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    • Naomim
    • By Naomim 20th Feb 17, 1:25 PM
    • 1,218Posts
    • 2,931Thanks
    What Exactly is YNAB and is it worth it?
    • #1
    • 20th Feb 17, 1:25 PM
    What Exactly is YNAB and is it worth it? 20th Feb 17 at 1:25 PM
    I've been reading through a few Debt Free diaries and one thing that pops up all the time is YNAB. Took me a while to work out it meant You Need A Budget

    I've had a quick search but there's nothing like getting the low-down from people that actually use it day in day out.

    What exactly is it? Is it free? Is it worth having? Why is it different from any other budgeting app? What are the pro's & cons?


    CC's Nov16 18,609.97 / Jun17 21032.03 Overdraft 06/17 4577.44 07/17 4505.35
    Aiming for a debt free date: April 2024
    2 savings club #26 lost count but still collecting!
    Here's my diary: A Ditherer's Diary Again
Page 2
    • EssexHebridean
    • By EssexHebridean 22nd Feb 17, 12:06 PM
    • 8,719 Posts
    • 46,015 Thanks
    I'm another non-YNAB'er - I've looked at it a few times but so far I can't see why I want to pay for something which is (to me, and I stress this is MY opinion, for the way I work) a more complicated of duplicating what I do in "real time" anyway. To explain...

    The way we work our finances is lots of little "pots" - effectively it's a real-life, 3-D "envelope system". As offshoots of our current accounts we have assorted savings accounts for all sorts of things. Joint money (everything that isn't our own personal allocated (and budgeted!) personal spending money starts out in the joint account, and I know precisely what bills go out, when, and for how much already. Initially I did this on a spreadsheet - now, after all these years later - I just know. So starting with that figure that has to be allocated - that tells me what is left for savings etc. I also have a set amount that I allocate for diesel, and random household food spends - although those are mostly covered from elsewhere.

    At a set date every month, automated transfers set up by us go out of the account to covered budgeted costs like annual car spends, a household contingency fund, holiday, a "fun account" for random joint days out etc, christmas & other presents, and a few other things. There are also a few transfers that go out to savings - regular savers and an ISA, essentially to maximise the interest we get on what we save. There is a sum left for contingency in the joint account - and any surplus from this at the end of the month goes straight to one or other savings account.

    We put all spending on a cash-back paying credit card unless it costs us money to do so. when the CC bill comes in we reckon it up and transfer money to pay the bill IN FULL as would say from either our personal accounts, or the assorted "pots".

    We work on a "zero>zero" basis on our joint account - ie there is an overdraft facility there but we don't factor it in. The contingency sum left in there each month is designed that if something comes out early, or for a little more than we were expecting, that sum covers it without us going into OD. On my personal account I work with a 100 cushion as "zero" as my OD fees are a little higher so I put that in place for safety. Person spends never come from the joint account - that money is not either of ours to spend individually.

    We've been working with this method since around 2008 I think - and for us, and allowing that Nationwide have a good deal of flexibility on accounts etc, it works really well for us. I check the banking regularly - at least every few days - so can quickly pick up on anything out of the ordinary.

    Just an alternative view which may give people some food for thought.
    MORTGAGE FREE 30/09/2016
    Sainsbugs 0% card: 22/12/16 1229.00/1035.63 (09/07/18)
    SOA Calculator for DFW newbies: SOA Calculator
    • -taff
    • By -taff 22nd Feb 17, 12:20 PM
    • 7,435 Posts
    • 5,504 Thanks
    One plus for me is that I only need one main bank account with ynab and no extra ones, since all the enveloping is done in the app.
    This works for me at the moment because I have a bank account that pays interest, so it's in my interest to keep the balance in it as high as possible. I make more in interest on that account than I would gain by having lots of little ones
    I do have a couple of savings accounts that also pay interest, so the money just gets transferred out of the main one to those.
    • abby1234519
    • By abby1234519 22nd Feb 17, 2:15 PM
    • 1,899 Posts
    • 3,031 Thanks
    I've used classic YNAB since 2015 but started trialling the new version (again) last week). I originally looked at it when it came out and, like you, couldn't get my head around it. It just wasn't like the YNAB I knew.

    My plan was to run both versions for a month (whilst new YNAB is on a trial plan) and make a decision then. Just one week in and I am completely sold on the new YNAB. I've stopped updating classic YNAB already.

    I did watch the training videos for the new YNAB this time rather than assume 'I know what I am doing'. I think it's even better than the original.
    Originally posted by January2015
    Honestly - I've watched the videos and I've read the guidance...I still don't get it. I just don't know whats wrong with me!!! I really like planning for the future which is one of the reasons I love old YNAB. arghhhhh
    Money money money.

    Dec 2016: 25,158.71 21,999.99

    #28 Pay off debt in 2017 3803.55
    • bugslet
    • By bugslet 22nd Feb 17, 2:23 PM
    • 6,226 Posts
    • 29,806 Thanks
    I hated it, possibly because I prefer pen and paper.

    You can replicate YNAB with pen and paper and it's a darn sight cheaper!

    I think it depends on your personality.
    • angelpye
    • By angelpye 22nd Feb 17, 5:11 PM
    • 942 Posts
    • 3,750 Thanks
    I am a new YNAB user and love it so far. I like being able to move money around should a bill be slightly higher and knowing at a glance of the app where everything stands. I think its definitely good for those of us who need to retrain our view of money as you have to input what your money is doing.
    Happiness is wanting what you have...
    Debt Jan 2017: 2589.22 DFD: Sept 2022 April 2022 but this Marching Minimalist can beat that!
    Use it or Loose it gym target: Feb'17 5/6 Mar 4/6
    EF 0/4200
    • SeduLOUs
    • By SeduLOUs 22nd Feb 17, 5:35 PM
    • 2,097 Posts
    • 2,487 Thanks
    Also work in finance and a YNAB convert.

    The problem I found with applying my work way of thinking or using other apps is that it was always looking back at what I had spent and realising after the event that I'd spent too much.

    YNAB is simple at it's core, it's just an envelope budgeting system. But now I look at it BEFORE I spend instead of after. The budget isn't static. I might have run out of money in my clothing category and see a pair of shoes I really want, it doesn't necessarily mean I can't have the shoes, it just means I need to reshuffle and maybe move the money from my restaurant category instead.

    It makes my decisions far more conscious. I can see if I genuinely have to say no because I actually can't afford something (i.e. there is no spare money in my non-essential categories) or I make a conscious decision to sacrifice something I'd planned for something I now want instead.

    Well worth the annual subscription in my humble opinion. Yes, spreadsheets do work fine but it's a lot harder to view and update things at the point you are about to spend as opposed to after the event which is really the entire point of this sort of system.
    • kindofagilr
    • By kindofagilr 25th Feb 17, 8:11 AM
    • 6,218 Posts
    • 20,956 Thanks
    I love spreadsheets but gave YNAB a try when you could buy it for a one off payment, but went back to my spreadsheets. Last year I tried again, but it didn't last long and again went back to my spreadsheets. I prefer spreadsheets as I can change them to suit how I work with my money and I can do this as many times as I like. I don't like that I can't change anything in YNAB but have to work how it is set up. This is just me, I think I have to be in control of everything I would definitely not pay per month though as presumably once you stop paying you lose the functionality of it (not sure about this??).

    Its up to personal preference as I know many people wouldn't do without it
    Originally posted by Mysteek
    This is how I think I would be. I love my spreadsheet, and have no issues in any month of running out of money or anything now I have a good budget spreadsheet on the go (I used to fail to manage money big time)
    POAMAYC 2018 #87 Paid 7741.33/12,000 ~ 55.01%
    POAMAYC 2017 #87 Paid 10,380.18/10,000 ~ 104%
    POAMAYC 2016 #87 Paid 7454.80/7000 ~ 106%

    Mortgage (Start Date 01/04/09 ~ 30 year term, due to end 01/07/39)
    104,409/84,580.30 (as of 31/05/18) ~ 18.99% Paid

    Christmas Savings 2018: 270 Cash ~ Amazon Vouchers: 50
    Cyprus 2019 Savings: 500/6000 ~ Centre Parcs 2019 Savings: 0/1500

    My Debt Free Diary (Link)
    • TheMsTeal
    • By TheMsTeal 10th Sep 17, 7:36 PM
    • 304 Posts
    • 1,099 Thanks
    It's in dollars!?
    Debt Free Day Target: November 2018

    2 Savers Club 2017: no 41
    • Frogletina
    • By Frogletina 10th Sep 17, 10:33 PM
    • 3,068 Posts
    • 11,108 Thanks
    It's in dollars!?
    Originally posted by TheMsTeal
    Ynab supports lots of different currencies.

    I expect you have the new Ynab, so unfortunately I cannot explain how you can amend on that as I am on Ynab 4, but there is a drop down on Ynab4 where you can amend the budget properties, so I expect it will be similar with the new Ynab.

    Not Rachmaninov
    But Nyman
    The heart asks for pleasure first

    SPC 8 #441 1567.31 SPC 9 #441 1014.64 SPC 10 #441 1164.13
    • Narola1976
    • By Narola1976 11th Sep 17, 6:34 AM
    • 97 Posts
    • 305 Thanks
    I love love YNAB....Not just for the actual software but for the logic and principles behind it. That has made the world of difference...recognising that if you budget for your true expenses you won't get further into debt was mind blowing in its simplicity. But very very effective
    HSBC CC 7150.15 - 6524.68 ~~~ Barclay Card 7894.74 7846.32 ~~~ MBNA 1 10382.67 - 10272.67 ~~~ MBNA 2 7214.28 - 7062.94 ~~~Argos 202.05 - 100.05 ~~~ HSBC Loan 399.27 - 0 ~~~ Hitachi Loan 24.12 - 0 ~~~ Car Loan 14745.60 - 14008.32
    TOTAL 48012.88 - 45814.98 (Paid 2197.90 so far)
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