Do I Really NAB?

Hi all brand new here. Wanted to try this out to see what all the buzz was about. So as I'm working through the onboarding process, linking accounts, setting categories and budget amounts I'm thinking...is YNAB for me? Would love insight before I decide to continue the trial.   My situation:

I used to be horrible with money the first 30 years of my life. The last 18 years I've figured things out, mostly by example through my wife. Today we're in great financial shape. No debt, great credit score, money saved (emergency fund, retirement, etc.). I'm a huge spreadsheeet person and have been managing this all through excel the past 18 years. Its manual - I download transactions, assign each one to a category, and then summarize it all. 

I do love the automatic linking via Plaid. But other than that what else will this do for me if I'm not in financial trouble and seem to have my goals on track? I guess if I take the time to re-create all my categories here in YNAB it would save me time. I have like 75 categories that I track each year. Other than that is it worth $84 a year. I would gladly pay if I see the value.

Thoughts?

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  • Do you feel like you're already maximizing your income with no room for improvement? Are you maxing out all of your retirement vehicles? Sounds like you're already in great shape. I guess give it a good shot and see. However, it's a different way of doing things than traditional budgets. You might be set in your ways.

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  • YNAB is a different way of budgeting, and it's better than traditional budgeting because it puts you in even better control of your spending. It requires a paradigm shift and a stronger focus on your actual priorities.

    We were doing pretty good when we started using YNAB. Now we're doing great.

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  • I'd say give it an honest try it for a few months. That will provide a basis for an informed decision. 

    It will be very different from what you're used to. For example, many new users want to carry forward any shortage into the following month. YNAB actively discourages such kicking the can down the road, and there are many subtle benefits to simply acknowledging that priorities have shifted slightly and changing the plan (aka budget) to align with that new information. 

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  • A word of warning if you do decide to move forward.  At some point the direct import feature will have problems.  If that is going to cause  you to question why you are spending $ on ynab, then I'm going to suggest you don't bother.  If that is not the case then I agree with all the other comments.

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  • Silver Piranha said:
    I have like 75 categories that I track each year.

     YNAB is based on planning vs tracking. Its like being on a diet. Do I plan what I am eating tomorrow or do I just go along but track what I eat and then later wonder why I am not losing weight. I tracked for years. Tracked myself right through my paycheque to paycheque life. Now I plan and only spend money we have. That is the big difference. YNAB is not anti credit card like some plans but regardless on how you pay, you can only use money you already have. This is a huge thing for people like me that think they are doing ok but then realize it is an illusion. This current pandemic is highlighting that for a lot of people. When the tide goes out, you see who is swimming naked. 

     

    As for the auto linking, as someone said, it can be inconsistent. The process for auto import relies on so many factors outside of YNAB's control that I use it to support manual entries but don't rely on it.  

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  • People who are good with money see the incredible success that people who are bad with money have with YNAB, and for some reason, they often think, “Well if people who are bad with money are so successful, this must be for people who are bad with money” instead of “Gee, if people who are bad with money are so successful, imagine what it will do for me!” 

    It’s an incredibly powerful tool no matter where you are starting from. 

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