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.

I Am A Terrible Friend

Friends are supposed to be happy for each other, not jealous for what the other has.

I am always happy for my friends when good things happen to them. But I can’t lie. I’m jealous of them too.

My friends, who have wonderful spouses who stick by them, who make them part of their family (married or not), who keep their spirits high, who smile for them.

And I will never have that.

Once upon a time, we had “too much history”. Now, the reaction to anything is to break up. While I blame myself for being naive, I couldn’t have imagined every supposedly loving thing he ever said was a lie.

I made the mistake of mentioning I was invited to an NYE party and wanted to go. The party was never a certain thing, and it ultimately seems it’s not happening, so I’m not going. But the mere possibility had me banned from his home for an unspecified amount of time because – as he always says – he and they “aren’t taking any chances”.

Despite he took a chance when we went to an airBNB in April, and he smoked with the hosts.

Despite I went to the beach twice and attended a neighborhood fireworks party for July 4th.

Despite I stayed four days a week ago.

Despite I’ve been exposed all year due to my job, though he believes my job requiring masks negates the numerous (over a thousand) employees kept in the building at any given time… and that multiple locations, mine included, have had multiple outbreaks. My job is also not clean and I touch countless filthy surfaces and items. And there was a four hundred employee outbreak I was never aware of.

But masks mean that outbreak, and me having no idea who or what I’ve been exposed to, doesn’t terrify him (despite it still happened?).

It’s extremely interesting to me I care only about myself in his eyes after I spent money to travel to be with him, and for food, and for a few gifts (one of which was expensive). I wouldn’t have done that if I could’ve foreseen this.

I vented to a friend, who agreed about the party, but disagreed the freaking out was justified.

I tested negative twice, I never intended to visit him if the party happened anyway (something I had to yell multiple times, and he still didn’t hear until I spelled it out for him), and I planned to get tested after the party if I went. Although, he’s made it clear a negative test means nothing to him. My being is still to be feared.

Unless I’m spending money on him, it seems.

His only response is “everyone is struggling”. This seems to be the equivalent of “crabs in a bucket”. He and everyone he knows is miserable, so no one is else is supposed to try to do anything to stave off depression?

Ironically, this is the person who tries to convince me I shouldn’t take my life and it’s worth living. Seems he finally shut up about that.

He also once complained I make him out to be “the bad guy” to my friends when I vent to them. Interestingly, my friends have never ostracized him like he had his family do to me for something that hasn’t happened. Oh, and one of his siblings stole money from me.

I thought he came to the hospital after the bus collision because I was wrong about him not caring. No, he came only because the hospital mandates masks.

I’m now, in his eyes, the same as his worst ex.

His worst ex assaulted him, and caused him a nervous breakdown that resulted in him staying in a mental ward.

I wonder if I was the same as his worst ex when I came for Thanksgiving after testing negative twice.

Note the date: December 23rd. A week ago. How quickly things change.

But maybe the following image is less surprising. Things can change in years.

Text messages I kept in an email draft to remember. The headline of one is “he loves me”.

I think this year took the love with it.

To my friends, though they don’t read my blog, I do apologize for my feelings of envy. I wish them nothing but long and happy lives with their spouses. They absolutely deserve their spouses, and their spouses, for being the amazing partners they are, deserve them.

Please never stop caring for each other. I am always happy for you.

As your friend, always.

Goodbye, Mi Amiga

Yesterday, my favorite manager – and my friend – told me this would be her final week.

I knew she would quit eventually because she previously mentioned her intentions to return to school. But to my surprise, that’s not why she’s quitting. Her reason is one that surprised me.

She’s tired of the store manager.

The surprise isn’t so much the reason itself as it is being the one she’s leaving. She is genuinely one of the kindest and most cheerful souls I’ve met in my life, and she’s the last person to complain about anything. Even when she does complain, she smiles through it, like she’s trying to brush it off. I knew of her frustrations, but I didn’t know she felt that badly.

I admitted to her I considered returning to being part-time for the seasonal period and she vehemently advised me to remain on-call and ask periodically if I need more work. She worked at this store for four years – since the day it opened – and it was her first job while the manager that eventually pushed her over the edge has been there for less than a year. Were there ever a clear example for the expression of people quitting bosses instead of jobs, this would be it.

I wished her well in life, and I know wherever her next job is, she will be excellent, and hopefully, with better management. While I am sad about her leaving, she unintentionally taught me a lesson in telling me so: never waste your time.

Most people cannot quit without a back-up plan, including myself, and after my experiences this past summer, I’ve been working three jobs out of fear of being fired. However, one has been nothing but trouble since the start due to payroll (they still haven’t paid me for the first day I worked, despite I brought it to their attention no less than four times and was told the problem was fixed, and it’s possible they no longer have the record of the day), lack of breaks during shifts as long as nearly twelve hours, smoking, and ultimately being stranded due to the travel required. I’m not the only one with those struggles at the job. The long-term employees have also expressed them.

The other job is my retail job, which I’ve wanted to quit for over a year due to the store essentially being a sinking ship and paying the least of any job I’ve had, but kept because I have history there, they’ve never screwed up my paycheck, and I genuinely love my co-workers.

The problem is juggling three jobs makes it hard to commit to the one I care about most. However, I’ve been at that job for only 39 days, which is not long enough to fully commit to it and quit the other jobs. While I have no reason to believe I’ll be fired, I thought the same with the two jobs I had in June, and that obviously turned out poorly (one involved a manager attempting to intimidate me due to being nearly twice my size and required getting a police officer involved to retrieve my stuff; the other dismissed me for not being social enough and worrying more about learning the job properly; my school faulted me for both, and I’ve since disassociated with them as a result). I’m too afraid to risk having a false of security again, and want to stick with the newer jobs for at least a year. But I also do not want to waste my time like my friend feels she wasted hers (“four years down the drain”), nor do I want to burn the history I have with my retail job. Even she advised me to always have a back-up plan.

Granted, the job I want to commit to is nothing like the jobs I was fired from, namely in that you get fired if you don’t do your job and you don’t spend the majority of your shift (think seven out of nine hours) doing literally nothing while being expected to pretend you have work to do. However, I feel that’s not sufficient reason to believe I’m safe. For all I know, they could decide they dislike how I style my hair and fire me for that (yes, people do get fired solely because a boss dislikes a trait or feature about them; US laws do not protect against that if it isn’t a protected class and most states are at-will, so employees can be fired at any time for any reason that isn’t illegal in written law; it’s one of the reasons I never want to join management, no matter how long I work somewhere, as that’s a level of coldness that’d keep me awake at night).

I don’t know where my friend will go. I don’t know where I will go. But wherever we do go, I hope there’s a bright future for both of us in the places we want to be in our lives.

“People leave managers, not companies” – Marcus Buckingham

Differences

Update: The linked post has been removed by a moderator of the subreddit for violating one of its rules.

I don’t want to be a parent. I think I’ve mentioned that in at least a few posts on here. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t recognize parenting is, honestly, a hellish job. Lazy parents exist, yes, but being a good parent takes a huge amount of patience, effort, energy, and a host of other traits I either don’t have or do have that would be stretched far beyond their limits.

And that’s why this post from a subreddit I occasionally browse struck a nerve. Thankfully, several comments call the OP out on their nonsense, especially about judging mothers when the reason the subreddit essentially exists to begin is because of how poorly some people are judged for not having children. However, this particular line is what ticked me off:

It honestly feels like women who are like this are taking the female gender backward instead of forward.

“Like this” refers to being stay-at-home mothers. Somehow, a woman making a choice for her life that makes her happy is “taking the female gender backward”, but a woman tearing down other women for making a choice she personally disagrees with is progressive. And yet, some people can’t figure out why feminism is considered a joke today.

Why would you want to throw away your career?

This is a stereotype about not having children that grates on my nerves! Life is not only the two choices of “career or children”. Not everyone gets fulfillment out of having a career. I personally have never wanted a high-flying career. I’m content with a job that pays me enough to keep my bills on time and lets me have some money left over for savings and spending. But if I didn’t need to work to get by, I wouldn’t. It’s a pipe dream, but I would love if my boyfriend and I could make sufficient income from home without going to work, so we could have more free time for ourselves, each other, and our families and friends.

Now, speaking specifically about kids, if we wanted to be parents, I wouldn’t want to be a stay-at-home parent either purely because of the financial dependency. Crisis can hit anyone – single, couple, parents, non-parents – and I would hope if something tragic did happen to my boyfriend that left me alone with our hypothetical child, I could get myself back on my feet through whatever job I have so we don’t struggle too much. However, if my boyfriend and I had enough savings to last a few years, and that would hold us over in the case of a crisis, I would be a stay at home parent, or he could if he wanted (or, pipe dream, both of us if the “income from home without going to work” thing were possible). Of course, every parent needs a break and time away from their kids, but overall, I’d much rather be with my child than be at work, especially considering what my current job is. Eight hours behind a register or eight hours with my family? Not a tough choice.

I’m sorry but a “homemaker” is not a [freaking] job. It screams of laziness and dependency. Don’t these women ever want to accomplish anything in their lives? [Popping] out a kid and then sitting on your [butt] for the rest of your life is not an accomplishment.

Minus, again, the absolute hypocrisy of being judgmental and that parenting is not “sitting on your butt for the rest of your life”, this is probably the most infuriating part of this post. Who in the name of Equestria is anyone to decide for someone else what their life’s accomplishments are?! First of all, again, parenting is a hellish job. It’s one made by choice, yes, but we all make choices about what we do. Even people with life-saving careers chose that path, and just like we don’t have to choose to be parents, we don’t have to choose wildly stressful career paths either. But we do. If someone is proud of having raised their children to be whatever their children turned out be, and considers that an accomplishment, more power to them. I consider it an accomplishment I have a relationship that’s lasted for four years (and counting). That’s nothing to most people, but it means the world to me. Everyone defines for their life what their accomplishments are. It’s not up to other people to decide someone has achieved nothing.

It doesn’t matter what the appeal of being a stay-at-home parent is. The OP doesn’t have to understand it, any more than I have to understand what the appeal of alcohol is (red wine is disgusting!). It is not your life and it is none of your business. We don’t need to understand why others make the choices they do. People are given fulfillment by different things. Some people find fulfillment from parenting. Some people find it from career. Some people are fulfilled from traveling. Some people are fulfilled by pursuing education (referred to as “career students”) or doing charity work, or a host of other things I can’t think of. I personally feel fulfilled when I can be with my loved ones, like my boyfriend and my best friend, and support them in their lives. That’s my accomplishment, that I can hold these amazing people in my life. Not my only accomplishment, but the one that matters most to me.

The only exception to this rule is if how you live your life hurts others, and that should be obvious. If that’s not the case, everyone should live their life however it makes them happy. No one else has to understand and no one who doesn’t understand is owed an explanation. People are different, and that needs to be accepted.

“You’re you, I’m me. Together, we can live in harmony!”

Positivity: Real vs Fake

There’s something about I’ve noticed about self-proclaimed “positive” people. Actually, any person who screams “if you don’t like your life, change it, don’t complain!”

They will scream this, even if you are doing that.

For some reason I will never understand, it seems these types of people believe complaining and working to change your life can’t be done simultaneously. Weird. Like people.

I’m currently in school. That’s considered by most people to be a step in changing your life. But if I had a dime for every time I complained about school – having to wake up early, balancing work and a job (two jobs at one point), running on little sleep, studying, the $200+ I must pay monthly to attend school, the lessons I struggle with, the boring days, keeping up with my grades – I could probably pay off my student loans in a month.

But I still attend school, so I’m still changing my life like these people scream I should be doing. And it’s still not good enough for them. And honestly, school is just still one thing.

If nothing else, I’ve learned most people who scream “change your life” don’t really care what you do. It just makes them feel better to look at someone as negative or a poor example for feeling bad for a day, no matter how much effort they’re putting in to improve their life. Because everyone knows if you really were making a change, it’d be instant and you’d never have a bad day again. Yes, that’s sarcasm. I hope it was obvious.

Real positive people don’t look down on others, don’t preach about how positive they are, and actually understand feeling bad is human instead of shaming people for it. They also practice what they preach instead of giving out advice they themselves don’t follow (assuming it’s applicable to their life at the moment). And this might be a stretch, but I imagine positive people also don’t join certain communities and single out a person for the content of those communities when they knew it ahead of time. Or have spies in that community, for that matter.

In short, real positive people aren’t bullies under the guise of “positivity”. If you’re going to scream at someone to “change their life”, the very least you can do is know beforehand if they’re already doing that. If you don’t care to know that, you’re blowing smoke and nothing more. And since this is the internet, the latter is the most likely scenario. In which case, I say to your “facts”…