I’ve been playing with the new version of YNAB, YNAB 4. For those of you who don’t know, YNAB is You Need a Budget, my favorite budgeting program. I started out using it in spreadsheet form, now I use their program. I love it. Love love love.
The basics behind YNAB are simple – live off of last month’s income and give each dollar a job. By living off of last month’s income, you’re never sitting and waiting for a payment to clear so you can pay your bill. You have a cushion. But wait, where did the cushion come from?
Let me make it simple. Let’s say I get paid on the 1st and the 15th. So on June 1st and June 15th, I get paid. But I don’t spend that money. It sits in my bank account until July. So when a bill comes on July 14th, I don’t have to wait til July 15th to pay it. I have the money. What money? The money from the earlier paychecks.
No, YNAB doesn’t give you that money. If you’re currently living paycheck to paycheck, you need to build up a buffer. They explain it much better than I do on their site, but I know what you’re thinking. How in the world can I save a whole month’s worth of income. Well, first off, you just need to save a month’s worth of expenses, so that’s slightly less money. And by giving each dollar a job and figuring out where your money is going, you will find that the buffer builds up faster than you would think. It took me a few months to get to that point, but I’m so glad I did.
So you already use YNAB and you want to know what I like about v4?
Well first off, the interface is SLICK. I love it. YNAB 3 was great, but 4 is shiny and wonderful.
The other big highlight for me? Cloud Sync through Dropbox. I have an Android phone, and I was able to sync YNAB 3, but I had to manually do it. And I always forgot. But with YNAB 4, I don’t have to worry about being out and not having access to my budget. I can quickly pull up the app and see how much money I have available to spend on groceries (or clothing or whatever I happen to be shopping for) and stay on budget with no trouble. I haven’t actually used it yet (hooray for no surprise shopping), but I know it will be getting plenty of use in the future.
I’ve never been a big user of the reports feature, but I like the net worth report. I think I’ll be using that one much more often. There’s also a new Profit & Loss report option. This I love. I’m a spreadsheet geek, and I love having everything all in one place to easily look at.
YNAB may not be for you. But I have been using it for a few years now, and I love it. I love the concept, I love that everything is easy to find in one place, and I love how it helps me keep on track with my budgeting. So check it out!