YNAB, short for "You Need a Budget," is one of our favorite personal financial trackers available for purchase right now, even if it isn't a free application. The cheekiness and fun-minded nature of their title doesn't end there though—this is an app that makes controlling your money fun and easy to do. YNAB might not be a perfect app for professional users looking for a Quicken alternative, but for personal users of Quicken looking for something easier to use, YNAB is one of our favorite choices.
The general premise of YNAB, according to their own staff, functions on four simple rules that they apply to their own economics. First, every dollar in your account needs a job. With their software, you can assign your financials to separate budgets, making sure that you aren't overspending or wasting money because "you have additional funds." Whether your money is budgeted towards weekly expenses, monthly bill payments, or simple savings, you'll know exactly what every dollar in your account is doing before you even slide your debit card. Second, YNAB encourages you to embrace your bills, by helping you plan for those payments ahead of time. Third, YNAB encourages you to accept that, sometimes, payments spring up out of nowhere. And that's okay. Instead of faulting you like some other financial applications will, YNAB gives you the thumbs-up for emergencies and unexpected priorities. And finally, YNAB pushes you to "age" your money, so you aren't spending the cash you earned yesterday, but the cash you earned last month.
This take on financial planning is a lot different than what we've seen from other methods and applications, but it doesn't stop there. YNAB offers classes on economic freedom ranging from five minutes to an entire thirty-four day trial on how the app works. Unfortunately, this is where we confirm that, yes, YNAB doesn't come free. Though you do get that free trial for just over a month, the entire application will run you about $50 a year. YNAB's own marketing states that users typically save on average over $3,300 a year, but it isn't a cheap application upfront.
And of course, YNAB is great for single or family use, but if you're looking to use the app for small-businesses, you'll want to check out some of the other offerings on this list. YNAB version 4 is available on Mac and Windows, and the fully-redesigned YNAB is available in browsers on any platform, with clients for both Android and iOS also available from their respective app stores.