You Need A Budget (YNAB) is simple software that allows you to add transactions from your financial institution, credit cards and brokerage accounts. The program forfeits advanced features to minimize its simplistic user interface. If you are looking for a simply way to keep track of your budget, this is a good choice for personal finance software.
You can upload files you download from your financial accounts, but this home finance software does not sync directly to the companies to transfer transactions and balances. You can upload OFX, QFX, QIF or CSV files of your transactions, which most banks offer in one format or another. Once transactions are uploaded, you can edit categories, payees and other elements of the line items. The personal account software also remembers information you’ve entered for quick entry later. You can further edit payees and categories as well.
Entering manual transactions is simple and intuitive, as the whole interface is. The platform is neat and organized logically. When creating a budget, you can view the actual amount spent from the previous month to gauge what you may spend the next month and set limits. You can simply copy the budget to the next month as well and adjust individual categories as needed. You can choose to have certain accounts be off budget as well if, for example, if you do not wish your investments to count towards your monthly budget or balances.
YNAB offers mobile apps for both Android and Apple mobile devices, but you must have a Dropbox account set up to use as a cloud intermediary. With the mobile apps, you can add transactions, view all accounts and adjust your budget. A summary at the top of the app displays rollover from the previous month, the amount funded for the current month and the amount used month-to-date. A PIN allows you to protect your personal information.
This software has minimal reporting options: category spending, payee spending, trends, income versus expenses and net worth. You can adjust the timeframe and the specific account you want to view the report for, and you are provided with a pie chart and color-coding key. This information is certainly important and useful, but the best personal finance software offer many more reports. Further, you can only export reports in CSV format.
There are also no investment reports, and tracking investments is limited. You can add bought and sold securities as you would a typical transaction, but that is the extent. It keeps track of your broker account total, but there are no additional investment options, such as viewing a portfolio overview, allocating assets or comparing your portfolio to the market.
YNAB is a great choice for simple budgeting. It is one of the easiest systems to use, and the interface is organized and intuitive. Creating a budget is quick and simple, as is manually adding transactions, including with the auto-save function that keeps track of previously used payees and categories. But if you have more complicated budgeting needs, such as better tracking and reporting options, you may want to look to other personal finance budgeting options on our lineup.