Author Topic: How do you use YNAB?  (Read 3773 times)

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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How do you use YNAB?
« on: October 20, 2015, 10:07:57 AM »
We are in the middle of our 34-day YNAB trial. I really like the ease of assigning money to categories and shifting it around as the month goes on, but I'm finding it a little cumbersome to double-enter everything involving a checking account--once in my checkbook register, once in YNAB.

So I'm curious what other people do. Do you enter every little transaction or use shortcuts of some kind? Will I find it less cumbersome as I go on? (I'm working with less-than-complete buy-in from Mr. FP, too.)

jeromedawg

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Re: How do you use YNAB?
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2015, 11:49:01 AM »
We are in the middle of our 34-day YNAB trial. I really like the ease of assigning money to categories and shifting it around as the month goes on, but I'm finding it a little cumbersome to double-enter everything involving a checking account--once in my checkbook register, once in YNAB.

So I'm curious what other people do. Do you enter every little transaction or use shortcuts of some kind? Will I find it less cumbersome as I go on? (I'm working with less-than-complete buy-in from Mr. FP, too.)

Just one perspective here, as we got YNAB a while back. My wife is tedious about journaling entries but she doesn't do it on a daily or 'on-the-go' basis with YNAB. And in fact, they do recommend sitting down once a week *together* to go over expenses and what not. So you do need to track your expenses to an extent. It's harder if you pay in cash for a lot of stuff vs credit where it's logged. I'd say if you're really serious about controlling your budget, you *need* to be tedious about that stuff to get the most out of YNAB. I don't know, but to me it takes a lot of self-discipline, which isn't a bad thing. But for my wife and I we really lack that, and end up being super lazy about it. It is nice in that it gives some insight into where our money is going but it's hard to get into the groove. I'd say the learning curve is a little steep too. But I imagine if you spend time with their free online course offerings, you can get a pretty good jumpstart. As I said though, at some point it was just hard to keep up with entering everything in. I think if you see it as a 'necessity' in the context of budgeting, then it'll become "second-nature" - for us, that's just not the case. I guess we just have held our budgeting relatively loosely. 
« Last Edit: October 20, 2015, 11:50:33 AM by jplee3 »

keepitsimple

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Re: How do you use YNAB?
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2015, 12:19:13 PM »
I'm in the middle of my trial too.  I used to use just a combo of Mint (for balances and budget) and an excel spreadsheet (for planning future cash flows), so atmo I'm using all 3 which is a bit tedious.  The best thing I've gotten from YNAB is the idea to use last month's income for this month's expenses, so you never have to worry about a cash cushion and you know exactly how much you have to work with.  Still debating about whether I will purchase, but if I do I can probably drop my spreadsheet.  Will keep Mint though.  I like having all my account balances available and up-to-date in one place...plus it's free.

GizmoTX

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Re: How do you use YNAB?
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2015, 12:20:10 PM »
We've been using YNAB for just a few months, & gives us an easier way than a spreadsheet to keep our checkbook, plus it tracks categories as a very useful bonus. I'm still working on the budgeting part but we're already FI & retired.

Most of our recurring expenses go on credit cards, paid in full every month, & periodically I go online to download the transactions & import them into YNAB. YNAB skips the ones already posted. It's a quick process to assign a category to a new vendor & to accept the rest.

We write very few checks, & they're usually for rainy day items, so those I enter as they happen so that YNAB has the correct account balance. Periodically I go online to the checking account to reconcile with the YNAB transactions. I could also download the checking transactions & import them, but they're usually already there.

MEJG

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Re: How do you use YNAB?
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2015, 12:25:47 PM »
We do all our banking online, and use YNAB.  I don't balance my check book- I use YNAB and check my online accounts.  I do try to enter as I go in YNAB but we all miss somethings.  I sit down about once a week and reconcile all my YBAB accounts, so I'm in my online checking account anyways.  We've been doing it this way for about a year and have had no problems. 

I am finding YNAB incredibly useful.  Recently it has sown me that we need an efund and to actually live on LAST months income due to changes this year in employment which resulted in higher income, but much more variable income.

catccc

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Re: How do you use YNAB?
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2015, 12:52:48 PM »
After a couple months, I abandoned the old check register in favor of YNAB's reconciliation system.

I manually enter everything.  How do you import?  And how does it know which ones are already entered?  I could use this feature b/c DH doesn't always input transactions, so I have to catch up before reconciling, and then there's been more spent then I've realized.

johnny847

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Re: How do you use YNAB?
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2015, 12:55:30 PM »
After a couple months, I abandoned the old check register in favor of YNAB's reconciliation system.

I manually enter everything.

+1

SomedayStache

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Re: How do you use YNAB?
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2015, 01:30:12 PM »
We are in the middle of our 34-day YNAB trial. I really like the ease of assigning money to categories and shifting it around as the month goes on, but I'm finding it a little cumbersome to double-enter everything involving a checking account--once in my checkbook register, once in YNAB.

YNAB is my checkbook register.  It's great.  I can see double-entering data until you are sure you will stick with YNAB.  But once you make the leap there should be no reason to keep both systems.  YNAB will have all the data (and more) your checking register does.

I've had the same budget file since 2012, so as long as I have my phone with me I can look back that far and tell you exactly how much I spent in any category.  I've used this many times when someone asks me how much something cost, "Wait, let me look that up".
How much did I spend at the dentist last year?  That's easy to find out. 
What day did I open that credit card account that I'm churning? Let's see when the first date on that account is.
What store did I buy item X from?  Just review the entries from that category.
How long ago was the dog's last vet appointment?  Look back through the 'pets' category.

For big ticket items or orders with confirmation numbers I've started putting that data in the memo field so I always have handy access to it.


GizmoTX

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Re: How do you use YNAB?
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2015, 01:41:04 PM »
How do you import?  And how does it know which ones are already entered? 

It depends on your bank & credit cards, but all of ours have a download feature available when we view transactions online (at the bank or credit card site). Be sure to select a Quicken format, not Excel or anything else. This should put a file into your computer's Download directory or folder. Then go to that account window in YNAB & you should see the Import button at the top of the account transaction window. Select the file you just downloaded & YNAB will pop up a window telling you how many new transactions it sees & if you want to continue. Then you'll need to Accept or Reject them. It's much faster than manual entry & catches transactions you may have missed.