You Need a Budget: The Proven System for Breaking the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle, Getting Out of Debt, and Living the Life You Want
Jesse Mecham. Harper Business, $23.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-06-256758-1
Acknowledging how stressful the question “Can I afford this?” can be, Mecham explains that’s precisely why he wrote this helpful book and invented his four-rule system for budgeting. The primary question, Mecham says, is “What do I want my money to do for me?” To that end, the titular “YNAB” plan is comprised of the dictums “Give Every Dollar a Job,” “Embrace Your True Expenses,” “Roll with the Punches,” and “Age Your Money.” Mecham conveniently addresses readers of all ages (kids included) and family situations (single, childless couples, and couples with kids), taking care to include readers with variable incomes. Cheat-sheet reminders at the close of every chapter are especially helpful. Mecham includes illustrative stories from clients, providing an especially helpful example of one couple’s customized YNAB plan, including their spending before and after “budget detox,” and divides into four sections: bills, everyday spending, goals, and true expenses. One of the keys to success, Mecham points out, is flexibility. But the primary attitude adjustment described here is to stop asking, “Can I afford this?” and start asking, “Does this move me closer to my goals?” Mecham makes it seem simple and his tone is encouraging; even readers who’ve never budgeted before will believe Mecham when he tells them, “You’ve got this.” (Dec.)
Correction: An earlier version of this review incorrectly identified the book's author as a software developer.
Reviewed on: 10/30/2017