4 Ways YNAB is the Best Budgeting Software Ever

bills and coins laid out on a brown background

When you find something in your life that helps you immensely, you want to share it with others. You want them to get just as much out of it as you have. You want to scream if from the rooftops so that everyone can hear! I found something a few months ago that has transformed my financial life for the better.  Now I know that is a pretty bold statement, but it’s the truth. I’ll tell you how in a minute.

This revolutionary transformation came by the way of the best budgeting software ever called YNAB (which stands for You Need A Budget).

Now many of you are going to say, “but I already have a budget!” So did I, but not like this. YNAB is online budgeting software that syncs with your bank, is mobile via app and can produce reports to help you track your spending. But even more than that, YNAB helps you think differently about budgeting and your money.

Bank Syncing

a screenshot of the budgeting app YNAB

The nice thing about bank syncing is that you can download your transactions daily from your bank. You don’t have to type everything manually (although you can if you want to). You can do that with each of your bank accounts, no matter which bank they belong. I have found that syncing is about a day behind when the transaction occurred, so keep that in mind when you balance your account.

On The Go

a screen shot from a mobile device with the YNAB app on the screen


I love the mobile app part of the software. I love that I can see how much money I have in different categories when I’m at the grocery store or when my kids ask for money. But my favorite part of this feature is that my husband and I both have the apps on our phones, so we can stay “on the same page” when it comes to spending and the budget.


an cartoon image of a man with a magnifying glass looking at a paper.

I haven’t used this feature as much as I should, but I’m sure I will in the future. You can look at (and print out) reports on income and spending for tax purposes. You can look over several months and see if you are over on a certain category (like groceries or gasoline). I think it is a useful feature for any budget minded person.


cartoon drawing of feet on a starting line

YNAB also has online classes (webinars) that are included in your membership. These classes will help you think differently about your budget, why you have it and what it can do for you. They are interactive, so you can ask questions and get your answers during the class.

So what is so different about YNAB over other budgeting software? Why am I naming it the best budgeting software ever?

Well, there are 4 rules that YNAB uses to help you prioritize and plan how to spend your money:

1. Give every dollar a job!

-only spend money you have

-“spend” every dollar in your budget before you spend it in real life

2. Embrace your true expenses!

-prepare for future expenses

-keeps you from panicking when your car breaks down

-plan for yearly bills on a monthly basis

3. Roll with the punches!

-be flexible when things come up

-move money from one category to another

-budget changes as you need

4. Age your money!

-break the paycheck to paycheck cycle

-the longer you have your money, the less stress you have

-try to get to a point where your money is 30 days old

-budget today’s money for next months expenses

a cartoon drawing of a map to how you should budget and spend money.

So how has all of this changed my life?

My husband and I were both stuck in the paycheck to paycheck cycle. No matter how much more income we added or how “good” we tried to be at cutting expenses, something would always come up and wreck our month.

We have been writing down a monthly budget (my husband gets paid monthly) for years in a notebook. I always knew what the main bills were each month. Trying other software, such as Quicken and Mint, didn’t help. I would always get excited about getting everything uploaded and figured out. But along about the 2nd month, my motivation would be gone.

But with YNAB, I’m excited about budgeting! I’ve been doing it for 4 months consistently. That may not sound like long to you, but for me that is amazing! And I’ve realized something– my problem isn’t the big bills. It’s all the little stuff that comes up during the month. It’s the new tires or the unplanned trip home to Texas for a funeral that trip me up. I wasn’t using my budget to prepare for the future. I was just getting by each month, with not much extra to show for it.

a visual representation of the YNAB app on mobile devices


So after 4 months with YNAB, what has changed?

-I have used categories not only for my regular monthly bills, but future expected bills like car and home maintenance.

-Right now my money is 18 days old.

-We haven’t used credit cards to buy anything in 4 months (including Christmas)! That’s huge!

-Our emergency fund is $1000.

-We are rolling on our debt snowball.

-Christmas didn’t break the bank because we had budgeted ahead of time (that will be even better this year now that we have more time to save).

-We have started savings categories for my son’s car when he turns 16 in October (it will be an older car), vacation and Christmas.

-I have less anxiety about money and how things are going to get paid.

-And the best of all–We had our house on the market so we could sell and get out of debt. Because our finances are under control, we took the house off the market December 31, 2016! That feels great!

Thanks for sticking with me this far. If any of this interests you, YNAB has a 34 day free trial. You can try out the best budgeting software ever and take classes for free for 34 days. And in case you were wondering, the regular subscription price is $5 per month.

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I will continue to scream from the rooftops how awesome this software and program are, hoping that at least  a few people will listen. I want everyone to feel as financially stable as I do. Join me, won’t you?

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How do you budget? Is that system working for you? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. Melissa

    This sounds like a great program. I will have to check it out!

    1. ss_admin_user

      You won’t regret it! Let me know if you have any problems or questions!

  2. Kristin Cook

    Wow! I have never even heard of that before: try to get to the point where my money is thirty days old! I don’t think I have ever done that in my adult life, which is very sad!

    1. Julie @ Our Provident Homestead

      It’s a totally new way of thinking about money and budgeting. I love it! Thanks for stopping by the blog!

  3. Angie Rose

    Hey Julie! This post is so informative and very helpful 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing this with us at Dishing It & Digging It. Hope you had a great weekend!

    1. Julie @ Our Provident Homestead

      Thanks so much for dropping by. I will be back at your place next week!

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