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You Need A Budget (YNAB) - Personal Finance Software

Platform : Windows, Mac OS X
4.4 out of 5 stars 280 customer reviews

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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),
  • And Linux (Fedora 8 and later / Ubuntu 7.10 and later / OpenSuse 10.3 and later)
  • 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
  • Generate reports, schedule recurring transactions, and GAIN CONTROL.
  • Stop living paycheck to paycheck - Get out of debt - Save more money faster

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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!

Product Details

  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • ASIN: B000QO76HU
  • Item model number: 1.2.6
  • Date first available at Amazon.com: May 12, 2007
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 280 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,471 in Software (See Top 100 in Software)
  • Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here

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Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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.
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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.
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...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.
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2 Comments 139 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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.
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