YNAB: One month in

Almost a month ago I began using You Need A Budget, a financial app that is designed to help people with creating budgets and sticking with them. The goal is to help you get spending under control. As I approach the one month mark, I can say it has been a success so far.

The best part about YNAB is something that will seem odd: being required to enter in every transaction it happens. Sure it seems tedious, especially in this age of Mint, Personal Capital, and other apps that automatically download transactions and aggregate the data for you. Yet, it makes you pause before the transaction and make you think about the consequences of the transaction. Should I really go to Dunkin Donuts this morning instead of making my own breakfast? Why is my grocery bill so high? Yikes that loan takes a bite out of the budget.

Being a month in, I haven’t successfully created a full buffer yet. But I have organized my emergency fund and savings account, have all of my Pre-YNAB debt paid off, and have (I think) made significant progress in watching my spending. It’s a start, but it’s a great start.

Disabling shared calendars & alerts on iPhone & iOS

I recently moved from using the Microsoft Exchange sync capability with Google Apps to IMAP, CardDAV, and CalDAV due to some bugs I was hitting. But this meant that all of the shared calendars began firing off alerts for my phone.

Turns out Google offers a page that allows you to toggle which calendars sync with your phone.

  1. Go to https://www.google.com/calendar/iphoneselect
  2. And then select which calendars you want to display.
  3. Save the changes.

Once that is done, open up the calendar app on your iPhone or iOS device and go to the screen where it shows the list of calendars. You should only see (and receive alerts) for the calendars selected previously.

Why I don't need a new car

It’s amazing how tempting a new car is. You see the car on the ads, on the road, and/or hear friends talk about it. You dream about what it would be like to have that new car smell, an odometer that has single digit miles on it, and not a scratch on it. In particular, trucks can off/on intrigue me to daydream a bit.

Then I look at my current car, a 2009 Hyundai Elantra. It has some scratches of course, as any 5-year-old car would. It has low miles for its age, just breaking 29,000 this past week. It could use a car detailing inside, but still runs and looks like new.

And most importantly, it is 100% paid off. With 5 years left on its warranty and so low miles that it’ll will be barely 60,000 miles in total 5 years from now. Assuming nothing major changes, you’re talking many more than 5 years left in this car.

Today I loaded a walk-behind lawnmower, the quartered sections of my old plywood basement door that was replaced two weeks ago, and 5-6 long sections of lumber. I had the fold down the seats, put a plastic sheet down, and stuff them into the car. But they fit and the car brought me to the town transfer station without incident.

Sure a truck would be convenient, allowing me to do a single trip to the transfer station instead of 2 or 3. Sure a new car would be nice. But, it is very nice to own that car 100% without a payment and with many more miles to go on it. And soon, my wife’s car will be in the same situation.

That is the beginning of financial freedom for sure.