If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you
1. Give Every Dollar a Goal
Envelope-style budgeting is not a new concept, but this is the cornerstone of the YNAB method upon which the other three rules rest. Simple has a guide on how to use Goals as your envelopes, but to do it the YNAB Way, you’ll need to make sure you assign every dollar of your paycheck to a Goal.
The big exception to this is your ‘fun money’ envelope - the money you don’t set aside for goals or automatic bill payments in Simple shows up front-and-center in your account as your ‘Safe-to-Spend’ amount, which makes it the perfect default category for your fun money. When your coworkers invite you out for happy hour, a quick glance at the first screen of the Simple mobile app will give you the information you need to make an appropriate judgement call.
2. Save for a Rainy Day
Many of the Goals you set up in Simple will likely be for monthly expenses like rent or your phone bill. But YNAB’s second rule encourages you to think about everything as a monthly expense, including the things you can’t always plan for. The common example is car repairs. If your monthly oil change costs $30 but you put $130 into your ‘Car Maintenance’ budget each month, in a year you’d have $1200 set aside for that inevitable fuel pump replacement or bumper repair.
It doesn’t always have to be a ‘rainy day’ fund either. These Goals are your chance to look beyond your next paycheck and the corresponding round of bills to plan for larger things like a down payment on a house or this year’s Christmas presents.
3. Roll with the Punches
This is the YNAB way of saying, “shit happens.” Sometimes your'e going to spend too much money from one Goal. Rather than beat yourself up about it, just move some money from another Goal. This wasn’t entirely obvious to me at first, but Simple’s web app makes it as easy as dragging one Goal onto another to initiate a transfer between the two.
4. Live on Last Month’s Income / Age Your Money
The last rule is the hardest to achieve but ultimately the most rewarding, and that is to pad your account with a month’s worth of income, known as The Buffer. This breaks the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle because there’s no way that happy hour excursion from earlier could lead to you over-drafting your account and bouncing your rent check. When you pay your phone bill, you’ll actually be paying it with money you earned 30 days ago with your previous paycheck. This means your money is 30 days old, which is why YNAB now calls this rule ‘aging your money.’
Getting to this point is where Simple’s date-targeted Goals really shine. For the unfamiliar: you can create a Goal with Simple to save a certain amount by a certain date, and Simple will divide the amount of money you want to save by the number of days until the target date and automatically transfer that amount from your Safe-to-Spend balance into that Goal each day.Read it
I recently teamed up with a great designer by the name of Ray Hernandez to build a new product that bills itself as “a platform for private, long-form, one-on-one communication.” In a way, it’s a rejection of the idea that we’re only supposed to speak to each other in 140 characters that are only visible for 10 seconds.
It’s bringing the old pen pal tradition into the 21st century. Say hello to Reeed.co.Read it
As part of The Democratic Travelers I’m working on the ability to show which states Laura and I have been to. We’re currently tracking that information in the database, but the only place it shows up on the front-end is in a simple numerical count, such as “we’ve been to 39 states…”
We get asked a lot which states we’ve been to and which one’s we have left to tackle, so I thought it’d be great to show a mini map to answer those questions quickly. I stumbled across Stately, a great little symbol font that allows you to create a customizable, scalable map of the United States with minimal mark up.Read it
Sometimes, you just need to add tagging to a form on your website. At work, we (Freddy and I) recently had to implement some tagging for fields that had a pre-defined list of options to choose from. Taking advantage of Rails 4.x’s and PostgreSQL’s native support for array-type columns, we were able to avoid the hassle of extra models, join tables, foreign keys, etc. We then used Chosen.js to make the UI clean and dead-simple.
Here’s how it all came together.Read it