Coming soon: Progress Bars

One of the biggest questions your budget is designed to answer is: "How'm I doing?"

How close am I to a savings goal? Am I on track to spend my whole grocery budget long before the month is over?

What if there were a way to take a quick look at your budget and answer those questions and many more? Enter progress bars.

With progress bars turned on in your budget, you can see how much you have budgeted and spent for each category — as well as your progress towards your goal, if you have one set.

Progress bars aren't showing any new information that you couldn't already find somewhere in your budget, but they take a lot of useful info and display in a highly condensed, intuitive form.

These progress bars reflect the goals, budgeting and spending you do in your categories each month, so they're updated automatically by these actions. In other words, there's no manually adjusting the bars themselves. Only changing the goal, budgeted, and spending transactions can do that.

This is a web-only feature for now, but will be coming to mobile later this year. It's also completely optional: you can show or hide progress bars at any time by clicking the toggle in the upper-right-hand corner.

There's a lot going on here

Progress bars are created and updated by the Goals, Budgeting, and Activity on a category. There are three parts to a progress bar:

  • the number of sections in the bar, which represents the time period of the month and/or goal
  • the solid color of the sections, which represents the budgeting in the category
  • the striped color of the sections, which represents the spending in the category

If you're not seeing progress bars in your budget yet, you will very soon. And there's so much more to them that I can cover in a short introductory forum post. Have fun playing around with them, and let us know if you run into any trouble or have any questions about how they work.

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  • Can't wait!  Looking forward to this.

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  • Glad it's optional! I might play with them, but sometimes I don't want information overload - or rather, I'd just focus on something else . Thanks, YNAB! 

    Like 6
  • LOVE the bars.  Very cool. 

     

    One nit:  if you do not have a goal on the category, then the text is redundant.  It simply says in more words what the next couple columns are showing you anyway. 

    Like 3
  • I got the progress bars and the move money logger this week, nice job YNAB team.

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  • 1) Progress bars . . . Thanks for making them optional.  Just got them today, but find they just clutter the screen without adding any value (for me, at least, YMMV).

    2) Recent Moves . . . this is the addition I've seen others request and thought I didn't need.  But I really like how it's implemented.   Well done.

    Like 2
  • I like this. I am all about visuals. Looks like what simple had. It would be great if they were different colors per category. It will definitely be most useful in the app where you have a smaller screen.

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  • Can someone confirm if it's intended design that the font of category names seem to get bigger when progress bars are enabled?

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    • Green Orca I believe that is intentional. The idea is: show more categories on the screen in collapsed mode, but make the name of the category stand out more compared to the explanatory text in expanded (progress bar) mode.

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  • I see the money moves option. Are the progress bars supposed to show under the category item or on the right where you set goals, etc.?

    Thanks.

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    • bookyarncafe  You'll see progress bars in the categories when you turn them on, and you'll see them in the Inspector to the right when you select a category. They'll look like this:
       
      You can turn the progress bars on or off in your budget toolbar:
       
      Check out this HelpDoc for details! :)

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  • Only just found out about the progress bars this week thanks to Hannah on YouTube! I love them, and as others have said, the ability to hide them also makes them great - I can pop them open if I want to see them, but most of the time I can leave them closed.

    I love the fact that they integrate with the goals so if you have a "Needed for spending" goal with a date, the progress bar will tell you if you're underfunded and when you need that money by.

    I've submitted a feature request already, but I'd love to see this expanded to include future scheduled transactions. For example, I have a Spotify subscription that goes out on the 28th of the month. I have that set up as a scheduled transaction. However, in order for the budget screen to tell me that it's underfunded, but I don't need to ensure it's funded until the 28th, I need to have a "Needed for spending" goal set up as well. It's no big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I just need to enter the same information twice, and if the subscription price changes, I need to update both the future-dated transaction as well as the goal.

    Other than that, thank you for this wonderful little feature!

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  • I'm just getting started with the progress bars (because I do not use the desktop app much - only once a a couple months probably, whereas I use the mobile app multiple times a day).

     

    One piece of feedback I have so far: progress bars seem to be in conflict with "roll with the punches". Here's what I mean:

    1) I have a savings goal of "$100" (to make it easier to do my "quick budget" at the start of each month, since there does not seem to be any other way to fund categories with a set amount each month).

    2) At the beginning of the month, I Quick Budget$100

    3) I move$25 to cover overspend in various other categories

    4) Progress bar reads: "$25 more dollars needs to be budgeted this month". But if I'm successfully rolling with the punches, I should NOT be directed to "unroll with the punches", which is what the progress bar appears to be directing.

     

    This behavior seems consistent with whatever goal type I choose (to be honest, the difference between each goal type continue to evade me).

     

    My recommendation is:

    a) allow for a different way to let users set standard funding goals every month that is not tied to goals (so this issue doesn't occur when it doesn't make sense) OR

    b) have a view for "monthly progress  bars" and a separate one for "long-term progress"  (it's extremely confusing for one progress bar to be giving you info on your monthly spend while others are giving you info on your long-term goals - these should be displayedseparately for cognitive ease) OR

    c) don't tie progress bars to goals.

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    • Slate Blue Yeti Thanks for this feedback! As someone who hates seeing yellow in her budget, I can definitely understand how underfunding caused by following rule three might feel counterintuitive to the method.

      If you're up for it, our product team would love to hear from you - you can get this feedback to them directly by filling out this Feature Request form! 

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