This post is sponsored by YNAB.
A little over a year ago (and thus, easily a decade too late), I finally got off my butt and went through the incorporation process. AMALAH LLC officially exists, and all my monies -- this here blog, plus my many assorted ongoing and on/off writing/copywriting contract gig -- now flow through an LLC, right into my very own Grown-Up Business Checking Account. And then the monies flow back out, sadly, usually in the form of estimated tax payments (boo), contributing my share to our household budget, and general other business expenses (drinks on meeee).
(It's called NETWORKING. And it's IMPORTANT.)
My husband is good at creating budgets. The maths and the categories and the pie charts bleeding red all over the place because we spent HOW MUCH on movie tickets last month?
(It's called STAR WARS. And it was VITALLY ESSENTIAL.)
I'm actually very good at sticking to budgets, as money and the Not Having Enough Of It is and has always been a big anxiety trigger for me. If buying a new pair of shoes means some other category will go in the red this month, I will kick the shoes off, run from the store, and then probably spend the rest of the day pestering people on LinkedIn for work. Possibly while crying.
(Which is when Jason tells me to calm down, the other category we'll need to dial back on is "Wine.")
But I've always relied on someone else to set up the budget in the first place and make all the tough decisions. I fully admit that's a childish approach and rooted in some deep fear/avoidance/anxiety thing, and so this year I decided was going to be the year I became less of an infant about finances and budgets. At the VERY LEAST, get a better grip on my work and business finances.
(LOLOLOL at the "Stocks" app that Apple won't let you delete and me keeping it in "Finance" instead of the other group of un-deleteable apps labeled "Useless Stuff" like I'm some fancy day-trading type.)
So this month, I started using YNAB (You Need A Budget) to map out my LLC budget. I need to hold money aside for taxes, track monthly business expenses (internet bill, gas for driving to client meetings, app and subscriptions services I use, etc.), and also make sure I'm on track to earn enough to fulfill "my" household budget obligations, like funding the boys' college savings accounts.
We also typically rely on my income (which naturally ebbs and flows, freelance style) for stuff like vacations or travel, But having never really budgeted for that on my end, in my own account, I realize now we weren't been nearly deliberate or proactive enough about that. Now that's my own category to fund and track, it's also MY GOAL to determine whether we can rent a beach house for a week this year...or maybe just take a couple cheap-o weekend trips.
(We DID just buy a house. And many new-house-related accessories.)
The app (iPhone/iPad and Android) also has a web-based version, which is where I did most of the initial setting up, linking bank/credit accounts, and figuring out what categories to include.
(YNAB gives you many common and helpful suggestions to get started, including this one.)
After that, I mostly use my phone for quick checks and changes, and it's NOT SCARY and actually QUITE HELPFUL, and I enjoy no longer having that uneasy feeling of "do I have enough money to buy this or are we all gonna die instead."
Nope. We're gonna be just fine. And I've officially gone and added BEACH HOUSE 2016 as a goal, because enough of winter already.
Thank you to YNAB for sponsoring this post! Click this link to try the YNAB service FREE for three months (limited to first 50 readers). Also check out their (pretty funny) budgeting blog, or take a free online course to make the most of your new budget.