What is You Need A Budget?
You Need A Budget - or YNAB for short - is a type of personal finance software that allows users to manage their funds without needing access to months of historical data.
It promises to help you pay off debt, save more money and create a flexible budget that makes it easy to achieve your financial goals.
We've put YNAB through rigorous testing under lab conditions, analysing the features we know are important to you and providing star ratings to help you compare packages.
Our review includes the full results of our lab tests with ratings on data input, the dashboard, transactions, goal-tracking, report-generation, mobile app, security and an overall verdict from our personal finance software experts.
Members can log in to see the results of our personal finance software analysis. If you’re not already a member, you can sign up to a two-month trial for Which? Money for just £1 to access this review and enjoy the benefits of a Which? membership.
|YNAB product review||Specifications|
|Version tested|| |
YNAB 5 8/May/2018 version
Bought in US dollars ($83.99); we give the sterling equivalent
£63.59 a year
|Free trial?|| |
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
|Investment tracking|| |
How does You Need A Budget work?
YNAB works differently compared to traditional finance software as it’s not designed for analysing past spending.
Instead, it asks you to budget every pound of your income from the outset and to adjust this as you go to help you reach your financial goals.
Watch our video to see YNAB in action to get a feel for how the software can help you manage your money.
You Need A Budget review: at a glance
Find out how YNAB scored in our lab review on performance (including data input, set up, dashboard, reports, transactions and tracking), support and its mobile app.
How do I get started?
We reveal how easy it is to get started using YNAB.
We asked our lab testers to manually input two sets of fictitious financial data, as well as import CSV and QIF files from various sources in order to calculate star ratings for both ease and speed of data input.
|YNAB: data input||Score|
|Ease of manual data input|
|Speed of manual data input|
How easy is You Need a Budget to use?
Our lab testers tried out dozens of YNAB’s features and issued star ratings for a range of performance indicators including dashboard navigation, transaction-grouping, report-generating, goal-setting and reminder-scheduling functions.
You can select the score table you want to see using the drop-down menu.
|Dashboard look and user-friendliness|
What help and support is on offer?
When using personal finance software it's likely that you'll need some support to help you get the most out of the package.
We tested every element of YNAB’s customer support and gave it an overall star rating based on the range and quality of the services on offer.
What's You Need A Budget's mobile app like?
The YNAB mobile app is available for IOS and Android devices and acts as a companion app to the desktop application. Here's how the YNAB mobile app was rated in our lab tests.
|YNAB: mobile app||Score|
|Mobile app information view|
|Ease of syncing|
|Ease of adding receipts|
|Utility of app|
How secure is it?
When entering your financial information you want to be sure it's safe. Here's how YNAB scored for security in our lab review across its desktop programme and mobile app.
|Security with all options enabled (desktop)|
|Security with fewest options enabled (desktop)|
|Quality of encryption methods (desktop)|
|Navigating security and privacy options (desktop)|
|Security with all options enabled (mobile)|
|Security with fewest options enabled (mobile)|
|Quality of encryption methods (mobile)|
Which? verdict on You Need A Budget
We reveal how suitable YNAB is for beginners, who tend to struggle with computers and organising their finances, and experts who are more experienced in these areas.
|Not suitable for|
Find out more: Best personal finance software - see how YNAB compares.
You Need A Budget: FAQs
Is YNAB compatible with Microsoft Money and Quicken?
YNAB is not compatible with Microsoft Money or Quicken.
Can you import information automatically by linking to your bank account?
YNAB won’t allow you to automatically import data from a bank account if you live in the UK – this functionality is only available to those in the USA and Canada.
Instead, you can download your data in a standard format and then upload it to the application or just manually input the values.
Does YNAB work on Apple Watch?
YNAB is compatible with the Apple Watch.
Can YNAB work for couples?
YNAB allows you to have an unlimited number of multiple accounts so it can work for couples. It allows you to set up different budgets to monitor and track goals.
Does YNAB offer a student discount?
YNAB offers students a free 12-month subscription after their 34-day trial. You just need to provide proof of your student status. After the free year, you can get a 10% discount on the subscription price.