YNAB review: Is it worth it?
Budget for every dollar with this detailed app from You Need a Budget.
You Need A Budget (YNAB) is a budgeting app that helps users control their spending and plan ahead for bills, holidays, insurance and the unexpected. But it costs $84 per year.
$84 per year
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Cassidy Horton is a writer for Finder, specializing in banking and kids’ debit cards. She’s been featured on Legal Zoom, MSN, and Consolidated Credit and has a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a Master of Business Administration from Georgia Southern University. When not writing, you can find her exploring the Pacific Northwest and watching endless reruns of The Office.
Expert reviewYNAB, 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.
How much does YNAB cost?YNAB costs $84 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 $84 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:
- Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
- From the official YNAB website, click Start Your Free Trial.
- Enter your email and password and click Start Your Free Trial.
- Read the terms and service and click Agree.
- Answer questions about your budgeting goals and income.
- 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.
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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.
- 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.
- 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.