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The New You Need a Budget (YNAB) vs YNAB 4


Official support for YNAB 4 will end October 31, 2019. This primarily impacts Mac users upgrading to Mac OS (Catalina), however, there appears to be a workaround.

It’s been almost two years since You Need a Budget switched to a web based, subscription model for their software. When I first tried the new version in January 2016, there were significant gaps in features that prevented me from switching.

Now that YNAB’s had a couple years to evolve, it’s time to take a second look.

So here’s a review comparing YNAB to the old YNAB. For this review, YNAB means the web based, subscription version and YNAB 4 refers to the old, downloadable version.

I used YNAB and YNAB 4 side-by-side for about a month and a half in order to answer these questions:

  1. Is YNAB worth using for new users?
  2. Should YNAB 4 users upgrade to YNAB?
  3. Would I recommend YNAB over Mint or Dave Ramsey’s EveryDollar?
  4. Is it time to look for YNAB alternatives?

Well, here we go. Let’s jump in and see what I like about YNAB compared to YNAB 4.

Test drive YNAB free for 34 days. And #protip, you can email support requesting extra time if that’s not long enough. They’re typically very generous honoring those requests!

Note: If you sign up for a free trial using links in this post, I’ll get a small commission. And please know I wrote this review before I knew I could earn a commission. It’s genuinely my honest, unbiased experience using both apps.

The YNAB Good

Direct Import

This was probably one of the more common knocks against YNAB 4–it didn’t automatically import transactions from your financial accounts. Mint has this feature. So does EveryDollar. And now YNAB does too!

YNAB - Direct Import Feature


YNAB makes it a lot easier to save towards specific category goals. There are three ways to use them.

YNAB - Goals Feature

  1. Target Category Balance. This is useful when you have a larger expense or savings goal you’re working towards (e.g., down payment on a house or an emergency fund).
  2. Target Category Balance by Date. Similar to the above but with a due date. I buy a new iPhone every two years. This type of goal is handy for that. I say I want to save X dollars by Y date and YNAB tells me how much to save each month.
  3. Monthly Funding Goal (e.g., $50/month for car maintenance)

I found this to be a helpful feature. It removed a lot of manual calculations I used to do in order to figure out how much to save each month.

Quicker Reconciliation

YNAB - Reconcile FeatureIn YNAB 4 you used to have to reconcile each transaction individually. The direct import feature now makes reconciling accounts much quicker (assuming you’ve kept on top of adding transactions as they happen).

It’s as easy as clicking Reconcile Account and then Yes if the account balance lines up with what your financial institution says. If it’s off, the reconciliation process is similar to YNAB 4 and requires some manual work. But more often than not, I had the same balances so reconciliation was a breeze.

Moving Money is Easier

YNAB - Move Money FeatureMoving money from one category to another is a pretty common task. It wasn’t a terrible process in YNAB 4, however, YNAB makes it even easier. You just click on a category balance and tell it how much money to move where.

They’ve also added this ability to the mobile apps. Something that was missing from YNAB 4.

The YNAB Bad

Missing Features

  • No ability to search transactions (added October 2016)
  • No reporting capabilities (added October 2016)
  • No manual import of  bank statements (added June/July 2016)

The good news is all those features have been added. Just a bummer it took longer than expected for search and reports.

Can’t Rollover a Negative Category Balance

YNAB removed the ability to rollover a negative category balance to the next month. I know that’s (typically) not good budgeting practice but you’d be surprised how many valid uses there are for it! For example, expenses you plan on being reimbursed for.

YNAB - Overspending SettingsIn YNAB 4 you had a couple options. I could carry it over to the next month as a negative balance (my preferred method) or let YNAB automatically bring the category balance to zero (by taking money from what I have available to budget for the next month).

YNAB won’t let you move to the next month with a negative balance. This was the deal-breaking feature for me because it makes it difficult to track reimbursable expenses.

However, I did some research and found a solution I liked. Read about it here. It involves creating an off-budget tracking account and transferring any reimbursable expenses to it.

It was initially a little confusing to understand, but as one commenter said, it made a lot more sense when I went through the steps in my YNAB account.

Here’s a short video of what it looks like.

I like it because it creates an easily accessible place for tracking reimbursements (it’s in the sidebar). With a quick glance, I can tell how much is outstanding and who owes what.

One caveat. This works great if your reimbursements are on a credit card account.

It gets a bit trickier when the reimbursement is from a checking/savings account. In this situation, YNAB will take money out of the next month’s budget to compensate for the overspending. In order to avoid that, I cover the overspending with a different budget category in order to not impact the amount available for budget next month. I then mark where that money came from in the memo field so that when the reimbursement comes in, I can put the money back.

Not ideal, but I rarely have reimbursements on my checking/savings account, so not a big deal.


Let me go back and answer the three questions I posed above in reverse order.

Is it time to look for YNAB alternatives?

Definitely not. All the missing features from the initial launch have been added. So in it’s current form, YNAB covers all the main bases. It does everything most users will need from a budgeting app. I still haven’t found a budgeting app that’s as polished and tailor made for budgeting as YNAB.

Once you understand it’s methodology and how to use the app, you come to appreciate how well built the app is. Everything fits like a glove (with the exception of carrying over negative balances). ;) Where other budgeting apps feel like Honda Accords (they get the job done), YNAB feels like a Ferrari (it’s pretty and high-performing).

While I was initially hesitant to move full-time to YNAB when it was first released, I’ve done so now and have been using the web-based version for a year.

With a year’s worth of usage, I can say YNAB adds enough value to justify the recurring expense. The key features for me are:

  • Goals make it easier to remember and know how much to budget to hit my savings goals.
  • Quicker reconciling because of auto-importing of transactions. Seriously, a big time saver.
  • Quick budget options like budgeting the average amount spent over the last year in a category.
  • A better iPhone app with budgeting capabilities.

While YNAB 4’s iPhone app was great, it only let you add transactions. The current YNAB app has 90% feature parity with the web version. Meaning you can do all your budgeting from your phone if you want. I still prefer using a computer for most of my budgeting, but the new app is nice for some things (namely, approving imported transactions and covering overspending quickly after adding a transaction).

Would I recommend YNAB over Mint or Dave Ramsey’s EveryDollar?

Absolutely. Even though YNAB is a relatively young product, it’s already a much better budgeting tool than Mint or EveryDollar.

You can read my review of YNAB4 and EveryDollar to get a better idea of where I feel EveryDollar falls short. And don’t get me started on Mint. I wouldn’t touch Mint (for budgeting) with a ten foot pole. It’s so commercialized (designed to sell you stuff) and was definitely not built for budgeting.

Not to mention, no other company has more comprehensive budgeting classes, guides, and resources. This is one thing I love about the company. They are passionate about helping people gain control of their money.

Should YNAB 4 users upgrade to YNAB?

Tough call. I’d say yes for most users. In my opinion, it’s better to upgrade sooner rather than later.

While it does stink YNAB is now a recurring subscription, I’m fine paying for it. The value YNAB adds to my life is worth the price. Some of the new features like automatic import, faster reconciliation, ease of moving money, and quick budget options are noticeable improvements from YNAB 4.

If you upgrade, there is a way to import your YNAB 4 data into YNAB. When I tested the import feature back in early 2016, it worked without a hitch. But this time around, some of my numbers didn’t match up. Rather than take the time to troubleshoot, I just started a new budget from scratch. I did save my YNAB 4 data in a separate budget though so I could reference later if needed. Hopefully you have better luck importing than I did.

The Toolkit for YNAB browser extension is also worth checking out.

However, I know there’s still a vocal contingent that will ride out YNAB 4 until it dies. The good news is YNAB Classic was updated to support Dropbox’s new API. I was initially worried that wasn’t going to happen which would’ve rendered the app useless after June 2016. So for the diehard YNAB 4 users, the app will continue working for the foreseeable future.

The only thing that would break the app is an incompatible macOS or iOS update which I don’t think will happen with either of the next updates. So that gives YNAB 4 a good shot at working through 2018.

Ready to give YNAB a try? YNAB’s offering a free 34-day trial. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments!

Is YNAB worth using for new users?

If you’re brand new to YNAB and it’s methodology, I would still recommend YNAB. As a new YNAB user, you have the luxury of learning how to use YNAB and it’s updated methodology from scratch without any “baggage” from the YNAB 4 days.

Final Thoughts

Through all of this, I’ve learned a valuable life lesson.

People are naturally resistant to change. I’m no exception. In all honesty, the initial release of YNAB would’ve been fine for me. I was just too stubborn to adapt my existing budgeting process. I could’ve easily found my “red arrow” workaround back then but I didn’t want to.

Ironically enough, I’ve been pondering what it’s like to get older. I’ve seen several people at later stages in their life struggle. Partly because I believe they’re holding onto the past and not embracing the future. They believe the best days are behind them.

Honestly, I don’t want to live like that. I want to believe the future will always be better than the past. But in order to do that, I have to embrace change and be willing to adapt.

So that’s one reason why I’ve decided to upgrade. YNAB 4 is the past. YNAB is the future. I believe YNAB will continue to evolve and add new features YNAB 4 could only dream of.


Where have you landed? Are you going to upgrade or look for YNAB alternatives? What are your reasons?

194 replies on “The New You Need a Budget (YNAB) vs YNAB 4”

I just started researching budgeting tools and this may be a dumb question, but can YNAB be used in place of Quickbooks?

it depends on what you use quickbooks for. YNAB is strictly a budgeting tool where quickbooks provides tools for managing a small business.

what features are you using in quickbooks? if it’s for just for tracking expenses and basic reporting then YNAB should be able to replace it.

Thank you for the prompt reply! It is strictly for tracking business and personal expenses for our accountant. I find it confusing so I haven’t thoroughly embraced it (would rather not actually).

I tried the reimbursement workaround and it didn’t quite work for me to transfer the transaction out to off-budget accounts. I use payee field to track who owes me what which in reporting I can filter only transactions of this “to be reimbursed” category and the pie chart group them by payee.

In this workaround, I have to move the person name to memo field, To see reports, I have to do searches manually for each person who owes me unless I create one off-budget account per person??

Any suggestions ??

This whole thing started as a workaround to accommodate reimbursements, and now we need a workaround for the workaround?? LOL

hmmm. does it not work for you to just sort the off-budget account by memo to group payees together? while it won’t be as clean as the reporting option, it gives you an idea of who owes you what.

if using an off-budget account didn’t work for me, i think i’d probably fund my “to be reimbursed” category with $500 (or whatever amount i think would be enough to cover all reimbursable purchases at any given time). i’d probably take that from my emergency fund.

that way that category would never go negative and i wouldn’t have to deal with the nuances of a negative category balance.

What re creating a fake income category to temporarily cover the reimbursement, from YNAB’s perspetive, so it doesn’t mess up the rest of your budget? I have a friend who created a fake income category so she could forecast future months when she needs to.

sorry rachel, but i’m not sure i’m following your question. not sure if it’s about handling reimbursements or budgeting in the future.

Sorry. You shared the video above of your work-around for reimbursements, followed by: “It gets a bit trickier when the reimbursement is from a checking/savings account. In this situation, YNAB will take money out of the next month’s budget to compensate for the overspending. In order to avoid that, I cover the overspending with a different budget category in order to not impact the amount available for budget next month. I then mark where that money came from in the memo field so that when the reimbursement comes in, I can put the money back.”
So, what different budget category do you use “to cover the overspending with so as not to impact the amount available for budget the next month?”
My friend creates a fake income entry so she can forecast future months, thus my questions: What about creating a fake income entry (I said “category”, perhaps that was part of the confusion) to cover the reimbursement amount I’m waiting for until the reimbursement check arrives? That way my next month’s budget isn’t messed up by YNAB’s refusal to carry the reimbursement category deficit foreward until it’s paid.

ahh, gotcha. i typically use my emergency fund category. but really, any category that has enough money to cover it and you don’t expect that missing money to impact future spending in that category.

for example, you wouldn’t want to cover the overspending from your gas category if you expect to need that gas money before you get reimbursed.

and now i understand what your friend is doing. off the top of my head, that sounds like it would work. however, you would have to be careful since your budget would be inaccurate by the amount of any unpaid reimbursements. if you have a large amount of buffer/savings in your categories then it shouldn’t be an issue. but if you are just getting started and you don’t have a lot of surplus, i wouldn’t recommend this since you may spend money you don’t actually have.

Quick question, Alex,
When you set up your reimbursement tracking acct, did you make it an asset acct or a liability acct? That Reddit link says make it an asset acct, but Ynab says make it a liability acct.?

I don’t have a CC, so I’m paying for the items out of my checking acct and then turning in the receipts for reimbursement, usually at the end of the month (providing brkfst for a class that’s two months long) or, for shorter events, when the event is over. (I keep a buffer in my savings acct to prevent overdraft while I wait for the reimbursement check to arrive.)

i created an asset account. iirc, i created a liability account on accident and ran into issues which made me realized i needed to create an asset account.

but i can’t remember what those issues were. regardless, an asset account has been working fine for me.

I currently use Quicken to track all of my financial information. Do you know if there is an import feature into YNAB from Quicken? I’d really like to keep all of my info on one program. I’m sold on YNAB, but I’d hate to ‘lose’ all my past history.

i know you can import quicken files for individual bank accounts (you only get this option if you add a bank account and elect not to use the auto-import feature).

however, this won’t import the categories you use in quicken. so you will have to manually re-categorize every transaction.

this is why i’d recommend you start from scratch in YNAB and have quicken available in case you need to look at historic data.

I’m a previous YNAB 4 user who went over to Moneydance when YNAB 5 was first released. However, the bugetting in Moneydance is not good, not a patch on YNAB. I don’t want to use YNAB 5 for reasons that others have stated, most notably that it is online and I want a desktop app and to keep my data private. However, in the end I have concluded that I need the tools YNAB offers and it does what it does very well. I’ll be sticking with YNAB 4 though as long as I can and will only switch to NYNAB when I have to

Liz, When I saw your comment last night, I sent YNAB a question re it (I’ve been pummeling them with questions). Here is their reply:
“YNAB staff will only access your budget with your permission. For instance, if you have an issue in your budget and would like our help figuring out what’s going on, we can send you a request for permission – only after you agree will we access your budget. You can take a look at our security policy for more details on how we keep your information safe.

Also, we don’t have a Desktop App for the new YNAB right now, but it’s in our plans. Although we aren’t able to commit to how much offline capability that app will or won’t have, we are working hard on making it a great companion to the web app.”

I’m in the minority, I guess, because I’m really unhappy with nynab. I made the switch recently, but ended up closing my account and am sticking with ynab4. My ynab4 process is to budget once or twice a month. I reconcile my accounts, enter future payments for the upcoming weeks or month (as most are set, recurring), move money among categories, etc. Ynab4 shows my account balances, considering those future/pending payments. Unfortunately nynab cannot do this. For example, hypothetical, with ynab4 if you have $1,000 is savings and $5 in checking, and you enter a payment to post next week for $100 out of checking, you can easily see that your checking account is going to overdraft. Nynab doesn’t offer any type of running balance that accommodates future/pending expenses, so you never really know if your account is sufficiently funded to cover upcoming payments. You literally have to use a calculator to figure it out. This made me really uncomfortable. I had many (many!) email conversations with multiple ynab support people, who were very nice, but they finally admitted that nynab only works if you use one bank account. (That was shocking to me as I imagine many people have more than one bank account. ???) So that was a deal breaker for me as I use a checking account and savings account. While I don’t regularly move money from savings into checking, there are several times a year (like when paying taxes or for a vacation I’ve saved for, etc.) when I need to do this, and I want to be confident that my account is appropriately funded. One of the beautiful features of ynab4 is that I don’t have to babysit my money or frantically check my accounts twice a day. That doesn’t appear to be the philosophy with nynab. Major, major disappointment as I’ve been a loyal fan of ynab for several years.

thanks for sharing. bummer YNAB doesn’t work well with your flow. since i don’t rely on future-dated transactions for budgeting, i guess i’ve been able to avoid the challenges you’re facing.

Thanks. It was weird because in the past, ynab4 encouraged in its classes reaching a point where you could set up all payments for the entire month upfront. (Budgeting once a month) It took me a while to be buffered and get there, but it was really nice — much less stress. But you still need to confirm your accounts are funded, of course, as unexpected expenses arise or annual payments are made. It was troubling that as a budgeting software company, they didn’t seem to understand the value of this, when it was so central to what they’d offered in the past. A complete 180. Anyway, thanks for listening. I don’t want to use Mint and am not seeing much else out there. When ynab4 dies for me, I might be back with Excel. LOL!

Yes, they did a 180, and their attitude to imposing this on their customers is “my way or the highway”. It’s nonsense that folks have to create dummy debt just to work around the deficiencies which were imposed.

Yes, you’re absolutely right! I didn’t like the red arrow change either, as we have a lot of business transactions, even though my breaking point was for the other running balance issue. Their attitude is very strange. It’s not often that you see a company turn its back on loyal, diehard customers.

I also have moved from 4 to the ‘new’ ynab and love it…. there is an initial learning curve to be sure but now that I have gotten into the habit of entering every transaction on he mobile app as I make it- my budget is a great tool that helps me keep track of every dollar spent and has shown me that I needed to make some changes — all for my own good. the direct import is still very flawed with my credit union, I keep having to manually reset the connection- still not a huge deal but an annoyance; you can import the file manually if you want to but if you keep up with adding transactions on the mobile app (works perfectly) there is really no need to as long as the balances agree. I have taken all but my checking account off of direct import

oh and on the ‘red arrow’ from 4, if you have reimbursed expenses– use a credit card (you are technically borrowing anyway until you get reimbursed) credit spending does roll forward — it just warns you over and over that you are increasing debt by not budgeting for it this month.

Only recently a huge attack on dns servers worldwide caused outage of a lot of online services, including ynab.
This is my primary reason I prefer not to switch. Having my complete financial history and budget only online, seems to me to be nonsensical. Is there any word on an offline sync possibility yet?

The developer has all but abandoned development of financier. He hasn’t committed a single line of code in a year. That and his overly intolerant leftist rants turned me off.

Totally Agree. I would pay a monthly subscription like Evernote, but I don’t want stuff online. I like the the Desktop App.

I asked YNAB the Desktop App question last night. Here is there reply:
“…we don’t have a desktop app for the new YNAB right now, but it’s in our plans. Although we aren’t able to commit to how much offline capability that app will or won’t have, we are working hard on making it a great companion to the web app.

Thanks for the review. You are probably right in saying that one should look ahead, and that YNAB will become something that YNAB 4 could not even dream of. Before I make the move, however, I have one question: is bank transaction import now an integral part of the process? Or is it still an option to stick with a with a fully manual transaction registry and reconcile manually in YNAB? I live overseas and banks here do not give you the option to connect with budgeting software. The best they can do is a CSV export, but I assume that is not what is meant by connecting to my bank account to import transactions. Thanks.

I am also unsure how the inability of carrying over negative balances will affect my practice. In YNAB 4, I never use the budgeting feature, so I always have negative balances in every category. I only used the software for keeping track of my spending. Comparison to previous months was always enough for discipline. Anyhow, if the category balance starts from 0 every month, that will be fine for me.

you have the option of manually entering all transactions and not relying on the auto-import feature.

in terms of carrying a lot of negative balances…

that could get a little tricky. you’ll have to play around and see if it’ll work in your context. the new YNAB treats overspending on credit card accounts differently than savings/checkings.

you’ll always move forward to the next month with each category balance being zero, but your amount to be budgeted (TBB) may not be what you expect. credit card overspending won’t affect your TBB amount. however, if you overspend using a savings/checking account, then that overspending will be deducted from next month’s TBB.

Thanks a lot for your review, it really helps me a lot in my search for a piece of software to replace my old excel spreadsheet. YNAB looks great but I definitely prefer a stand-alone app. I think I’ll give a try to MoneyDance or MoneyBrio.

Hello! Thanks for your review! I’m eagerly awaiting for your Jan 2017 review as I haven’t gone back to trying the new YNAB after the trial period. I’m a YNAB4 user (been using it since v3 and love it tons). I note from the comments that the search/report function now exists. However, the red arrow function is still missing?

I’m hoping I can continue to use YNAB4 both desktop and mobile app but looks like this year will be the last year. What alternatives/suggestions do you have? Thanks in advance! Glad to know i’m not the only YNAB4er that can’t seem to like the new YNAB atm.

the red arrow feature is still missing and will never be added according to what i’ve read in the forums based on comments from YNAB.

honestly, i still recommend YNAB. imho, no company does a better job with teaching good budgeting principles and providing a tool that supports those principles.

now that they’ve added search and reports, my only roadblock was the red arrow. but i’ve found a workaround to it. so i don’t have any reason now why i don’t like the new YNAB (aside from it forced me to change my long-standing budgeting system).

Just wondering … isn’t it a concern that we have to find a workaround to something that once worked? Particularly as the change itself breaks YNAB4-conversion, their solution to which is to start with a blank slate (therefore you can also no longer budget based on historical-actual numbers). What next? The change itself, and stubbornness to recant when it’s clear a significant proportion of the user-community is asking for it back, shows how much the company listens to its customers.

As I understand it, the workaround involves creating an off-budget account for every on-budget category that you want to extend into future months’ budget allocations. For example: sudden car expense = another non-budget account. This could amount to a lot of ghost accounts having to be managed off-budget.

*shrug* it was a concern initially (more because of my own stubbornness to change my process), but now it’s a non-issue for me.

when i started using YNAB 4, i had to look for a system to track reimbursements within the framework YNAB 4 gave me.

so really, i don’t see it as an issue because finding a workaround was something i had to do even with YNAB 4.

and yeah, it does suck so many people have complained about this and they haven’t added the feature. but i’ve found my workaround and am happy with it. for my use-case, i’ll only need one off-budget account so i’m not concerned about having “ghost” accounts.

Thanks for taking the time to complete the review. Subsequent to my post, I bit the bullet and have been using the YNAB for a month now (impatient, yes!). Whilst it does take getting used to, the visual appearance and all, I have told myself to stick with it and not look back.

Am using the suggested reimbursement method and though I can’t say I have mastered it yet but I’m getting there.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply and offer your view on YNAB!

Thanks. I’m waiting for your Jan 2017 review before beginning. We are currently using Mvelopes but dislike it. When will you write an updated review for the new YNAB? Hopefully soon! Thanks again.

Is this already the updated 2017 review? It would help if your posts had their publish date somewhere (unless it is only me who cannot find it of course).

Regarding “workaround for negative category balances”:
YNAB has suggested (in their docs at
Pay the reimbursement up front, and track it with a one-time future dated transaction.

I just switched to YNAB (from YNAB4 after 4 years). I plan to try out the above method. I am carrying over two reimbursement categories with large negative balances. One other thought I had was to carry forward those negative balances manually each month until I can pay them in full and adjust to the new method. I hope that I can just click on the “To Be Budgeted” balance and move a negative amount to the reimbursable category. If not, I expect I can just re-assign the negative value manually.

In general, if reimbursable expenses are a main part of your daily life, I think it makes sense to make it a goal to have a well funded reimbursable category.

they must have updated their docs to include the future-dated method. it wasn’t there when i was hunting for a solution.

i did find a solution i like better than YNAB’s alternatives. it involves creating a separate “to be reimbursed” tracking account. read more here.

it was initially a little confusing. but as one commenter said, it made a lot more sense when you physically try it in your YNAB account.

i like it because it creates a central place to look when you’re tracking reimbursements. no need to do a search for your reimbursement category.

it also makes seeing the total owed easier (it’s in the sidebar along with your other accounts).

keeping track of payments and what’s owed is simple too. i sort transactions by the cleared column. whenever i receive i payment, i mark both the inflow/outflow transactions as cleared. anything that’s uncleared is still outstanding.

one downside is that you’re not able to keep track of the payee in the normal way (since it’s entered as a transfer). but i just put the payee (who owes me money) in the memo field.

maybe you’ll like this method better than the future-dated one!

Alex, thanks for describing the workaround in detail. I am new to YNAB since the beginning of the year. I can follow your workflow mostly, but can you explain what happens with the reimbursable category month to month? When I started with nYNAB I added a negative amount in the budget for that category, corresponding to the outstanding amount from my employer at that point in time (pre-YNAB). (not sure if this is the right way to go about it). Then during January that amount came in and posted to the category. In the mean time new reimbursable expenses accumulated so that at the end of January there was a negative 1767.89 “available” in the category and a warning that I need to cover the overspend for this category to prevent creating debt. What happens with this? In February it is gone from the category and it does not seem to have been taken from TBB. Where is the debt accumulated/visible? (It is not really debt, because it will be paid back by my employer once I submitted the expense report).
I like the off-budget account to track the amount my employer owes me for travel expenses, but I cannot quite understand how the cc account (from which the reimbursable expenses are paid), the checking account (where the reimbursement is posted and from where the cc is paid), the tracking reimbursable account, the reimbursable category and the cc payments category square. And in fact they don’t seem to on the budget side, but everything seems to work out for the involved accounts in the left side bar.

“In February it is gone from the category and it does not seem to have been taken from TBB. Where is the debt accumulated/visible?”

the best place to view reimbursable “debt” is the tracking account. i would not use the budget view at all because it’s confusing depending on what type of account the overspending happens from.

if the overspending happens from a credit card account, as you noticed, the next month’s category balance will reset to zero and the difference will not be taken from TBB. this is because you can overspend with a credit card and not have it affect your budget. since the credit card “covers” the overspending.

if the overspending comes from a savings/checking account, the category balance will be also be reset to zero but the overspending _will_ be deducted from TBB.

the resetting of category balances each month makes it difficult to use the budget view for tracking reimbursements.

that’s why i recommend using the tracking account for that. and from what you said, it sounds like those numbers are as you’d expect. if that’s the case, then feel confident in your budget.

another way check to make sure the numbers are indeed accurate is to go to the budget view, go under the credit card payments category, and click on the credit card with the reimbursable expenses.

in the inspector on the right, it should say something like “If you pay $2,638.30, your account balance will be -$1400…”

whatever the “$1400” amount is should match what you have left to be reimbursed. when you have nothing left to be reimbursed, that number should be $0.00.

does that make sense and answer your question?

Alex, you mention in a comment you’ve found a workaround for the negative category balances. I’m interested to learn what your workaround is and see your updated post here in January!

I’ve been using YNAB4 for about 18 months and love it. I tried switched to the New YNAB at hated it. A lot. I love that I can see 3 months at a time in the budget page- and I can see a lot of categories at once. The New YNAB annoys me because I can’t get the side-by-side and I used that a lot to compare months and plan ahead. I don’t like that I have to scroll so much to see all of my budget categories. I hope to use old YNAB for as long as possible before switching, which I think will be inevitable since they won’t support the old one forever. :/

to be able to see more budget categories, you can try zooming out the page. you’ll usually find that option somewhere in the “view” menu.

the typical shortcut on a mac is hitting the cmd key plus the – (to zoom out) or + (to zoom in). i can’t remember, but on a PC it might be ctrl instead of cmd.

The YNAB4 mobile apps will stop working in 2017.

For all those YNAB4 users that use the YNAB Classic iPhone or Android apps, the mobile apps will stop syncing with Dropbox on 6/28/2017 as Dropbox will be shutting down its v1 API. If YNAB does not update the apps to support the v2 API, which sounds unlikely as official support for YNAB4 ends on 12/31/2016, then you will be stuck with only using the desktop version of YNAB4. Also, it wouldn’t make sense for YNAB to update the old classic apps if they are trying to convert people to the subscription model. So with that being said, YNAB4 users should prepare to find alternatives if mobile syncing is a desired feature for you.

yikes. thanks for this heads up. i wasn’t aware of this.

i dug into the forums and it doesn’t seem like there’s a concrete answer from YNAB. i take that as YNAB classic isn’t going to be updated to support the new API.

so looks like it’s in everyone’s best interest to assume YNAB classic support will end in june 2017.


I’ve been using YNAB for about 4 years and it has helped me and my family immensely. I have recommended it to others many many times. However, I will not be switching to nYNAB. I’m not a fan of the starting over process, since I look back into history all the time to verify how much I paid for something, or when I bought something. I cannot live without the search function and I cannot start over from scratch with no history. Further, like you, I need to have temporary negative balances. My expense reimbursements are huge every month and there is no way to fit this in to my budget if I can’t let my categories go negative. I would be borrowing from other categories all over the place and it would get way confusing and require lots of outside math to then figure out how much really should be in each category. I don’t like that. Alex do you know how long we can stay with old YNAB? I just got a new iphone 7 and everything looks like it transferred over just fine. I’m synching etc. If I will be forced to switch, I’m going to need to start researching other programs.

they do have the search function now in the new YNAB and the ability to import your YNAB 4 history. not sure if that would affect your future decision…

i also did find a workaround to the negative balances. in same ways, i actually like it better than the system i was using before.

i would imagine you’ll be fine with YNAB 4 until at least fall 2017. apple typically releases a new iOS in the fall. if you upgrade to that and it still works, that would give you another year.

that assumes you don’t upgrade your computer’s operating system.

but who knows, by then, YNAB may be up to the task you want it for. i know after using it again, i’m ready to switch. my initial concerns aren’t an issue anymore.

I’m still a YNAB 4 user and want to avoid going to the web version as long as I can. However, I noticed that 2017 isn’t in the Time Frame drop down box. Does anyone know how to update?

I started using YNAB 4 end of 2015. I didn’t even know about this whole “new YNAB” controversy until yesterday. Saturday, my wife and I got new iphone 7’s, and all the apps were imported automatically (good thing) including “YNAB Classic”. We were using it to enter transactions but “Syncing…” never completes. So the one of the biggest advantages (multi-users, multi-devices, synced data set) isn’t working.

Anybody run into this? … find a fix for this? … suggestions? … anyone? … please?!?!?!?

Regarding YNAB 4 features …
– I never have had and never want to hook into my bank accounts.
(that’s just me)
– I always selected to have negative balances carry to next month so I can see them and balance them out … under my own control. I just did a review of all 2016 categories, and made sure that, by the end of the year (but not all individual months necessarily), all were positive.
– I read below that category searches and output to csv files was in the new YNAB. This is very important to me also. I have one rental property and this REALLY helps speed up the data gathering portion of tax preparations.

I’m a software engineer. I was starting to develop my own tool when I came across YNAB 4. It was created just how I was trying to do things. The tool has a lot of great subtle shortcuts … hopefully they are all in the new one, if and when I try it out.

For yNAB 4 / Classic, sync’ing needs Dropbox. Their implementation using Dropbox sort-of works, but it fouls up the files if you open a budget file on a computer which doesn’t have Dropbox sync completed before opening YNAB.

if you’ve been running YNAB 4 successfully since 2015, i’m sure the syncing issue is something easily resolved. have you reached out to YNAB support or posted a comment in the forums?

i’ve found both support and the forums to be extremely helpful.

i know after doing a restore, depending on your settings, passwords may not be saved so you may be logged out of all your apps. maybe try re-logging into dropbox and then relaunching YNAB classic?

Alex and Ian, Thanks for the feedback. Well, the issue was more me than YNAB. We got the new iPhone 7’s and with iCloud backup I got all my contacts, pictures and apps back on my phone ‘from’ my dead iPhone 5. … all apps except … dropbox. I installed it reconnected to my account and I’m in business.

Alex, I tried to get onto the YNAB support and/or forum but I was ask to login … and it seemed like they were forcing me to upgrade to (read ‘pay for’) the new YNAB before I could get in. I really didn’t spend too much time looking at it I just canceled out and started looking elsewhere for help. Has anyone else run into this, or was I just too impatient or looking in the wrong place for help?

it looks like you can contact YNAB support by clicking on the question mark icon in the lower right of their website.

their forums also require a login, but anyone can register. create an account here.

and glad the syncing issue was an easy fix! glad you got it working again.

You have to be on a desktop PC to get into the forums etc. (or use a browser that “fools” the site into thinking you’re using a desktop, not a mobile).

What is new YNAB like for people who don’t want YNAB to know anything about accounts at financial institutions? I don’t want to give YNAB any information about my bank account credentials or credit card credentials. No usernames and no passwords. I would prefer to track transactions manually on a mobile app and do manual reconciliation. Is this still possible with the new YNAB?

You don’t habe to link to anything, can record transactions manually using the app, But no reconciliation is possible without a desktop browser

Ugh! I’ve just wasted more of my life with nYNAB. Conclusion: it’s still garbage. They should have stuck with the YNAB4 model. Sure, the transaction-import feature is a nice touch. But it doesn’t come even close to fixing their breakages of things like debt or carry-forward. It’s also clear that none of the reviewers have ever tried to use this garbage on a mobile device, whether using the app or the website.

It won’t download bank transactions or reconcile. You have to be on a desktop computer for YNAB to fully work. I’m surprised they haven’t progressed more in the past 12 months.

I did the trial of nYNAB, but quickly ditched it for a few reasons: 1. I don’t like the price, 2. I don’t like it being web-only, 3. I had issues with getting it to link with my American Express account, 4. I resent paying for the privilege of being someone’s beta-tester. 5. Reporting. 6. Some bright spark decided to change the rollover logic to the detriment of usability.

YNAB4 works. If it works, don’t fix it. My biggest problem with YNAB4 is Dropbox. That works, but is a very clunky implementation. The very fact that YNAB implemented it this way convinced me they’re not too clever with the security or stability of a cloud-based solution that concerns my financial stability.

So I may check it out again. Perhaps they’ve improved. But they’ve given me absolutely no incentive to change.

now that i’m using both YNAB and YNAB 4 side-by-side again, the two biggest incentives for me are: quicker reconciliation and the goals feature.

while those may not justify a person switching over from YNAB 4, i’m starting to accept that’s what i’ll do.

Oh … importing from YNAB4 was the other annoyance … nYNAB would not do that. Curious to know if this has changed.

Ah, looks like YNAB4 has a “Migrate” option, so that’s good. Now …. how to edit or delete a Payee in nYNAB ??

You can’t ;).

Also the migration sucks. After migration, be prepared to deal with hours of figuring out why nYNAB doesn’t like your old budget.

i must have been one of the lucky ones. i didn’t run into any issues when i imported my YNAB 4 budget.

If you had any carry-forward balances, you would have had a problem. Also, I can’t fathom what they did with credit cards, there seems to be some weird double-entry going on which screws with the budget. Word to the wise: not all debt is bad (until you try to nYNAB it).

Not only did nYNAB basically trash my budget-conversion from YNAB4, YNAB4 seemed to make some changes also. Fortunately, I had taken a backup first.

I tried the new Ynab, many of my Ynab 4 available balances were totally different. I also like manual entry and reconciliation… it makes me see where the money is going. I could not search old transactions on my phone in the new ynab either, they said I could on my laptop but I could not get that to work either. I also like being able to carry neg balances in certain categories, especially reimbursable ones. Anyway I will stick with the old Ynab 4, it seems less complicated. Why can’t they support both versions, I would happily pay yearly for Ynab 4.

i’m also with you that i would’ve happily paid for YNAB 4.

but so far i feel my heart getting softer towards YNAB (been using both again for the last week). i do like how much quicker it is to reconcile with YNAB. also the goals feature is really handy/helpful. and now that they have search/reports, almost everything i’d want from YNAB 4 is there.

the only lacking thing is the ability to rollover negative balances. i’m going to hunt around in the forums to see if there’s a workaround i can get behind.

all that to say, i’m now more inclined to migrate over. especially knowing YNAB 4 is a dying breed.

if i can find a usable workaround for doing reimbursements, i can easily see myself switching to YNAB full-time in january.

We had used YNAB 4 since late 2012 and when YNAB web became available in early December 2015 we started using both YNAB 4 and YNAB web at the same time, all categories exactly the same and accounts exactly the same and had very few problems that were not user error. When importing our YNAB 4 data into web YNAb became available we imported everything from YNAB 4 to YNAB web (three years of data) with no problems at all (I am still amazed and delighted about that).We are still keeping both versions of YNAB up to date and not having any non user created problems. Probably because we have a very large buffer and no credit cards and no debts of any kind. In the last month YNAB web now has reports and the ability to search transactions and the ability to export to CSV all the budgets transaction and budget data (as a backup if anything goes wrong or for spreadsheet analysis). It should be interesting what happens when they stop supporting YNAB 4 in January 2017.

interesting. so you’ve been using both side-by-side for almost a year? if you had to choose only one, which would you stick with and why?

I’m currently putting YNAB4 alongside Financier. The developer is listening to people’s feature requests and it’s something to look at as an alternative to YNAB4, should the dropbox API fail. I gave nYNAB a go but the modification of rule 4 and not being able to use the Red Arrow Right was something I wanted but having less features at a higher cost (yes, I can use the toolkit but that’s beside the point for what we’re paying for). Financier is still in its infancy but I’m liking where it’s going and would have this as my alternative to YNAB4 should the sync fail… (

looks like financier is designed to be YNAB 4 for the web.

once YNAB 4 stops working though, i’d be more inclined to use the new YNAB (or explore more established options).

i’m hesitant using a new app that’s developed by only one person. nothing against single developer apps, but i need to see some more longevity before committing something as critical as my budget to a new app.

I agree with absolutely everything you said here about YNAB! I love YNAB 4, and tried using YNAB up until Oct 2016 when I ended up cancelling my YNAB subscription to go back to YNAB 4. I deal with a lot of reimbursements for work and I use the rollover-negative-category-balances feature a lot. I tried doing things differently in YNAB, but as you said, I didn’t feel like I had as much control — like I was being forced to do things their way — and it didn’t work for me. Also, without the rollover option, I feel little urgency to repay what I overspend when it doesn’t have to do with work reimbursements; the other features they have to promote savings didn’t work so well for me and it put me on a negative cycle. To YNAB’s credit, when I emailed them with my feature request, they were incredibly prompt, personable, respectful and helpful, and I still adore their software overall; I just prefer the old way and YNAB 4.

how long did you use the new YNAB for?

let’s say YNAB 4 goes extinct, could you tolerate the new version enough to use it as a replacement or do you think you would try to find an alternative?

I was halfway through my trial month when nYNAB was launched, so I made the switch without thinking too much about it. If I’d read this article at the time I might have stuck with YNAB4!

The pro’s / con’s for me are:
– I love the goals and quick budget features; they make it so much faster to budget.
– I enter transactions manually to make myself keep track, so direct import never really mattered to me (there’s also file import now)
– They’ve added search and reports. It was much slower than anticipated, but I actually had them already through a Chrome plugin (Toolkit for YNAB).
– Wouldn’t matter to everyone, but I think nYNAB is prettier than YNAB4.

– On the other hand, the old Rule 4 made a lot more sense to me than “age your money”. My money is ageing because I’m getting close to some big purchases, but I’m not actually living on last month’s income. As soon as I make the purchases the age of my money will plummet. I decided to use the plugin to hide the number so I can concentrate on budgeting for the future.
– The way months interact is confusing, and makes it hard to send money to the future. After budgeting money for Dec, I can keep budgeting for Nov without Nov’s “to be budgeted” changing. Nov essentially steals from Dec’s budget, and I won’t even realise it until I budget more than Dec’s budget, or click over to Dec and see Dec’s negative “to be budgeted”.
– Rollover of negative category balances seems like a good feature! Sounds like flexibility that I don’t know I’m missing.
– The app could be more powerful. It’s great for checking category/account balances and entering transactions, but not much more. The process for moving money around the budget is confusing. I can’t access reports in-app, and I wish I could budget through the app, or at least through a mobile (rather than a desktop) browser.

I never really budgeted before YNAB, so I’m sure there’s a lot of features that I haven’t really thought about. I think at the moment I’m using work-arounds to get the flexibility I want from YNAB.

thanks for sharing! great comments and insight on your experience, bea!

i was just at a conference that said the best tool is the one you actually use. sounds like you’re doing just fine with the new YNAB. keep plugging away and making it work for you!

I really hope they keep supporting YNAB4 for a long time. Since my bank (a Finnish bank) will NEVER allow direct import, I’m not interested in the new YNAB and I will not download it. Maybe it really is time to look for alternatives. Too bad, I have really liked YNAB4.

you may have other reasons for avoiding the new YNAB, but you can use it without direct import. if so, it would function similar to YNAB 4 where you have to manually enter each transaction.

Unless I am not understanding what the OP was saying, I have to agree with the OP and disagree with your response.

Can you use the new YNAB without direct import? If you define “direct import” as automatically logging into your financial account, then yes you can use it, but features will not work such as the reconciliation feature. Without direct import, you *must* (a.k.a., you are forced to) download your transactions manually from your financial institution and then import them into the new YNAB. And by *must* I really do mean *must* as you can no longer manually balance/reconcile an account by entering a statement closing date with the balance of that account. How convenient is that? It isn’t.

Also, I have to disagree with your review conclusion. YNAB is no longer a tool I recommend to people. It is far too complicated and that is the sort of thing that will turn people away from budgeting. A coworker of mine started using the new YNAB because he heard me talking about how much I liked YNAB classic and he thought the new YNAB was the same. He made it one month and has stopped using it. The experience has so soured him against budgeting that I can’t even get him to try something else.

The new YNAB has pretty much ruined everything that was good in the old YNAB. I can’t imagine them being able to gain market share with such a complicated tool. So many things are unnecessarily counter intuitive and it makes no sense why they changed it so much.

So, how would I rate the new YNAB compared to EveryDollar or Mint? The new YNAB is not even a player.

hi todd,

i didn’t realize that about direct import. that _really_ sucks YNAB doesn’t support reconciling an account with a statement close date and balance.

in that case, you’re right, it’s not convenient at all and definitely a huge negative.

we’ll see where my recommendation lands after i re-review it again in january. i’ll be keeping an eye on this missing feature closely.

You can’t download the new one, because it’s only available with an online internet connection to their servers

What you write about the weird way that negative balances are rolled over, I can completely relate to. I thought I was going crazy because I was so used to the old way, and suddenly I hadn’t budgeted enough money to pay off my credit card in full. It is mind-boggling and makes me feel uncertain of the accuracy of my budget.

are you doing any type of reconciling between the transactions you have in YNAB and what your bank/credit card accounts have?

reconciling regularly (at least once a month) will give you confidence that your budget numbers are right.

yes, i reconcile regularly so that is not the problem. i think it’s the way that the new ynab handles overspending for credit cards that is different from ynab and somewhat opaque.

Does YNAB (either version) allow you to split transactions in to multiple categories? For example, a $120 Target receipt might contain two or three categories of budget items: food, clothing, car repair, etc.

while i haven’t jumped in to play around with the feature myself, that post you linked to definitely looks like they released a polished reporting feature.

the reports look great and they cover all the ones i’d be interested in. this is definitely a step in the right direction.

and if you haven’t seen their mean tweets video, it’s hilarious. ;)

I cant agree more. Nixing the search feature in my transaction history is a huge deal breaker for me! I just upgraded to Sierra and my desktop version is working just fine. I’d personally forgo updating my Mac OS ever again if it means I don’t have to switch to YNAB 5. The direct import is pretty worthless, if you use the mobile app regularly. I’d go as far as to say this behavior is paramount to proper budgeting as it forces you to look at your category balance and reminds you how much is remaining after logging each transaction. Thanks for this review. I felt very conflicted after trying the new YNAB and this overview gave me some much needed closure :)

i’ve also come to appreciate the value of entering transactions as they happen. and glad my review brought some closure. ;)

i’m crossing my fingers that YNAB 4 will continue to work through 2018. by that time, i hope the online version will be much more evolved and polished.

Thanks for this. I started using YNAB (AKA the brand, or the company, or…) in January 2007. I’m not ultra techy, and I’m sure I don’t use it to it’s fullest, but some of the features missing from YNAB (AKA the latest version circa 2016) are features I count on. I’m gonna stick with YNAB 4 for a while.

One question: why couldn’t they name it something other than “YNAB”? MAN it’s so confusing! “YNAB 5” maybe? Seriously. Sheesh!

haha. seriously. the naming is so confusing! ynab classic, ynab 4, online ynab. it’s a mad house!

It’s Q3 of 2016 now. Are you planning to do an update to this analysis now that we’re nearing the end of the year? Have there been any significant improvements to YNAB that, in your mind, indicate that it’s on its way to catching up? I’m very curious about this. I heard the YNAB Classic Mobile App is going to stop working next year, so it seems that YNAB4ers will be stuck on desktop only or have to update. Is it still a good idea to stick with YNAB4? I feel that way, but I haven’t seen YNAB since my 32 day trial ended in February, so I don’t know if there have been any improvements. I want to give it a fair shake.

For my money, the red arrow thing is a deal breaker, and not so much because the feature itself is so important, but because it was a litmus test of the “YNAB now feels like it’s the YNAB way or the highway” thing. This attitude was palpable back in January from every interaction I had with them. It really infuriated me as a former loyal and very vocal cheerleader for YNAB. I used to evangelize for them, and as a result of their attitude toward their loyal customers, I revoked my endorsement – not that I’m really anybody that people pay attention to, mind you. But the point is, no company with that kind of attitude toward their customers is worthy of their customers’ loyalty.

Has there been any sign from YNAB that they’ve learned this lesson? Any change in the wind? I’ll have to do some of my own digging, I suppos.

heya mike and becki,

honestly, they’ve been much slower rolling out new features than i’d expected. there have not been significant improvements. mostly bug fixes.

even with search/reporting, they’ve only rolled those features out to some users. so i’m going to give them one full year before i do another update.

that means i’ll be reviewing the new YNAB again in january.

as for the mobile app, i’m confident it will continue working through september 2017 (at least on an iPhone). that’s when apple typically releases a new iOS version. there’s a small chance that update could break the mobile app. but in the meantime, i haven’t had any issues with the latest iOS version.

i’m also with you that i used to be a vocal cheerleader for YNAB. i still recommend them over any other tool, but with reservations. and unfortunately, i have not seen the mindset we’ve both felt changing at all. they still seem pretty set on not trying to bring some of the more popular YNAB 4 features into the online version.

Hi Alex,
As I mentioned in the more recent comments about Financier, I forgot to mention it now has a YNAB4 to Financier migration tool which is now working. Would you be able to do a review on the migration and the use of the app so we can see your views on it? Mobile app/view isn’t available yet but the desktop is definitely snappy.

I’ve been a user of YNAB since v3. Every time I check out the others, none replaces YNAB. EveryDollar might come close but I haven’t tried it because it cost twice as much. I did start using nYNAB when it was released. It does what I need for now. I do miss the Net Worth graph.But I can get that with the extension. I think YNAB has been spending all of this time getting Direct Imports working. It’ still not perfect. But they are starting to roll out Search and Reports. I haven’t got them yet. But other report they have showed up.

once you get search and reports, i’d be curious to know how those features compare to YNAB 4. please let me know!

I cannot disagree more. I have been a regular fan of YNAB 4 and now had to migrate to the new YNAB. The company has left so many features out that were in YNAB 4 and I cannot wait to hear you actually use the new product. Everything you do, will take 4x the time and you will longingly jump to Mint.

haha, i’d rather be single than start dating mint again. ;)

you’re right that the new YNAB is missing features, but i’m not ready to abandon ship just quite yet. for one, YNAB4 still works perfectly for me (even with the new iOS 10). so i will continue using YNAB4 for as long as i can.

and i haven’t lost faith in YNAB (the company). they were able to build a best-in-class desktop/mobile app. i believe they can do the same for their web-based version. thankfully, i have the luxury of waiting for that evolution since YNAB4 still works for me.

thanks for sharing. after looking through the site, my main concern is that it’s developed by a single person. maintaining an app like this by yourself is no easy task. that makes me worried about it’s long-term future.

Look how much work they’ve completed. They have new features with less bugs than YNAB. I’d say that YNAB is just horribly maanaged. Look how much time the CEO spends making blog posts instead of managing his company. Also, look how slow new features and updates are rolled out. Would someone pay to be a beta tester?

i will admit the developer has made a lot of progress since i last looked at it.

that is a good sign. i’ll definitely be keeping an eye on progress.

Even though I am a Dave Ramsey fan, i have done the research and have opted to give YNAB a try for the next year. Being able to import my transactions from my bank account as well as my visa has been an extremely important feature. Plus YNAB is half the price of EveryDollar.
I never had the chance to use YNAB4 so was wondering about some of the pros that have been mentioned in previous comments.
I do wish YNAB had the ability to record individual monthly expenses and have them appear on a yearly spreadsheet. Having them show a monthly average would be nice to look back on and be able to understand so a person knows what to budget in future months. But this is minor. I just made my own extra excel spreadsheet where I record these actual expenses at the end of each month and then average out over time.

I am looking forward to the month when we are budgeting off the previous months income. Hopefully soon!!!

consider yourself blissfully ignorant for not having used YNAB4. i really do think that plays to your favor as a new YNAB user. you can start with the updated methodology and flow without having to adjust a YNAB4 flow to nYNAB.

it sounds like what you’re looking for is a pretty standard report. i’m guessing it’ll be available when they roll out reporting features. they’ve been hinting at a new feature in the release notes over the past week.

not sure what it is, but it could be reporting. *shrug*

good luck on your goal of budgeting off the previous month’s income. it’s a great feeling when you make the switch!

I’m another YNAB4 user waiting to see what happens. I’d really like to stay away from a monthly subscription for my budgeting. The mobile and desktop ecosystem YNAB4 provides was just about perfect for what I needed. With mobile OS’s changing so rapidly I have a feeling that come 2017 the YNAB4 mobile apps will “break” in pretty short order.

I’ve looked into MoneyWiz and MoneyDance, but both having shortcomings (I don’t really like the way MoneyWiz approaches budgets and MoneyDance won’t give you up to date spending data on the mobile app).

I did also come across a somewhat obscure finance app that looks fairly mature and has desktop and mobile apps (sorry no Mac desktop though). It’s called Personal Finance Pro at It’s one I’ll be taking a closer look at come December.

whoops! just realized i hadn’t replied to you yet. sorry about that!

i have hopes YNAB4 will last at least another year. we’ll know more for sure when iOS 10 gets released in a few weeks. if it continues to work on iOS 10, that’ll give me confidence it’ll keep working until iOS 11 comes out next year.

i haven’t looked at any of the apps you listed, however, you may want to check out banktivity.

it was recommended by the sweet setup (a site whose recommendations i tend to trust).

Alex I am right there with you. My wife and I bought YNAB4 in Fall 2015, after using Quicken since the DOS days. It (and the video tutorials) changed our mindset from entering transactions in Quicken and seeing the damage in a monthly report, to actually allocating ever dollar of income in our spending plan (aka budget). This allowed us to steadily increase our savings over the first 6 months of usage getting us to point that we are now living off of last month’s income!

When nYNAB came out I was very excited, except for the idea of keeping our data on their servers rather than our DropBox account.

After trying nYNAB a bit in January, like you, we decided to stay with YNAB4.

We need:
a. Search Feature (use this all the time!)
b. Check Numbers (It’s a checking account – check have numbers – give us a check number column!)
c. Reports

I don’t mind paying $5/month to help support software development but not when the program is less capable then the one I paid them $60 for last year.

Like you I also follow the release notes regularly. Here we are in August 2016 and they are still squashing a lot of bugs and far behind in getting feature parity with YNAB4.

Once they get nYNAB up to the level of YNAB4 I will seriously consider making the switch.

BTW – I found your website looking to see if EveryDollar might be my long term YNAB replacement strategy. Based on your review I can see that it isn’t even close. Thanks for the review.

haha. DOS. i remember those days!

and congrats on getting to where you’re living off last month’s income. that’s a big milestone!

fingers crossed for those features by the end of the year.

Thanks very much for the detailed article, Alex! I have been a YNAB4 user for three years and never switched to nYNAB, partially based on this article. Now that the support term for YNAB4 is nearing an end, I’m revisiting the switch. I know that at least some updates have been made to nYNAB. Where do you currently stand? Have you made the switch? The main thing I hate to lose is how clean the idea is that we spend only income past income. It was really the thing that allowed my husband and I to budget effectively. From comments, the new YNAB seems murkier. However, I could be wrong, and would value your input!

i’ve been keeping an eye on the release notes and have honestly not been impressed with the updates happening. of the main missing features i highlighted (reporting, searching, importing), they’ve only added importing.

i told myself i’d give nYNAB until december to make updates before i tried it again. i’ll do another month-long trial and re-consider switching then.

not sure i followed you on this: “The main thing I hate to lose is how clean the idea is that we spend only income past income.” is this rule 4 (in the old methodology) of living off last month’s income?

Thank you so much for your thoughts, Alex, that is what I was afraid of :(. I will probably do the same in December. Oh yes, sorry, I was referring to Rule 4. As self-employed people, budgeting was always a bit murky until we found YNAB and rule 4 :).

i’m also a little bummed they replaced rule 4 with “age your money.” the old rule 4 made a lot of sense and was a concrete goal to work towards.

however, i will say it didn’t really affect me when i used nYNAB. since i was already at that stage (and sounds like you are too), i didn’t pay any attention to AoM because i already knew i was buffered a month. as long as i continued budgeting the way i have been, i would never have to worry about AoM.

so the methodology change wasn’t a big deal to me on that one.

Oh great, that is awesome to know! I mean, I would still very much need a search function and such and I’ve heard the import is not reliable, but Rule 4 was the main thing. It took my husband quite a while to be able to connect with YNAB as it is, and I’m not sure if he’s want to know about AoM, hehe.

Also, since I am also a Christ follower and a “white person trapped in an Asian body”, it’s been an extra enjoyable convo. Thanks so much again, Alex!

Thanks for the great article Alex! I’m new to YNAB (just finished the free trial). Prior to that I tried Mint (which looked pretty with it’s graphs, but frustrated me overall), and Every Dollar (not the paid version with direct import). I feel like of the 3, I’ve been the most faithful to use YNAB.

We’ve also tried a cash envelop system which helped us be the most consistent (thanks Dave Ramsey!), but wasn’t always feasible (like when my wife needed to fill up with gas, while having our 1 year old with at the pump is about the only option in that case).

I’m still trying to find the best budgeting app. I’ve never been good at budgeting, and am trying to find the best way to get started.

I’ve considered buying the YNAB 4 since that’s what everyone raves about, but I really don’t know if it’s worth $60 dollars for something that’s already being deprecated.

If the new YNAB was the only option of the 2, would you say it’s still better than anything else you’ve seen on the market?


for sure. excluding YNAB 4, the new YNAB is still the best budgeting app i’ve used (by far). and if you’ve struggling with budgeting, i would recommend YNAB even more since their tutorials and forums are an incredible resource.

I am looking for a program that incorporates budgeting, along with integrating current debt accounts with update projected payoff time . Mint integrated accounts but not an anticipated payoff date. Is there anything out there?

The new YNAB lets you set “goals” that can be a payoff date…I used this on a credit card account that had zero interest for a balance transfer…very handy! I love the new YNAB, btw…it is an adjustment, but overall – a good adjustment!

yup, this is one feature i do like about the new YNAB. since you’ve been using it, have they added reporting or searching yet?

I’m glad it’s not just me, but also so sad. I really wanted (and expected) to love the new YNAB as much as I loved the previous versions. However, the change to the methodologies and lack of flexibility are driving me crazy! I travel several times a year (for work) and want to carry over negative balances in my “work travel” category because I know I’ll be reimbursed soon. It’s changed the way I handle tithes every month, and even made transferring money from my grandmother to my son for his grade card rewards very frustrating! I can’t install software on my work computer, or even run it from a flash drive like I did at my previous job, and YNAB4’s sync just never worked. *sigh*

I actually found this page because I was looking for comparisons of Mint and EveryDollar. Thanks so much for reviewing both! It’s good to know that I shouldn’t waste my time with Mint and it doesn’t sound like Every Dollar is what I’m looking for, either. I guess I’ll be suffering through and keeping my fingers crossed for quick updates!

given how often rolling over negative balances hinders people, i’m surprised they haven’t addressed it yet. but i still remain hopeful.

for your sake, i hope they provide solutions to your issues sooner rather than later!

The work computer issue was part of the reason I like the new YNAB so much – you don’t have to install anything! One of my favorites things about the new YNAB is the ability to click on a remaining amount in one category and transfer it to another! It took me a month or two, but I really do like the new YNAB better than the old, now. And I think the importing issues have (mostly!) been resolved…I still have one Credit Union that only imports every other full moon, but I think YNAB is working on that too.

Hi Alex,

Thanks for your excellent review, both for the new YNAB and you previous review comparing against EveryDollar. My #1 concern with the new YNAB is that all my data is in the cloud and not on my local computer. So with nYNAB there is no desktop program – is that correct? (I’m 61 years old – insert laugh here – I know some people have commented that’s one feature they like.) While the point of YNAB (new or version 4) is budgeting, there is the permanent record keeping feature that is key. Some day when YNAB doesn’t exist, or they decide to up their fee, it sounds like my historical data would no longer be available.

I bought YNAB4 in August 2015 just a few months before the switch. The YNAB4 mobile interface (and nYNAB I presume) is excellent, as you mentioned in your original review. As a long time Quicken user, I’m back to considering returning to it. Q’s mobile app is not as clear and easy to use as YNAB. And, Quicken has been sold so who knows what’s in store there – subscription based?? Cloud based?? who knows.

I’m guessing Everydollar is cloud based as well and from your earlier review, it doesn’t sound like the way to go.

As a few of the other comments have stated (and this has happened to me using Quicken too) you don’t want to spend hours trying to make the software work for you (troubleshoot).

So my question is, if you know, where is my data stored if I were to change to the new YNAB?

For now I’ll stick with YNAB4 but I’m looking around. (I also don’t know if they would discontinue YNAB4 and force everyone to move to the new version)

Again thanks for your reviews,

you’re right, there is no desktop app for nYNAB. it’s strictly browser-based on a computer.

you bring up a good point about having a copy of your historical data now that nYNAB is cloud-based. the good news is that nYNAB provides the ability to export your budget and all transactions into a CSV file.

so if you switch to nYNAB and decide later you want to go elsewhere, you have the ability to take your transaction data with you.

hope that eases your concerns!

i don’t believe they’ll ever force us to switch to nYNAB. the only thing i envision forcing a YNAB4 user to upgrade is if the mobile or desktop app becomes incompatible with future OS or app updates.

given how stable the apps have been, i think we have at least two years to keep using YNAB4 before it becomes more of an issue.

I’ve started using the new YNAB, but I’m at a loss for the flexibility YNAB4 brought me, in particular, search and reporting. I also love being able to see multiple months at a time. The decision to move away from the desktop software came because my wife got a new computer for work, and she now can’t install any software… We’re looking at a few options, but i just can’t justify $5/month for a sub-par product.

My sister has been using YNAB for years and I was convinced to join right before they switched things up.

3 months in, the inability to rollover negative balances is a huge frustration. I never realized I needed it until the ability to do so got taken away. Apparently I use it for everything from tithes (I keep a running tally but like to round up), groceries (I live in the country and buy more than one month at a time sometimes) and work reimbursements.

I’m looking to switch but so far, haven’t been able to find something else. Have you tried Moneydance or anything else that is on the same level but with rollover negatives?

Thanks for the posts!

i have not tried moneydance, however, it does seem to be a popular option.

you mentioned joining right before they switched. are you not wanting to use the desktop version for as long as you can? that’s what i plan on doing. i won’t be on the market for an alternative until YNAB 4 stops meeting my needs and the new YNAB doesn’t evolve to meet my requirements.

Hello Alex,
I’m feeling you! I´m using YNAB 4 now for about 2 1/2 years and love it.
I cannot justify paying 5$ a month and lose important-for-me features:
First I love seeing my net worth going up… ist keeps me moving in the right direction.
But more importantly I need te possibility for negative category balances. I know its is against the YNAB-philosophy, but for me it makes perfect sense.
My budget itself never goes negative, but I don´t want to raid my “saving for a new car”-category just beause I bought too many shoes. I know I have the discipline to spend no money at all for the next few month until my “clothing”-category is back in the black.
Because I´m saving the same amount every month for a new car to buy a new-to-me one about every eight years, for me it is far more difficult to calculate correctly to get back on track with my savings-goal (because nYNAB forced me to raid it) than to see: “Oh I spent 50$ on shoes which I didn´t plan for, so no dress for me this month”

For me, the most important part of YNAB – the reason I’m happy to pay ~$5/month – is that it’s changes and updates actually encourage me to use it. I was never able to take advantage of the advanced YNAB4 features because I couldn’t convince myself to consistently use the program, let alone keep my transactions up to date. Having a desktop-only client was prohibitive because I barely opened my home computer. I think their new model fits perfectly with their rules: if it works for you and is a priority, skip the latte and pay for it – if not, don’t.

Totally agree with your assessments.

I’m a YNAB 4 user and I felt out of control with YNAB. If they can get some of the more advanced features in there then I will happily switch. As of now I paid the $45/yr in anticipation of what’s to come. :)

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