Any thoughts would be appreciated

Hey there! I am an on and off YNAB user since I believe YNAB4.  I am now back at it since I tried Mint... there were things I didn’t like about it .  I tried a budget journal.... which was nice but what happens when I am out and about?  My husband doesn’t have the app I do but I am the one who keeps track of the bills, and budget.  He really isn't a big spender so if we need to make a bigger purchase he asks me if we can afford it and I tell him yes or no and the reason why.    We came from a point in our life where we did a budget with a pencil and notebook paper when we were first married.  


We are in our 50’s with young adult children who eventually will get married.  We have car payments, a mortgage, LOC and no credit card debt.  We are at a stage where life insurance premiums are higher as well.  All this is budgeted for even for saving for kids weddings, to help them out when the time comes.


My question is .... I am from Canada and I am having a hard time deciding if I should invest the over 100 dollars a year for YNAB... or just go back to the basics of pen and paper and buy an inexpensive budget binder??   I am torn on the cost.  


Thanks for any input !!

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  • Hi Lee2lee !

    Welcome back to YNAB! We're happy you're here and we hope you'll stick around! I moved this to the Getting Started section of the forum to gain more traction. I know my opinion will come off slightly bias, so I'll let other YNABers take it from here. :)

    Like 1
  • Only you can answer if the cost is worth the value you are getting from YNAB.

    My questions for you are why were you on again, off again with it? Are you following the YNAB rules? Have you broken the paycheck to paycheck cycle by budgeting next month with this month's income?

    When I came to YNAB over 10 years ago, I had never learned to budget properly. Rule Two, Embrace Your True Expenses, was a game changer for me. Rule Three was also unique and eye opening. The whole zero sum budgeting system just made sense to me. And then I eventually was able to achieve the old Rule 4, Live on Last Month's Income. YNAB was life-changing for me. I've never wavered from it since. My change in net worth from 10 years ago to today is staggering.

    I'd also think there would be a lot of value for you and your husband to always have access to your budget on your phone. All you have to do is look at your categories to answer those bigger purchase questions.

    Like 1
  • @Superbone asks some good questions.  You need to decide what was keeping you from using YNAB in the past.  Are you looking for a the direct connectivity to your bank so that you don't have to do manual entry?  Do you need more robust goal tracking?  If those were some of your roadblocks in the past from using YNAB, then the new version of YNAB would probably work for you.

    If you just couldn't get with the budgeting methodology and didn't follow the four rules,  the version may not matter. 

    If the cost really bothers you, you could try using your existing YNAB 4 version for awhile and then see if you can keep up.  Then once you have the habit in place; try the 34 day trial of the newer YNAB to compare and make a decision.   

    For me, the newer version isn't worth the price vs. the features offered. I continue to use YNAB4. 

    Like 2
  • I fell off the budgeting band wagon to be honest.  And realized I need to see where the money is  going. I no longer have access to YNAB 4.  I deleted it off my old computer ( silly mistake I know)   I love how everything I could think of that is an expense is budgeted for.  And xmas and birthdays are being budgeted for etc.   I guess I have to decide if the 100 dollars plus per year is worth it for me.  I have some decisions to make lol!!

  • OMG thank you.... the only problem is I predominantly use my ipad pro, and I don’t think I can download it .  If worse comes to worse I will have to steal my computer back from my husband to budget lol

    Like 1
  • Budget binder - are you following Gail Vaz-Oxlade?? 😉 I was also an on and off person with YNAB. I didn't quite get YNAB4 and did not fully understand/follow the YNAB rules. I really just used it as a different version of Mint in the end. Over the course of the past four years, I have continued to learn how to use YNAB and we really committed to it this year to help get our debt under control. With the pandemic, we have really made a priority to follow our budget and debt control. It is well worth the cost for us.

    But only you can decide for you and your family if it is worth it to you. I would encourage you to try it.

  • Navy Blue Pegasus I loved her show!!! Lol!!! That is why I started budgeting again !! Although not consistently!!   

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      • MadDog
      • Navy_Blue_Pegasus.2
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Lee2lee i loved all of her shows. I even bought three of her books and they are well worth it.

  • To me YNAB is well worth the money, as it's got the highest ROI of anything I have spent money on in my life.   I do find myself slightly annoyed at having to pay annually instead of once and then keep it till I want to upgrade.  But that's what is happening all over the software world, not just with YNAB, so really it's not a YNAB specific complaint.

    I actually bought YNAB3 in 2011 and used it consistently for less than a year before falling off the wagon.  I paid off my debt, but didn't save an emergency fund and then got back in debt when Murphy called in 2019.  Now that I budget consistently, I can't imagine going back to what I was doing before, even though I was not going into deeper debt (I was a paid in full CC user) and I was investing a good chunk of change in my retirement accounts, but I was never prepared for the insurance bill, the car repairs, all the Rule 3 expenses that these days are so easily managed with YNAB.  There really is so much peace and security from having a fully funded emergency fund and my true expenses all taken care of in YNAB.  Could you do this without YNAB?  Yes, a combination of spreadsheets and account structures could probably get you there, but I personally think YNAB, at the current price point, is worth it in terms of the convenience it gives me in budgeting.

    Now that I'm debt free, sticking to my YNAB budget is really not that difficult, and I think you too can find a happy medium where you can stick with it and get the maximum value out of it with the minimum effort into.  I enter my transactions when I spend and cover any overspending right away, I open my YNAB app once a day to check if any transactions have downloaded so I can approve them, I reconcile my on budget accounts once a week, and I budget once a month after I get paid.

    I agree with the other person who recommended you try to make it a habit with your already paid for YNAB4 software, and then try the new YNAB and see if you think it's worth it to upgrade.  Then you can find out if your banks are connected well, since the main thing I see complaints about lately are connection issues since the Plaid switch happened.

    Good luck!

    Like 2
  • PhysicsGal You are correct.  I am now using the free trial of YNAB, I have some time to trial it before deciding once again.  I will re download the old YNAB4 on my other computer and dabble in that to see the differences.  If I can use it in the same way as the New web based YNAB i’ll stick with the old YNAB4, if not I will probably make the switch.  I do find checking my budget fun and I do have the hang of the concepts in YNAB .  I have had a few hurdles that the support team were excellent at helping me with.  We get paid this week so that will be new money to budget with.  

    Like 1
      • dakinemaui
      • dakinemaui
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Lee2lee Direct Import, Goals, and the ability to budget from work seems to be the most popular attractions of the newer version. FWIW, YNAB4 has File Based Import.

      Like 1
  • Do whatever works best for your situation.  I personally like the discipline YNAB imposes.  But equally, the community and the passion most folks feel.  YMMV.  And good luck!

  • I was a new YNABer last November, and I bought the subscription before the trial ran out. There is no question that it is worth it to me, many, many times over.

    However, I was in debt and looking for a tool to help me with the discipline needed to move forward. It sounds like you're not necessarily in the same boat, so perhaps your ROI will not be as great.

    That said, consider what your financial position could be if you DID apply the 4 rules and committed yourself to the process. Could you improve your situation further? If so, would the fee be worth it then?

    Whatever your decision, I wish you good luck and great fortune.

  • Krys don’t get me wrong we have debt, that needs to be paid down, LOC and our mortgage and car payments.   We do have a handle on saving money but we also need to see where the money goes.   We have a financial advisor who is encouraging us to budget, I am not savvy at Excel but these web based apps work well.  I have time to decide!! Thanks everyone for your inputs!!!

    Like 2
  • I’ve seen so many benefits ever since the early days of YNAB4 (now I use the web version), but a lot of them are already mentioned around the forum so I won’t repeat them. But one I don’t see mentioned a lot is how it helped me say no to money. Crazy, right? But there are often some extra work opportunities that are stressful but I would say yes to them so I could pay down debt, thinking I was doing the right thing. But once I had utter clarity thanks to YNAB I could see how it just wasn’t a good use of time and I wouldn’t be making enough at the end of it to really make the stress worthwhile. YNAB does a lot of great things, but the biggest surprise is it gave me my time back. I love it. 

    Like 3
    • alioops Oh, this is a great one! I've definitely traveled down that road. Suggestions to monetize a hobby fall in a similar place for me. Leaving time to live life! 

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