How To Use YNAB And Is It Worth It

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If you want to know how to use YNAB, you’ve come to the right place.

In this comprehensive review, you’re going to learn everything you need to know about the You Need A Budget app.

Let’s get started.

What Is The YNAB App?

YNAB is a budgeting app, which stands for You Need A Budget. The basic premise is that by effective budgeting, people who are living paycheck-to-paycheck can improve their financial standing by spending less than they earn.

This app doesn’t provide you information about your net worth nor give you investment advice. This app helps you plan your finances before you spend.

It helps you plan and budget for the bills that are expected so when they come, you have budgeted money on hand. The creator of this app believes you can have financial freedom when you start living off money you earned in the past.

Even if you are not sure how you can start living on past money, YNAB aims to teach you how you can put an end to living paycheck-to-paycheck. YNAB aims to give every dollar of your money a job. This means, not a single dollar sits without a category and YNAB helps you throughout the process.

How To Use YNAB

YNAB’s budgeting functions are similar to those of other popular budgeting programs. To use it, you’ll need to create different categories for tracking your spending.

Is YNAB Worth It

Then, you enter the transactions or import the transaction details from your bank accounts or credit cards. And, then you make an analysis. However, YNAB differs from others in principles.

The basic principles of YNAB are as follows:

1) Every dollar needs a job

This means that you should divide all the money you earn into separate categories of expenditure and savings so that no money is left idle.

This might sound unusual, but it helps to avoid unnecessary spending. If you practice this financial prudence for some time, it is possible to create enough of a balance that you can live off the last month’s earnings.

2) Embrace your true expenses

The goal of this YNAB budgeting principle is to set aside a little money every paycheck to cover some big expenses you expect down the road, such as some kind of yearly bill.

When these big bills roll around, you aren’t caught off-guard. You have been contributing to an account every month, so you’ll handle bigger financial obligations with confidence.

Think of the bills you owe once a year or every six months. These could be tuition payments or dues for example.

Do you panic when they roll around because you are not sure you’ll have the cash? YNAB helps you allocate funds for these bills every month. This gives you more control over your budget and creates a reserve for you.

3) Roll with the punches

It’s possible that in a particular month, you are not able to keep major expenses within the budget. If you have overshot the budget in one category, simply compensate for it in another category.

But if all the categories are showing over-expenditure, you don’t need to stop budgeting. You simply learn from experience and move forward.

4) Age your money

This means that you should start paying the bills from your last month’s paycheck as much as possible. Don’t wait for the paycheck to come for you to make the payments of the bills.

The dashboard will show the age of money, the higher it is the better for you.

How To Join YNAB

You can get started by visiting the YNAB website and trying for free. At the time of this review, the company is offering a free 34-day trial.

You’ll be asked your email address and to create a password initially to get setup. Then once your account is created you can begin adding your accounts to the platform.

The site claims that users usually save $600 in their first 2 months and more than $6,000 for the year.

This platform also offers a referral program that gives you a free month as well as the person you refer a free month when they sign up through your referral link.

How Much Does YNAB Cost Per Month?

YNAB budgeting software is available for $11.99 per month and you can cancel anytime as it’s billed monthly. The company’s annual plan is $84 per year and is a one-time payment billed every year.

The company also offers a 100% money-back guarantee if you aren’t happy with the service.

Is YNAB Worth The Cost?

As I mentioned, YNAB is available for $11.99 per month or with the annual plan, for $84 per year and it seems to put users in strict budgeting mode.

According to the company’s estimates, an average user can save at least $6000 a year. If this is true, YNAB is definitely worth its cost.

What is important is that the app encourages the habit of budgeting and avoiding spending on non-essential items. It also encourages you to save some money every month for a big expense down the road.

It aims to cut down on avoidable expenses, which helps you to save enough money so that you don’t need to wait for the next paycheck to pay bills.

That’s how it tries to get you to a financial situation where you live off old money. The older the money, the better it is.

Is YNAB Safe?

YNAB takes securing your data very seriously and claims to have the same technology that protects the data of the CIA. The banking details that you enter into the YNAB system are protected by encryption and even the staff members cannot access your financial details unless requested by you.

When you cancel your account, your data remains in their system for three years, but you can request through email that it be deleted permanently.

Does YNAB Sync With Bank Accounts?

Once you sign up for the YNAB program, you start getting prompts asking you to connect your bank accounts with YNAB. The linking of bank accounts helps YNAB to import transaction details.

However, you can also use YNAB without linking your bank accounts. For this, you can enter the current balance and transactions manually.

If you are sensitive about sharing your banking login details, you can choose the unlinked option. You can read about the YNAB security features on its website.

Is There A Free Version Of YNAB?

Students can use YNAB for free for one year. They’ll need to send an email to student@ynab.com and provide proof of their enrollment. A student ID and tuition bills are considered sufficient.

Is YNAB Better Than Mint?

YNAB is purely a budgeting software and it does its job fairly well. Within a few months of using YNAB, you’ll start using budgeting techniques almost intuitively.

In contrast, Mint provides more of a report card on how and where you spent your money. Mint’s services are free as it earns its revenue through advertising.

YNAB users don’t have to deal with ads because it’s a paid service. An important distinction between the two budgeting apps is that Mint offers investment and credit score tracking, while YNAB does not. Other features are similar.

Which Is Better Ynab vs EveryDollar?

EveryDollar has basic and automated versions of its budgeting apps. In the basic version, transaction details have to be entered manually, while the automated version is available for an annual subscription or monthly fee.

Like YNAB, EveryDollar also does not offer investment tracking, bill payment, or bill management. It’s a basic program to get you on the budgeting path.

In comparison, YNAB seems to have both a philosophy and an actionable roadmap that makes budgeting an easy task.

YNAB Alternative

There are quite a few budgeting alternatives to YNAB. Below are a few of them.

1) Tiller Money

Tiller Money has features for budgeting, debt payoff, and expense tracking. It uses Google and Excel spreadsheets.

Signing up and linking up to bank accounts involves a similar process as YNAB. But in the case of Tiller, the next step involves the creation of customized spreadsheets where you do the budgeting.

Tiller Money’s subscription fee is $4.92 per month, or $59 annually.

2) Personal Capital

Personal Capital is a comprehensive budgeting program where all your financial details are assembled in one place for better analysis and understanding. After signing up, you link all your financial accounts.

Besides credit and savings accounts, you also link investment, loan and retirement accounts. This gives you a complete picture of your finances and helps you with budgeting.

The basic budgeting program is free of cost, while its advisory plans have a cost.

3) CountAbout

CountAbout is the next level of Quicken, which is yet another budgeting program. Migrating from Quicken to CountAbout is seamless.

It will automatically sync with your quicken data and allows you to rename expenditure categories.

This platform is one of the cheapest budgeting tools on the market. The basic plan costs $9.99 per year, while the premium plan costs $39.99 per year.

4) EveryDollar

EveryDollar has been designed by Dave Ramsey, a well-known expert on personal finance. It claims you can create your monthly budget in under 10 minutes.

It’s an easy and simple program that can be used by anyone with little or no technical skill. EveryDollar has a free version that allows you to feed the data manually.

The automated version – EveryDollar Plus, costs $129 per year (billed annually).

The major difference between YNAB and EveryDollar is YNAB allows bill management and investment tracking, while EveryDollar does not have such features.

Conclusion

The YNAB, You Need A Budget app isn’t easy, but budgeting isn’t easy. The problem for most people is that it takes discipline and a plan. With YNAB, problem solved.

It can be hard to stick with it, but it’s worth a try if you need to organize your finances and have money stashed away for a rainy day.

>> Click here to learn more about YNAB

Here’s a great video overview of the You Need A Budget platform. Enjoy!

YNAB FAQ

How much does YNAB cost per month?

YNAB is available for a monthly subscription of $11.99 per month.

How much is a YNAB subscription?

YNAB budgeting software is available for $11.99 per month and you can cancel anytime as it’s built monthly. The company’s annual plan is $84 per year and is a one-time payment billed every year.

Is YNAB worth the cost?

YNAB is available for $11.99 per month or with the annual plan for $84 per year and it seems to put user in strict budgeting mode. According to the company’s estimates, an average user can save at least $6000 a year. If this is true, YNAB is definitely worth its cost.

Is there a free version of YNAB?

Students can use YNAB for free for one year. They’ll need to send an email to student@ynab.com and provide proof of their enrollment. A student ID and tuition bills are considered sufficient. There is also a 34-day free trial, after which you’ll need to subscribe to a paid monthly or yearly plan.

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