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You Need a Budget audiobook

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You Need a Budget Audiobook Summary

For most people, budgeting conjures up the same feelings as, say, prison and dieting. But your initial instinct couldn’t be further from the truth. You just haven’t budgeted the right way.

You Need A Budget will teach you four simple rules to completely revolutionize the way you think about managing your money. With a budget, you’ll break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, get out of debt, and save more money. A liberating, enabling, empowering budget will actually make you feel more free, not more restricted. The YNAB philosophy is centered around these four rules:

  1. Give every dollar a job. Take your cash, checking, and saving accounts and assign jobs to that money. Begin now with what you have on hand. Then follow your plan. Pick your priorities, and make sure your dollars are helping you move closer to the things you care about most.
  2. Embrace your true expenses. Look ahead and identify the larger, less frequent expenses that tend to sneak up on you. Break those expenses into manageable monthly amounts. Consider insurance premiums, birthdays, holidays, charitable giving, car repairs, etc. This practice evens out your cash outflows, decreases your stress, and helps you make better decisions.
  3. Roll with the punches. Accept the fact that life always changes and you’ll likely always go over budget somewhere. If an unexpected expense comes up and you need to change your budget, just change it. The YNAB philosophy not only tolerates changing your budget, but rather encourages it.
  4. Age your money. The goal of this rule is to increase the time between the moment you earn money, and the moment you spend that money. In other words, if you’re going to break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, you need to learn to live on money you earned a month or two months or even three months ago.

YNAB’s four rules are the pillars of a tried-and-true system that gets you to engage with your money every day. It helps you change your behavior so that you’re proactive and in control of your finances. It’s not about stressing over last month’s statement; instead, you’re looking ahead and actively deciding how you want-and need to build a life of meaning not stress.

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

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You Need a Budget Audiobook Narrator

Jesse Mecham is the narrator of You Need a Budget audiobook that was written by Jesse Mecham

Jesse Mecham founded YNAB in 2004 to help him and his new wife, Julie, watch their money. Studying for his master of accountancy at Brigham Young University at the time, he put his numbers wizardry to work to develop a system to track their expenses, and that became YNAB. He lives in Utah with his family.

About the Author(s) of You Need a Budget

Jesse Mecham is the author of You Need a Budget

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The publisher of the You Need a Budget is HarperAudio. includes the following subjects: The BISAC Subject Code is Business & Economics, General, Personal Finance

Additional info

The publisher of the You Need a Budget is HarperAudio. The imprint is HarperAudio. It is supplied by HarperAudio. The ISBN-13 is 9780062800831.

Global Availability

This book is only available in the United States.

Goodreads Reviews


January 05, 2018

Someone suggested YNAB in a FB feed I happened to see a few days ago, and so I poked around on the website/app for a bit. It was confusing at first (as you don't budget money until you have it: so not counting my paycheck or my mortgage payment that *will* happen yet this month didn't make sense at first) but then it just sort of clicked. I ordered this book right away, and it keeps clicking. I've not been terrible with money -always paying bills on time and paying more than required on most debts, but I've not really gotten off the hamster wheel either. Something would always come up and I'd be back where I started. This book reinforces what feels like an a-ha moment with the YNAB method, and is coupled with clean and clear writing and lots of personal examples from the author's own and others' lives. I'm feeling intentional rather than hopeful about my money for the first time... um, ever? And while it's exciting, there's no real gimmick here. Just good sense. (No auditory money pun intended.) What an awesome start to the new year!


December 06, 2017

I first found YouNeedABudget.com 3 years ago and started taking their free classes and using their software then. I was interested to see if this book would provide any new insight and information. Happy to say that it does! He does not push his software, and in fact, mentions you can do this using a spreadsheet program or even pen and paper (personally, I believe the software makes this process WAY easier!).In this book, Jesse Mecham shares his budgeting system, which has worked for thousands of people from all financial backgrounds, and also adds a section about helping kids learn to have a healthy relationship with money and budgeting as well as budgeting as a couple. The section on kids has made me delve deeper into why I sometimes judge my children's purchases. Something for me to work on.Jesse provides a realistic system for budgeting that relies on the money you have currently and what it needs to do for you before your next paycheck, whether that's in 2 weeks or 2 months. This means that this system is highly flexible and useful for people who have regular income each month or irregular income (i.e. an artist). And really, people who have irregular income need a budget, a flexible one, more than people who get paid a set amount every month like clockwork.Reading this book will show you a whole new level of being accountable for your money and help you think about choosing your priorities more carefully and consciously.Before deciding budgeting won't work for you, please read the chapter on quitting. Quitting budgeting isn't on my radar and this section brought new life into the budget and helped me ground myself again.I gave this review 4 stars instead of 5 stars because I found myself wanting Jesse to delve deeper into several examples and sections. There's enough information to understand the point, but I still wanted more, you know?**I was sent a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


January 15, 2022

This is the first book I have ever read on budgeting or personal finance. It was so good I couldn’t put it down. Helpful, relatable, practical, funny. Budgeting doesn’t feel so daunting or scary. Super fast read also.


December 27, 2020

Review December 2020: Re-read for the new year.* I need to re-work my budget, a lot of changes have happened over the past two years, and I thought doing a refresher on the book would be helpful to me as I work this week on setting up a new budget for 2021. It was! When I first started YNAB it took me a few months to really understand it, it me took a bit longer to use it correctly (I was grossly under funding categories or believing that I would only spent x dollars on groceries when I know from my tracking data it is one of my highest spend categories). But what I love most about this system, what forms the basis of this system, is that there is no shame in switching categories or re-doing stuff or stopping and simply starting a fresh start/new budget when you need it. Life happens and YNAB gets that (Roll with the Punches is a great example and one that is built into the core 4 Rules).Am I as far along on my money journey as I would like? No. But I am in a better financial place than I was two years ago and it is in large part due to using this system. Because as Jesse writes, asking "What do I want my money to do for me?" really helps me to prioritize my spending and align my daily money habits to my goals/future me. I now know more about my money and my money habits (good and bad) then I did two two years ago and little by little I am using it to get myself to the place I ultimately want to be, free from debt and with money in the bank for emergencies and to give to others. It'll happen one day, it's a marathon, not a sprint. *I got the kindle version for $1.99 when it was on sale for Black FridayReview December 2018: I was determined to finish this book before 2019 started and I am very glad I did. It broke down the philosophy of this system and explained the 4 Rules that YNABers follow - Give Every Dollar a Job, Embrace Your True Expenses, Roll With the Punches and Age Your Money. I plan to start this system for 2019 (just signed up for the free trial!) and fingers crossed it will help me with my finances. I want to be better with my money.


August 11, 2018

Run out and read this. I've been using this software for over 2 years, so I thought I wouldn't learn anything new. Wrong! Jesse's printed words flow like he's talking to you, and the book reads so fast! He makes you believe you can succeed at budgeting and truly make it a part of your lifestyle ... we have done that in ways we never did before. If Dave Ramsey's no debt principles appeal to you - but his nasty judgmental holier-than-thou attitude does not - you will l-o-v-e Jesse. Just being told that YOUR priorities matter rather than what he thinks your priorities should be makes all the difference.


December 27, 2017

If you used the software for awhile, the concepts aren't new; however, I still enjoyed the book as it was like seeing the four rules expanded. Most of the examples catered toward couples was my only annoyance. Mecham's writing style is casual and comfortable and definitely not dull. I recommend this book if you are (or know someone who is) afraid of the word "budget." Also, he rarely mentions the software. The book is about the principles behind YNAB and not what you use.

Michelle Only Wants to Read

April 02, 2019

This audiobook, read by its author, is a gem. It came into my life at a time when I needed guidance on how to manage my money in a smarter way, and in its four simple rules, I find--for the first time in my life--that budgeting may be possible, and reducing my debt is an attainable goal. The selling point of his budgeting system for me was the lack of imposing impossible guidelines, and it helped me to see I can start where I am (broke) and work my way out without shame, and without the usual percentages for this and that, which I have never been able to commit to, and have made me give up other programs. Budgeting became a burden and I gave up. With YNAB's rules, I have been able to already identify areas of improvement and set realistic near, middle, and long-term financial goals. I am currently on the 34-day trial of their software (still trying to figure out how to work some things around), and their free tutorials, workshops, and friendly customer service has been of help.I recommend this book for anyone who may feel defeated and confused by traditional wealth management systems which rely on a heavy understanding of crunching numbers. YNAB is helpful whether you are an expert on the subject or a confused person with good intentions, such as myself.


February 15, 2018

I love reading personal finance books. There are so many different perspectives on how to manage your finances. This book is one of the better budgeting books I have encountered. The book explains his four budget rules and gives lots of encouragement. He does not tell you what percent of your income should be spent on categories, instead he encourages you to think how you want your money to serve you and be realistic about your spending. The chapter on how he handles budgeting with kids was interesting. I would recommend this if you want to get started budgeting or if you currently budget and need some motivation to stick with it.


July 18, 2018

I’ve been using the YNAB software for a few years now and love it. It has been super useful. I also appreciate the amount of free training and seminars that the company offers. So, I was excited to read the book when I saw it came out. I found the book to be a great refresher course on budgeting. It’s helpful to remember that budgeting is really all about priorities. I particularly found the chapters about budgeting as a couple and budgeting with kids to be full of helpful information. I recommend the book and the software!


December 30, 2017

I borrowed it - now I'm buying it. I have struggled with budgets in the past, trying to know what will happen in the future. The idea of budgeting now vs. future sounds much more doable. Certainly worth reading the book or checking out the website if you're curious!

Jammin Jenny

July 20, 2019

I really enjoyed this book about budgeting. It has four simple rules, and talks a lot about focusing on your priorities and making realistic changes. There is actually a website for YNAB so I'm going to give that a try for 34 days free and see how I like it.


December 30, 2018

This was the most accessible and easily read financial book I've ever touched. And I'm actually seriously going to give the ideas and program a shot. That said, I can't give 5 stars to a budget book that sticks to example cases that don't fit the average American life in the 2010's. Even 1 or 2 lower income examples would have made a huge difference. I'm left wondering if those stories are missing because the author doesn't know of any, they don't exist, or because the expected audience is completely middle class.


March 05, 2018

Honestly, this is one of the best budget books I've read. I'm not saying that the YNAB system is the best one, or even that it's going to work for me, but the way this book was written was so refreshing.It's a book written by a Millennial (or a near-Millennial--I think Mecham is in his late 30s) that doesn't make a HUGE DEAL out of that fact. It's not Millennial pink, it doesn't make avocado jokes, it just offers practical advice. The book is written in a calm, friendly, non-judgmental way. He's not condescending, he's not domineering, he just thinks you should have a budget. He says over and over that you're allowed to spend your money on what you want, and if that's the clearance rack at Anthropologie, then that's great! (This is unfair, how does he know I spend all my money at the clearance rack at Anthropologie? Someone should tell him it's not fair to look directly at my bank statements like that.) I also appreciated that his take on "The Latte Problem" was just "hey, if you need a 15-minute break from your stressful job and the best way to do that is a Starbucks run, go for it. Just make sure you budget for it." It's the most low-guilt budget book I've read, and I immediately downloaded the YNAB app and started categorizing. I guess I'll know better if the method actually works for me in a few months, but in the meantime, this is my favorite budget book so far.

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