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You Need A Budget (YNAB) Review: Master your Finances

You Need A Budget (YNAB) Review: Master your Finances

July 23, 2020



Are you in search of the perfect budgeting app to help you take control of your finances? Look no further! In this article, we will provide a comprehensive review of the popular expense tracker, You Need A Budget (YNAB). We will discuss its features, pros and cons, pricing, and even compare it to other budgeting app alternatives on the market.

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Best Budgeting Apps

What is YNAB

You Need A Budget (YNAB) is a budgeting app and desktop tool designed to help users effectively manage their finances. The app focuses on giving you complete control over your money by implementing a unique budgeting approach known as the "Four Rules." This method aims to help users break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, get out of debt, and save more money.

Getting Started with YNAB

Setting up YNAB is a straightforward process. Users can create an account on the YNAB desktop or mobile app and choose from various subscription options. Once signed in, YNAB allows users to import their financial data and connect their bank accounts, ensuring that transactions and balances are automatically synchronized for accurate budgeting.

YNAB Features and Tools

Budgeting and Category Management

YNAB enables users to create a detailed budget by allocating funds to different categories, such as groceries, housing, transportation, and debt payments. It provides a clear overview of how much money is available for each category and tracks spending to help users stay on track.

Goal Setting and Tracking

YNAB encourages users to set financial goals, whether it's saving for a down payment, paying off debts, or planning for a vacation. The platform helps track progress towards these goals and provides motivation to stay committed.

Reporting and Analytics

YNAB offers insightful reports and analytics to help users understand their spending patterns and make informed financial decisions. These reports highlight trends, identify areas where adjustments can be made, and ultimately contribute to better financial management.

Syncing and Mobile App Integration

YNAB provides seamless synchronization across multiple devices, ensuring that users can access and update their budgets from anywhere. The mobile app is particularly useful for tracking expenses on the go and making timely budget adjustments.

YNAB's Unique Approach to Budgeting

YNAB stands out from other budgeting tools due to its rule-based system and emphasis on financial accountability. By giving every dollar a job and planning for future expenses, users gain a comprehensive view of their financial responsibilities and avoid overspending. YNAB encourages users to break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle and build a buffer of money, known as "aging your money," which promotes financial security and stability.

How does YNAB Work

YNAB revolves around these four main principles:

  1. Give Every Dollar a Job: Allocate your income to specific categories, ensuring you have a plan for every dollar before you spend it.

  2. Embrace Your True Expenses: Break down larger, less frequent expenses into manageable monthly amounts, preparing you for future financial obligations.

  3. Roll with the Punches: Adjust your budget as needed when unexpected expenses arise, ensuring you maintain financial balance.

  4. Age Your Money: Work towards spending money that you earned at least 30 days ago, creating a buffer between your income and expenses.

With YNAB, you can sync your bank accounts, track your spending, and monitor your progress toward your financial goals. The ynab budget app also offers a variety of educational resources to help users develop better money management habits.

What are the Pros and Cons of YNAB


  • Effective budgeting system: The Four Rules approach encourages users to be proactive with their finances and focus on long-term goals.

  • Bank synchronization: YNAB supports integration with numerous banks, making it easy to import transactions and keep your budget up-to-date.

  • Educational resources: YNAB offers a wealth of free resources, including blog articles, videos, and even live workshops to help users improve their financial knowledge.

  • Wide platform availability: The app is available on various platforms, including iOS, Android, and YNAB desktop.


  • YNAB cost: YNAB is a paid service, with a monthly or annual subscription fee, which may be a deterrent for some users.

  • Learning curve: The Four Rules methodology may take some time for new users to fully understand and implement.

  • No investment tracking: YNAB does not include investment tracking, which may be a drawback for users who want an all-in-one financial management solution.

What are some Alternatives to YNAB

While YNAB is a powerful budgeting tool, there are alternative options available that may better suit your needs:

  • Acorns: A micro-investing app that rounds up your purchases and invests the spare change. Acorns also offers budgeting features and personalized financial advice.

  • Monarch Money: A comprehensive personal finance app that includes budgeting, expense tracking, net worth tracking, and financial goal-setting.

  • PocketSmith: A personal finance app with robust budgeting and financial planning features, including the ability to create custom scenarios to forecast your financial future.


Is YNAB worth paying for? YNAB's cost might be a consideration for some users. However, if you are serious about taking control of your finances and can commit to using the app consistently, the value provided by YNAB's budgeting tools and resources may justify the subscription fee.

Can YNAB be trusted? YNAB uses bank-level encryption and security measures to protect user data. They do not sell user information to third parties and have a strong track record of trustworthiness.

What banks work well with YNAB? YNAB supports a wide range of banks, including major national and regional institutions. The app is continually updating its list of supported banks, so it is likely that your bank will be compatible.


Developing a budget with a tool like YNAB can be an amazing first step toward financial independence.

In this You Need A Budget (YNAB) review, we've explored the ins and outs of this powerful budgeting app and desktop tool, including its features, pros and cons, and top alternatives. With its unique approach to budgeting and comprehensive expense tracking tools, YNAB has the potential to transform your financial life.

However, it's essential to consider the cost and learning curve before fully committing. Take the time to explore YNAB and its alternatives, and choose the app that best aligns with your financial goals and needs. No matter which tool you select, remember that the key to budgeting success is consistency and dedication. Happy budgeting!

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