YNAB: Not For Lower Class

I already talked twice about my short experiences with the software You Need A Budget. I was able to get a free year for being a student, so I decided I’ll keep it. The company, on the other hand, can bite my dust.

Apparently, I have an improper definition of the word “budget”. I always thought budgeting was to manage your money. At least, that’s what I and everyone I know does with it.

But apparently, YNAB is to manage your behavior.

Let me put it this way: if your annual salary has six figures, you don’t have a money problem.

More so, I notice a lot of users who worship the ground YNAB walks on couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag. It’s a nice tool – I believe that – but I question how some of these people get dressed without help.

One comment I recently read was from a user who claimed she used Mint for ten years and would cry when she looked at it because she could never figure out where her money was going.

I have Mint, and it tells you that. Really, it does. That’s kind of its point. But unless you use only use physical cash, your bank account’s history will tell you where your money is going. Again, I would know because I’ve had a bank account for nearly a decade. I don’t know how long the history extends for each bank, but mine goes back seven years.

There’s no way that user didn’t know where her money was going. More likely scenario is she knew and didn’t want to acknowledge it.

Another recent comment was, at least, truthful.

I no longer have weekly panic attacks over money. I used to ignore my bank account and just wait for overdraft emails because I was too afraid to check the account to confront my wasteful spending.


I’m not knocking anyone finding what works for them, but both of these people needed  counseling, and I’d wager many other users do as well. How can you recognize you’re acting like a twit and continue to act like a twit?!

Nobody answer that.

I came to find, in my opinion, the company as a whole is tone deaf. Maybe that’s not a surprise. It’s for profit, not charity. I have the physical book and while it has some good advice, I did not read it in its entirety for two reasons.

  • The author tells far too many anecdotes. I skipped over a lot of content because I tired of stories about his neighbors.
  • A lot of it is only applicable if you’re at least middle class.

As an example, something that really got on my nerves is his motto of “debt is never an option”. He’s entitled to his opinion, but I’m equally entitled to mine, and I think that motto is garbage.

If he was referring only to debt like credit cards, I’d still disagree, but I would find it reasonable. But he means no debt whatsoever… despite he has a mortgage.

Find me a doctor, a lawyer, a veterinarian, a dentist, or a person in any profession that takes more than the standard four years who didn’t take out loans, and get back to me. Ask them if they regret that career while they’re at it.

My local community college charges $10,560 for one year, and that’s solely the tuition. Minimum wage in my state is $10/hr and after taxes, a full-time worker is likely bringing home only around $15,000. And scholarships are luck-based (talk to my straight A best friend about that one). In other words, I wish the 18-year-old trying to pay for college without financial aid a ton of luck.

Yes, I think student loans can be better handled, but unless someone does the stereotypical “$100K for a degree in underwater basket weaving” (and that is a real degree!), student loans aren’t that horrid of a debt. Life is easier without them – big duh – but they’re not terrible for financing an education if you don’t take more than you need.

Also, sometimes, stuff happens. I want to know the person who can pay for $10,000 worth of dental work upfront in cash before the dentist simply has to say “screw it” and remove their teeth. Or the $25,000 medical bill because you broke your arm and your insurance doesn’t want to cover it (can you guess I live in the US?). Health problems aren’t exactly patient. Sometimes, it’s debt or (very slowly) die. Take your pick.

I reiterate: YNAB is a nice tool. It’s useful, and I find it to be a similar case to the game, The Sims. It’s not the only budget tool to exist, but it’s one of a kind in the same vein The Sims isn’t the only simulation game, but has no viable competition. Still, I advise the actually financially struggling group to avoid it.

There is one thing I can’t find to ever be addressed and that is sometimes, you simply don’t have enough. Sometimes, the problem really is you need more money. No matter how perfect you are at budgeting, if you don’t have enough, you don’t have enough.

Someone in the subreddit proposed the idea YNAB being associated with low-income folk wouldn’t be a good look, and sadly, they’re likely right when you consider how people on that side of the scale are regarded.

If you have a behavior problem, not a money problem, go for it. If you have a money issue, look elsewhere or pirate YNAB 4.

Expectations

An excerpt from a passage about educators’ expectations for students, preceded by “Educators expect students to display a passion for learning.”

I think educators need to set their expectations to reality.

This is akin to expecting a passionate answer for why you want to work a minimum wage job. I’d argue it’s worse. At least, you’re paid for the time you invest in that job. College is the other way around. You pay them to invest your time. Not to mention grades are what determine whether or not you pass the class, not passion.

Perhaps if “general ed” weren’t a requirement, educators would see more students with a passion for learning because said students won’t have to get the course over with to get to the courses they have interest in.

I hate essays. I hate being told what to write about and what formats to use. I hate having to pad out papers for the sake of fulfilling the requirements. The fluff has proven to be more irritating than much else. The fact that almost no one would participate in discussion if it weren’t a requirement should say something.

What I hate most is needing to pretend I have something nice to say when I don’t. No, this essay about songbirds doesn’t make me want to learn about songbirds. It’s too long, nearly put me to sleep, and I’m relieved it’s over. No, I don’t want to tell you where I’m taking my classes from. These classes are online and my location is not your concern. I don’t care you like roller coasters and you don’t care I eat too many sweets.

The essay I completed is not due for two weeks, but I did it on the first day because I wanted to get to the point. And the point was “complete this assignment”. I didn’t turn it in, but I completed it. Now, I wait. In the meantime, I’m still trying to come up with a sugary, fluffy introduction for the discussion boards. As this post may suggest, I am only good with the sugar that goes in my mouth. Faking sweetness? Not so much.

There are classes I’m interested in required for my degree, but “English” and “First Year Experience” aren’t on that list. I would prefer Spanish and a class about finances. Unfortunately, not options at the moment, so I’m doing what I need to do to get to them.

On the upside, it seems these classes are providing sufficient material for my blog. I can’t remember the last time I did back-to-back posts.

Resentment

Today is one of those days where I am sad and feel like doing little more than crying. I have no idea why. It’s what my brain is doing right now.

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Well, That Was A Bust

11/1/2021 Update: As of Dec 1st, YNAB is increasing their pricing. Their year subscription will go from $84 to $99. I barely considered $85 worth it. $99 absolutely isn’t. I cancelled my subscription, though I will use YNAB until the day it expires for the assign feature. YNAB was a big bust for me. Oh, well.

Rarely do I prove myself wrong within a week’s time. That happens a lot, but rarely within a short time period.

Okay, not totally wrong. The YNAB software is still okay, though I find myself not really caring for their rule of “give every dollar a job”. Lately, I leave money to be assigned because I’ll move it sooner or later.

I’m referring to the YNAB community. That proved to be a bust. Of course, maybe my mistake was trusting Reddit. Yes, them.

The story here is YNAB, for a reason I’ll never understand, auto-imported the interest on one of my credit cards… two days late. I asked a question on the YNAB subreddit about why YNAB thinks the interest was unpaid for when that’s exactly what the credit card payment (that YNAB never auto-imported; I find that interesting) would cover.

Apparently, I should’ve spoken in kindergarten terms.

Every. Freaking. Answer to my question was made with the assumption 1) I couldn’t have possibly made the payment after the interest charge and 2) I was mad about it. “What the actual fuck” is an understatement. I was already on edge with this community because someone condescendingly asked if I’ll really not spend any money in two days (just because that’s beyond your capabilities doesn’t mean it’s beyond mine), and this event murdered any and all desire to be a part of this community. And of course, I was the bad person for finally snapping and getting frustrated over needing to repeat myself no less than ten times. Sheesh.

The real answer turned out to be YNAB can’t recognize charges like that. All charges are treated like I bought something. Why someone couldn’t say that and call it a day is beyond me.

Mint does this same thing, but worse. Mint takes away any charges after the payment from the payment. So, even if I put $200 on my credit card, if I charged $10 to it a week later, Mint will think that $10 came from the $200 payment and say I paid only $190.

That’s… that’s not how credit cards work. And people pay for these intellectually stupid apps?

Yes, they do, including me. Well, I said their customer service was great. You see what three years in retail did to me?

In the end, I fixed the problem myself, but it took me well over an hour to get it sorted. I ended up leaving a 1-star review on the Android app for the frustration. Maybe I should’ve asked customer service to start with.

I’ve gotten somewhat hooked on their videos and guides, and I’m interested in their book. I wish, however, their “inspirational” stories didn’t consist of people making over twice my salary and six figures. I’ve been homeless. My family lived on waffles and water one summer when I was a teenager. We lived in crap apartments all our lives. I am not inspired by people whose biggest problems in life amount to having too much money, and they needed YNAB to know how to plan their sixth vacation of the year.

Where are the stories about how YNAB helped someone living on less than $20,000 a year? Helped someone budget the tiny bit of spending money they have left after bills? Heck, I’m not a fan of teenage parent stories*, yet I’d prefer those to “we make $200K and don’t know what to do with ourselves”. Tell me how YNAB helped a college student from a poor background not live on ramen noodles.

(*I feel they’re “glossy”, to say the least; I recently read one from a woman who had her first child at age 13, and let’s just say I’m not a fan of the idea that 13-year-olds, or teens of any age, who don’t become parents are, ahem, immature. It does make me wonder if I missed out on something, though. I’ve never had the desire to be a parent, but I briefly had baby fever as a teenager. What? I’m human. I like praise and presents as much as everyone else.)

I’ll continue to use the software, but my very brief time with the community is done. At least, on Reddit. YouTube is rather good. I can’t believe I said that.

The Autobiography of a Self-Proclaimed Monster

As my lack of posts may indicate, my life hasn’t recently been eventful. That’s a good thing. Some things happened, but nothing I deemed worth posting about. Unfortunately, yesterday, I found something to rant about.

Yes, “unfortunately”. That’s why it’s a rant. But it’s a topic that boiled me.

I talked about the childfree subreddit two years ago, and why I’m done with it. However, I’m still part of Reddit, and every so often, that sub comes up. Today, a post (that has since been deleted, but is still viewable) was made that’s a clear reminder of why that sub is deserving of the immense hate it receives in other places.

I can’t tell you why I chose to write about this, of all things. Maybe I’m too sensitive. Speaking of which, I will give a warning for sensitive material. Please read no further if the subjects of narcissism and abuse are a trigger for you, or if you recently ate.
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