YNAB Review: You Need a Budget 2020

You Need a Budget, also known as YNAB, is a popular budgeting program that help you create a budget in a unique way. If you are considering to get your budget on track from now on, keep reading our full YNAB reviews and see if YBAB is the best budgeting tools for you.

Note: This review is part of our roundup of the best budgeting software. Here are a few articles to see how YNAB compare with other budgeting apps:

YNAB vs. Quicken: Which Budget App Should You Use in 2020

YNAB vs EveryDollar: Similarities, Differences, Pros & Cons

Mint vs. YNAB 2020 | Is YNAB or Mint Better for Budgeting

YNAB Review

YNAB Features

First of all, let’s take a glance of the main features of YNAB to understand what it can help you basically.

Price$11.99/Month; $84/Year
Free Trial34 days
AccessWeb Based, iOS, Android
Budgeting
Investment Tracking
Bill Management
Reconcile Transactions
Custom Categories
Import QFX, QIF Files
Two-Factor Authentication
Online Synchronization
Bill Payment×
Credit Score Monitoring×
Retirement Planning×
Tax Reporting×

Key Feature:

😊 On the Go

Real-time access to all your budget data across multiple devices means you can budget with a partner and always have the info you need to make good spending decisions.

😊 Goal Tracking

Go beyond an expense tracker. Set goals and immediately see when you’ll be able to reach them.

😊 Reporting Bliss

Detailed, visual spending and trend reports help you measure progress and improve.

😊 Bank Syncing

Easily connect all your accounts in one place and import your transactions, so you always have up-to-date information.

😊 Transaction Matching

Prefer to enter transactions yourself? You can! YNAB will match up imported transactions with those you enter yourself so your account balances are always accurate.

😊 Personal Support

YNAB’s support team is available via email, live chat, and offer 100+ free, live budgeting workshops every week.

The 4 Rules of YNAB

YNAB’s overall strategy is based on four rules that help you set up a budget, get out of debt, save money and stop living paycheck to paycheck.

📖 Rule #1: Give Every Dollar a Job 

When you receive a paycheck, assign it to your expense categories before you spend it.

📖 Rule #2: Embrace Your True Expenses

Set money aside every month for those large, less-frequent expenses so that you’re ready when the bills come in.

📖 Rule #3: Roll with the Punches

Things can and will go wrong! Move money around to cover categories where you overspend.

📖 Rule #4: Age your money

By consistently spending less than you earn, you’ll work toward using last month’s pay on this month’s expenses.

How Does YNAB Work?

YNAB works similar to many other budgeting programs. You create the categories, import or enter your transactions, and see how you fare. However, with the guidance of the 4 rules of YNAB, you may manage your money more effective.

Step 1. Customize your monthly budget based on your spending categories and financial goals.

Step 2. Sign up YNAB.

Step 3. Add bank accounts by either linking them automatically or leave them as “unlinked.” You’ll have to enter transactions with all unlinked accounts. Checking and savings accounts along with credit cards and investment accounts can all be linked

Step 4. Once you are paid, remember to assign it to your expense categories. To make things faster YNAB offers a “Quick Budget” setup where it lists the most commonly used budgeting categories. 

Step 5. Track your spending in each category throughout the month. You’ll either enter your purchases manually or YNAB will import them. The simple color-coding with YNAB can also keep you on track. Green means you have dollars available, orange indicates that a category is underfunded and red is a sign that you’ve overspent.

Step 6. YNAB includes customizable reports that break down your income and expenses by category, account, and time frame. 

YNAB Report

Is YNAB App Safe?

YNAB promises to keep your information encrypted and secure, and makes its full security policy publicly available. You don’t need to mess with security settings on your device to protect your data. YNAB offers built-in end-to-end data protection with bank-grade 128-bit encryption. YNAB uses industry-renowned infrastructure based on Amazon Web Services (AWS) technology.  Believe it or not, that means that YNAB users have access to the same level of physical and data security as many government agencies, including the CIA.

Your YNAB account password is one-way salted and hashed using multiple iterations of a key derivation function for passwords, according to YNAB’s website. 

Also, YNAB has been around since 2004. There is no security complains.

How Much is a YNAB Subscription?

YNAB costs $11.99 per month or $84 per year to use, and there is a free trial for 34 days. Why 34 days? those extra four days give you a little time to see what it’s like to spend a full month budgeting with YNAB. There’s no credit card required to try it.

Students may receive one year of free service by emailing student@ynab.com and providing proof of your enrollment. Your student ID, tuition bill, or transcripts usually suffice.

YNAB Price

YNAB Review: Pros and Cons

PROS

  • Free trial period of 34 days (no credit card required for trial).
  • Personal budgeting app built on a solid philosophy.
  • Syncs with over 12,000 banks.
  • Great tutorials and education material.
  • Syncs with multiple devices (iPhone, iPad, Android, Apple Watch, Alexa and PC ).

CONS

  • More expensive than the mostly free competition.
  • There is a steep learning curve.
  • Not great for investment tracking.
  • You can’t call customer service.
  • Your data isn’t erased for three years after canceling.

YNAB Review: My Suggestion

Here’s my suggestion: If you are struggling to save money, pay down debt, or pay your bills on time, take YNAB up on its 34-day free trial and spend some time to learn the method. Even if you don’t want to pay for YNAB finally, it’s good to apply the 4 rules of YNAB when manage your money.

Have you tried out YNAB before? Let us know your experience below!

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