This week I decided to try out the service You Need a Budget. I’ve been hearing about it for years but was always skeptical about their complicated system and the idea of paying for a budgeting software. But it had come up enough times lately from sources I trust that I didn’t see the harm in starting a free trial and seeing what it was all about.
Ha! Didn’t see the harm! The harm was the feeling of utter confusion and overwhelm I quickly felt upon opening up the software. The harm was feeling like I was suddenly in trouble from this system (you don’t know me!!) when otherwise I’d been feeling really good about my finances lately. The harm was frustration and anger at making mistakes, doing things wrong, and messing things up even though I was trying really hard to understand.
When I shut it down for the night, I was pretty sure I might never open it again. No wonder I hadn’t tried it in so long: it was a nightmare! Too complicated, too stressful, too strange. Good riddance.
If you’re reading between the lines, you can probably guess that I was in what’s known as The Dip, a concept from Seth Godin. It’s a really good metaphor for the journey towards anything worthwhile: building, creating, or learning something new. There is always a moment on the path when the initial excitement wears off and your progress stalls out and frustration kicks in. It’s the moment where your enthusiasm is lowest and the goal is hardest. It’s the moment where most people quit.
I was in the YNAB Dip! I knew it even at the time. I was trying to remind myself: there’s a learning curve, you’ll get through it! It’ll be fine! You got this! But that Dip is sneaky! It tries to convince you to quit anyways, at precisely the time you shouldn’t. As Seth says: “Quitting when you hit the Dip is a bad idea. If the journey you started was worth doing, then quitting when you hit the Dip just wastes the time you’ve already invested.”
I am happy to report that I did not quit in The Dip. A few days later I decided to watch some YouTube videos on YNAB for beginners and slowly started getting excited about it again. While I still find it frustrating and confusing (my accounts refused to get reconciled!! Argh!), I am learning. I am moving out of The Dip. I am going slowly but surely towards the goal.