You Need A Budget (YNAB) is one of the most user-friendly accounting programs on the market. It has been around for almost a decade now, and it has helped many people put their finances in order. People nowadays are busy, and they tend to lose track of what they are earning and what they are spending. Personal finance software like YNAB is one of the most efficient ways to start saving and stop spending money and review your money goals.
The Goal of YNAB
The goal of You Need a Budget is to help you rearrange your finances to such a point that you will be living on your previous month’s paycheck (claim from their website) rather than your latest income. This should provide you with a buffer in case of unexpected financial emergencies.
YNAB can be installed on multiple computers, regardless of whether it was purchased from the Mac App Store or Steam. This means that all members of your household can access the budget management benefits offered by the software. To ensure that you can access your budget from any device, YNAD encourages you to sync it with Dropbox. You need to feed details of your Dropbox account into the application, and it will automatically manage the synchronization between different computers and any mobile Apps.
YNAB comes with an in-built tutorial that pops out as help windows to explain what different categories and boxes mean. What’s more, there are online live classes that can teach how to:
- Allocate a task for every dollar;
- Have something saved for a rainy day;
- Roll with the (financial) punches, and;
- Strive to live on last month’s income.
The dashboard looks just like a corporate budget. At the top, you can check the amount that you have available to include in your budget and the balance that you have “over-budgeted” or “under-budgeted”. It’s one of the features we really like about the YNAB software, where you can quickly review where your finances are.
You will need to insert estimates on how much cash you will spend on various things within the month. These categories include medical bills, living expenses, donations, etc. The software keeps prompting you till you’ve budgeted for every single dollar you have, including the cash you wish to set aside for emergency funds and savings.
Whenever you spend any money, you enter the amount into the application as a transaction. What’s more, you are allowed to enter recurring payments, which means that regular transactions such as your wages (incoming) and rent (outgoing) can be automated. These transactions will be marked “uncleared” till you approve them. These scheduled transactions are displayed on a separate screen too.
Separate columns are provided for each month’s planned budget, your actual expenditure and the difference between the two, which indicates whether your spending exceeds or not your budget and whether you should take any action to limit your expenses for this month. Your goal should be to keep your spending as close to the budgeted amount for each category as possible. Moreover, you don’t have to worry if, at first, you find yourself wide off the mark – the program will talk you through all sorts of issues and show you how to manage them.
Flexibility is one of You Need A Budget’s greatest strengths. While inexperienced users get a lot of guidance from the program, it allows knowledgeable users to customize practically anything in the App. You can delete and create new categories, subcategories, add notes and generally futz with any feature. Other features include:
- The Phone App – The YNAB App is available on both the android and iOS platform and it allows you to log transactions on the go as they happen, and;
- Reports – This software has some nice inbuilt reporting tools. It provides spending trends similar to that are similar to ordinary budget breakdown percentages.
Cons of You Need a Budget
For the least tech-savvy users, fully utilising what YNAB offers might be a challenge at first. But this con also has a pro; YNAB offers fantastic customer support. They offer online classes almost daily. We think the classes feature is one of the best aspects of the YNAB software and certainly worth a review.
Another disadvantage is the price. There are free alternatives like Mint, but YNAB offers support that you would not expect from a free app. In addition, it might be a bit of a chore for some to record every single transaction that happens. However, if you want the benefits an application like this offers, you will need to put in some effort!