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?

1
Find a category that matches one of your goals— or create one!—and select it.
2
Click Create a goal in the Inspector on the right.
3
Select Target Category Balance by Date. (You can explore the others later!)
4
Choose your Target Month & Year. How much do you need to save? By when?
5
Click OK. (You knew that, but five steps is way more fun than four.)

Notice that category is now orange 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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