Tuesday, September 29, 2015

If you have to "work on your budget," you're doing it wrong.

(I wrote this. It is not an advertisement.)

YNAB makes the "burden" of following a budget feel like freedom.

    by JonnyRockets 

Several months ago (possibly over a year ago) my son gave me a copy of YNAB (You Need A Budget) software. Last week, after several false starts due to not understanding this software's approach to budgeting, I finally took a free online seminar to introduce me to the concepts of this software. Afterward, I set up a new budget using the software. I am impressed.

I have owned and used Quicken, Microsoft Money, Money Matters, and even software I wrote myself that automatically checked my bank account, distributed deposits for various purposes, and showed me how much money was available by purpose.

These various programs all do what they are supposed to do, but every one of them took so much time to manage, that I fell behind with each of them until restarting was not practical. The software I wrote for myself was the only software I actually used for an extended period of time, but it had so many hard-coded assumptions that no longer apply now, that it took too much work to adjust figures, and I fell out of the habit of using it.

YNAB's strength is that its focus is on planning how to spend the money on-hand, rather than on forecasting and record-keeping, although it does remember how I use it, and makes it easier to do repetitive tasks, and it keeps excellent records. It also has user-friendly pie charts and reports. If I ever get behind, starting over is a simple matter of clicking "Fresh Start," entering current account balances, and planning where to spend those current account balances.

Every budget software I've used in the past has focused on setting up (and then endlessly adjusting) rules and schedules, but YNAB only focuses on assigning a task for each current dollar. I spend very little time using the program on the computer, and when I'm at the store, I can use my phone to check what money is available to spend per budget category, rather than just checking my account balance, which can result in false security. Meanwhile, money tucked away for future use doesn't make me feel "rich" until it is spent, because I only see grocery money in my account when I'm shopping for groceries.

One week is not a lot of time to judge the value of a personal accounting program, but I have spent more time writing this post than I have spent planning today's shopping trip, scanning the receipt afterwards, and entering the receipt in my budget register. I am very impressed that it is possible to spend so little time and effort to gain much greater control over my money than I've had in the past.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Pre-emptive Endorsement Required

I just blocked a video source that I have seen shared by Facebook friends several times recently. This video source, adamdanyal. com, demands a preemptive "like" in order to see what was shared. Consequently, I have never seen anything that was shared from this site. I won't endorse anything before I've seen it, and I find it annoying to have something someone shared blocked because I won't "like" it before I see it. It's blocked now.

I also added http://www .adamdanyal. com to my ad blocking software's permanent filter. I'll never face that particular annoyance (or anything else from adamdanyal. com) again.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

If you will become a RESPONSIBLE ADVERTISER, then I will see your ads.

(While this post was inspired by The Guardian, it applies to all advertising supported internet content providers.)

With the volume turned all the way up, and with two sets of amplified external speakers, I could not hear dialog from your commentary on drug laws:
Since I have no trouble hearing sound on other websites, and I don't see others making similar complaints, I suspect my difficulty hearing audio has something to do with your comment that I blocked your advertising.
Captured image from Guardian.com
You posted a comment that I use ad blocking software, asking if I want to support your website some other way. My thought was, if you want to stop your ongoing attempts at breaking and entering my computer equipment with malicious software, maybe I would allow my computer to display your advertisements. (Actually, I already allow and make a point of viewing responsible advertisements, because I know they help pay for online content.)
I don't block all advertising. I only block irresponsible advertising that follows unsafe practices that cause malware to be installed on computers, such as advertisements that link to external sites, that employ user-level tracking (as opposed to classification tracking such as used by Google), or that runs scripts on local machines. Responsible scripts run on servers. Client-side scripts install malware. There is NO LEGITIMATE NEED for client-side scripts on websites, unless the goal is to spy on individuals, or to install malicious software.
Until websites like the Guardian employ responsible non-invasive advertising methods, I will continue to block your advertisements. It would be irresponsible to do anything else. If you will stop breaking these common-sense standards for safe computing, and if you will become a RESPONSIBLE ADVERTISER, then I will see your ads.
Get in touch with staff and departments at the Guardian's US office in New York