Do you recommend linking bank accounts or doing manual entry?

Just curious what you've found to be easier? To do manual entry or have linked accounts? Thanks!

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    • Ben
    • Toolkit for YNAB Designer & Developer
    • furiousfalcon
    • 6 mths ago
    • 4
    • Reported - view

    The best approach that I've personally found is a bit of both -- manual entry as much as possible in the moment when I'm making purchases with linked accounts to help catch mistakes.

    Reply Like 4
  • Definitely both! I enter everything manually as soon as I spend so that my budget is always 100% up to speed. When Direct Import catches up, it automatically links up the manually entered transactions with any that are importing in. Basically DI serves as a backup set of eyes - if I transposed numbers, forgot a transaction, etc., it catches it and lets me know before I have to go digging. They function so well together, I wouldn't do it any other way!

    Reply Like 1
  • I just do manual entry. It's what I'm used to from when I started using YNAB4 and I don't see any reason to change. 

    Reply Like 3
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      adriana01 I think I'm staying with manual entry too. My bank is fairly slow on clearing transactions and I don't want to wait.  

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      • adriana01
      • adriana01
      • 6 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Ben K. I think that either just manual or manual with import as backup are good options--but you can't get away from manual entry level altogether!. YNAB's method (and magic) is built on the budgeter being on top of all their spending. The delay of waiting for import to report everything seems to cause problems regardless of what budgeting system is used, but it seems to be magnified by YNAB

      Reply Like 1
      • Khaki Storm
      • YNAB book topics online: https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/q5w48j
      • Khaki_Storm.1
      • 6 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      adriana01 I agree, I'm staying with manual entry.

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  • One more vote for both.  Manual entry with imported transactions to speed reconciliation and catch missed transactions more quickly.

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  • Manual entry here too.

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  • Manual entry. I'm outside the US so don't have a choice but after years of manual entry I wouldn't change anyway.

    I'm not convinced that direct import was the best choice for YNAB from a software perspective. It seems to have diverted far too many resources. Of course, it may have been perfect from a business perspective, in attracting new users.

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  • Manual entry for a few reasons:

    1.  It motivates me to record expenses as soon as I incur them (on the Android app), which is a trigger to check my category balance first and a moment to pause before actually spending.

    2.  Direct Import will flake just often enough (no offense to what I am sure is a heroic effort to keep it running) to make me not want to depend upon it.

    3.  Direct Import makes a mess of my existing payee names if I am not careful.  I know that renaming rules can be set up.  However, there are little things like putting a long transaction reference number in the memo that annoy the OC in me.

    4.  You need to eventually reconcile anyway.  Visiting my checking, savings, Amex and Visa takes less than five minutes in the morning, and I am never more than a day off.  Yes, once every 20 or so times I am surprised by a charge, but that would happen regardless of what methodology you use.

    5.  For the security conscious (and I clearly do trust yNAB despite the lack of 2FA, ahem), it is one fewer party in this universe with connections to my bank and credit cards.  

    There's no real harm in Direct Import.  Likely for the same reason I drive a manual transmission, I enjoy the illusion of control, just a little.

    YMMV.  Good luck!  There's no wrong answer.

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  • I think it depends on where you're at in your budgeting journey. When things are tight, manual entry for everything is best. In later years after you've got everything under control or maybe now you're budgeting in abundance, direct import is a nice luxury. I'm in the latter category so I'm pretty relaxed about it. I make a few manual entries here and there but I let DI do the heavy lifting. 

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