Questions about using YNAB with multiple currencies

Hi! My home country and primary budget is in USD. I'll be traveling to Brazil for a week. Here is the best way to handle this, as I understand from this forum and the excellent YNAB subreddit:

  1. Set up a second budget in the other currency (ie, Brazilian reais)
  2. Cash in the local currency is recorded in the new budget. Example:  Record a cash withdrawal of $100 in my primary US budget, and an inflow of 325 reais in my Brazilian budget. All cash spending then gets recorded in the Brazilian budget.
  3. Credit card purchases, before and during the trip, are recorded in my primary US budget, since these are converted to US dollars (and moving individual transactions to a new place would screw up the account balance and reconciliation). 
  4. I'll include a specific memo (ie, "#brazil2018") for every trip-related purchase, so I can find them later for determining how much I spent overall on this vacation, drawing from both budgets.


  1. Anything I got wrong, or am forgetting?
  2. While I SHOULD have cellular signal in Brazil, there's always the chance I won't. Particularly since I'll be close to two other international borders. Will both budgets be available offline during the day? I will need to switch back and forth between them, so I'm hoping they will both load offline and allow syncing in the evening when I get back to wifi.

Note: As a backup, I'll carry a little notebook to record expenses, in case I have problems with YNAB. I always carry a little notebook.

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  • Hi doctor_who !

    I know this is a bit late so, if you've already taken your trip, I hope you had a blast! :)

    1. No, that looks exactly right!

    2. While offline, you should still be able to use the mobile app and it should then update once you're back on wi-fi. 

    It's always great to have a backup plan, but I hope you didn't need it!

  • Thanks so much! Not traveling for a few months yet. I appreciate the response!

  • Just to report back on this...

    So I traveled, mostly to Brazil, but also spent some time in Argentina. The system described above worked, but I had to switch back and forth between three budgets:

    * My primary budget, to record credit card transactions (which were converted to dollars; I'd log into my credit card's web site to find out exactly what I was charged), and ATM withdrawals.

    * Brazil budget, to record cash spending in Brazilian currency.

    * Argentine budget, to record cash spending in Argentinian currency. 

    I was pleased when I got home that everything balanced: I accurately knew what I'd spent on my credit cards and withdrawn from my checking accounts, and I had an accurate figure for how much cash I had left over. But moving back and forth between budgets was tedious. MoneyWiz, my prior software, allowed me to have different accounts in different currencies, which was more straightforward. In MoneyWiz, I could have set up a Brazil cash account and Argentine cash account, and accomplished the same thing all on one screen. So I hope YNAB considers moving in that direction. 

    Like 4
      • vw_bugg
      • vw_bugg
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      doctor_who You say you had to switch between 3 budgets. At any point were you without signal when you needed to switch budgets and did it allow you to do that with out issue?

      • doctor_who
      • Silver_Boa
      • 2 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      vw_bugg I was lucky in that my phone worked pretty well in both Brazil and Argentina, so I may not have had to test that. However, my strategy was to keep all the budgets up-to-date when I was in a pocket of wifi or  strong data , so that if I had drifted into a dead zone, they should have loaded without a problem. (I also had a little notebook I used as a backup.)

      I should add that you can test this for yourself simply by turning on airplane mode (ie, shutting off your phone's wifi and cellular connections), and seeing how your YNAB budgets load. As far as I can tell, if I've downloaded all the budgets in question already, and then I cut off signal, they are accessible in offline mode.

      Like 1
      • IT_Prof
      • it_prof
      • 2 yrs ago
      • Reported - view

      doctor_who I also use MoneyWiz and have many accounts in different currencies. Difficulties with currencies in YNAB do not allow me to buy a subscription to YNAB :(

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