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You Need a Budget

The Proven System for Breaking the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle, Getting out of Debt, and Living the Life You Want
Narrated by: Jesse Mecham
Length: 4 hrs and 54 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,841 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For most people, budgeting conjures up the same feelings as, say, prison and dieting. But your initial instinct couldn't be further from the truth. You just haven't budgeted the right way.

You Need a Budget will teach you four simple rules to completely revolutionize the way you think about managing your money. With a budget, you'll break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, get out of debt, and save more money. A liberating, enabling, empowering budget will actually make you feel more free, not more restricted. The YNAB philosophy is centered around these four rules:

  • Give every dollar a job. Take your cash, checking, and saving accounts and assign jobs to that money. Begin now with what you have on hand. Then follow your plan. Pick your priorities, and make sure your dollars are helping you move closer to the things you care about most.
  • Embrace your true expenses. Look ahead and identify the larger, less frequent expenses that tend to sneak up on you. Break those expenses into manageable monthly amounts. Consider insurance premiums, birthdays, holidays, charitable giving, car repairs, etc. This practice evens out your cash outflows, decreases your stress, and helps you make better decisions.
  • Roll with the punches. Accept the fact that life always changes and you'll likely always go over budget somewhere. If an unexpected expense comes up and you need to change your budget, just change it. The YNAB philosophy not only tolerates changing your budget but encourages it.
  • Age your money. The goal of this rule is to increase the time between the moment you earn money and the moment you spend that money. In other words, if you're going to break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, you need to learn to live on money you earned a month or two months or even three months ago.

YNAB's four rules are the pillars of a tried-and-true system that gets you to engage with your money every day. It helps you change your behavior so that you're proactive and in control of your finances. It's not about stressing over last month's statement; instead, you're looking ahead and actively deciding how you want and need to build a life of meaning, not stress.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2017 YNAB Licensing LLC (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

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Beginning Budgeter

Great book and concept. I’ve never budgeted before, but have now started. Amazing how you can quickly change your priorities once you see where you money is currently going and where you want it to go

42 of 44 people found this review helpful

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Worth the preorder

As a long time fan of the method I purchased a copy on audible, kindle, and two hardcover to give away. It was well worth the read as Jesse continues to effectively extol the flexibility and possibility of the four rules to budgeting. My wife and I enjoyed listening to this on a trip and especially appreciated that it is read by the author who is a fairly well spoken narrator. I strongly recommend this to both long time fans and newbies alike. It gave us new inspiration and even explained an excellent alternative to the traditional emergency fund which my wife and found especially useful.

55 of 59 people found this review helpful

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Encouraging, focuses on goals and dreams

I'm in a stage of my life when I'm needing to assess my short and long term goals. I had a sense that money comes into this but wow, this book made me realize that by really embracing my budget, I can pursue my goals more effectively. I feel so much more hopeful!

And no guilt in the book... he talks about people who choose travel over college savings or to increase their grocery budget rather than cut their spending. It all comes down to making conscious decisions about your money rather than blindly wandering through life.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Making my husband read or listen to this book

This is so helpful and practical - I have been married for 13 years and we have never had a budget. We do not live paycheck to paycheck but I know we spend money that we do not need to simply because we never had a good system to keep track of it. I also love the part of the book where it talks about how to train your kids on managing money. I am going to get the software and check out all the free resources they talk about at the end of the book.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Best book about how to tackel your finances

Such a great book about your finances with motivating storey and proven rules.

Its done in such a non scary way too.

Made me so motivated

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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This book is awesome!

If your parents never taught you how to budget your money and/or you are living paycheck to paycheck, you need to read this book. Jesse explains how to set up a budget & what it really means to budget; it's not what you think.

This book should be core curriculum in every school to teach children & young adults how to handle finances, debt, and plan for future expenses and retirement.

I am sharing this book with all my kids and grandkids.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Great Book! Great Principles! Highly recommend!

So many great principles. Narrator was excellent. I recommend this book for veteran and rookie budgeters alike.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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We ALL Need A Budget!!

This is a great way to look at spending our money. It not only teaches you (& spouse) how to budget... but how to teach your children! Invaluable!!!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Awesome advice delivered in a great package

Simple steps to achieve your financial goals in an easy to follow format - just perfect!

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Some Good Pointers but...

There is good advice to get started on budgeting and he’ll describe his four rules throughout the book with examples of people who have used his software in the past. I felt this book could have been made shorter or would have been better as a blog post.

In addition, this book felt like a marketing scheme to get people to buy his software (which I might do), rather than a stand-alone book because he doesn't really go into details about how to budget using available everyday tools such as Excel, other computer programs, or even plain old school paper to learn to budget. Instead, there were many times he referred to his software.

With that said, if you are completely new to budgeting there are some good pointers you'll take away, especially if you are a couple/married couple budgeting as two or three chapters are dedicated to sharing a budget with your partner.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • jennidormer@yahoo.co.uk
  • 01-01-18

Great budgeting book

This is a superb book. Whether you are looking for a starter book to help you manage your money or whether you are a seasoned budgeter this book will help, inspire and guide you. The best thing about Jesse is he is non-judgemental and down to earth. He knows that everyone if different so he doesn’t give you didactic rules but more principles you can adapt to your unique situation. I would thoroughly recommend. I wish this book had been written (and I had read it!) 10 years ago. Goodness knows what my bank balance would look like now if I had!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Amir Hussain
  • 01-01-18

Good book and helpful.

It's a good guide and has some general information which is particularly helpful and will change the lives of people that really struggle with budgeting .

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 09-14-18

Great book!

This book will change your life and your finances. YNAB is an amazing budgeting system but it's also so much more. You won't regret buying it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-15-18

I love the simplicity of this method <br />

I have been listening and watching Jesse on YouTube (whiteboard Wednesdays) and recently the podcasts I did the free trial a couple of years ago and I was sold but when it came time to buy it I didn't press the trigger not until a year later (last October) I live in the UK and I think it is fantastic and you would think that after listening and watching all his other free resources there would be nothing else to learn/gain from the audio book but you would be wrong. I am going to get the book version of this as soon as it is available in the UK for my 15 year old. I am a total budget convert and a YNABer. Thank you Jesse for the tools to get back in control of my money. Keep up the good work.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kelly
  • 05-28-19

Fantastic

This audible book is great. I have learnt a lot and actually using the app. Can’t recommend enough.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-15-19

practically phenomenal

A great eye opener that remains relevant by staying realistic and crushing the utopian standards often carried when trying to budget.

A much needed breath of fresh air

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  • Kimster
  • 10-30-18

No PDF available, just the audiobook.

This audiobook contains valuable advice as to budgeting etc. But it is a big disappointment that there is no available PDF book. What you get is just a four pages with simple illustrations. I know that the author has written a full version of the audiobook and I wrongly assumed that this would be available. Completely lost my taste for YNAB.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-16-19

Proper Review... Please read

Easy to follow and by no means a "this is what you have to do" book.. purely based on recommendations and examples of how thjngs can work better, things that catch you by suprise in life, and over all explaining financial freedom. Definately a great book for in particular you struggle with credit debt and live paycheck to paycheck, or just need a bit of SELF discipline in your finances... this book gives you the opportunity to make up YOUR OWN MIND about how to sort your finances. Listened to it 4 times in a row and it's given me a perspective for a lot more value toward my dollars. Highly recommend

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-23-19

Best Budgeting book

So glad I came across this book. I have never budgeted before and this book has made budgeting so easy that I’m actually enjoying do so. Should have done this ages ago. I love using the app on my computer and my phone. I mainly budget each pay on my computer but then use my phone to enter transactions on the go and the two sync up automatically! So Easy !!

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  • Carla
  • 06-23-19

Definitely worth a read

Better than a few personal finance books I’ve read lately. I liked a few of his concepts that I think I will actually utilize. He was very easy to listen to as well.

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  • Joel Rasmussen
  • 05-08-19

Brilliant advice delivered very simply

a great book I wish that I had read in my youth. He simply lays out rules for a budget that are clear concise and easy for a budget rookie to follow. Read by the author too and he did a great job of it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-19-19

Great book and philosophy

Great lessons, book, philosophy however a little dry at times when listening. We are already YNAB fans so this just reaffirmed where we are heading

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  • Ngapaki Moetara
  • 03-26-18

Amazing

loved it's easy language and practical application. I can't wait to budget. life-changing reframes budgeting