It’s the end of the year and time to re-think my goals and that includes my monthly spending targets. I have been using YNAB for a few years now and I love it. It has helped me get my finances in order and I have been able to save a lot more than I used to. Now that I am self-employed and have less of a set income, it’s a little less about dividing my take-home pay and more working out what my expenses are and seeing how much money I would need to earn each month to sustain that lifestyle. YNAB has a really great set of features to see what your expenses are as well as set targets for different items. However, they don’t really have a great way to visualize those targets once set. So I decided to build a little tool to help me do that. You can check out the tool here.
I thought it would be useful for others to know how I’ve set my goals and thus budget for the next year. I firstly write out my main categories and think about each of them and what I’d like to get out of it. These are the categories that I’ve chosen for this year:
For each of these, I would think of different sets of goals and how I would track them. For example, I am planning on going to Japan early 2025, so I would need to save up money for that in 2024. To track that goal, I will setup a target in YNAB. Another example, for my health goal, I want to stretch at least 10 mins per day, I will be tracking that manually on a piece of paper that I will keep on my desk.
Any of the goals that are to be tracked in YNAB, I then set those targets and used my tool to visualize them. And that’s it! I can see how much I need to earn each month to sustain my lifestyle, and also re-adjust my goals if I need to.