, but haven't (necessarily) funded yet. The goal with the wish farm is to put pen to paper on things you really want to save for, and see if those desires are still there in the future when you can start to allocate dollars to them. Often the process of simply writing down the things you want can help you achieve clarity around your goals and the dollars you will give to your jobs.   Write into the show! Tell Ben and Ernie about your killer trick, ask questions, suggest an episode topic, or share a YNAB win: [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
8/10/202240 minutes, 48 seconds
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#45 - Credit Cards with Kat

Support specialist Kat joins the podcast to talk about managing credits in YNAB. Tracking and managing credit cards can be confusing in YNAB if you are new to the app, but Kat breaks down how credit cards work in  zero-based budgeting and the nuances of how the YNAB app handles them. Ben and Kat also field some common questions from YNAB users about credit cards and credit strategies.   Get in touch with the show: [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
7/27/202246 minutes, 51 seconds
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#44 - Think You Know YNAB? Tips & Tricks from YNAB Masters

Ben and Ernie compiled a big list of YNAB tips, tricks, hacks, and expert-level moves from YNAB users across the world. Even if you think you know YNAB like the back of your hand... you are sure to learn at least one new thing in this episode!   Write into the show! Tell Ben and Ernie about your killer trick, ask questions, suggest an episode topic, or share a YNAB win: [email protected]   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
7/13/202248 minutes
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#43 - What's It Like to Work With a Bunch of Budget Nerds?

What if you got to work with a bunch of other budget nerds? Wouldn't it be great to talk budgets and categories around the water cooler without feeling self-conscious? Money is a sensitive topic for many people, especially in the workplace, and unfortunately a lot of workers bring their money stress with them into work.   To that end, Ben and Ernie discuss YNAB's new service Financial Wellness, which brings YNAB to companies as part of their employee benefits. Aftera all, YNAB the company is full of budget nerds so Ben and Ernie know what it's like to work with fellow nerds!   If you're interested in bringing YNAB to your workplace, go to:   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
6/29/202229 minutes, 53 seconds
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#42 - Dining Out: Taming the Budget Blower!

While the folks at YNAB have no opinion on how you should spend your money (that's a highly personal decision and up to you to decide), there's one thing that just keeps coming up: restaurants! Over and over again, new budgeters find that much of their money is being spent dining out at restaurants and ordering take out, and many of those budgeters decide to cut back on it after realizing this fact.   So today Ben and Ernie continue their discussion on food spending by sharing their strategies for keeping the dining budget in control without depriving yourself too much. It turns out, you CAN eat out without blowing the budget, with a little bit of planning and some careful category management.   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:  
6/15/202246 minutes, 29 seconds
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#41 - Getting Nerdy with Groceries: Tips to Trim Your Budget

If you haven't noticed it you might actually live under a rock -- groceries have gotten expensive these days! Inflation has crept into nearly every crevice of the economy, but food prices in particular have risen drastically. If anyone's up to the task of managing the budget with high food prices, it's budget nerds, and in today's episode Ben and Ernie share their strategies for keeping your grocery category under control.   One key takeaway -- it's OK to spend a lot of money on groceries! Health and nutrition are important, and many people choose to buy the best food they can afford, and consequently allocate a large portion of their budget to groceries. There's nothing wrong with that approach! YNAB is all about helping you spend your dollars according to your values, and healthy, high quality food can be one of your values too.
6/1/202252 minutes, 39 seconds
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#40 - Q&A #3: Letting Kids Look at the Budget, How Many Categories Is Too Many, and More!

Ben returns to the show (with a very cute baby) and he and Ernie answer viewer-submitted questions.   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
5/18/202239 minutes, 7 seconds
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#39 - Getting Nerdy with Investments in YNAB with Matthew Amster-Burton

Did you know you can use YNAB to track your investments too? Former investment advisor and current YNAB team member Matthew Amster-Burton joins the show to talk about how he uses YNAB to get real nerdy with his investment accounts.   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
5/4/202227 minutes, 29 seconds
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#38 - 73 Questions with Jesse Mecham

While Ben is out on paternity leave, Ernie invites Jesse Mecham -- the founder of YNAB and therefore the ultimate budget nerd -- onto the show to answer 73 questions about life, budgeting, and whether or not Jesse will ever fix his golf swing.   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
4/20/202241 minutes, 16 seconds
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#37 - Houses on a Budget: Buying, Renovating, Mortgages, and More with Erin

Erin Lowell, a lead educator at You Need A Budget, joins the show to replace Ben.... just kidding, Ben is irreplaceable! But while he's out on paternity leave, Ernie is hosting the show with guests.   Erin has a LOT of experience budgeting, and a fair amount of experience buying and renovating houses, so she shares a recent experience buying a beautiful old home on a 15-year mortgage and renovating the kitchen on a budget, while managing the stresses of moving and being without a place to cook.   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
4/6/202232 minutes, 37 seconds
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#36 - The Debt Question... Snowball or Avalanche?

Spend a little time with budgeters working hard to pay off debt and you'll hear the question: should you use the snowball method or the avalanche method to pay off debt? Though there are fierce proponents of both methods, Ben and Ernie say... why not both?   Ben shares his hot take on this controversial question, and they discuss a third method for paying off debt: the anger method!   YNAB Debt Bootcamp   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:
3/23/202227 minutes, 23 seconds
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#35 - Confessions of a Budget Nerd

Ben and Ernie confess their deepest, darkest budgeting habits in this episode, and share some confessions from listeners.   Follow Budget Nerds on YouTube:  
3/9/202226 minutes, 43 seconds
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#34 - Category Structures

YNAB is a very powerful and flexible tool, allowing you many ways to build and organize your budget. Unfortunately, that means for some people it can be overwhelming when you first start! Ben and Ernie remind us that the budget should reflect how YOU see your life -- your values and your priorities -- and once you start viewing the budget in this way, your categories will follow.   Links: ‘Share Your Categories’ Reddit thread Budgeting Together   Budget Nerds YouTube Channel:  
2/23/202231 minutes, 13 seconds
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#33 - Reconciliation Routines

Break out your checkbooks and flip to the transaction registry, it's time to reconcile your account! Wait, no, never mind -- who even uses a checkbook these days? Well, reconciliation is a word that starts glaze over many people's eyes, but it's actually a powerful tool for budgeting, and it doesn't have to be tedious or boring! Ernie even reconciles in the bathtub!   Linkies: And a meme for good measure:   Budget Nerds on YouTube:  
2/9/202232 minutes, 52 seconds
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Budget Nerds Are Coming To Podcast Land!

1/12/20221 minute, 4 seconds