Aging Your Money

It has been so long since I have written on here! I’m glad to say, I’m back, and this will be the final post for the YNAB Series. So let’s get started on the last YNAB Rule!

If you read the article “Make Your Budget Fit Your Life”, you’re beginning to see that the best budget is one that flexes with your life. We want a budget that works with us, rather then making us feel bad for not fitting into a rigid box. So what is the last rule? And what does it mean?

You can read the rest of the series here:

  1. What is YNAB
  2. What is the Purpose of Your Money?
  3. What Are True Expenses?
  4. Make Your Budget Fit Your Life (not the other way around)
  5. Aging Your Money

OK, we’ve covered the three most fundamental rules:

  1. Give Every Dollar A Job, which reminds us that we need to work with the reality of the dollars we have right now.
  2. Embrace Your True Expenses, which tells us that we need to account for every type of expense we have, not just your bills, and including your savings goals.
  3. Roll With The Punches, which gives you permission to change your budget when you need to, and gives you a safe way to do so.

Age Your Money

The last rule is “Age Your Money.” You can find the age of your money in the upper-right hand corner of the screen in YNAB:

Age Of Money Screenshot

Aging Your Money means that we want to hold onto money for longer and longer periods of time. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, when you spend a dollar the day you got paid, that dollar is considered one day old. But if you hold onto that dollar until the next day, it will be two days old, and so on. So when we talk about aging your money, we are saying that we are living on dollars that we earned some time ago. And old money is good, because it means that we have savings, and are breaking out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle.

The fourth rule, incidentally, used to be “Live on Last Month’s Income”. With that rule, the goal was to age your money to at least 30 days old. So when you spent your money, it would have been money you earned last month. That was a pretty binary and rigid rule though, and it make it hard to see your progress, so now you can take it day by day, and increase the age of your money gradually, celebrating your progress as your money gets older. I still recommend setting 30 days as a good goal, though, because if you have 30 days, you’ve officially broken the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, which is really an amazing accomplishment.

I think that Aging Your Money is a fantastic goal. But I also think it is OK not to concentrate on it. You may put a high priority on paying down debt, or contributing to savings goals. By all means, feel free to ignore the number in the upper-right hand corner of your screen. If you are working the first three rules, the fourth rule will start to come to you naturally.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! The four YNAB rules, all there in black and white! All that is left is to Sign up for the one month YNAB Trial, or contact me at for more information and to set up an initial strategy session.

Are you struggling with debt, spending, or your relationship with money? Schedule your free one-hour Money Empowerment Session to better understand your money stories, and get recommendations for taking the next step to healing your relationship with money!

I also run a group Money Empowerment Monthly meeting here in Portland! It is a safe, fun environment where you can talk about your greatest money fears and issues a facilitated peer group. You can sign up on Meetup.
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About the author

I work with individuals and couples to create a healthy relationship with money, in person or online. I can help you save money, pay down debt, and experience financial bliss! You can read more about working with me or sign up for a free session! Let's Talk »