Some people were curious so I thought I’d post how I use my YNAB budget categories. I got my idea on how to do this after reading Elizabeth Warren’s All Your Worth where she recommends sorting everything into three categories: Must Haves (I call this category “Needs”), Wants, and Savings.
I’ve found it to be a really great and easy way to organize YNAB into categories. This way I can look at my Needs category and I can see for sure how much money I need to have each month just to meet basic expenses.
Also – it you bring up the reporting view you can quickly see if you are close to the 50% Needs/Must Haves, 30% Wants, and 20% Savings that she recommends.
I’m currently at 53% Needs, 24% Wants, and 23% Savings.
So here goes: (it’s not alphabetized)
- Pre-School [Child's name]
- Pre-School [Child’s Name)
- Auto – Gas
- Auto – Registration
- Insurance – Auto
- Insurance – Homeowner’s
- Insurance – Floaters
- Insurance – Life
- Insurance – Health (This is actually not on my budget as my wife gets us health care through her job – but since we’re planning on having her stay home with the next kid that won’t be the case in the future.)
- Electricity and Garbage (Billed every 2 months)
- Union Dues
- Water (Billed every 2 months)
- Taxes – Tax Prep
- Taxes – Property
- Home Repair
- Fee/Oopsy (atm withdrawal fees – AmEx annual fee)
- Health Ins. Copay
- Auto – Repairs
- Auto Insurance Deductable
- FOOD n FUN CASH – Again, going by the method in Elizabeth Warren’s All Your Worth, this is where I make my weekly withdrawls for all of our living expenses – Groceries, Restaurants, Clothing, etc…
- Cell Phone
- Gardener – this is probably on the chopping block once we go single income
- Maidservice – ditto
- Audible, Tivo, Redbox (I love Audible! – might have to give it up for a while and just use the library though)
- Tax Deductable Memberships / Donations
- Political Donation
- Weightwatchers – Very much like YNAB in fact. I’ve lost 60+ pounds with it but I’m a little stagnant right now. Need to get back on the horse!
- YMCA Membership
- Kid’s Activities
- Hope Improvement
3 – Savings
- Mortgage Repayment – Whole point of this site right here!
- Emergency Fund – It’s fully funded with 6 months of expenses but I’ll probably keep adding to it.
- Debt Repayment – No more debt – but it’s still here for now. I’ll probably “hide” it soon.
- Roth IRA
- 529 Kid #1
- 529 Kid #2
- New Car
4 – Taxes – Warren’s method doesn’t have a 4th section but I wanted to break it out of the Needs section because if I’m not working then I wouldn’t need to save for estimated tax payments. This way I can quickly look at my 1st category and see how much I really need each month to get by. The wants can be severely paired down – needs cannot.
- Taxes – Federal
- Taxes -State
I hope this gives you some ideas!