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3 Money Mistakes That Empty Nesters Make

Learning how to budget for your "empty nest" is a challenge, but avoiding these pitfalls will make it much easier!

This post is sponsored by YNAB. As always, all ideas and opinions are entirely my own.

While I may not technically qualify as an “empty nester” since my youngest son is still living at home, my three older kids have all flown the coop already. My nest is now emptier than it’s ever been, and I am still trying to adjust! While I still have moments of sadness over the fact that my kids are growing up and starting lives of their own, it hasn’t been all bad. In fact, there have been aspects of the transition to our “empty nester” phase that have been surprisingly positive!

The transition to an empty nest is a big change, and big changes often require you to re-evaluate and make adjustments to your lifestyle. I have found this to be especially true when it comes to our household budget! Because our costs have changed dramatically, I realized that I needed to revisit our budget in order to stay on top of our finances. I wasn’t sure where to begin, until I heard about YNAB (You Need A Budget)! This budgeting app has made it so easy to take stock of our current finances, and to start saving for the home renovations I’ve been dreaming about for ages!

I’ve partnered with YNAB today to offer a few great tips about budgeting for your empty nest. Taking these simple steps will help you transition smoothly from a home with kids to a home without, and empower you to start saving for those things you’ve been dreaming about doing for years! (And keep an eye out for an amazing offer from YNAB at the end of this post. You’re not going to want to miss this!)

3 Money Mistakes That Empty Nesters Make

1. Not Downsizing Early Enough

With fewer people to account for, it’s time to reexamine your monthly expenses to make sure they are appropriate for your new household size and lifestyle. Take a look at expenses like your internet service, cell phone plans, and premium TV subscriptions. For example, with only two of you at home, you may no longer need blazing fast internet speeds. Consider downgrading to a slower, less expensive plan as a way to save money!

The YNAB method has four key rules, and this falls under Rule #1: Give Every Dollar A Job. Once you know what your monthly expenses are, then you can ensure that you’re paying a fair price for things you really need. But that isn’t to say that every dollar you spend has to go towards necessities—which brings us to the subject of rewards!

2. Going on a Post-Kids Spending Spree Without A Plan

Raising kids is hard work, and now that they are out on their own, it’s time to reward yourself! After rightsizing your expenses, you’ll be able to start saving for things you used to dream about having the money for! You might start saving for that trip to Europe, a beautiful new furniture set, or even a relaxing spa day. For me personally, I’ve wanted to do several home renovation projects for ages. With the help of YNAB, we’ve set aside enough money to start renovating our master bathroom, and I couldn’t be happier about it!

3. Assuming That it’s Too Late to Invest

Learning how to budget for an empty nest isn’t easy, and it can take a while to adjust! If you’re not ready to splurge on a reward, you may want to start looking for practical ways to reinvest your extra money. Reinvesting follows Rule #2 and Rule #4 of YNAB: Embrace Your True Expenses, and Age Your Money. Embracing your true expenses means realizing that you can’t plan for every expense. Things like car repairs and medical bills often come up unexpectedly, so it’s important to be prepared for those. YNAB makes it easy to set aside money for those hard-to-plan-for expenses!

The other rule I mentioned advises you to “age your money,” which means using last month’s income to pay for this month’s expenses. Aging your money is as simple as building up a “cushion” of funds that can be used in an emergency, and an easy-to-use app like YNAB can make building that cushion simple! Along with aging your money, you could also reinvest by paying down debts or building upon your retirement savings.

All in all, budgeting for your empty nest is an adjustment, so take your time and ask for help! For me, having a resource like YNAB has been invaluable. It has given me the confidence to face our budget head on, and I now know that budgeting doesn’t have to be scary or restricting—it can actually be very liberating! YNAB has given me control over my budget, and the freedom to put money towards the things that I really care about.

Try YNAB Free For Two Months!

If you’re ready to take control of your money and expenses, I highly recommend giving YNAB a try! Now is a great time to get started, thanks to a very special offer just for OGT readers! You can try YNAB free for two months—just follow this link to get started! (What can two months of YNAB do for you? Consider this: new users save an average of $600 in the first two months!) Give it a try, and see how easy budgeting for your empty nest can really be!


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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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