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  • You Need A Budget (YNAB) - Personal Finance Software
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You Need A Budget (YNAB) - Personal Finance Software

Platform : Windows, Mac OS X
4 customer reviews

Currently unavailable.
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  • Mac OS X, Linux, Windows, (Windows 7 / Vista/ XP / 95, / 98 / 2000 / ME / NT) Mac OS X (10.4.11 / 10.5.4 / 10.5.5 / 10.6), Linux (Fedora 8 and later / Ubuntu 7.10 and later / OpenSuse 10.3 and later)
  • Stop living paycheck to paycheck - Get out of debt - Save more money faster
  • Benefit from four unique, powerful rules for maximizing control over your money
  • Gain financial peace by tracking all of your spending (dining out, groceries, bills) with one simple interface
  • Be up and running in just minutes, also save time by importing your bank transactions

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System Requirements

  • Platform:    Windows, Mac OS X
  • Media: CD-ROM

Product details

  • Delivery Destinations: Visit the Delivery Destinations Help page to see where this item can be delivered.
  • ASIN: B000QO76HU
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,188 in Software (See Top 100 in Software)

Product Description

Praised across the internet as hands-down the "best budgeting software", You Need A Budget (YNAB) cuts to the chase with your finances. The software focuses you on the foundation of your finances: the Budget. Experience has shown that when your budget is intact, and functioning correctly, everything else takes care of itself (the bills are paid on time, retirement contributions are made, and unnecessary debt is eliminated). The software is built around Four Rules of Cash Flow. These Four Rules will help you break the paycheck to paycheck cycle, get out of debt, and save more money faster. Where other software packages tend to be the products of years of feature creep, YNAB offers you exactly what you need: a simple, straightforward system to manage your money. Remember to take advantage of YNAB's fantastic support resources: video tutorials, and free live budgeting classes for any and all interested! YNAB is built on the powerful Adobe AIR platform, which means you can run it on Windows, Mac, or Linux!

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Saorsa on 8 Aug. 2011
This is fantastic software, i can't recommend it highly enough.

It's easy to pick up and get started, it's incredibly flexible to adapt to different situations and preferences, and it's also gorgeously designed and graceful in it's execution. There's a free 7-day trial, and a vibrant and helpful online forum of staff team and experienced users to answer any question you can come up with. There's also a fantastic set of introductory information and online video tutorials.

At it's heart, YNAB is a tool which helps you visualise and allocate how you *need* to, and how you *want* to spend your money. This is the budget part. It has some values embedded in it: decide where every penny is going; allocate for large expenses regularly; reduce here if you overspend there; live on last month's income. As part of this process you will be tracking how you actually *do* spend your money: this is the account-tracking part, complete with import from bank accounts, which will likely be familiar to users of other financial software packages. These two elements combined make for a very grounded and responsive personal finance system, which in slow-motion, looks like this: Money comes in. You budget it. You refer to those budget allocations (or not) when making spending decisions ~ but your spending is reflected back in the budget (via account tracking) ~ you review the budget and adjust if necessary. Repeat until it's second nature, any red numbers dimish, and your financial wellbeing flourishes!

These days, if i want to know what i can spend, i don't look in my purse, or check my account balances - i check my YNAB category balances.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Guy Liddell on 3 Jan. 2013
Just a quick note to say I thoroughly endorse the earlier review. In addition, setting the home currency to GBP is easy and through iPhone app and Dropbox, can access and update my accounts from my mobile phone too!

Excellent; buy with confidence
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I'll start by saying I didn't buy this from amazon, I downloaded it through the Steam sale last year but I felt I needed to leave a review. It has to be the must important purchase I have ever made. They have taught me to be aware of my money and to budget money appropriately to different categories, how to handle debt, how to save... handle spending for emergencies. I used to be reckless with my money, I didn't have a clue. This company really cares about it's customers, they have a blog, regular podcast and videos/seminars. The support is great. They have literally saved my life because of the amount of stress and anxiety they have lifted from my shoulders, I'd have happily paid double the full price if I could have seen a year into the future. I am not exaggerating the value I have gotten from these people, the software itself works very well, but it's the way they teach you to use it that really makes the difference and also the moral support you get by following their posts. The way they take care of you puts them miles ahead of anything else out there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Helen in Kent (UK) on 24 Dec. 2014
its absolutely fab! I've been using it a few years and it has really changed my perception of money and stopped me going overdrawn nearly as oiften. This year I'm ending 88-quid in hand; not much I know, but when living on benefits (out of necessity) it is a huge amount! I wonder if I can better that this time next year. I know one thing - I'll still be a YNABer!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 267 reviews
382 of 396 people found the following review helpful
Straightforward, solid BUDGETING software 23 Nov. 2007
By Ted Wallace - Published on Amazon.com
I earn a good living. Yet earlier this year, several months after buying a house and getting settled back into the swing of things I couldn't escape the notion that my family was living beyond its means.

And we were. And YNAB helped me see it.

I'd previously used Quicken and Microsoft Money in an effort to do budgeting to no real effect. The truth is, Quicken and Money are more about having fancy checkbook registers than they are about helping you identify and conform to a budget. This is where they fail.

YNAB is straightforward and it does one thing, and one thing only -- it helps you create and manage a budget. With careful record keeping, you can do the same thing YNAB does with a pen and paper, or with Excel -- but the software is simple and easy-to-use and readily imports transactions (without fail) from my banking institutions.

I used to worry that the number in my checking account may not be enough to make everything come together. I can unequivocally state that now... I just don't care. Because of YNAB, I absolutely know that there's always money enough for anything that's going to come along.

YNAB has helped me exercise some discipline and do so without significant data entry or long, tortured sessions at the computer. If you're looking for something to help you manage your budget this is the software you should get. Ignore the name brands that simply aren't up to the task.
346 of 361 people found the following review helpful
Great software 17 May 2007
By Cady - Published on Amazon.com
YNAB Rocks! In a truly frightening kind of "I spend that much money on THAT!" way but in a great way because you can see the impact of your daily coffee habit on your car insurance payment 6 months away.

YNAB allows you account for all your annual bills in 1/12 increments and then when they roll around the money is there to pay for them.

The heart of the YNAB system is a "buffer" which is comprised of last months paychecks in order to allow you to save this months paychecks. You can only live on last months money that you have budgeted into categories beforehand. The premise is that you are never broke and will not have to worry about fluctuations in income if you are living on what you have ALREADY earned.

So the buffer is one full months income. So I'm earning May's income and it is just pouring into my checking and sitting there. Also sitting there is all of April's income. April's income is what I'm paying my current bills with. May is accruing. And I'm budgeting for June's expenses with an eye to leftover April income instead of instantly using Mays.

The way I'm beginning to think of it is: Quicken is a snapshot of yesterday. YNAB is a crystal ball showing me the future.

This is a stand alone piece of software that can download transactions right from your bank so if you use a debit card you don't need to enter receipts for things. I can also say the tech support is the most amazing I have ever dealt with. I sent in a bug report and within 15 minutes had email waiting for me telling me to delete a particular font and then it worked perfectly.

Two thumbs way up but only if you want to see all the leaks in your money handling.
129 of 132 people found the following review helpful
YNAB is not like Quicken... 15 May 2011
By Mark Baker - Published on Amazon.com
...and wasn't intended to be. I've been a Quicken user since the DOS days (around 20 years), and have tired of the level of detail I need to track and the time it takes to do it. For those previous reviewers complaining that the positive reviews sound like propaganda (I'm paraphrasing), I assure you I have no connection with the company at all, and had never heard of YNAB until quite recently. This review is of YNAB 3.

Before buying YNAB, you must understand what it is and, perhaps more importantly, what it is not. YNAB is not an accounting system, it's a *household* budgeting system. Its "accounting" features are intentionally sparse - the intent is for users to focus on budgeting rather than accounting. If you're intent on finding a Quicken clone, stop reading and look elsewhere. On the other hand if, like me, you've never had much luck with the budgeting parts of quasi-accounting packages like Quicken and/or if you're tired of spending so much time keeping track of your finances, give YNAB a shot.

YNAB didn't make a lot of sense to me at first, but after attending the free into webinar I was offered via email as soon as I downloaded the trial it all made sense. It boils down to an envelope budgeting system (with a twist), and I find it to be very well done. The point of YNAB is not to track every detail of your household finances, but to help you plan ahead through accurate, effective, and simple budgeting. The holy grail of the YNAB method is what the company refers to as the "YNAB buffer", which simply means spending last month's income this month (in perpetuity). Doing this makes planning and budgeting much simpler, not to mention drastically reducing the financial stresses of life, and the program itself can actually help you get there.

When I first looked at YNAB I thought, "how am I going to track my investments, and my paycheck deductions, and etc., etc." But why have I been doing all that anyway? What good has it done to track it in Quicken when all that information is readily available on Web sites maintained by my employer, my bank, and my investment firm? Giving up all that useless detail really can help you focus on budgeting, and in my opinion that's the most important thing - plus I don't need to spend nearly as much time as I used to spend with Quicken. I have had no problems with accuracy in any way; YNAB 3 includes an automatic error checking feature that does a good job of preventing the kinds of issues a few other reviewers have reported. I love it, and I won't be going back to Quicken.

Having said all that, sure, there are a couple of things I miss from Quicken. Automatic transaction download into the program would be nice (the developers are reportedly working on that), and I'd like to see a demarcation line in the register between past and future transactions along with current and future balances. In all honesty, though, that's about it.

The only technical issue I've run into so far was when downloading and importing transactions using QFX files (which is actually pretty painless, BTW). I've had two incidents in which an imported transaction was incorrectly matched to an identical but already cleared transaction from a week earlier. In both cases, the matched transactions were actually transactions that I downloaded and imported to populate my account when I first installed the program, and had never been "matched" before. This didn't cause me any serious problems; I merely unmatched the transaction, deleted the resulting "new" transaction, and manually marked the correct transaction as cleared (about 10 seconds). I submitted a bug report on that yesterday and received an email back from the company within 24 hours looking for more information - on a Sunday! YNAB the company is one of the most user-focused software companies I've ever run across. They've provided great support so far, and the forum is another excellent source.

Bottom line: If you're most concerned with keeping track of your financial history, as Quicken is, then you'd be better served by Quicken or a similar product. YNAB is not that product. If you want to budget effectively while investing minimal time in record-keeping, on the other hand, you owe it to yourself to give YNAB a chance. Should you decide to try it, you should DEFINITELY attend the Intro to YNAB webinar, which is offered on a regular basis.
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Excellent software 22 Aug. 2011
By C. Stephens - Published on Amazon.com
Much has been written about the features and capabilities of YNAB so I won't repeat all that here. I'll just make a few points and give my take on a few common criticisms which in my opinion are overblown.

** Automation **

YNAB does not provide fully automated downloading of your financial data (i.e. cannot enter account information into YNAB and tell it to fetch your transactions on a periodic basis). As such, some people complain that it is that it is "like balancing a checkbox 24x7".

In a word: "No".

True - it isn't 100% automated like some programs (though the YNAB folks say they're working on it), but this DOES NOT mean that you need to enter every transaction manually. You need to go to your bank or card's website, and use the "export" or "download" function to download account transactions to your computer in file. This is usually QFX or QIF format. Then you just double click the file and it automatically imports into YNAB. If you use QFX (the preferred, newer format) then YNAB is able to determine those that have already been imported so you don't get duplicates. Most banks/cards supports QFX. [You do have to manually watch out for duplicates if you use QIF format.]

To put this in perspective, it adds roughly 1 minute to every account you track in YNAB. This is a HUGE timesaver compared to manually entering 100% of your transactions, particularly for anyone who is used to tracking things manually in a spreadsheet.

** Ease of use **

Does it do things differently than you might expect? Yes. You have to invest some time during the trial period. If you don't spend the time to learn it you will not like it - it's that simple. If you take the time to really learn the program then there's a good chance you'll like it. YNAB provides a generous trial period when you can get your money back if you don't like it. Once I got a handle on how it worked I was surprised how well it was able to handle things like business trip expenses that must be reimbursed, planning for future expenses (emergency fund, big ticket items, etc), and incorporating *all* banking and card accounts into a single budget.

Other info:

- This program is for handling budget and managing your credit cards, checking/savings accounts, and cash flow. It is not for mortgage or investments or other kinds of financial things. If you bought it to do these things then you bought the wrong product. It handles budgeting and it is very good that.

- I'd like to see an iPad app, and I'd like to see the iPhone app improved. The iPhone app isn't really that useful compared to the main program.

- A majority of the consumer-grade financial software programs only gives you a static view of what you *spent*. YNAB does that, but it also helps you budget and plan for *future* expenses. In my opinion this is what makes the program so valuable.

- The reports functionality is a little weak compared to the rest of the program.

- You can put your YNAB database file in a shared Dropbox folder and use YNAB on multiple computers (e.g. home and office). Great, if unintended, feature.

- I like that it is a one-off purchase, instead of an ongoing (e.g. monthly) fee to use it, like some competing products.

- The support forum on their website is fantastic. Lots of people willing to help and they provide quality responses. The developers (a very small group of folks) participate regularly. Try getting that kind of support from Microsoft or Intuit.

Personally, YNAB has cut down the amount of time I spend managing my daily budgeting and cash flow. If I do it a few times a week, it takes me just a few minutes (maximum) to get "caught up" on my balances using YNAB. In turn that means (a) I don't dread doing it, (b) I'm able to do it more frequently, and as a result (c) I'm much more on top of my financial situation and planning for future expenses.

For me, it is well worth the cost.

5 stars.
259 of 294 people found the following review helpful
Great concept, too much manual entry 6 April 2010
By NatureLover - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I love the concept of YNAB: spending money from the previous month, planning ahead, etc. I had switched from MS Money to Quicken, and then tried YNAB. Yes, the tutorials are great, but they're really time-consuming. However, I spent the time, took the tutorials, and set up my finances in YNAB.

After a couple of months, however, I went back to Quicken. I found that Quicken also has good budgeting features, and while not in the same vein as YNAB, I just find Quicken easier to use. All of my accounts get automatically downloaded to Quicken, a feature not available in YNAB.

All in all, I just found that YNAB requires way too much manual entry. I might try it again at a later date, when I have the patience to do so.
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