If you are like the thousands of people who struggle with an Excel spreadsheet to maintain your budget, personal finance software is for you. Personal finance software will help you manage your finances, find your ‘financial leaks’ and reach whatever financial goals you set. You Need a Budget, also affectionately known as YNAB, is one of the leading budgeting tools. I was recently given the opportunity to try the You Need a Budget budgeting software program, and let me tell you – I am impressed! YNAB is incredibly easy to use, powerful, and accurate.
To some, Excel spreadsheets will do just fine. But for those who do not have much budgeting experience, it is better to use personal finance software. Personal finance software TEACHES you how to budget and helps you stick with it. Excel spreadsheets, on the other hand, simply provide a documented budget that you create.
You can find all kinds of software online to help you manage your finances. But one of the best is YNAB or You Need a Budget.
You Need a Budget Overview of Features
You Need a Budget (YNAB) is a personal finance software created to help you focus on your finances. The software is constructed around Four Rules of Cash Flow, each of which will help you break your bad financial habits. You Need a Budget will help you manage your finances in a simple and straightforward manner. YNAB is built on Adobe AIR, which enables you to run it on Windows, Linux and Mac.
- You Need a Budget’s methodology allows you to flawlessly follow the Four Rules of Cash Flow:
Rule #1: Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck – this software helps to break the paycheck to paycheck spell. The most important thing to do is to get current on your bills, then start getting ahead.
Rule #2: Give Every Dollar a Job – every single dollar you earn will be assigned to a particular category. This system allows you to have power over your money by accounting them to a specific place in your budget.
Rule #3: Save for the Rainy Day – this system enables you to allocate savings for future use such as insurance policy payment, holiday getaway, emergencies, etc. You know these expenses are coming, and they are much more manageable if you save a few dollars here and there instead of trying to make a huge payment all at once.
Rule #4: Roll with the Punches – unlike most finance software that only warns you when you spend more than your allocated budget, YNAB deducts your overspend from the next month’s budget. Thus, teaching you a lesson. Step Four is a way to pay yourself back for unexpected expenses and replenish your emergency fund or other savings.
- It helps you achieve financial peace by tracking all of your expenses.
- Automatically import bank transactions, which can be a big time-saver. The software is able to import OFX, QFX, QIF, and CSV files from major financial institutions. They are the same as the files used by Quicken, but the good thing is, YNAB does not ask for sensitive info. It provides a more secure way of downloading your financial transaction data.
- You Need a Budget provides all you need to manage your finances. It generates reports, manages recurring transactions, and puts you in control of your money. YNAB provides easy to understand charts and graphs, so visualizing your budget is made much easier.
- YNAB comes with 5 bonus spreadsheets:
- YNAB Debt Snowball. The debt snowball is a concept made popular by Dave Ramsey. This is a quick and proven way to get out of debt quickly.
- 2009 Income tax forecaster. This is a great tool to help you predetermine your income taxes for next year.
- YNAB Retirement Planner. The YNAB Retirement Planner spreadsheet can help you make investment decisions that will help you meet your retirement goals. You can also do “what-if” scenarios to investigate different investment and retirement options.
- YNAB Mortgage Analyzer. This will help you determine how long it will take to pay off your mortgage, and you can change the variables to see how much more quickly you can pay it off by refinancing to a lower rate or making additional payments.
- YNAB Car Maintenance Schedule. This will help you keep track of all your scheduled maintenance such as oil changes, tire rotations, filter changes, and other scheduled maintenance actions. A well-maintained vehicle can save you thousands of dollars and last years longer than a car that hasn’t been well maintained.
- It is easy to install. Just run it on your computer and it will be up and running in a few minutes.
- This software runs on multiple operating platforms: Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.
When you use You Need a Budget (YNAB) Personal Finance Software you will never experience difficulty in budget planning ever again. YNAB is a software that allows you to successfully manage your finances using the 4 Rules of Cash Flow. YNAB is a straightforward approach in budget planning. It is much convenient to use than an Excel Spreadsheet, and has more features compared to other personal finance software.
Advantages of You Need a Budget Personal Finance Software
Okay, you can actually do these things with a pen and paper, but using the pen and paper method, or even the Excel spreadsheet method will not help you allocate a part of your income for ‘rainy days’; and Excel is not capable of downloading all your bank transactions at once.
By using the YNAB, you will learn to do four things: you will stop living paycheck to paycheck; you will allocate every single dollar you earn to specific categories; you will be forced to save (which is a good thing); and you will live with the consequences (when you overspend, that amount will be deducted from the next month’s budget).
This is definitely unlike other finance planning software that just lists your income and expenses and that’s it. You Need a Budget will teach (and force) you to make a working budget, a realistic working budget. Best of all, it makes visualizing your budget more interesting by using colorful pie charts and bar graphs.
Disadvantages of You Need a Budget Personal Finance Software
Some people find it difficult to use (although a majority says it is user-friendly). And if you use YNAB, you’ll need a lot of time encoding data; which is, by the way, applicable to all personal finance software.
My Two Cents
Overall, You Need a Budget is ideal for those who, well, need a budget. It will definitely change the way you handle your money. It will not create a budget for you but it will make you follow one. Check out YNAB on Amazon.com and purchase it at a 19% discount and free shipping.
One of the things that most impressed me about YNAB is the level of support they offer. YNAB offers online tutorials, a wiki, a user forum, an online user manual, a FAQ section, and even FREE online coaching via webinars. YNAB is passionate about budgeting!