New Features in YNAB 4
- Easier printing
- Switch between multiple budgets without restarting
- Account reconciliation wizard
- No duplicate transactions with QIF import
- More flexible data export
- Improved reports that easily drill down to details
You Need A Budget 4 is based on the idea that you should have savings set aside to dip into when unexpected expenses come up, and the software helps you to build this financial cushion if you don't already have it. Another great thing about YNAB is that it also helps you move toward paying down and being free of all debt. Details at the top of each month column on the budget screen show you money that was not spent and was rolled forward from the previous month, the total overspent in all spending categories the previous month, income that's come in to date for the current month and the total amount budgeted in the current month. To keep this information useful, you will need to enter or download transactions every few days or at a minimum, once a week.
Cloud Sync for Backing Up and Sharing Data
YNAB 4 doesn't offer a ton of reports, but what is included is very useful since the reports have decent options for customizing the data by timeframe, budget categories, payees and by accounts. Here are the reports you get: Spending by Category, Spending by Payee, Income vs. Expense and Net Worth. Click on slices of a pie chart to get more detailed information, and the reports can be printed and data exported.
YNAB 4 Pros, Cons and Prices
- You Need A Budget will actually teach you how to budget very effectively as you use it.
- Strong support with options for getting help right away, including online classes and an active user forum.
- Free 34 day trial (download link at bottom of review).
- Keeps you really close to your spending so you know where your money goes because you have to "give every dollar a job", that is, assign a category to all spending.
- Prepares you to eventually live on last month's income.
- iPhone, Android and Kindle apps let you enter transactions and check your budget on your mobile device.
- YNAB 4 does not do automatic transaction downloads. You must use the online banking site for each financial institution to download transactions. However, YNAB does a great job of importing those transactions.
- If you need features like investment support, financial planners for college, retirement or other life events, or advanced debt reduction planning tools, you'll need to consider Quicken or other software (see links at the bottom of the page for options).
- Can be slow to load when you first start it up and when moving between the Budget, Reports and Accounts sections of the software.
You Need A Budget 4 regular price is $60. That price may seem a little steep, but the software is solid, updated frequently for free with improvements,and will continue to function for years since upgrades are never forced. If the software upgrades within six months of purchase, the upgrade is free. There is always a discount for upgrades to new versions and currently, YNAB 3 users can step up to YNAB 4 for $40. While you shouldn't need a refund given the 34 day free trial, YNAB will refund your money if you contact them with an explanation.
YNAB for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire are $4.99 each.
Summing Up the Review
I also appreciate the lengthy free 34 day trial. While You Need A Budget isn't difficult to use, sometimes it takes a bit for the budgeting rules it uses to catch on. The online forums are great for getting help, the Help feature in the software has all the information needed to use the software, and regular tech support is available if you need it. The online classes are helpful for seeing the software in action and learning more about effectively managing money.
It's obvious that a lot of thought and work has gone into You Need A Budget 4, and of all the personal financial software I've tried over the years, it rates among the best which is why I give it five stars. You can download the free trial or purchase YNAB 4 online .
YNAB Mobile App