If there’s one thing that most of us can identify with, it’s not having enough hours in the day. Whether it’s work, school, family, or all of the above, it’s not easy to be a busy girl these days! Here at LaurenConrad.com we’re always on the lookout for solutions and time saving tips to help our fellow busy businesswomen. We’ve blogged about quick breakfast recipes, 5-minute makeup routines… And today we’re getting into budgeting.
This is a topic that almost all of us have to deal with, yet no one really wants to talk about. It’s not fun, it’s not glamorous, and it’s not easy. Or so we thought… We recently discovered a pretty amazing app for budgeting, which got us thinking about this topic. Today, we’re partnering with You Need A Budget (YNAB) to bring you a blog that most of you will find helpful: budgeting hacks for busy girls.
For those of you who’ve never heard of YNAB, we’ll give you a little bit of info before we get into the hacks. YNAB is a personal budgeting web app (with companion apps for Android and iOS), with a super easy user experience and incredibly helpful tips and tools. They teach “Four Rules” that absolutely change the way people think about their money… which we’ll get into later. But now, let’s get to the point at hand. Without further ado, here are 5 budgeting hacks for all of you busy girls out there.
YNAB just launched an all-new web based version with smart budgeting features that make it even easier to be the boss of your money including direct import, goals, age of money, and many more!
#1: Go Mobile
The #1 tip that we encourage anyone to do when it comes to budgeting is go mobile. We all have our phones in our hands at all hours of the day (and night), so why not balance your budget in between Instagram and Pinterest breaks? We downloaded YNAB, which has become Team LC’s go-to budgeting app. Not only does it bring our entire budget to our fingertips, but it also ensures that we never forget about it. When we get notifications and see our YNAB app on our phones, it reminds us to check in, make sure we’re staying on track, and stay accountable. And let’s be honest, if your budget it on your phone, you’re much more likely to pay closer attention to it. And here’s a bonus: you can also access all of YNAB’s free online classes from your phone too. They’re free for all users, and are super helpful when it comes to planning, money management and staying on track.
#2: Follow The 4 Rules
Did you know that there are four rules to money management? We didn’t either. YNAB taught us about their Four Rules, which help you stop living paycheck to paycheck, get out of debt, and save money faster. Here’s the breakdown:
- Rule One- Give every dollar a job. This way you never waste a penny. YNAB encourages you to budget to zero, which means not leaving any dollars unaccounted for. Just ask yourself, “What does this money need to do before I get paid again?” And assign every dollar accordingly.
- Rule Two- Embrace your true expenses. Don’t lie to yourself when you’re putting together your budget. If you need those monthly manicures, add them in. It’s the only way to budget correctly. Look ahead to larger, less frequent expenses, break them up into monthly amounts, so when you have that $1,200 that you spend on Christmas (for easy math, not a recommendation or condemnation), then you would say, “OK, the holidays is a $100/month bill.” And really, it all flows back to Rule One, you are giving every dollar a job, just that some of the jobs will be done today, and some won’t be done until far into the future.
- Rule Three- Roll with the punches. People change, seasons change, budgets change. It’s a fact of life. If your rent goes up, your salary goes down, or anything in between, be flexible and save a little for a rainy day so that small changes won’t affect you in a big way.
- Rule Four- Age your money. YNAB encourages you to spend money that is older… which means to spend money that you made at least 30 days ago. As you save money, your age of money naturally goes up. And when you’ve been saving up for something big, and you spend that money, it will go down. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The goal would be that it never drops below 30 days, even when you spend a big amount at once.
#3: Automate It
The more you can automate, the better. This means automated bill paying, automatic transfers to your savings each month (which you’ll budget for), and automating your budget, which YNAB takes care of.
#4: Less Swiping, More Cash
It’s pretty easy to get carried away and lose sight of your budget when you’ve got a credit card in hand. Even if you’re monitoring your expenses, using an app like YNAB to track everything, and overall staying on top of your money, credit cards can get you off track very quickly. You want to think of every single credit card swipe as a transaction, which becomes difficult if you’re swiping 20 times a day. This is why we recommend, especially for beginner budgeters, to ease up on the cards and rely more on cash. When you have to physically count out $20 dollars in singles it helps give more context to how much you’re spending, as opposed to a single swipe of a credit card.
#5: Make It Flexible
We’ve found that the most important thing is flexibility. Especially when you’re a busy girl on the go! So we urge you to make your budgeting as flexible as possible. Which is just one of the reasons we love YNAB. Your plans change, you change your mind, and your budget can and should change too. No guilt, just adjust (which is super easy to do with YNAB) and move on.
Ready, set, budget!
Are you ready to get your budget in order? Well, we’ve got just the thing to help you out. You Need A Budget is offering all of our readers a 3-month membership for free! Just click here, sign up, and you’re set.
Do you have any budgeting tips or tricks you swear by?
We’d love to read about them, so leave them in the comments below!
XO Team LC
Photos: Jessi Burrone Photography for LaurenConrad.com
This post is proudly sponsored by:
You Need A Budget