YNAB Budgeting App Review – Forbes Advisor


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You Need A Budget, or YNAB, as it’s often called, is a popular budgeting app designed to help people take charge of their finances. Launched in 2004, YNAB not only allows individuals to create a budget, but can also help you save money. According to YNAB, the average new user saves over $ 600 in the first two months of use and $ 6,000 in the first year alone. This YNAB review takes a look at the features, pros and cons of the app, as well as the costs to determine if it’s worth using.

With over 43,800 ratings on the App Store and Google Play, YNAB ranks among the best budgeting apps from Forbes Advisors in 2021 and deserves special attention to help you meet your budgeting needs.

Mobile apps can help you create and maintain a budget, and in YNAB’s case, save money as well. Account details and fees are correct as of October 31, 2021.

YNAB and your budget

YNAB takes a proactive approach to budgeting. Users of the application actively participate in setting goals, adding expenses and adjusting their budgets as needed. You start with default budget categories, but you can also create your own to meet your specific needs.

For automated import of transactions, you can link a bank account to YNAB, but it is not required. Keep in mind that manually adding transactions to your YNAB account can take a lot of extra time and effort.

YNAB is based on four specific budgeting principles:

  1. Give every dollar a job. As income is added to YNAB, you assign it to specific categories or expenses.
  2. Accept your real expenses. You can create monthly goals and payments to pay off an infrequent expense outside of your typical budget, like car repairs.
  3. Roll with the punches. If you overspend in one category, you can transfer funds from another category to cover the cost.
  4. Aging your money. YNAB works by using the money earned the previous month to fund your budget.

You can create categories in your budget for invoices, but YNAB does not have an internal invoice payment feature. It only allows you to allocate funds to these expenses. If you use credit cards to pay for purchases, you can set up a credit card payment category and use it to filter funds from other categories when entering transactions. If that sounds like a lot of work, it’s because it’s a much more complex process than with many other budgeting apps.


Security is always a priority whenever you connect financial or personal information to third-party software. YNAB uses standard safety and security best practices to protect customers. YNAB protects your personal and financial information with the latest encryption technology, enhanced login metrics, and other security protocols. You can also email the YNAB security team with any security questions or concerns.


YNAB is a paid app and one of the most expensive to use. Users can sign up for $ 11.99 per month or opt for an annual subscription for $ 84 per year. YNAB comes with a 100% money back guarantee if you are not happy with the app.

You can also sign up for a 34-day trial of YNAB to test and see if it suits your budget needs. No credit card is required to sign up for the free trial.

Other application tools

YNAB allows you to track other financial accounts like investment accounts. However, tracking takes a bit more work compared to other budgeting apps. You might be better off using another budgeting app specifically to track investments if that’s a feature that’s important to you.

The app also includes access to a net worth report to track your financial health. Users can choose which linked accounts to include. The report shows your account balances as well as any debts you are currently paying off.

Distinctive features

YNAB requires a little more time and attention to learn than other budgeting apps that are more “set it and forget it”. The good news is that YNAB doesn’t leave it up to you to learn how to navigate the app successfully on your own.

Your YNAB account also provides access to dozens of live workshops each week covering all aspects of the app and how to budget using YNAB. There are also hundreds of helpful articles and guides, a YNAB podcast, and an online forum to help you get started and answer questions as they arise.

Access and assessments

YNAB is available on a variety of platforms. The budgeting app originally started as a simple desktop app, but has expanded to include availability for:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Apple watch
  • Android
  • Alexa

The YNAB mobile app receives high ratings on the App Store (4.8 out of 5 stars) and Google Play (4.2 out of 5 stars).


  • Available on multiple platforms
  • Manual and automatic account linking options
  • It comes with a 34 day free trial period

The inconvenients

  • Higher price than most budgeting apps
  • No invoice tracking function
  • Steep learning curve

How YNAB Stacks Up

Budgeting often has a negative connotation, either because it is too restrictive or too difficult to maintain. YNAB’s proactive approach runs counter to other budgeting apps, which feature a more manual approach. Using YNAB may take more work than using any other app or software, but it’s on purpose to keep users involved with their finances.

YNAB is more expensive than some other budgeting apps and lacks some features outside of budgeting found with its competition. You can track investment accounts with YNAB, but that’s not one of its main features. YNAB is first and foremost a budgeting tool. If you’re looking for help designing a real-time budget that actually works, YNAB may be a good choice, even at its current price.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Yes, YNAB uses various security measures to protect user accounts and personal and financial information. The metrics include the latest encryption and advanced connection technologies.

How much does YNAB cost per month?

YNAB costs $ 11.99 per month and can be canceled at any time. A YNAB annual plan is available for $ 84 per year.

Is there a free version of YNAB?

No, unfortunately there is no free version of YNAB available. However, YNAB offers a 34-day free trial, with no credit card required.

What are the key elements of a basic budget?

Effective budgeting is a process that begins with understanding where you and your family are spending money. Knowing how well the money coming in balances the money going out is important in order to achieve your financial goals and those of your family.

How important are good budgeting habits?

Creating a family budget is a good first step. Next, focus on living your budget. Your mindset and habits are critical in determining how well your budgeting efforts will serve your goals. You might have some financial habits that need to be improved, which the right app can help you do.


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