You Need A Budget: The Proven System for Breaking the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle, Getting Out of Debt, and Living the Life You Want (Review)

Book cover for "You Need A Budget" by Jesse Mecham.
Title: You Need a Budget: The Proven System for Breaking the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle, Getting Out of Debt, and Living the Life You Want
Author: Jesse Mecham
Publication Year: 2017
Pages: 224
Genre: Non-Fiction, Narrative Non-Fiction
Source: E-book version borrowed from the Toronto Public Library

From the cover:

No one should tell you what to do with your money — only you know what’s most important to you. Always guiding you back to your true priorities, Jesse Mecham will fundamentally change the way you think about your money and what it can do for you. His proven method — four, simple rules — will transform money management from a paralyzing burden to a powerful tool, putting you in total control of your life.

This tried-and-true system has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people by teaching them how to take charge, adjust money habits, eliminate stress, and build the life they want to live. Don’t waste another month counting down the minutes until payday….

So, to be fair before I start reviewing, I’ve already been using the “YNAB” budgeting software for over two years now. None of these concepts were new to me. It’s been working well for me – I managed to finish paying off my student loans early, move into an apartment on my own (and keep up on monthly rent!), and a whole whack of other things that used to be really hard for me because I was always “running out” of money too quickly.

What I’m saying is: I already know that the YNAB system generally works for me.

What I didn’t know, though, was basically anything at all about the people behind the system. And while that wasn’t entirely the focus of the book – it really is mostly about how to use the system and make it work for you – there was enough of it to keep me interested even though very little of the actual financial/budgeting advice was old hat.

I really enjoyed Mecham’s direct and casual conversational style, while also managing to be serious and make important points about money management and the habits that lots of us have fallen into and need to break. In particular, I found the little anecdotes about people who are happy using YNAB to be helpful – those testimonial-style snippets were one of the things I found super useful from the YNAB blog back when I started, before this book existed.

What I’m really saying here is … if you’re having trouble with money even though you know you “shouldn’t” be, or if you haven’t really ever managed to learn good money habits or how to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck … this might be the book for you. Give it a try! What’s the worst that could happen?

If you already have great money sense and budgeting skills, you might find a lot of the content kind of basic. But you also might pick up a trick or two, so I wouldn’t discount it entirely.


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