Quick Start Step 1: Set a Goal

The most important thing about budgeting is starting. Everything else—the ending of financial stress, the excitement about paying bills, the unicorns and show ponies—will come later. But only if you start

So let’s get to it.

Why are you budgeting?

You didn't decide to budget because you love math. Sure, there’s some of that (though YNAB takes care of most of it for you), but a budget is about reaching your goals. They might be small, like paying the electric bill on time and in full. Or they might be grand, like a second honeymoon to Tahiti. Here’s how.

First, think: Why did you decide to budget? What's your goal? What are your priorities

Your budget is a roadmap of your priorities. If your budget is the map, then your categories are the stops along your route. And Goals can help ensure your car doesn't run out of fuel, er, dollars, along the way. 

Once you've set up your categories to reflect your priorities, follow these steps to add Goals to help keep you on the road:

Find a category that matches one of your goals— or create a new category!—and select it.
Click Create a goal in the Inspector on the right.
Select the type of goal you would like to set. You can learn more about the different types of goals here.
Enter your goal information: the amount you'd like to budget, and by which date, if applicable.
Click Save Goal. (You knew that, but five steps are way more fun than four.) The example category “Vacation” now shows a yellow bubble and a prompt to budget additional dollars.

Notice that category is now yellow in the Available column (with a progress indicator). That means your goal needs money to stay on track! The next two steps will make sure you get there.

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