Incorporate Toolkit Features in YNAB

I apologize if this question has been asked before, but I didn't find it in the forum:

I just installed Toolkit (for Firefox) and am blown away by all the simple, easy features it offers such as optional columns to display check numbers or running balances on accounts, or buttons to hide/display  scheduled & reconciled transactions.

These - and many other Toolkit features - would appear to be easy & popular features to add to YNAB.  Why don't you incorporate some of them? 

You guys may be doing all kinds of complex & important programming on the guts of YNAB, but as a 2+ year user, I haven't seen much that seems aimed at making  my day-to-day use of YNAB faster or easier.   It's disappointing & frustrating that I have to turn to a third-party piece of software to find that.

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  • Hi Sea Green Sun (ccf0a561a083) !

    We decided not to carryover the check number and running balance columns from YNAB 4. The memo column can be used for check numbers and the Selected Total feature can help you figure out the balance of your account on any particular day.

    Also, you can choose to hide scheduled and reconciled transactions using the Filter option in your account register.

    That being said, I'm happy you like the options offered by the Toolkit. A number of YNABers find it indispensable. :)

    Reply Like
      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 4 mths ago
      • 9
      • Reported - view

      Faness It's useful to know about the selected total feature to compensate for the lack of a running balance. I can see that it could be useful to reconcile to a particular date.

      It is, however, a very* poor substitute for running balance for cashflow management. I can look at my current account and easily see that, without any additional income, my account will go below my preferred balance on the 19th June but wouldn't hit overdraft until the 16th July.  This makes it easy to see when I need to move money from higher interest accounts. Without the running balance, I'd either have to do a lot of mental maths or do the selected total workaround for multiple dates. The latter is so useless that I'd do the mental maths. How a budgeting software can think that running balance isn't important is beyond me.

      * so poor that it's not really a substitute at all.

      Reply Like 9
      • Anarane
      • Anarane
      • 4 mths ago
      • 7
      • Reported - view

      I'm inclined to agree with monkeyhanger here. Yes, we can use memo to note cheque numbers, but the Selected Total feature is an extraordinarily long workaround for something that's just there, without additional clicks, within the toolkit.

      I don't suppose it's a big issue for YNABers who link with their bank accounts, but in the UK and beyond so few of our banks are supported, we HAVE to do everything manually. Therefore, not having a running balance to help us go through our entries is incredibly laborious for those of us outside of the US.

      I've made the point several times via feature request and AMAs, and I know it's a firm no from YNAB's side, but it just seems like an astonishingly petty hill to die on. I get the red arrow issue - it goes against the methodology etc. - but not giving us the option to have a running balance - especially when so many of us can't sync to our banks - it's such a weird thing to double-down on. 

      YNAB is actively choosing to make our lives more difficult when we're already disadvantaged by not being able to link in the first place. It doesn't make sense to me.

      Reply Like 7
    • monkeyhanger Thank you for explaining how you find the running balance feature helpful! I hadn't thought of using the running balance to look forward in an account to avoid overdrafting. While the Selected Total feature can provide the same information, I understand the extra steps included. The Feature Request form is the best way to pass along your ideas to our development team and we'll continue to look into ways to further improve. :)

      Anarane Thank you for submitting feature requests for those options! While our 'nos' may seem firm, we try to never say never, as features can change and we want to make YNAB a more convenient option, not more difficult. We know our international users would love a direct import option and we hope we'll be able to bring more features to YNAB to make that less of a pain point.

      Reply Like
      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 4 mths ago
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          Faness Anarane  I'm also in UK so manually inputting (though I would continue to do so by choice) so that might contribute to how important I feel it is but I've seen others including Superbone  raise these issues in the past.

      That said, it all seems a little bit surreal having to explain the purpose of a running balance to a budgeting/financial education company. Looking back at YNAB4, I suspect it wasn't fully understood either because it wasn't a default option but at least you could choose to add it. One of the help pages that routinely has to be shared on these forums is about the relationship between budget and accounts and people's fear of not having enough money in the right account at the right time. I know YNAB used to recommend just one account to solve this problem and yes, you should check the account balance before you spend but we all know that in reality people have multiple accounts and loads of people are importing or manually entering transactions after the event. We also know that so many people run into reconciliation issues and again, running balance makes this so, so much easier. Why have complex workarounds when a running balance does it for you. And it's not unusual, accounting sleight of hand or contrary to the YNAB method. It's a standard concept.

      I'm not entirely sure it's worth my time for a feature request. I'm sure they've been written before and they don't seem to achieve anything. Currently the Toolkit provides me with a running balance and means I don't get frustrated. I also worry that they're the default fob off to anyone. Some requests here are from people wanting YNAB software to work contrary to the method and the answer then should really be that's not how YNAB works. 

      I'm sorry, I'm rambling now and I have some paid work that I should be focusing on. 

      Reply Like 8
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 4 mths ago
      • 7
      • Reported - view

      Faness 

      Faness said:
      We decided not to carryover the check number and running balance columns from YNAB 4. The memo column can be used for check numbers

       A lot has been said about the running balance, but for people who used YNAB for years, not migrating over the check numbers and losing that data entirely wasn't thought through very well. And I'll say it again... the check number is the check number. The memo is a memo. Anyone who has ever written a check knows they are separate and different attributes of a physical check.

      The whole "you don't need this" attitude is condescending and myopic when people are telling you what they need and why and you just blow it off.

      Reply Like 7
      • Superbone
      • YNAB convert since 2008
      • Superbone
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      monkeyhanger Well said. Running balance integrates into the current iteration of YNAB for cash flow projection better than all previous versions. It’s a real shame that it is not a built in feature and requires an external toolkit to enable it. I guess as long as the toolkit continues to work, I don’t have to worry about it.

      Reply Like
  • I have used the options you describe, and found none of them as fast or easy as the Toolkit options.

    And yes, I am finding Toolkit indispensable, but I'm really rather irritated that YNAB is perfectly happy to see me using supplemental software that can't guarantee the integrity of my data.

    Reply Like 4
    • Sea Green Sun (ccf0a561a083) The toolkit improves the user experience, and it does an excellent job of providing additional features for YNABers, but YNAB functions as intended without the toolkit. While it's a great addition, we don't believe it's a necessity (though some YNABers disagree). 

      That being said, you can let our development team know the features you'd like to see brought to YNAB by submitting a Feature Request. While I can't guarantee future features, that submits them for further consideration.

      Reply Like
    • Faness 

      but YNAB functions as intended without the toolkit.

      Not to be rude, but what you're basically saying is...

      "We realize these features are useful and important for many of our users. But, they are not 'technically' needed for the product to work, so we would rather let someone else provide them (and support them) for free than to be bothered to use our own time an energy doing it."

      I might be sympathetic to this approach if I felt like the development team was using that time/energy for something equal or more useful to improve the user experience. But I don't. YNAB feels like a stagnating product at this point. When was the last time a large feature upgrade came out? You basically rolled out nYNAB and said "thats good enough; lets put our feet up now and count our money". I continue to pay for this product, so there should be continued development of it, but there is not. Where is international bank sync which has been requested for years? (please don't give me the same tired excuses either) Where is the fix for stealing from the future? Where are the features and fixes for the long list of items people have been begging for years for.

      To be quite blunt about it, you should 100% see the toolkit as evidence that you are falling short in supporting & developing your product. The toolkit exists because you are neglecting your own product.

      Reply Like 9
  • Faness said:
    I hadn't thought of using the running balance to look forward in an account to avoid overdrafting.

    Almost every discussion of the running balance in this forum has pointed out that this is why people want it: cash flow projection.

    Reply Like 9
      • Til Debt Do Us Part
      • Divorcing Debt - Not Each Other
      • debt_do_us_part
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas This was a lightbulb moment for me. Considering YNAB is anti-projection, I understand why they left it in YNAB4. I dont find it a necessity, but never really understood getting rid of it until you dropped the Projection word.

      Reply Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 4 mths ago
      • 4
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      Til Debt Do Us Part but the thing is, for cash flow projection, it's about how much do I keep in my checking account vs my savings account. I want my checking account to be as lean as possible in order to take advantage of HYSAs. YNAB's position that savings accounts don't generate enough interest to make it worthwhile is simply laughable. It's hundreds of dollars per year that I would be losing to only keep a checking account. And since all accounts are one big pot o' money, in no way, shape, or form is this projecting income - it's merely optimizing positions.

      Reply Like 4
      • Til Debt Do Us Part
      • Divorcing Debt - Not Each Other
      • debt_do_us_part
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas My checking account offers higher interest than most savings accounts, but I understand your point. I only meant that if YNAB saw it as a projection tool, that may have been their logic for getting rid of it - before now I didnt understand why theyd have thought about it enough to not automatically carry it over. 

      Reply Like
      • jenmas
      • jenmas
      • 4 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Til Debt Do Us Part the new layout doesn't leave enough room for all of the columns. I believe they reverse engineered the reasons to sound like it's methodology rather than space. But FFS their reasoning on check #s is just silly. It was a toggle feature in YNAB 4.

      Reply Like 2
      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 4 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Til Debt Do Us Part 

      Forget projections.  The running balance is massively useful for error trapping.  As in, I recently fresh started a test budget to play with Direct Import.  Set up my accounts, imported the starting balance, manually entered the transactions that weren't embedded in my starting balances.

      Less than a day later, one of my cards got out of balance.  The problem turned out to be importing a new transaction that was already embedded in the starting balance.  Fortunately, I had a running balance from Toolkit.  Absent that, the error would have been much harder to find.

      And for reconciliation:  With running balance, my process is typically to find the line of the running balance that matches the statement.  Clear to that line, and reconcile.  Once in a while no line matches, and I have to dig through specific transactions; but even then, having a running balance nails where I need to look down to a narrow range of dates.

      To be fair, the lack of appreciation of error-trapping capabilities didn't start with the web rollout.  There was a time with YNAB 3 that Jesse maintained (for a program that had no import capability at all) that clearing and reconciliation were not necessary features.  And running balance was never made a standard feature of YNAB 4; we just stopped complaining about it when it became an option we could turn on.

      Reply Like 4
      • Til Debt Do Us Part
      • Divorcing Debt - Not Each Other
      • debt_do_us_part
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      jenmas Now that columns are resizable, that would be an easy fill in - If they wanted to add it. This is the one feature request I mostly saw as "dont wanna" rather than "this is why". Check numbers is a silly reason, but at least it was a reason. If there really isnt an underlying reason for a running balance, maybe theyll bring it back.

      Reply Like
      • Til Debt Do Us Part
      • Divorcing Debt - Not Each Other
      • debt_do_us_part
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Patzer unfortunately, I havent been able to use the running balance to help with reconciliation. I always assumed that was the biggest draw, not projection, but I can never find a line that matches so gave up on using it. I assumed I was the rare case here and most others wanted it for reconciling. But if YNAB saw it as a reconciling tool, like I had always assumed, I'm back to being stumped on why they thought it was worth removing.

      Reply Like
      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Til Debt Do Us Part would it help if we called it cashflow management because that's what it really is. No predicting or projecting income that might arrive, just looking at the money that is already in the account and working out when you need to move funds.

      Reply Like 1
      • Til Debt Do Us Part
      • Divorcing Debt - Not Each Other
      • debt_do_us_part
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      monkeyhanger I could be connecting the wrong dots here. Maybe my lightbulb moment was completely ill founded. I just like having reasons for things. Even if the running balance isnt a projection tool, maybe if people were using it as one that's why it was dropped. Its complete speculation on my end, but without that I'm back to they got rid of it just because they could which doesnt fit the MO. Maybe there arent Great reasons for getting rid of other features, but at least there are reasons.

      Reply Like
      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Til Debt Do Us Part I think it was just a screen space issue. You couldn't resize any columns when nYNAB was first released.

      Reply Like 1
    • Peter
    • Professional Designer, Web Developer
    • lasty
    • 4 mths ago
    • 4
    • Reported - view
    nolesrule said:
    not migrating over the check numbers and losing that data entirely wasn't thought through very well.

    YNAB isn't known for offering options, but if the check number ever returns it should be one, because it's just going to get in the way for many of us international users.

    I'm always surprised checks are still a thing in the US. Checks were on their way out when I was little (I'm 36) and I've had to cash a check once in my life in 2006-ish that came by post from the US, because it was the only means of payment Google offered for AdSense earnings.

    Reply Like 4
      • nolesrule
      • YNAB4 Evangelist
      • nolesrule
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Peter I agree that it should be an option. I only need it for one account. 

      Reply Like
      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Peter Same here in the UK. I still have a cheque book but can't remember the last time I personally wrote or received one. The only time I've seen them used in the last few years are 

      1. Corporate charity donations
      2. Membership and show fees for a musical theatre group - One group I was involved in used to ask for membership and show fees before audition but would refund the show fees if you weren't successful. Cheques were so much easier in this instance as you could just rip them up. Most of the younger folk no longer even have a cheque book so we ended up with more palaver checking if a bank transfer had been received before the audition and then returning payments afterwards. So much hassle that I suspect they've changed the process in the last couple of years.
      Reply Like
      • Anarane
      • Anarane
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      monkeyhanger Until online payments came in last year, cheques were the only way parents could send money to my son's comprehensive school! They didn't accept cash, so everything - uniform shop, dinner money, trips, etc. - had to be submitted by cheque. 

      Reply Like
      • monkeyhanger
      • No animals were harmed
      • monkeyhanger.1
      • 4 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Anarane Yep, schools were one of the last to come online. I don't have kids but most of my friends could use online payments earlier than last year!

      Reply Like
    • Peter
    • Professional Designer, Web Developer
    • lasty
    • 4 mths ago
    • Reported - view
    monkeyhanger said:
    Corporate charity donations

     You mean those comically oversized ones for photo-ops? :D

    Right, nevermind, we need the check number column, stat!

    Reply Like
  • Just migrated from YNAB4 due to the Apple OS change.  Was stunned to found on migrating my data I lost all my check numbers.  Though using check numbers in personal accounts is diminishing...we also run a small business where we generate checks constantly.   So I lost critical data to my business.  In the US we grew up with check #s to leave it out seems to ignore your customers history.  Seriously, rethinking continuing with YNABn.  Have tinkered with MoneyDance - it lacks on autocategorization and direct import is spotty.  As a career Product Manager - this doesn't feel right. 

    Reply Like 1
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