YNAB (You Need A Budget) is a popular program that not only provides income and expense monitoring tools, it also offers instructional support. The budgeting service is a subscription-based web and mobile app that can sync with your bank accounts. Take it on a free test drive for 34 days before committing to it for a year.
YNAB Referral Program
- If you’re a YNAB subscriber, you have a unique referral link (check your “Share YNAB, Get YNAB” page link in the sidebar). When your friends subscribe through your link, you both get a free month of YNAB.
- When friends use your link to sign up for a free trial, they show up on your Referral Dashboard, where you can track your additional free time.
- Remember, you only qualify for free time if your friends subscribe after their free trial.
See the referral program page here.
How YNAB Works
YNAB’s game plan is founded on four basic principles. These rules work together to help you get out of debt, save money and gain financial freedom.
1. Give Every Dollar a Job
Each dollar in your budget should be assigned a specific purpose, like paying your rent, buying work clothes or funding your retirement. Instead of spending as you wish, this rule forces you to have more discipline and purpose in your spending.
2. Embrace Your True Expenses
Plan for large, less frequent expenses by allocating funds to pay them on a monthly basis. This includes squirreling away money for insurance premiums, vacations and birthday expenses. When you continually budget for these expenses, you’re less likely to find yourself in a big hole.
3. Roll With the Punches
Planning can only do so much. There are times when things come up that will try to kick you off the budgeting wagon. YNAB lets you make changes and easily move money from a budgeted category to cover surprise unbudgeted spending. This keeps you moving forward and out of the red.
4. Age Your Money
In a perfect budgeting world, your spending for this month will be covered by last month’s income. It’s not easy to do, but timing your bills with your paychecks will keep you far from stressing over money and from going over your financial edge.
YNAB gives you an assortment of tools to help you get your finances in order.
Sync Across Devices
Your main budget lives on your computer, but YNAB knows you need access to it when you’re on the go. Know how much you have to spend and add expenses as they occur on the handy mobile app.
It syncs continuously with the web app and other mobile devices. You’ll have access to your budget in real time, and so will any other shared user on your account.
Import transactions from your bank accounts into YNAB. It’s not required, but setting up an automatic import of your bank transactions will save you from having to log into each one separately to manually update transactions.
Look beyond your monthly budget and create goals to plan for future expenses. You can choose between a target balance or a monthly funding goal.
Once your define your goal, YNAB will track your progress and suggest tips for reaching your target.
As you’re working towards sticking to your budget, it might help to look into your past spending behavior. You can see where you’ve made progress and where you might need to make some changes.
YNAB has three reports you can use to keep yourself in check:
- The spending report breaks down your spending by category groups and individual categories for an allotted time frame.
- The net worth report tracks your overall assets and liabilities, showing how your overall worth has changed over time.
- The income vs. expenses report gives you a monthly breakdown of all your income sources and your expenses by category. You can also track overall income vs. overall expenses for specific months and over several months.
YNAB goes beyond providing a solid budgeting software. It also offers free, live workshops. Various topics include:
- How to master credit cards with your budget
- How to aggressively pay down debt
- How to reach your savings goals
- How to break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle
- How to pay for big expenses without borrowing
- How to budget when you’re broke
The company also offers step-by-step guides, weekly videos, a weekly newsletter and a podcast to help you manage your money. These resources are available to everyone, you don’t have to be a YNAB user to access them.
You can try YNAB free for 34 days. After the trial period, the service is $11.99 per month or $84 a year. According to the company, “On average, new budgeters save $600 by month two and more than $6,000 the first year!” If that’s true, then paying the annual fee is more than justified.
YNAB does offer a no-risk, 100% money-back guarantee. If at any point, you feel like you don’t have more control of your money with YNAB, the company will give you a full refund. No questions asked.
Whether you’re a budgeting newbie, or you’re a seasoned pro, YNAB is both effective and easy to use, making it one of the most popular and well-respected personal finance apps on the market. The service offers you a bird’s eye view of your budgeting progress and overall finances.
The free 34-day trial is hard to pass up. It’ll give you just enough time to set up the software, get comfortable with it, and see the results after one month. If you follow YNAB’s four principles to manage your finances, you’ll most likely save enough money to make the $84 annual fee worth it.
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