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YNAB
On YNAB's secure site
Fee
$99 per year
Minimum deposit to open
$0

Our verdict

Budget for every dollar with this detailed app from You Need a Budget.

YNAB, or You Need A Budget, is a great tool to help you get your finances under control. It uses the zero-based budgeting method, which means you assign every dollar of income to a specific budgeting category.

I've been using the app since 2015 and it's helped me pay off $18,000 in student loan debt, build a six-month emergency fund, turn my negative net worth into a positive one and so much more.

The interface isn't as sleek as other apps, so there's a bit of a learning curve. And it costs $84 a year. In my situation, YNAB has more than paid for itself. But other people may find a cheaper alternative that meets their budgeting needs.

Pros

  • Free 34-day trial
  • Flexible budgeting
  • 100+ free weekly online workshops

Cons

  • Hefty subscription fee
  • Busy interface compared to other budgeting apps

In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • Your reviews
  • Ask a question

How much does YNAB cost?

YNAB costs $99 a year. But the app offers a 34-day free trial — and you don’t have to put in your credit card information to sign up.

If you’re looking for a budgeting app that doesn’t cost $99 a year, check out our budgeting guide for beginners to compare other ways to save.

How do I open a YNAB account?

Sign up for your free YNAB trial through its website or mobile app.

To sign up through the website:

  1. Select Apply now.
  2. From the official YNAB website, click Start Your Free Trial.
  3. Enter your email and password and click Start Your Free Trial.
  4. Read the terms and service and click Agree.
  5. Answer questions about your budgeting goals and income.
  6. Link bank accounts and create your budget.

How does YNAB work?

YNAB works from an app on your smartphone, computer, Apple Watch, tablet or Alexa device.

The app itself breaks things down into five tabs:

  • Budget. This is the meat of the app. It allows you to set budgets for different categories and subcategories and track how much of your budget you’ve spent so far.
  • Accounts. From here you can sync bank accounts to YNAB and view accounts you’ve already linked. If your bank isn’t listed on the YNAB app, you can enter your bank balance and details manually.
  • Transaction. You can record your transactions and give a description of what it’s for, when it cleared and for how much. The app will automatically factor it into your budget.
  • Reports. This tab shows you how old your money is and helps you track your net worth.
  • Help. From here you can find answers to common questions, access free online workshops and articles and chat with the support team.

Compare top budgeting software

Name Product Fee Budgeting Methodology Linked bank account Features Offer
Monarch
Bonus
Monarch
$14.99 per month
zero-based budgeting, envelope budgeting
  • Invite a partner or advisor for free
  • Sync all investments in one view
  • Track spending with clear charts
Offers a free 7-day trial
Go to site
Bonus
YNAB
$99 per year
The YNAB Method
  • 100+ free weekly online workshops
  • Breakdown of your income and spending
  • Share your subscription with up to six people
Offers a free 34-day trial
Rocket Money
Rocket Money
From $0 per month
50/30/20 rule, envelope system or use the Rocket Money app to create your own budget category on your phone.
  • Track subscriptions; get cancellation assistance with premium
  • Receive alerts for low checking balances or high credit spending
Go to site
Empower Personal Cash
$0 per month
Activity-based budgeting
  • Built-in spend tracking and budgeting
  • Unlimited number of monthly transfers
  • Simplify your family finances with a joint account
Quicken
Bonus
Quicken
From $2 per month
Zero-based budgeting, envelope budgeting, 50-30-20, and more
  • Real-time alerts
  • Fully customizable reports and transactions
  • Personalized debt plan with the Deluxe plan
30-day money-back guarantee. New customers get 40% off their membership for the first year. Available through June 17, 2024.

Go to site
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Is YNAB safe to use?

YNAB has a number of measures to keep your details safe. First, your information is password protected and secured by industry-level encryption. Your data is only held for a limited time, and all account-pairing technology is of the highest standard.

What are the pros and cons of YNAB?

YNAB has quite the cult following. Here’s a rundown of what users like and dislike about the software.

Pros

  • Free 34-day trial. YNAB doesn’t ask for any credit card information, so you don’t have to worry about paying a fee if you don’t cancel in time.
  • Flexible budgeting. YNAB gives you an in-depth breakdown of your income and offers tools to help you budget with a partner or child. If you overspend, you can easily move money from another category to cover it.
  • 100+ free weekly online workshops. As a company that’s all about education, YNAB hosts 20-minute workshops every week aimed at helping you master the art of budgeting.

Cons

  • Hefty subscription fee. YNAB costs more than other platforms, but it’s free for college students and anyone can get a discount when they sign up for the referral program.
  • Busy interface compared to other budgeting apps. The most common complaint with YNAB is that it’s difficult to figure out at first due to its busy interface. But if offers several online workshops to help you learn the ropes.

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