The New YNAB Goals Function Is Great
Recorded on August 17th, 2016
Of all the good new features in the online version of YNAB (browser access from anywhere, faster syncing with mobile, direct import of transactions), my favorite by far is the Goals feature. It makes it monumentally easier to stow away money in a bucket every month. You may need to pay the exact same amount to a service (like Netflix @ $9.99/mo), see how long it’ll take to save up $1,000 for something, or calculate how much you should budget each month to be able to pay your insurance premium six months from now. Goals can help with any of these.
Here’s a goal I created tonight for a $190.80 annual bill I know we have coming up in October:
I don’t want to slack off for now and then have to scramble to come up with all of that dough in the month that it’s due. A much better way to deal with it is to spread that cost out over the months leading up to the total bill being due. In this case, I have August, September, and October in which to do it. For a goal like this, all YNAB needs is a total target dollar amount and a target month, and it’ll calculate the $63.60 I need each month between now and when the bill is due. Each month, it’ll tell me how much I need to add to that bucket to keep up with the plan. When you do your budgeting each month, you can click one button to automatically budget that amount ($63.60) based on the per-month target.
It would have been better if we had started this version of YNAB earlier so that I could have averaged that bill out over 12 months, for a much smaller per-month contribution to the goal, but: shoulda, woulda, coulda. If anything, YNAB teaches you to start now, with what you have and what you know. Learn from your mistakes and do a little better next month.