Backing up budgets

Possibly an easy one here, I want to backup my budget in YNAB. I know I can export my budget into a CSV file (I have zero experience with these, or with excel), but I would like to create a copy of my current budget in YNAB so that I can make changes I'm afraid to do without risking having to re-import my entire budget from scratch all over again.


Is this possible? Thanks!

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  • This is actually a very hard one.  YNAB has no "save as" function, no true backup function, and no true "import from exported file" function.  Support has said that "save as" is on the road map, but they said that quite a while ago.  I'm not holding my breath for this very basic, essential feature to be created; YNAB seems more focused on appearance details such as the colors of the pills used for budget nags.

    I feel your concern.  I started using nYNAB in January 2018.  By June 2018, I was more comfortable doing my primary budgeting in the web version than in YNAB 4; and as of May 2019, I'm still maintaining my budget in parallel in YNAB 4 because THERE IS NO "SAVE AS" OR "RESTORE" FEATURE IN nYNAB.

    I figure we're on the road to program development, somewhere around Kansas City, and pointed south.  "Save as" is on the map, probably somewhere north of where we are right now.  Like maybe in Toronto, and we don't have a Real ID to cross the border.

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    • Patzer To be fair to them, depending on the architecture of the application and the way the databases are structured a feature like that may be non-trivial to implement, especially if you have to make it work correctly with automatic imports and maybe other features I can't think of right now. 

      On the other hand in the worst case it's a feature that should be taking months to implement, not years 🤔

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      • Patzer
      • Retired at age 60. Thank you, YNAB!
      • Patzer
      • 1 yr ago
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      Maurycy Zarzycki 

      I'd be a lot more forgiving about it being hard to implement if YNAB weren't rolling out irrelevancies like goal nag icons and changed colors that make it harder for people with color-impaired vision to use the budget.

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      • bevocat
      • Sometimes, It Just Sucks to Be You
      • bevocat
      • 1 yr ago
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      Maurycy Zarzycki Which is why I said on the other thread that knowing about the ability to submit feature requests earlier would not have changed the outcome.

  • Hi Colin N !

    We do have plans for a "make a copy" option. It is road-mapped—not super high, but it's there. When you have a moment, would you mind submitting a Feature Request to let our team know you'd like to see that option?

    As you've found, you can export your budget and transaction data in CSV format.  All you need to do is click on the name of your budget in the upper left corner and choose the Export budget data option.

    It's not a true back-up, because all of the data can't be imported back into YNAB, but it will give you a copy of your budget and account registers.

    What are the changes you're wanting to test?

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    • Nicole This should be basic functionality, we had the ability to restore from previous backups in YNAB4 and this feature has been requested multiple times, I know I have submitted a restore request more than once myself.  I'm not sure why the standard answer from support is to submit a feature request as it seems to fall on deaf ears.  Not trying to be rude here and I know you as a support person cannot help the situation but this particular option should be obvious.  If we need to make multiple requests for this or any other feature then YNAB should provide the ability to vote on feature request if you are depending on the loudest voices before action is taken.

      Like 1
    • ynaber2613 Thank you for submitting the Feature Request(s). We really appreciate it! Each and every one is read and tracked by our team, and considered as we plan for the future of YNAB.  The form helps us keep tabs on all of the requests in one system, so nothing is missed in a thread on the forum.

      We hope you’ll continue to let us know about features you’re wishing to see in YNAB, because they’re a valuable part of our process! 

  • Right now my budget is manual input only, which I'm actually quite happy with (I'm enjoying how updating the budget manually every morning really makes me aware of my finances), but I was thinking of making my bank accounts link, and in other programs where I've tried that I THINK it broke a little chaos through my records as soon as it started downloading transactions (maybe it made duplicates?). I would just hate to have to sort through everything to fish out the dupes when I know I have everything exact down to the penny right now.

    • Colin N Entering transactions yourself is great! If you do want to test out linking the accounts, you can set up Direct Import on an existing account. 

      You’ll see the steps towards the bottom of that article—the first of which is key—to reconcile your account. That way, when you link the account, YNAB will only import transactions that cleared since your latest reconciled transaction—which helps prevent the possibility of duplicates.

      If the account in YNAB doesn’t have any transactions other than the starting balance, it will automatically be adjusted if the balance we receive from the bank is different.

      Let me know if you have any questions!

      Like 1
  • Thanks!

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