YNAB alternatives

Prompted by the recent price changes that infuriated me (100% increase) I will leave YNAB for an alternative. Let there be lesson to the other YNABers. It seems recent organisations/CEO changes have turned away lots of long-term YNAB supporters that the company to grow, were active in the forums and tried to help the community and the YNAB company itself.

Maybe the company will change their mind, but it is good to know alternatives.

So far some reasonable alternatives:

https://aspirebudget.com

https://www.budgetwithbuckets.com

https://goodbudget.com/what-you-get/

https://www.firefly-iii.org

https://www.monarchmoney.com

 

Feel free to add more alternative:

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  • I'm very much at the earliest stages of looking at options, but Aspire has piqued my interest at least as a first option. The cost (free!) for one thing, but more so the fact that its all relatively open. It doesn't look like its had any substantial updates in a year, but if it works, it works. If it stops working, it probably isn't beyond the wit of man to fix it.

    Like 3
      • Colin_G
      • Colin_G
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Cadet Blue Door Did not that project start at the time they web based nYNAB was being launched? Having just looked  it, it has not really come very far forward in that time and seems to be something of a part time development. Not something I would like to trust, although I agree it had/has potential. What it lacks is momentum imo.

      Like
      • Stepan
      • stepan
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Colin_G I looked up the developer. The development stopped when he started to work full-time for software company. But if it is not broken it should be fine.

      Like
    • Colin_G I think, in retrospect, thats probably both a reason for, and against, a subscription model.

      The reason being is, exactly as you say, it seems to be a part time development. SaaS is great for this, and I imagine part of the reason YNAB went that route. Having a predictable income means that you can develop your product with new features or a entirely new iteration, or new technologies, without relying on the potential income gained by the result The service cost pays for the development, and everyone gets the upgrade and everyone's happy. In theory, the income from one product allows you to fund the next. That's the reason for. It keeps the company stable whilst also being adaptable for new things as they come about.

      The reason against a subscription mode is this: So Aspire hasn't really changed much recently. OK. That seems to be true as far as I can tell, so I fully agree. The thing is, I'm not fully convinced I've seen YNAB change that much either. A few little things here and there... But really, for the annual subscription, what have I gained that warranted the fee?

      I'm certain that there are changes made behind the scenes, performance improvements, stability, security etc., but as an end user I'm not certain I get all that much. They hold my data for me - its fairly minimal. YNAB4 used Dropbox for that and you can get an account for free. Being outside North America I don't get linked bank accounts, despite many promises. Not sure I really want it to be honest.

      I'm not being flippant, its a genuine question. If Aspire, a part time project, does most of what someone needs from a budget and its free, built in a spreadsheet which is mostly itself stable, but accessible for tweaks etc, what is YNAB offering apart from the method? If YNAB, Aspire or anything else just works, do we really care that its not been updated for a while? If there's an exploit, Google Docs will usually handle it. If it was actually functional as a ledger twelve months ago, it probably will be now. 

      Don't get me wrong, I still think the method is great. The help and support from YNAB for getting people started is awesome. 

      I just cannot help but think that I've been paying for something I didn't need to pay for, for a service I cannot use fully, to support a company which will double their price without warning, so that they can do... what?

      More fool me, I know.

      Like 3
      • Colin_G
      • Colin_G
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Cadet Blue Door It all depends on your personal risk profile. Are you prepared to run with the risk of it breaking and are you comfortable with your ability to fix it if it does. Personally, I am happy to pay for the comfort of support. What you say re ynab's development is true of course. There have ben lots of tweaks to the iOS apps for instance and the phone one in particular is quite a complicated beast now. As  for connectivity, I do not want it under any circumstances so the promise/threat of bringing it to the UK impresses me not. I actually lost faith in Jess and the gang when they binned ynab4 and should have moved on ages ago. This latest price fiasco just means I will now do what I should have done then - it is just a question of which product. For me that is either Goodbudget (I do not need month views or forward budgeting really) or Actual which is a ynab 4 clone.

      Like 1
    • Colin_G There's a lot of truth in that. The thing is, in terms of the raw data, I'm fairly confident I'm fairly well covered. If I lose that, I would be a lot more concerned about some other stuff that would be gone as well which would swamp my concerns about losing a home budget. If its hosted in Google's Cloud or somewhere else I moderately trust, great, but if not my backups are fairly robust. YMMV. 

      Having had a look at a few of the spreadsheet options (and I appreciate I named Aspire, but that was kind of just a random choice) I think most of them seem fairly well thought out and tweakable, but also not doing anything super fancy that relies on crazy macros which will fall over at the next pen test. For a little while I used my own spreadsheet. It wasn't pretty, but it did the job. If someone has something they've already built which is robust enough and usable I'm happy to have a go with it I think, and pop the hood if I really needed to. There's a guy on Reddit who has shared something he's put together and I'm having a play with that as we speak.

      Like
  • MOZE can be an alternative, https://moze.app

    Like 1
    • MOZE only for Apple devices, provides free and premium two options, and most important is, no bank sync.

      Like
    • Tomato Case YNAB has no bank sync for a large number of us, anyway. We pay for it, it’s just continually on the horizon. 

      Like 2
    • Orange Device Yeah, I live in Taiwan where the feature isn’t supported. I highlighted it because I noticed people mentioned it many times in the announcement thread. I tried to save people’s time if they concern on that.

      Like 1
    • nolesrule
    • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
    • nolesrule
    • 1 mth ago
    • Reported - view

    Might help to list the platforms they are on and whether there is multiple device support. Would save people a little time so they don't look at something they can't use.

    Like
      • Stepan
      • stepan
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      nolesrule was something I wanted to do by editing the original post, based on knowledge gathered here, but i found out it is locked for editing after some time :( (unless I overlooked something)

      Like
      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Stepan posts are locked after 30 minutes.

      Like 1
  • Actual Budget (www.actualbudget.com) every time! True budgeting to zero, multi month view, hold income for next month, carry forward of negative envelope balances , repeating transactions, advance filtering to search for particular transaction types eg for tax)

    Available on Windows, Mac and the Web. Companion apps on iOS and Android

    Three main things missing (1) no bank sync yet (but neither has GoodBudget) and (2) no Goal calculation (I put a note in the Category note box instead) (3) Built in Reports (although reporting is a major ambition for the developer).

    By the way- Monarch Money tell me they are USA only.

    Like 7
      • Colin_G
      • Colin_G
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      pgauntlett As far as I can see Actual has hardly moved forward since it started way back at the launch of nYNAB. Development has been very, very slow. The intention is a YNAB4 clone and I had really high hopes. What has been done looks good but Goodbudget gives more (but not multi month budgeting which isto be a must for some - but not me).

      Like
      • Pink Major
      • Pink_Major
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Colin_G The dev is pretty responsive on Slack, but as far as I know, it's just the one guy.

      Like 1
    • Colin_G  fair enough - although it is an evenings and weekend only developer and only really launched for real in about 2019. A lot of time has been spent on behind the scenes technical reworking which I am not qualified to understand . However I have been very pleased by the additions of Rules, Scheduled Transaction, advanced transaction Filtering and others. It is a tight run at the moment for me between Banktivity 8 and Actual

      Like
      • Colin_G
      • Colin_G
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      pgauntlett I ruled out Banktivity when I found the free trial was dependent upon me giving them my credit card details. That is not good practice - if I test something I want to be able to buy it or not. I do not expect to have to cancel credit card arrangements that were put in place in advance and on the basis that I will go ahead unless I say to the contrary.

      Like 2
      • 10SNE1
      • jagstyles
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Colin_G I get your hesitation but they do make it super easy to immediately cancel the credit card while maintaining your trial period. It's available in one of the pull-down menus within the app itself. But I completely understand the principle of your statement - I too dislike companies that require this as part of a trial period.

      Like 1
      • Colin_G
      • Colin_G
      • 1 mth ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      10SNE1 The more I play with Actual the more I like it. Yes there is functionality like Goals missing but that its relatively easy to work around. I have even had some responses from the dev so that is good. I just wish there was a more robust/rigid timeline. That said, even in its present form it is a nice easy budgeting app.

      Like 4
    • pgauntlett Available on Linux as well :) I'm pretty pleased with this alternative so far. The goals are what I miss, but your idea to put them inside the notes is a good workaround for now. Thanks!

      Like 1
    • pgauntlett I'm on day 2 of Actual and enjoying how simple and clean it is. It does the job and does it well. Don't really need the other features.

      In my quest to move on from YNAB I tried Monarch and it works outside of the US, you just need to manually import transactions which is a nightmare. It's early days for Monarch and I'll be keeping an eye on them because the planning features look really good. One big issue with Monarch is the envelope system isn't very sharp. I had to code my starting balance as 'income' so I could use it as available funds. Lots of clicks too.

      Like
      • Stringent
      • Stringent
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      pgauntlett Trying this now. I like the clean interface, the goals would be nice, but I'll have to work around it. nYNAB import would be nice, but not the end of the world. I hope though the Dev will crack on a bit and go forth now he may get a few more $ from people. So far this is my front runner. 

      Im interested in Buckets, but waiting for the 0.62 version to try as it has nYNAB import. Would be happy to donate there too.

      Like 1
    • Turquoise Piano  thanks! I have a trial now with Monarch Money and it did not “grab me” - or rather not  yet but I will continue “playing”.  Did you manage to get rid of the $ sign? If there was no currency sign at all it could be more immediately appealing to us overseas who are happy to do manual entry.

      Like
    • Stringent I if you go over to Actual on Slack there is a nYNAB importer developed by others. It may still have some issues, but there is chat there about it. 
      actualbudget.slack.com is where most users hang out.

      Like 1
    • pgauntlett I gave up (2nd time) when the budget wouldn't recognise my starting balance as 'available'. I also got pretty frustrated with the fact they gave you about 50+ budget categories that you had to disable one by one. There were too many issues created by not being able to sync too (investment features require a connection and manual transactions are PAINFUL). Didn't try and get rid of the $ as New Zealand uses the dollar :) 

      Actual Budget is my pick after trying Buxfer, Monarch, Simplifi and Every Dollar. YNAB has certainly trained me to prefer zero-based budget and mvelopes isn't available outside the US so I cannot try it.

      Like 3
    • Turquoise Piano  Good to know. I checked out some of Actual's reddit and twitter. The developer seems to have a similar attitude that originally attracted me to YNAB. Awesome to see him getting some recognition and traction. I did just purchase Moneyspire and still working through getting it all setup. I may still subscribe to Actual to support that developer. Even combined I'll be coming out ahead on costs from what YNAB is trying to do, and I'll feel significantly better about where my money is going. I'm just hoping the sudden surge in demand doesn't have too many negative effects on that software.

      Like 2
  • I went back to YNAB4 when they announced the 98% price increase for those grandfathered in, and I honestly like it so much more. 

    To download the software: 

    https://www.youneedabudget.com/ynab-classic-help/
     

    The Bradly Miller script for a 64-bit shell if you are on Mac: 

    https://gitlab.com/bradleymiller/Y64

    Like 5
    • Spring Unicorn Does that work for people who weren't around for 4, and thus don't have a license key thing?

      Like
      • Vibrant
      • No more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars
      • vibrant
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Fuzzball Meows No, you would have to get a key from somewhere.

      Like 1
    • Fuzzball Meows I’ve seen workarounds and sometimes keys floating around on Reddit if you want to go down that route.

      Like
      • alexmidd
      • alexmidd
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Vibrant Does it wait for a bit before asking for the key? I downloaded YNAB4 for MacOS tonight and started using it and it didn’t ask me for a key. I do have a key from the original YNAB4 so I do have one ready to use if needs be.

      Like
    • Spring Unicorn I downloaded YNAB 4 for Mac and found my old activation code and it will not even run and says the developer needs to update for 64 bit.  I understand the work around above from gitlab but I have some questions.

      1) Do you need to download and run the gitlab script first before YNAB4 will even work?

      2) How safe is the script work around?  Could it have nefarious code or is gitlab considered a trusted source?

      Like
    • Spring Unicorn Another question, does this work with the new M1 MacBooks?

      Like
      • Budget_NC
      • Tomato_Snow_237e7f17927
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      ynaber2613 Somebody posted over in the pricing thread that they have it running fine on a Mac M1 synching with the classic app on their iPhone 11.

      Like 1
    • ynaber2613 It worked with my M1 macbook.

      Like 1
    • Budget_NC 

      OK, I managed to get YNAB 4 working on my Mac M1 and also downloaded the classic app for my iPhone.  I manually entered account balances, pending transactions, and spread the budget.  I then reconciled all accounts so everything matches nYNAB at this time.   It all seems to be working fine.  I will use them in parallel until I decide to cancel nYNAB, my term expires in March. 

      As someone mentioned earlier it actually feels good to be back in YNAB 4.

      Like 4
      • DosBoss57
      • Sales Manager
      • Sky_Blue_Drum.14
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      ynaber2613 Is there a classic app for Android?.....I can't remember if I had an IPhone at the time but I do know that I had an app...that's for sure. And I can't seem to find a record of it anywhere...not in my Apple store or Play Store

      Thanks in advance

      Like
    • DosBoss57 I have always been an iPhone user since YNAB4 so I am not sure about Android but I'm sure there is.  Look at your purchase history in the Apple store, I looked for apps not installed on my iPhone.  Could it be possible that you initially purchased it with a different Apple ID?

      Like
      • DosBoss57
      • Sales Manager
      • Sky_Blue_Drum.14
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      ynaber2613 I'll have to look into that....thanks for the heads-up

      Like
    • DosBoss57 Hi. I had an Android when YNAB4 was still a thing (and in fact, I still have an Android). If you had one back then, you'll need to log into Google Play with the account you would have used at that time. If you're like me and have tried a surprising number of apps over the years this may take some. Keep scrolling, and keep selecting "Show More" until you find it. It will be called "YNAB Classic" and have an orange bar over the logo which says "Classic".

      It was last updated 22 May 2017, but works on my Pixel 4a just fine, and on my Chromebook.

      Like
      • DosBoss57
      • Sales Manager
      • Sky_Blue_Drum.14
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Cadet Blue Door Found it...Thanks...unfortunately it says that the item is not available anymore....what a friggin' bummer!!!

      Like
    • DosBoss57 You should still be able to download it, as long as you've previously done so. Don't go via the web on a PC, go via your phone.

      Like
      • DosBoss57
      • Sales Manager
      • Sky_Blue_Drum.14
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Cadet Blue Door Hey...Thanks for everything....didn't work from my phone either....oh well!!!

      Like
  • Moneyspire looks good, although they say Android app is coming "very soon" I don't know how long they've been saying that.  But it doesn't have "subscription" pricing.  and the cost of purchase is pretty low. 

    I just wish they had android support.

    https://www.moneyspire.com/personal/

    They don't seem to have a forum, or I'd ask what people thought the likely hood of android app coming soon is.

    Like
      • pgauntlett
      • pgauntlett
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Bruce when trialling Moneyspire for a while last year I could just about tweak  it for a form of envelope budgeting but it was hard work. The killer for me was that the budgets do not flow from year to year. You have to create a brand new one, otherwise your 2021 budget automatically becomes your 2022 budget and any amendments you make then retrospectively alter your 2021 budgeted amounts. Seemed weird to me - but not immediately obvious!

      PS Support was slow and pretty poor. Probably a reflection of their low pricing. 

      Like 2
      • Colin_G
      • Colin_G
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Bruce Moneyspire is more a Moneydance clone (and not a great one when I tested it) and does not support ynab style budgeting.

      Like 1
  • Others to consider consider:

    www.banktivity.com (MacOS, iOS)

    www.wiz.money (MacOS,iOS)

    Like 1
      • alexmidd
      • alexmidd
      • 4 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      10SNE1 Moneywiz does have an Android app also.

      Like
  • Like
  • I just saw Buxfer posting some stuff on Twitter. Anyone have experience with that platform? Looks like pricing is tiered so you can pick what level you need…

    Like 1
      • nolesrule
      • Stealing From the Future fix is an improvement but is incomplete....
      • nolesrule
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Matt Their reconcile function has no connection with reality. That tells me all I need to know.

      Like
      • Hannah
      • Account Manager
      • hannahsbudget
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      Matt I'd also love to know if anyone in here has ever tried Buxfer as a YNAB alternative, seems somewhat promising but I'm skeptical. 

      Like
    • Matt I gave it a go but the UI was a bit...old? and while it has lots of other features (investment tracking) adding transactions manually was annoying and fiddly. Same with budget categories which they call tags.  

      Like
  • firefly III ties up saving "piggy banks" to specific accounts. Which will probably not work for most people coming from YNAB.

    I also find it strange to separate categories for spending and those for saving. I've come used to the view that the only difference between those is the time frame. But I can see how people might like it as it hides the savings category when one is overspending and want to rebalance.

    Like 1
  • Happy to see YNAB 4 including the android app and dropbox still work for those of us that have it. 

    Like 3
    • Herman Do you know where I can find that Android app by any chance? Thanks

      Like
      • Herman
      • herman
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Magenta Pilot If you've had it before and still use the same google account it should be in your list of apps in your play store account. I was able to reinstall it from there even though it is no longer available in the play store. 

      Like 1
    • Herman Thank you. That's what I was afraid of. I did have YNAB4 but never had the Android app at the time. Nevermind. Thank you for replying.

      Like
    • Herman Oops. Looks like I'd actually installed in. Just found it. Very happy :) Thanks again

      Like 2
    • Magenta Pilot let me see if I can find the link that I used to download it again

      Like
    • Tomato Griffin Thank you very much but don't worry, I found it. It was actually on my list of downloaded apps, although I have no recollection of it.

      Like
      • DosBoss57
      • Sales Manager
      • Sky_Blue_Drum.14
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Magenta Pilot If you had the Android app, you may find it in your apps but it will be unavailable to download....happened to me!

      Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      DosBoss57 There are a few threads on this forum where YNAB posted links to side load the Classic YNAB app onto Android devices. You may have to dig a little.

      Like
  • We should not forget Moneywell! It was one of YNABs earliest rivals.

    It has been taken over by a UK software house and updated and now works really well. It is also a one off purchase, not a sub. The downside is that they have not yet been able to get mobile sync working again and news about progress on this aspect has been sparse.

    www.moneywell .app

    Mac OS only

    Like
      • mdmangus
      • mdmangus
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      pgauntlett Yes, it has been picked up by a 3rd company trying to revive it.  I downloaded MoneyWell 3 and runs on even M1 macs.  The blog shows their journey and how bad they found the state of the code.  They stated only path is a full rewrite, so probably why its sparse on details.

      Its why 2nd owner of the app didn't make it probably into reviving it.

      I hope they can revive and I hope they can bring the interface eventually to something more fresh.  The interface is a decade old now, but being a one time purchase and it allows linking receipts to transactions.  Them not having a mobile app right now makes it hard to switch too.  It is a company I keep following off and on to see if they make it.

      When looking at list from reddit and the such.  Buckets is a one man developer as well developing on the side.  It looks like something promising, but it lacks seeing an account full ledger and no way to schedule future transactions.  You have to click on the month navigation to see your transactions by month.  I did notice the app at bottom of left navigation pane showing a search, which allows for wild card searches against the entire system.  So it would dig up transactions in accounts.  Still I would rather see entire ability to scroll transactions of several months for a ledger account. 

      The other one I think is closest is actual budget and they just came out with "Scheduled" transactions, but it is in its own page.   It would be like in YNAB clicking on "All Accounts" and just seeing a huge list of scheduled transactions with no way to filter the list.  Again, they just released so shouldn't probably take them long to make it more usable.

      I am sure all these alternatives are scrambling to enhance their product now to see if they can maybe grab the old YNAB user base.  Will see and unfortunate their is not real competitors at this time to YNAB.

      As it stands if your a long time YNABer.  Probably best for now to go back to YNAB4 and the YNAB classic mobile apps.  I ran the 64 bit YNAB4 from a script on several macs that don't support 32 bit apps and it runs fine on even a M1 mac as well.

      I plan to switch to YNAB4 until maybe other competitors are more viable.  I still have to find time do this dive, but its my plan at-least.
       

      Like 2
      • Budget_NC
      • Tomato_Snow_237e7f17927
      • 1 mth ago
      • Reported - view

      mdmangus I looked at Moneywell a long time ago.  My perception was that the original founder didn't fully understand envelope budgeting so the product had some glaring gaps.  For example, there were cases were you could move money into or out of the budget but assigning a category for "optional".  I pointed out to the founder that this can't be optional with true envelope budgeting and he just never seemed to get it so I threw in the towel.

      Like
  • Looking for something that has an android app also and does banking import... What is the best alternative to look at?

    Like
  • Has anybody managed to get YNAB 4 to work with OS X 12 - my copy refuse to open

    Like
  • I've figured out that the most important features for me are the ability to :

    1. Do envelop budgetting

    2.  Manage sinking funds (set up goals for non-monthly payments, e.g., Q, SA or 3 yrs out)

    Has anyone come across a program yet that can do both of these?

     

    Thanks!

    Like
    • Sea Green Sun (ccf0a561a083) most of the alternatives listed here do envelop budgeting but not necessarily in the YNAB style which is zero-based. 

      If you need to continue to enter transactions manually and want this process to be as good as it was on YNAB your options become more and more limited.

      You'll have to try most of the suggested alternatives to see which trade offs your happy to accept...

      Like
  • I haven't fully explored this one yet but another suggestion I found on reddit is financier.io. at first glance it looks promising, the paid version is only $12/yr.

    Like
    • Purple Snow  I totally agree that it is a good YNAB 4 equivalent and is maintained actively -  but there will be no new features. I had to reluctantly move on several years ago due to no scheduled transactions and no mobile app.

      i honestly do believe that Actual Budget is a great option for those users happy to be patient with development times. The developer is young, 100% committed but for now has to also work full time to make ends meet.

      If Budgetwise.io ever deliver on their promises I think that will be a great option too.

      Like 1
    • pgauntlett Agreed. I'd rather put my money towards Actual Budget and accept the limitations and development times. I never used goals in YNAB, it should be simple enough to calculate outside of the software and input a new monthly budget number, (Goal - Available)/months to reach goal. But I understand the convenience of the software handling the calculation.

      Also agreed, Budgetwise looked good. But was missing 'Copy last month's budget', so I'd have to click on every budget category to copy, way too tedious. I also created some categories then tried to rearrange them and it didn't work, some sort of software bug.

      Actual Budget is missing some features, but I haven't run into a serious software bug. What is there is working great for me. Hopefully, the developer gets a nice uptick in subscribers and is able to capitalize on this opportunity.

      Like 1
  • Has anyone found that now they're looking for an alternative that zero-based budgeting is less of a deal breaker?

    I really wanted Monarch to be the one I wanted to pick because of the wealth building and goal tools but sadly the transaction/categories tools are too clunky.

    I am going to trial Simplfi to see how that stacks up.

    But if it all fails...I'll be on Actual along with my Google Sheet....

    Like
      • alexmidd
      • alexmidd
      • 4 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Turquoise Piano No, I am fully converted to zero-based budgeting and it is essentially why I am where I am today. So I need something that does that alongside an application to act as an account register. I'm thinking of Aspire alongside Moneywiz, which is £16.99 a year without bank imports (which I don't use). These two should be enough for my needs with Aspire covering the zero-based budgeting aspect.

      Like
    • alexmidd Yep, I am in the same boat as I've settled on Actual budget after trying alternatives. I cannot move away from zero-based too.

      It's a little frustrating (for me) how quite a few alternatives are MacOS only.

      I think the biggest thing I miss in Actual budget is 'age of money'!

      Like 1
      • Cirrus
      • Living mobile and solo
      • miriamnz
      • 3 wk ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Turquoise Piano no age of money, but really clear and easy budgeting into future months. ‘Months ahead’ instead of age of money.  Or think ‘30 days AOM is one month ahead’. 

      Like 2
  • I'm starting my search today in earnest.

    Turquoise Piano said:
    Has anyone found that now they're looking for an alternative that zero-based budgeting is less of a deal breaker?

    Yeah, I'd say it's less of one now that I'm in great financial shape. Zero-based budgeting helps optimize to the penny but that is less important to me at this stage. Especially because I plan to adopt the classic YNAB rules anyway in whatever system I adopt. Once I get into retirement, I believe the classic Rule 4, Live on Last Month's Income will go away as there will be no need for it as I will be doling out the monthly/yearly funds from my nest egg.

    Turquoise Piano said:
    I really wanted Monarch to be the one I wanted to pick because of the wealth building and goal tools but sadly the transaction/categories tools are too clunky.

    Yeah, I was originally hoping Monarch would be the one just based on screen shots but I'm not hearing great things. I did get a month pass from the creator so I will be giving it a shot. My front runner right now is Banktivity which I did trial recently but as a companion to YNAB so I didn't look at their budgeting at all at the time. It seems to do everything else quite well. It is Mac/iOS only but I've drank the Apple kool-aid so that's not an issue for me.

    Here are my priorities:

    1. Excellent direct importing is a must.
    2. Wealth tracking and management.
    3. Good budgeting. Zero-based preferred.

    Banktivity does all this and more for $70 a year. Significantly less than YNAB's budgeting-only software. As a software engineer myself, I am less than impressed with YNAB's software quality and speed of innovation. At $45 a year, I was willing to look past that but at the new price, it's a joke. I'm not willing to subsidize their education costs which are admittedly good but I don't need any of it.

    Like 7
    • Superbone 

      I have spent a lot of my early retirement trying various apps - a hobby I guess. I found out quite soon that whilst I no longer needed a zero budget I could not tear myself away from one for long. What I really needed was YNAB style but with “grown up”money management and reporting tools.

      I therefore  totally agree that Banktivity has everything needed to run my (now more complex) finances and I managed with a bit of tweaking to set up a true zero envelope budget. I have run this for several months alongside a combination of Actual + net worth/investment spreadsheet. 

      Indeed I have sung the praises of both Banktivity and Actual recently on Reddit.

      My head tells me to stop prevaricating because Banktivity can “do it all” - but I still do not find it a congenial experience in the way that I do with Actual. And if it is not “congenial” I will probably have difficulty sticking with it.

      So I guess I will run them alongside for a while longer and then decide….

      Like 2
    • pgauntlett I'm not in early retirement (yet!) but I agree. Zero-based budgeting to keep you on track but some stronger net-worth and investment/savings tracking would be great. As I've said in a few other replies quite a few apps which are popular are MacOS only!!

      Funnily enough I've always found YNAB still required a spreadsheet to assist with planning and tracking. Which makes the price increase all the more questionable.

      Like 2
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 4 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      pgauntlett Thanks for the feedback! Let me be clear. I will never stray from a zero-based budget but I could simulate it with any software if I needed to. Banktivity seems to be the one for me (with no need for zero-based simulation) but I want to spend some time with it to be sure. I'll be curious to see if I experience the same lack of congeniality. My legacy YNAB subscription runs out in mid January so I have some time.

      Like 1
    • Superbone Can you go back to YNAB 4?

      Like
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 4 wk ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      ynaber2613 I could but direct import is a must for me. I was an early adopter of PocketSense on YNAB 4 which allowed me to automatically import from my banks and credit cards at the time. But it was a lot of work to keep up and it didn't support everything. It was a fragile system and it broke often. I'm willing to pay for good DI and Banktivity beat every other software I tried in that regard. Of all my accounts, the only account it didn't handle was my HSA which has a cash portion and an investment portion. It showed the cash portion but 0 for the investment portion. I have a support email into them about that so we'll see what happens.

      Plus, I really like the idea of it tracking my retirement accounts without me having to do a reconciliation adjustment each month. Hands off retirement account tracking would be a dream. It even updates the value of my house based on Zillow. Pretty cool stuff and all this for less money than what YNAB wants! It is a MUCH better value.

      Like 2
      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 4 wk ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      pgauntlett Thank you for your contributions here and in the Reddit thread I hijacked.  I hope you will be around to offer support to us new Banktivity budgeters :).  As I've said before, I've used it alongside YNAB since 2010, and I've never evangelized for it, but appreciated it very much, quirks and all.  I know they try really hard and the software has come so far from iBank3 or whatever it was I started with.

      So I'm one of those not test driving other apps, zero-based or not.  Been there, done that.  Since I already know this software so well, and had planned to clean up my bloated doc dating back to 1998 anyway, I'm going to make this budget part work come hell or high water.  It will be so nice to have ONE app to manage my finances, with data ON MY HARD DRIVE and backed up in 3 different places. And ONE reasonably priced subscription.

      As an aside, I'm also getting all my junk off Personal Capital as well.  I used it to track imported accounts that I had outside of YNAB and/or Banktivity, but we know how handsy they can be trying to convert us to customers.  

      Like 3
    • Annieland  look forward to chatting again!

      Like 1
    • Superbone Is the budgeting element of Banktivity on par with YNAB's budget? It's zero-based, as I understand. Is the functionality what you're used to with YNAB?

      Like
      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 3 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Sky Blue Tugboat I've been full throttle testing it out as a longtime Banktivity user, and perhaps I can post the steps to my YNABesque transition somewhere at some point when I feel more confident with the workflow.  But if you have questions you can message me as I'm getting more comfortable with each passing day.

      Like 1
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Sky Blue Tugboat I haven't tried it yet but they do have a video on their website showing how it works. Yes, they have a zero-based choice. No two pieces of software will be the same unless they're copying each other. However it works, I'll adjust. It's less money per year and is a full-featured financial package including investments. They have an even less expensive tier if you don't care about that.

      Like
      • Annieland
      • I was told there would be no math.
      • Annieland
      • 3 wk ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Superbone Sky Blue Tugboat pgauntlett 10SNE1   and anyone else lurking around... I set up a Discord server where I'm putting a bunch of tutorials on migrating from YNAB to Banktivity in case it helps anyone.  I'm working on how to import historical transactions now and then I'll move onto how I set up my budget, envelopes, troubleshooting, and little hacks I find each day to make it more YNAB-able.  I'm just losing track of who I've said what to in PM's and this will also help me remember what the heck I did in case I have to do it again :).  So message me if you want in.  Work in progress, tho!  And then we can B* and moan and troubleshoot together too.

      Like 3
    • Annieland great idea. I will message you separately for the server info. Thanks for setting this up. 

      Like 1
    • Annieland I have 2 years' worth of stuff set up in Banktivity and ran it alongside YNAB and/or Actual for a while. A few quirks and relearnings but it is an incredibly comprehensive package. There are some bits that irritate me but I guess that is true of all software. Certainly, do feel free to DM me too!

      Like 1
  • Just spent the afternoon playing around with Quicken's Simplfi. For a non-zero-based budgeting app it is a great interface and also has a bit of 'philosophy' in it with its spend planning categories. However, I just don't see the benefit of the other features with the subtraction of the zero-based budgeting features. It just feels uncomfortable to move away from it. Everything that I've tried that doesn't have a simple replication of spreadsheet/ledger style 'freedom' feels clunky.

    Actual is looking like the true front runner at this point. I might just look at a free basic net worth/savings tracking app to accompany it.

    Like
  • I've managed to install YNAB4 on my Apple silicon MacBook and it works great - it's very nostalgic to see that interface again. I've also managed to get the app working on my Android phone. However, YNAB4 does worry me a little as it is no longer supported and may stop working at some point. The same can be said for the app.

    I have also tried some of the other options. I tried Actual but it was via the iOS app, and it didn't seem user friendly. I'm not sure if I was doing something wrong but may give it another go at some point. But one option I tried is Aspire, which I thought wouldn't be up to much as it is "just" a Google spreadsheet but I was wrong. This spreadsheet is awesome and works surprisingly well. There is also an app that I can use on my Android phone to check balances and add transactions. For what it is it does essentially what YNAB does and it's totally free, and I could see this being used along with my arsenal of existing Google sheets that help me with my finances. Even if I find nothing else this should do me nicely.

    Like 1
  • Just another long-time user (and at one time frequent forum contributor) chiming in to say: Goodbye, YNAB.

    For me, the product has steadily gotten worse since YNAB 4, and the cost no longer justifies the benefit. It's disappointing, but time to move on.

    Good luck to my fellow zero-sum budgeters!

    Bret

    Like 6
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 4 wk ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      bret I always enjoyed your writings. Best of luck! Would love to hear what you end up using.

      Like 2
    • bret I have enjoyed your posts as well.  I will miss all of the legacy users posts.

      Like 3
  • Actual Budget + Google sheet is my new YNAB (even though YNAB required a spreadsheet to plan/track anyway).

    Sub cancelled!

    Like 2
  • I have YNAB 4 working on my Mac M1 now but I did a fresh start.  Just wondering if after many transactions (years worth of data) if YNAB 4 slows down too much.  Has anyone had experience with a lot of data on a Mac using the 64 bit converter as far as speed is concerned?

    Like
  • Slightly offtopic - 

    On the back of YNAB losing their mind I am trying to exfiltrate my budget back to a platform I can control, specifically the YNAB4 client I have sitting on the shelf.

    Does anyone have instructions or assistance in migrating the budget across?  I'm struggling finding a way to do it.

    Like
    • Gold Major I have not tried this but I found this link.

      https://pythonawesome.com/howto-downgrade-from-nynab-to-ynab4/

      Found a YNAB link for this as well, see below:

      https://support.youneedabudget.com/t/y74slf/transfer-data-from-nynab-back-to-ynab4

      I took the easy path and did a fresh start and will archive my nYNAB data for future reference.

      Like 1
      • Matt
      • Forest_Green_Transistor.13
      • 4 wk ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Gold Major When I did mine last night, I just created a new budget in YNAB4. Quickly created all the accounts, put in current balance info for each, populated any pending transactions, and then quickly went down my list of budget categories to recreate them and populate with the same amount of cash that I had in nYNAB. If you open the two apps side by side on the screen it actually doesn't take all that long. I spent about an hour in total getting everything set up.

      Like 3
    • ynaber2613 Thank you for those links!

      Like
  • Just set up Buckets again after 3 years away. I must admit it is unique (idiosyncratic) to say the least!
     

    It does not think like I think unfortunately - will stick with Actual or/and Banktivity rather than battle with it.  Also I do really want scheduled transactions as I have loads.

    Like
      • Bruce
      • Software Engineer
      • Bruce
      • 4 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      pgauntlett I've also been playing around with buckets.  It is kinda fun (idiosyncratic is a good descriptor.)  Not sure if I'll continue on with it, but I set up my accounts and categories last night.  I may run it a little bit to see how I like it.  at least it has manual import of qfx files.  But also, lack of scheduled transactions is a big thing.

      ETA: using Actual, still not loving it, but it's kinda growing on me.

      Like
    • Bruce look forward to hearing more when you have gone a bit further with Buckets!

      Like
    • Bruce I think the biggest thing with Actual is that it's underwhelming and it makes you want a bit more from it. I found when I kept looking at alternatives that I'd come back to Actual and go oh yeah...this is all I need.

      Like 1
      • Habanero Salsa
      • Second generation user
      • Aquamarine_Pony.8
      • 4 wk ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Turquoise Piano The UI is... spartan. And looks like it was designed by a developer. I'm using it alongside YNAB for now and the return of the three-month (or more... I think it supports six, though my laptop doesn't) view and the right arrow are fantastic.

      Like 1
    • Habanero Salsa Agreed. The UI is spartan, but for a one-man show I'm super impressed with the functionality. I'm guessing the developer has spent the majority of his time focused on the backend, which at the end of the day is more important than a pretty frontend. We definitely don't want to have budget calculation errors or syncing issues or UI bugs, which I think the developer has done great with. I do really enjoy the multi-month view as well. I remember always clicking back and forth between months in nYNAB, so that is a nice feature even if it's not very easy on the eyes ... at the moment.

      Like 1
    • Steel Blue Griffin Funnily enough I find the look and feel of it very very clean that it's nice to use without all the colours and visual distractions. I guess it just feels basic despite the power behind the scenes.

      Like
    • Turquoise Piano Agree it is very clean looking and simple, which I like. But it takes a bit of eye focus to look at the category balances especially when looking at a few months. Some more bold boundary separation between months and some simple coloring would help I think. But, yeah, don't go too far with colors are random information I don't care to look at.

      Like 1
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