How do I refresh?
Just wondering how to refresh my account so they all show the correct balances and bring in any new transactions? Does it happen daily or is there a refresh button I can click? Couldn't find anything like that...
It happens once or twice a day. However, you should definitely do manual entry. It seems like it would be a huge pain, but it actually makes life easier in a lot of ways--mainly, you never have to wait for a transaction to clear your bank to see it reflected in the budget. (Manual entry works very well along with automatic import, and that's how I use it: when transactions download from my bank, I see them match to the ones I entered. It's very satisfying!)
Thanks...I don't want to enter anything manually though. I am budgeting for both myself and my husband and I definitely do not want to go through all of his credit cards and my credit cards constantly and entering everything each one of us spends, way too time-consuming! It's got to go in automatically or this is not going to work for us. Hopefully that's not a deal-breaker with this software... The transactions will go in automatically and get categories, right?
Hi Heather Ryan !
If you're using Direct Import, you should see a number appear next to your import button once new transactions are available - such as: "Import (3)". The import button is at the top of your account register and clicking on it, in this example, will bring in those 3 transactions.
In the mobile app, you'll see a red dot on the Accounts tab and when you click there it will prompt you to 'View' your ready to import transactions. :)
Wow, none of these people at all answered your question. It's like they have no idea what your asking. I can answer by saying that right now, YNAB doesn't appear to have a refresh button, so your at the mercy of whenever they feel like refreshing your accounts. My balance has literally never been correct and I have to manually fix it everyday. Really not seeing the point of this software, it's just exxel with an ever so slightly cleaner UI I guess?
Magenta Grizzly said:
I'll be happily moving over to Mint, a system designed as a strong UI for interaction with your money. Why won't all of you?
I laughed so hard I almost choked.
To put it simply, Mint is reactive. YNAB is proactive. If you want to watch your money do it's own thing, you'll enjoy Mint. If you want to budget, well then YNAB - see what I did there? 😉
I am new to this software. I have used Quicken for 20 years. I like the forward thinking. This seems like a David Ramsey envelope system with a Quicken gathering system.
I am more aligned with Grizzley, in this thread. I have over 20 accounts, and the link function is without a doubt a deal breaker for me. I am not going to be manually loading squat. Refreshing 2 times a day is nearly okay for me. The reason why I found this thread, was I am looking for the REFRESH BUTTON. Why could you not keep your auto refresh system, and ADD a dam button > to force the issue when an individual wants that to happen? To argue about the way you use the system seem pretty dam lame. How about addressing the simple question on WHY you cannot add a button to SYNC.
I want to add to what others said about entering manually - I've been using YNAB for half a year now and since I am in Poland I can't use auto import. Initially I struggled a bit with entering things, usually doing it once a week or two weeks which made me spend 1-2 hours inputting things which was kind of a drag.
Now I enter everything as soon as I can. Going back with the groceries? Input everything on my way home. Pumped gas? No one will mind if I'll take the spot for another 30 seconds (and if there is a line I can move a little bit).
Most of the time I can input things immediately after paying. Then in the evening I spend 5 more minutes to fill anything I missed and I am done.
Once you get used to working with YNAB it'll take you 10 minutes every day to keep everything up to date, which you can do while, say, watching TV, waiting for water to boil or coffee to finish, the pizze to bake or while sitting on the toilet. Embrace the manual input!
This was a great thread to find. I am a newer (second month, just purchased) YNAB user and I was also looking for the "Refresh" button as I had a week where I didn't keep up with YNAB as well as I should have and wanted to completely catch up this morning.
I am in the middle of the camp: would like accurate importing / refreshing but get where the "manual input" crowd is coming from...being proactive is what this budgeting system is all about: knowing where your money is going, not where it went.
Mint, beyond the fact they are sharing my data, didn't work for me as it was just another software to determine how poorly I kept track of my spending and I couldn't look forward to next month.
So, I am sticking with YNAB, despite the lack of a "Refresh" button and will start manually entering today!
What a great thread...sometimes the internet is a good place.
Those foolish Mint people have so little control over their actual money...I am still not 100% YNAB yet (don't do credit cards) but I do the reconciliation dance multiple times a week. I'm having (almost) weekly budgeting discussions with my partner.
Being smart means not having an ego that prevents you from discovering new and novel ways of problem-solving!
If you are just blindly categorizing your transactions automatically, your bank probably has a spending tracker or some such. Mine does and it categorizes things by the type of merchant. I personally know it is slightly inaccurate because where I buy gas is listed as "general merchandise".
Even if you don't want to do manual entry, you are still going to need to look at your transactions. Maybe some days/weeks it will be select all and approve. Other days maybe you usually buy groceries at one store, but this week you know that it was 50% clothes and want to split the transaction. Maybe some stores are groceries sometimes and Christmas gifts another time. Also, sometimes the direct import hiccoughs and imports something twice or three times. This past month I had to reject a few transactions because they kept importing and trying to match again.
It's totally fine to just let all your transactions import, but you still need to be mindful of the budget and actually budget those funds. You can't just categorize your transactions, all that does is make that category overspent. You need to go to the budget screen and allocate your money to that category. And you also need to periodically reconcile your account register in YNAB to your actual bank balance.
If all you want to do is categorize your transactions, that's not budgeting. That's tracking your spending. Looking at spending history can give you a clue as to how much to budget.
Budgeting is telling your money where to go. Tracking your spending is watching where it went.
It's a bit disheartening to see the attitude against automatic import, as if we're doing it all wrong if that's the route we choose. Just because manual entry was the only way until recently, and even the suggested way, doesn't mean you have to knock those who want to do it with the automatic method. Given that I use a few other services that track my bank accounts and provide a refresh button, having a refresh button here for a paid service certainly shouldn't be a problem.
Regardless, I disagree with the premise that there is only a single way to use YNAB. I thoroughly enjoy the ability to plan out my money. I like that I can assign a "job" to everything and that when I go on vacation next month there is $4k in the bank account dedicated to _just_ that trip. Planning what to do with my money as it comes in, instead of having to look at the bank account balance and think about whether this bike is really something I can afford or not, has been a game changer.
However, I'm not a person who cares enough to manually enter in all of my transactions as I go. My buddy who told me about YNAB will enter a transaction as he's paying for it - and that's awesome. However, I know when I go shopping for groceries tomorrow that I'm going to buy whatever I need and want. I also know I'll probably fill the truck up with gas tomorrow, and it'll cost what it costs. This will all cost money - but I know I've got money set aside for these costs, and budgeted in YNAB. So what matters to me is that at the end of the day, or the day after, I look at my account transactions that come in from my bank, and I'm able to push them to the right categories as needed. The amount budgeted for them will go down, and I'll know what's left that I expect to spend during the month.
Even with this, we still manage to use YNAB to what I think is a great extent - our money has a job when it comes in and we keep to it fairly closely. When we go over (even after the fact), I'm then forced to figure out what's paying for that overage. Importantly, and where it helps me the most, for purchases other than things I will get regardless (like food and gas), I am forced to plan for them. That was my biggest issue before because I would look at the bank account and just decide to buy something because I knew there was enough to pay for the bills and whatnot. Planning for trips was always a bit difficult because the money never had a job, and so it would get spent whenever I felt I wanted something.
Importantly, I don't need manual transactions for that, automatic transactions work just fine. Thankfully, because I'm not trying to keep track of my money every second of the day, the lack of a refresh button won't scare be away. But that's just me - and I'm perfectly happy with the progress I've made with keeping track of my money without doing it the "YNAB" way with manual transactions.
so i have fully read this thread - and it seems that instead of providing answers, there is a large contingency of people that would prefer to respond to the requester that the way in which they want to do things is foolish.
I am also searching for some sort of refresh.. YNAB obviously has a direct import API that can request the transactions from the linked accounts, but does not provide a way to request that import upon request. The user can only rely on the import at some pre-determined and uninformed time set by YNAB. I like everything about YNAB but this. This part is what makes it difficult for me to actually accurately see my finances and my budgets.
I very much like the ease of which this app allows me to assign money to a budget. However, the money that i'm able to assign is not current. There is sometimes a 2-3 day lag between when i spend money and when it appears in my YNAB account. This makes it impossible for me to rely on YNAB, as I know that it doesn't have all my current data.
The ability to manually import transactions is not helpful. I'm paying for software. I want to assign it to a category, as per the YNAB way. However, if the data isn't in the software, i can't assign it. The software is linked to my accounts, so it should be able to pull it - but it's not current. I know i'm saying the same thing over and over, but it's a constant frustration for me.
I understand that YNAB might not want to refresh constantly - and they have scheduled times in which imports are done. But to add a button that says refresh and allows the API to update the transactions - even just on specific accounts, not for all accounts at once - this would be an invaluable addition to the software - and something that can VERY EASILY be added. This is obviously some choice by YNAB to not do this - and what i would like to find is some explanation why this choice was done - and some solution on the part of YNAB to implement a change that is very much wanted. If someone wants to continue to do it manually -> having a refresh button does not prevent them from doing it. It is a win-win for the consumer for sure.
As a new YNAB user, I had the same question as the original post. I think it's crazy it took nearly a year to get a satisfactory answer to a very simple question. It's also crazy how so many people refused to answer (or could not answer) the original question yet still felt the need to lecture the questioner on the "proper" way to budget. It is not helpful in any way that I had to scroll through dozens of irrelevant comments to get to an actually insightful answer.
Having said that, thanks Faness for providing the answer!
I literally read all the comments and gee some of the peeps here get so angry lol
To address the heated conversation here:
I've never been fan of blindly following the rules, so here's the methodology that works for me, maybe will work for you, maybe not.
(a) Simplify where you spend money from by putting all your expenses on credit cards as much as you can (preferably one with rewards). Added benefit: Improve your credit score and get some money back in the process.
(b) Decide which accounts/cards are most frequently used and have the most impact on your budget.
For me it's my credit cards, specifically 1 or 2 of them. so I set those to Manual Entry. That way I can update them immediately, or once a week by looking at my bank account. Manual entry is tedious but trust me, when you have a month that you go on a crazy shopping spree, manual entry will set you straight ( It's almost like a wake-up call)
(c) Auto-connect accounts that don't have much impact and used once in a while.
For me it's the saving accounts/debit accounts. Honestly if YNAB updates itself once or twice a day, that's quite enough for such accounts.
That's it. I find this approach to be a nice hybrid.
To answer those folks who compare YNAB to Excel:
I have to disagree with you because I actually built a YNAB clone in Notion (notion is a no-code app)
and gosh it was tedious. It worked but if you think YNAB's manual entry is hard, try building your own mini-app. There are a lot of features in YNAB that have been build around the methodology that you can't simply get through excel or no-code apps. I do have to admit that YNAB's pricing is a bit too steep. I'm giving it a try again. If it makes me more productive, I'd stick to it.
To answer the actual question:
There's no force pull feature. Browser refresh also doesn't do it. so you gotta wait a bit to get the latest batch automatically. There's a pinned answer by Faness in this thread that explains the when and how of the process.
Sea Green Robot said:
(b) Decide which accounts/cards are most frequently used and have the most impact on your budget. For me it's my credit cards, specifically 1 or 2 of them. so I set those to Manual Entry.
I think you wrote a nice summary. I'm just not sure why you would not have Manual Entry and Auto-import on those accounts. You can do manual entry and then let the import catch mistakes, omissions etc. That's almost what I do. I'm not in the USA so no Auto-import, but I use file-based import to match against my manual entries, recurring transactions that slightly change amount, etc. For example, my salary is +/- $0.01 depending on the fortnight. Not enough to bother by hand, perfect for importing to straighten up for me. Additionally, my last paycheck of the year is always more than the other paychecks. I could check my payslip in advance and update in YNAB, but that's during Christmas and summer holidays here. So best is just to do an import and have the transaction matched and amount updated automatically by YNAB.
Another example: childcare costs are less during holidays than during school terms. I could bother and calculate how much they will be during the holidays. Instead, I leave the normal recurring transaction with the normal amount and let importing straighten things up. Obviously, it's better to do this when the import will have positive or little impact on your budget. If the importing straighten things up and you end up with lots of overspending, that's not good.
As a bookkeeper who has done countless bank reconciliations, having an auto bank feed without any oversight/manual entries is a bad idea for the following reasons:
- Bank statement lines can be wrong (duplicates, misc charges, reoccurring fees etc)
- Not properly accounting for outstanding items in YNAB will lead to inaccuracy
- And finally, bank feeds will break (not entirely the software's fault since it relies on APIs and third-party connection, like Plaid; even full-fledged accounting suites with frequent bank syncs and automation experience broken feeds)
Bank recs are a PITA, but until the day the bots take over best to keep your hands on the wheel.
Best practice, as others have suggested, is to Enter & Match. Enter transactions manually then match with the bank feeds. Do this daily or regularly. YNAB will assist in the process by creating bank rules for you.