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Why Budgeting Is The Dirtiest Word In Business (YNAB Review)


The dirtiest word in business.

[Guest post by Emma Cossey, digital media consultant, The Freelance Coach and creator of The Freelance Lifestyle E-Course]

In a world that encourages us to spend, spend, spend, cutting back and sticking to a limit feels deeply….unfair.

But, y’know, I’m an adult now. An adult trading as a Limited Company. With a mortgage and stuff.

Probably time to get over my conceptions of budgeting, get out of my overdraft and get on the saving bandwaggon.

If for no other reason than it stopping the usual heart attack a week after pay day and a month before my Self-Assessment Tax Return is due. [Rosie: Haha! Tax Return Support and The Tax Return Toolkit are right here]

Been There, Tried That, Wasted Money On The T-Shirt

I’ve tried a lot of budgeting apps and software over the years.

None of them have particularly rocked my boat in terms of ease of use or suitability to being self-employed and building a shoe collection.

Until You Need A Budget came along.

I first heard about YNAB earlier in the year when someone on Twitter raved about it. I downloaded it as a free trial for 30 days, then was fortunate enough to stumble across an offer on AppSumo for a discounted deal – $30 rather than $60 (AppSumo is a must if you work online or use any online services).

It’s easy-to-use, accessible software (and apps) that you can use for multiple accounts. It revolves around the basis of four rules:

  • Assign every dollar a job
  • Save for a Rainy Day
  • Roll with the punches
  • Live on last month’s income

Simple enough, right?

What You Need A Budget Is like To Use

In theory, yes, it’s simple.

In practice, the assigning every dollar part is great from the off, but the other three tend to be things you build towards over time.

The app has all the usual elements of budgeting software. I can set limits for different areas of my life (e.g. fuel, clothing, eating out, online services). But some really useful touches too. I can import my bank statements, add in upcoming bills and even include pre-YNAB debts (car loans, credit cards etc).

Plus, they’re heavy on the support side with regular webinars, forums and Q&As.  They’re also realistic.

They know budgeting is work in progress, so they don’t set unrealistic goals. Plus if you overspend in one category, you can shift the budget from another or forward one month (as long as it’s not a regular habit).

If, like me, the word budgeting brings you out in hives, but you’re enough of a grown up to know that keeping your finances in order is as important as keeping your wardrobe in order, give You Need A Budget a try.


Emma Cossey is a freelance digital media consultant, lover of cats and shoes, who has been known to work from her sofa in a onesie. When she isn’t delivering content for big brand clients, she’s helping other freelancers kick ass at The Freelance Lifestyle. 

Have a look at The Freelance Lifestyle E-Course – perfect if you want to start freelancing or give your existing freelancing a kick up the behind. I’m a course graduate and what I learnt is still helping me a year later.


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