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Let’s set the scene: You’re a die-hard Taylor Swift fan, singing along to “22” while applying your signature red lip. Suddenly, an email notification pops up on your phone—*You’ve won the Grammys seat-filler ticket lottery!*

Drop everything now. The Grammys are just a week away! 

For Katelyn McLaughlin, the Swiftie behind @WitchySwifty from Madison, WI, this fantasy was a reality. And she knew there was another special guest guaranteed to be in attendance: Taylor Swift.

When it comes to fandoms, there are few that run as deep as Swifties and YNABers. Think: tattoos, license plates, fan meet-ups—we have those in common. Katelyn proudly reps both camps, embodying the Swiftie spirit, while skillfully managing her finances with the YNAB app. And when her worlds collided in a whirlwind of Grammy magic, she hopped in the getaway car. 

“You need to calm down,” she thought. “What about the money part? Is this even realistic? Am I ready for it? The dress, transportation, the last-minute hotel, meals (in order of priority)…”

With just nine days to make the trip happen, she turned to her trusty YNAB habits for backup. Cue the WAMing—shifting funds like a pro to summon up $1,200 instead of taking on credit card debt.

Whack-A-Mole (WAM)
noun | \ ˈhwak-ə-ˈmōl , ˈwak- \

Definition: A playful term embraced by YNABers to describe the art of borrowing money from one category to fund a higher priority. This maneuver involves swiftly addressing unexpected expenses as they pop up, akin to the arcade game “Whack-A-Mole,” wherein one attempts to strike and resolve emerging challenges and opportunities.

Example: Katelyn WAMed several YNAB categories when she needed to meet Taylor Swift more than she needed to save for holiday gifts.

WAMing is a foundational principle of the YNAB Method that helps your spending plan adjust to life’s changes. From appliance breakdowns to pet emergencies to opportunities to meet Tay Tay, sometimes you need to find money… fast. WAMing is like the digital version of searching the couch cushions, except you’ll likely find more than a little loose change. 

Armed with her YNAB prowess, Katelyn set off on her whirlwind adventure, knowing every dollar spent was a nod to her love for both Taylor Swift and smart financial moves. Fate, as they say, works in mysterious ways.

When Swift happened to be seated just one table away, the whole experience became worth it. Katelyn knew that shaking off a few lower-priority spending categories was an investment in celebrating Taylor’s Grammy wins in person. See her cheering right next to Queen Tay!?

Now, let’s talk about WAMing in YNAB beyond the glitz and glam of the Grammys. Whether it’s an unexpected curveball or a “fun-mergency” like Katelyn’s, the concept stays the same. Here’s how you can wield the power of WAMing in your own financial adventures (or mishaps!).

How to WAM Your Spending Plan in YNAB 

Step 1: Figure out your cash needs

Set up a category and lay down a Savings Balance target. YNAB will keep track of your progress as you move money from other categories and let you know how much more you need.

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Customizable YNAB targets let you decide ahead of time how much money you need to fund a category and easily track your progress.

Step 2: Reallocate the surplus

Survey your spending plan for categories that are over-funded. Maybe your car maintenance stash is looking plush, or you’ve hit your vacation target early. Those extra dollars can be reallocated to your top priority.

Step 3: Pinpoint where to trim

Identify categories where you can dial back or save. That new gadget can wait, right? Or maybe you don’t need a monthly subscription to every streaming service. Perhaps the little green lizard can save you money on car insurance. Prioritize what matters most.

Step 4: Shuffle those dollars

Utilize YNAB’s Move Money feature to shift funds gradually. Easily review your changes and watch your progress tick up as you inch closer to your goal.

Step 5: Celebrate and review

Once your category is fully funded, give yourself a pat on the back. Take a moment to review your financial moves and tweak if needed.

According to Katelyn, none of this would have been possible if it weren’t for the YNAB Method. She’s been a dedicated YNABer for 7 years, and it’s opened her eyes to a set of money habits that empower her to spend confidently on what brings her joy. 

  • Give Every Dollar a Job: Every dollar you earn should have a purpose. Each time you get paid, your money goes exactly where you tell it to.
  • Embrace Your True Expenses: Just as Katelyn embraced the true expense of her once-in-a-lifetime Grammy adventure, YNAB encourages you to break down future expenses into manageable monthly amounts.
  • Roll with the Punches: Flexibility is key, whether you’re dealing with unexpected expenses or last-minute opportunities. Like Katelyn, be ready to adapt and adjust your budget as needed.
  • Age Your Money: Katelyn’s ability to swiftly fund her Grammy trip was a testament to her aged money—money that had been sitting in her account, patiently waiting to be used for something meaningful. Aim to get a month ahead and give yourself the financial buffer you need to seize opportunities or tackle challenges when they arise.

Katelyn has a history of being loud and proud about her love of Taylor Swift and YNAB, including her viral Eras Tour Halloween display and custom YNAB license plate for her car. This weekend, she finally got to see her fandom worlds collide! 

Katelyn cheers on Taylor Swift at the Grammys

With YNAB’s simple set of habits in your corner, you can turn your wildest dreams into reality, whether it’s a front-row seat at the Grammys or the ability to pivot when your only heat source breaks down. You deserve to spend on what matters to you most!

You belong with YNAB. Start funding a future you’re excited about with YNAB’s free 34-day trial. 

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