To link or not to link?

Hello, Everyone!

New user here. Looking for some opinions. I've gone through different budgeting programs and I ALWAYS end up with issues for my linked bank accounts. I use USAA; I'm not sure if it's something about the interface or, quite possibly, just me. I'm linking my accounts again to utilize the direct import feature, but I'm already having issues to get all the numbers to match between pending / cleared / available / reconciled / TBB / basically, all of it.

I've read that some people prefer not to link their accounts, they just stick to the manual option instead to keep it from happening.

I also deal a lot with account transfers between savings, my personal account, our family account, kids' accounts, etc. In the past I've had issues with this through other programs. I have not yet tried that in YNAB, I'm wondering if anyone else has had this experience and how it went?

Thoughts on this? Thank you everyone for reading and replying. I love hearing all the tips and tricks.

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  • 911Dispatcher said:
    they just stick to the manual option instead to keep it from happening.

     For most people who do manual entry only, it is mainly because it's the best way for them to stay aware of their budget and keep all numbers up to date. The second point is really important with a spouse using the budget for example.

    I am in Australia so direct import isn't an option. By principle, I don't share my banking credentials with anyone so I wouldn't use it anyway. I use manual entry and file-based import since my spouse doesn't use YNAB at all. It works very well. Usually, my cleared balance is exactly the same as at my bank after importing the file. I usually first reconcile (so it approves all the imports and matches) then add categories, clean up the payees...

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  • I'm one who used manual to really learn the YNAB way, and it ended up really sticking for me so that here I am, a year and a half later, happily continuing manual entry (also, like Ceeses  mentioned, I also prefer not to share banking credentials). For me, manual entry keeps me actively engaged and if there's any error, it's all on me. I've gotten quite fast at it, so it's not hard at all to keep up with once you get in the habit of it.

    Also, with time I've noticed less transferring of money every which way as I've gotten more intentional with my categories, so you may find that too. The nice thing about YNAB is that it can be quite flexible and you can experiment and find a way that suits you.

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  • I am definitely NOT the person who would do any manual entry. For me as progammer this is a no go. But because YNAB does not support linking Austrian bank accounts, I had to write my own. Fortunatelly YNAB gives developers access and therefore we can write apps that writes transactions to YNAB programmatically. 

    So I wrote a transaction importer for Bank Austria but then also for crypto currency. So now I have also my BTC and ETH in my YNAB as an asset and I see everyday how it changes in USD, which is way more helpful then manually calculating. 

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  • I do manual entry and direct import.  It helps me more quickly find things I may have missed.  The issue you'll have with direct import of transfers between accounts is if you do not manually enter first, they will import as separate transactions in each account and ask for category.  If you manually enter them as transfers,  the import will match up and keep the transfer in tact.

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  • Thank you, Everyone! I love hearing ideas and tips from other users. Gives me all kinds of ideas I hadn't considered.

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