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I have been using YNAB software for 5+ plus years. It has completely changed the way I think about money and my bank account balance. I will use this style of budgeting (zero-based budgeting) for the rest of my life. I purchased this book because I was hoping to gain new insights and have a little bit of refresher on budgeting this way. The book contains much of the information explained on the YNAB website along with a few real life examples. This book would be best for someone who is completely new to YNAB. I don't feel like I got much out of it.
Something that surprised me was that there weren't a lot of examples of what a typical budget might look like, or really how to set one up. I get that maybe Jesse tried to write a book that was broad enough to appeal to anyone, not just users of his software, but I don't feel like I could give this book to someone who had never budgeted, without also showing them how to set up a budget. It would have been good to see many different budgets and how different people deal with budgeting categories.
I was disappointed in the book. All of Jesse examples are from millennials who are making a ton of money that with a little redirection are out of debt. He does not touch on people making $11.50 hr and struggling just to covers the basics nor empty nesters that finally have a little extra money. Most of the examples you can read in his email news letters. I am a firm believer in YNAB but the book does not offer any thing fresh. If you read his news letter emails then you don’t need the book. I gave it 3 stars because it’s an easy read and the principles are sound.
I use YNAB and love the system - has done tremendous things for my finances in terms of organization and communicating the larger picture to my partner. I wanted to read on the book and learn more about the philosophy behind it all. As someone who works in financial education and reads a bit on personal finance, it's not anything revolutionary and rolls a lot of basic financial wellness concepts into their own. However for someone who really struggles with budgeting or can't seem to incorporate it into their life to "stick with it", this could be a great way to change the perspective and relationship you have with money. It also reads very well for someone who may be turned off by more traditional reading on the subject.
I picked up this book to prepare to begin using the YNAB software. After reading the book, I remain convinced that Jesse is on to something and plan to use the software. However, there are some major contradictions in the advice that Jesse gives and the real-life examples that he provides as proof of concept. First, most of Jesse's subjects are two-income households. It seems easier to face down debt with two revenue streams. Another example that Jesse purports is a success story involved the experience of a woman who participates in MLM sales as a second job. MLM companies encourage women to view this sort of "side hustle" as a path to financial freedom but statistics show that the vast majority of MLM distributors and up in debt, the thing Jesse says he hates the most. Can't afford independent living or pay for your wedding? Move in with family and mooch off of them to free up income to meet your savings goals and tackle debt! Surely, Mom and Dad won't mind. Lastly, Jesse's ideas about not saving for the college educations of any of his children are downright irresponsible parenting. Even technical and State colleges are expensive these days and not everyone has an aptitude that will lead to major scholarship dollars. What I came away with after finishing this book was solid budgeting advice and a bird's eye view into the very narrow worldview of the author. Though I have no doubt in the principles of YNAB, it was disappointing to see example after unrealistic example of how to cut down on expenses and budget effectively..
The old 4 Rules made more sense. Still, if you are looking for a philosophy of budgeting and some practical guidance to go with it, then this book is a good start. Whether you use YNAB or not, the rules remain the same.
I bought this as a gift. The paper cover was torn in 2 of the 4 front corners and bent so that it looked used. The book and hard cover were fine but still, I paid for a NEW book, not a book that was ugly and mishandled. Disappointing!!
I tried their software before but didn't really get it. Now I think I have more understanding by reading this book. I will do another shot. The book itself though is quiet long with lots of example stories. I got to the point where I started to fast forward. The stories are good and explains a little bit more, but I think the book could be shorter.