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You Need A Budget (YNAB)

You Need A Budget (YNAB) Logo

You Need A Budget (YNAB)

Free trial, Global currencies

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You Need A Budget, or YNAB, as it’s commonly known, is powerful financial budgeting software. YNAB has created an advanced spread-sheet type format that allows consumers to setup and view their financials under one user-friendly platform. YNAB utilizes a methodology that gets you started by learning, and implementing the “4 rules” they say will help you stop living paycheck to paycheck. 

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The Good

  • Free trial
  • Educational course
  • Track spending habits

For consumers interested in budget software, You Need A Budget (YNAB) offers a full-featured 34-day free trial to demo the software and make sure you get the hang of it. YNAB runs on Windows and Mac operating systems with the capability to sync in-between devices with one license, with free minor updates included.

In addition to the tutorials, they offer a 9-day course that may change the way consumers think about money and their finances. Each day delivers new information and 'rules' on how to plan, manage, and even have fun with your money. YNAB is powerful financial budgeting software with an advanced spread-sheet type format. The following are a few things we like:

  • Free trial
  • Multi-device capabilities
  • Tutorials
  • Free live classes
  • 9-day course
  • Global currencies
  • "All Accounts" view

With their updated budgeting tool you can see your spending habits at a glance and see which transactions got you to where you are financially. They have included an automatic cloud sync option enabling changes to your budget to show up on any device instantly, making it easy to monitor transactions, taking the guess work out when it comes to spending decisions.

With their updated YNAB 4 version they have included what's called "Error Checking" which is enabled by default. This tool flags transactions that require attention. They have added three types of alerts:

  • Reminders for when one or more transactions that have not been approved after importing and when a scheduled transaction has been entered into the register automatically.
  • Warnings whenever one or more approved transactions in a budget account hasn't been categorized.
  • Errors which appear when a transfer from one budget account to another has been recorded with a category.

They have walk-through tutorials that instruct new users of software basics so they can get their account up and running more quickly than ever. They offer free live classes that run daily such as "Getting Started with YNAB", "Budget Workshop", "Improving Workflow" and a few others that may function as an added bonus when it comes to financial education. You Need A Budget supports global currencies, such as:

  • Dollars
  • Euros
  • Pounds
  • Rupees
  • Reals
  • Rands

A new feature, an "All Accounts" view, has been included to enable YNAB users to locate all transactions from their various accounts at one platform. The software also saves automatically at regular intervals, and when you exit out of the program.  This worry-free feature is fantastic in the case that your power goes out or other emergencies arise. YNAB also offers mobile apps for iPhone and Android, plus iPad and Kindle capabilities.

The developers of this software have implemented a variety of security measures to ensure safety of personal information. All sensitive personal information is transmitted via SSL technology and encrypted into their payment gateway provider database. Information is only accessible to those authorized with access rights. Once transactions are entered, private information such as credit cards, social security numbers, financials, etc. are kept for more than 60 days to maintain accurate transactional records for tax compliance purposes.

The Bad

  • Time consuming
  • No automatic transactions

This software enables users to set up accounts by entering in the balance as it currently stands and any pending transactions that may not reflect the total. Users will find that multiple accounts can be merged with goal accounts and a budget can be set under each category, such as car, home, food, etc. Each category may be personalized to suit your needs, and should any issues arise during the process, there is a helpful "Members Forum" where many questions to concerns will be answered. As far as the ease of getting all set up, many consumers have found the process too time consuming and tedious.

While they offer an array of tutorials, many consumers have found that they are simply too time consuming. There is a lot of information to take in when learning to use this software, and if you do watch the tutorials, they'll be well worth your time - and money.

Also, for consumers who've purchased the product, it seems that many don't like that each transaction must be entered in manually when many comparable programs allow for automatic reconciliations.

The Bottom Line

This software forces consumers to take a seat and enter each transaction either on their desktop or mobile device. By using this method, consumers can ensure they can see where every single penny of their hard earned income is going. Although it is more expensive compared to other companies free plans, we believe it is worth your time to check out their free full-featured demo without obligation. Those that use YNAB can expect the following from the service:

  1. Effective budgeting tools
  2. Device syncing
  3. Lack of automation
  4. Limited investing resources


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User Reviews


2 Reviews

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Sort by:
Hailey Nilson
January 7th, 2019 Salt Lake City, UT DETAILS
Value for your money
Quality of product or service
Customer service
Company trustworthiness

You Need A Budget is the perfect app for a poor, naive, college student who is bad with her money. I am so bad with overspending, and this app has really kept me in check.

Gary Shumway
November 13th, 2016 Seattle, WA

YNAB was a very good and helpful software program that helped us get money under control in our reduced income retirement. When they upgraded to the new web-based app, several things have stopped working and/or make no sense! Endless strings of emails to Support have gotten us nowhere because they don't understand what we don't understand. We think being able to talk to someone might help us solve our problems, but they do not offer this service. A great application has died!