perfect illustration by @jooleeloren. I laugh/cry at every single one of her drawings. She needs an award.
The thing is ... being an adult is really expensive. Being an adult in dental school is also really expensive. Now, I'm no expert on adult-ing, but I do know that it helps a lot with financial stress if you know where your money is going and exactly how much you need every month to survive. Aka a budget. Shae and I came across this great budgeting tool called You Need a Budget, or YNAB, which has really helped us visualize and plan our finances better.
It's an app you can download to your phone, and it is also a tool that can be used in your web browser. We actually use it the most on our computer.
Basically, you link up all your bank accounts and cards, so you can see how much money you have and how much money you owe in credit/loans/etc. This is a really helpful thing for us since we each had different bank accounts from before we were married. Sometimes it's hard to know exactly how much we spend because sometimes I use my UCCU card and sometimes I use my Wells Fargo card. On YNAB, we can see everything in one place and we don't have to log in to a bunch of different websites and try to make sense of it all.
You then set up all the categories you need to budget for. I.e. groceries, transportation, clothing, rent, etc. Then you put in the amount you want to budget for each category. We kind of had to estimate the amounts on the first month. The longer you use it though the more you see your spending patterns.
Every transaction will show up on the main page of YNAB. You then categorize each transaction. So if I see a transaction for $100 at Walmart, I know that was my grocery trip and I categorize it as such. It helps so much to see exactly where your money goes, and even more helpful to see how much you have left to spend in each category!
Another thing I like about YNAB is that you can make categories for things like Christmas Gifts, Car Registration, and, in our case, investing. Let's say you want to spend $500 on Christmas gifts at the end of the year, YNAB helps you see how much you need to save every month throughout the year to make that happen, instead of arriving at December and trying to scrape that money together. If you know you need to save $42 dollars every month all year, you will save yourself a lot of stress at Christmas!
YNAB is free for students for the first year, and then $50 per year after that. We're still in our first year of usage, but I'm pretty sure we will keep using it in the future because it is an awesome tool.
Here is a link to use to create a YNAB account and earn $6 right off the bat: http://ynab.refr.cc/5GL85ZR
Happy Budgeting! (Flying money emoji here)