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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 Hardcover – December 26, 2017
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“When your financial planner sternly says you need a budget,it’s like a door slamming shut on a happy future. When Jesse Mecham says it, it’s like a door swinging open to a free life. He nderstands how financial stress feels. His principles and tools come right out of his own life experience, but also from his CPA training. His system is psychologically and financially sound.You’re going to love this book.” (VICKI ROBIN, coauthor of Your Money or Your Life)
“In You Need a Budget, Jesse Mecham gets personal with you, because, as it turns out, ‘budget’ just means making sure you spend your money on your favorite priorities. If you’re ready for a disarmingly casual yet deceptively persuasive ride into a new perspective that has changed hundreds of thousands of lives, read on.” (PETER ADENEY, personal finance blogger at MrMoneyMustache.com )
“Jesse Mecham finally gives budgeting a much-needed rebranding with You Need a Budget. You will learn that the true secret of using a budget is to get more out of life, not to feel restricted.” (ERIN LOWRY, author of Broke Millennial)
“Jesse Mecham has achieved the impossible: a book on budgeting that is fascinating, entertaining, and practical. Read this book, follow his advice, then watch your bank account grow and your financial worries fade. Managing your money doesn’t have to be stressful. Jesse Mecham’s simple rules make it easy to get what you want most by forgoing things you won’t miss.” (JOSH KAUFMAN, bestselling author of The Personal MBA and The First 20 Hours)
“[You Need a Budget] conveniently addresses readers of all ages (kids included) and family situations (single, childless couples, and couples with kids), taking care to include readers with variable incomes. Cheat-sheet reminders at the close of every chapter are especially helpful. Mecham makes it seem simple and his tone is encouraging.” (Publishers Weekly)
“A handy guide for readers looking to increase their financial literacy and manage their money carefully and successfully.” (Booklist)
“Readers seeking tips for financial resolutions will appreciate Mecham’s fresh and proven approach to budgeting.” (Library Journal)
From the Back Cover
Wall Street Journal Bestseller
Experience a life free of financial stress and transform your relationship to money with this indispensable guide—the first book based on You Need A Budget’s proven method that has helped hundreds of thousands of people break the paycheck to paycheck cycle, get out of debt, and live the life they want to live.
No one should tell you what to do with your money—only you know what’s most important to you. Always guiding you back to your true priorities, Jesse Mecham will fundamentally change the way you think about your money and what it can do for you. His proven method—four, simple rules—will transform money management from a paralyzing burden to a powerful tool, putting you in total control of your life:
- Give Every Dollar A Job. Be intentional about what you want your money to do before you spend it.
- Embrace Your True Expenses. Break up larger, less frequent expenses into smaller, more manageable amounts. By saving monthly for insurance premiums, holidays, or car repairs, when the time comes, your money is ready and waiting to do its job.
- Roll With The Punches. When life changes, so must your budget. Make adjustments and move along. Flexible budgets succeed because they’re guilt-free, realistic, and sustainable.
- Age Your Money. As you repeat the first three rules, you’ll increase the time between the moment you earn a dollar and the moment you need to spend it. When your money is at least a month old, you’ll have finally broken the paycheck to paycheck cycle for good.
This tried-and-true system has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people by teaching them how to take charge, adjust money habits, eliminate stress, and build the life they want to live. Don’t waste another month counting down the minutes until payday....
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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Whenever I used the YNAB application, I always felt that it was "budgeting lite." No complex forecasts, no detailed reports and (until recently) no automatic feeds pulled down from the bank. It also always seemed to be fighting me... that I could never get it to do what I wanted.
I decided to dump YNAB. I already had years of experience with Quicken. I decided to try Mint and Personal Capital. Those applications had many of the features missing from YNAB. However, after switching to each of them, I felt lost. There was freedom to set things up however I wanted, but that didn't add up to better information or tangible goals.
I could now tell you, to the penny, how much I spent on coffee two months ago... I could tell you how much I planned to spend on coffee six months from now. So what? How does any of that help me now? Somehow having all these new features and freedom resulted in less actionable information, and less peace of mind, than I had with YNAB.
I eventually figured out that YNAB is not lite on features. It is opinionated.
YNAB believes that there is a correct way to budget, and the application enforces those opinions with ruthless efficiency. It only makes you collect the information it believes to be useful, and it only presents information that helps you now. If you try to go outside its process, it will make your life difficult.
That is not to say that it tells you where to spend your money. Precisely the opposite. Go ahead and budget $1000/month for iced lattes if you want. YNAB doesn't judge. But it does insist that you have the money.
This book is about the YNAB opinions which are baked into the software. I have come to view those opinions as wisdom. Rather than saying "here's a bunch of features, do with them what you want", YNAB says "here is a proven process that has worked for thousands of people, follow it."
This book is about explaining that process, why it is the way it is, and why it leads to better decisions and progress towards achieving goals. I already knew the basics from videos and podcasts, but this book does a great job of putting all of the information in one place and presenting it in a systematic manner. Now that some of the gaps in my understanding have been filled in, I'm sold on the process. I already learned via trial and error that I like what YNAB does. This book filled in the gaps of why it works.
I bought my book. With my own (budgeted) money. I've been following the YNAB for a number of years now, and can attest via personal experience how well this system works. It saw me through debt payoff that I never believed I would dig myself out from under, a year of unemployment with minimal worry, and now it's leading me by the hand toward my debt-free retirement.
One of the scariest things I ever did was add up all the money I owed to see just exactly how deeply in debt I was. Wow. I actually had a negative net worth -- a big one. But this system gave me a clear, time-limited, well-lighted path to being debt-free. It gave me peace through hard times, and it kept me on track when things got better.
I can wax evangelical till the cows come home about this system. I am living proof that, whatever your goal, it will get you there. Whatever deep hole you are in, it can lead you out. All I can say is, give it a try. It will change your life.
The author provides four rules to budgeting:
1) Give every dollar a job
2) Embrace your true expenses
3) Roll with the punches
4) Age your money
By using his common sense approach you can see where your money is going and by doing so how to get where you want to be. I love that he doesn't preach about how you spend your money or harp on cost cutting etc. As much as I dearly loved Suze Orman's books--I found her approach to be a bit too stringent for me. Sure I want a nest egg and decent savings, but I also want to live a little and if that means a Starbucks coffee or a bag of potato chips several times a week I don't want to feel guilty about it. Mecham just basically says budget it. In the first chapter he has a $400 example with expenses and sadly your expenses outweigh the $400 so he basically has you tweaking the more fluid expenses (groceries, going out) into a more reasonable dollar amount. But it is your choice in the end. No preaching--as he puts it "...use today's money to write your future."
The book is full of common sense information with no preaching. Mechem has an online company, YNAB, (You Need A Budget) which I was curious enough to look up on the internet after reading his book. Please note the book is not an advertisement for signing up with their program. The book stands on its own merits.
After reading the book and absorbing his philosophy I started mine own budget within his guidelines (the four tenents above) and have been very impressed with how fluid/flexible it is while still keeping your spending in line. It forces you to think about what you want out of the future and how to get there as well as where your money is going. So do you really need Starbucks and potato chips several times a week? Under Orman the answer is NO. Under Mecham the answer is more like what are your goals and to get to them will one cup or bag do rather than three? I cut down to none. I'm budgeting for my next vacation. After reading his book I realized that to travel--which I love--a few sacrifices have to made! Thank you Jesse Mecham for a well written, SENSIBLE approach that also remains very personal to the budgeter to the budget process.