You Need a Budget if you have any stress, anxiety, or confusion about money! Jesse Mecham’s book is brilliant in that it’s the opposite of most budgeting books. There are no spreadsheets! There are no formulas! There are only a couple of spots where numbers or budget categories even show up. This book is about strategy and mindset, which makes it perfect for possibility thinking rather than scarcity.
The Mecham family includes six children. Perhaps because of this, most of the advice in You Need a Budget is geared toward married couples who plan to (or already do) have kids, own a home, and drive a car. While there’s nothing radical about this, there are some contrarian elements to the YNAB financial philosophy. One of these is that it’s good to revise your budget if you realize you aren’t sticking to it and you can’t make the numbers work. Several real-life examples back up why this is a really smart idea. Desire for something specific is an excellent motivator to go over your expenses and rejigger them, shifting money from less interesting areas of outlay to your real passions, whether that’s Korean lessons or a diamond dog collar. Mecham is not here to judge.
This book derives from a web-based community, which is where the success stories arise. Real people are using this method to pay off six-figure student loans, pay off mortgages, save for extravagant weddings, and go on lavish vacations. A core element of YNAB is to “age your money,” which means you’re putting aside money in advance rather than looking backward and paying off past expenses. This feels positive and effective.
Most people don’t want to make budgets because they feel restrictive, because they’re confusing, or because even thinking about a bad financial situation is emotionally overwhelming. YNAB focuses on feelings of freedom, options, and power. Your money is here to serve you! You might not have realized it, because you may have associated the term with restriction, panic, or boredom, but guess what? You Need a Budget.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.