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When it comes to budgeting software, You Need a Budget (YNAB) is one of the best around. However, depending on your situation, YNAB might not be right for you. That’s why, today, I am covering five YNAB alternatives you need to know so you can choose the right budgeting solution for your circumstances.
Why Seek a YNAB Alternative?
Before I cover these five alternatives to YNAB, let’s talk about why you may want to consider a YNAB alternative.
Unfortunately, YNAB is not free. Wondering how much YNAB costs? Instead, You Need a Budget operates on a subscription model. It costs $11.99 per month for the monthly plan or $84 per year for the annual plan.
I am often asked if YNAB is worth the money. For me, the answer is a resounding yes. I remain convinced that you will save far more than the cost of YNAB. However, if money is tight, this might be a steep price to pay, especially when viable, free (or cheaper) alternatives are available.
YNAB is Too Much Work
Second, perhaps you’ve been budgeting for a while and feel that you have things reasonably well under control.
If that’s the case, great! YNAB works on a very granular level, whereby you will allocate all of your income to a purpose. I don’t find keeping YNAB up to date to be an arduous task. However, if you’re looking for a solution that requires less time investment (i.e., checking your budget daily), YNAB might not be right for you.
Prefer a Solution with Other Financial Tools
Third, YNAB does budgeting. And it does budgeting exceptionally well.
But if you are looking for a financial tool that offers information on your investments, retirement planning, etc., you’ll need to look elsewhere.
A Less Complicated Setup
YNAB has a steep learning curve. In particular, the YNAB app works differently than most other budgeting apps you may have used. For this reason, setting it up takes some time and patience.
While I would encourage you to stick with it, if you’re looking for something a bit less complicated to set up, there are other options to consider.
What I Looked for in YNAB Alternatives
When determining what other budgeting tools might be able to replace YNAB, I considered each of the above reasons for wanting a YNAB alternative.
For example, if price is the factor that has you seeking a YNAB alternative, I made sure to include an option that costs less than YNAB. I also considered elements like the feature set, ease of use, etc.
With that out of the way, let’s get into the five YNAB alternatives to consider as your budgeting solution.
Best Free YNAB Alternative: Mint
Our first YNAB alternative is the budgeting behemoth Mint. Mint is a wildly popular free alternative to YNAB. However, beyond simple budgeting features, it also allows you to monitor your investments and even set up bill reminders.
While Mint is a great free alternative, it may also be a good fit if you’re looking for an easier solution than YNAB. Mint will automatically categorize your spending, so it requires almost no input from you other than setting up your initial budget.
Mint works on a reactive basis, meaning it tracks your spending after it happens. Because of this, if you choose to use Mint, the key to success is to regularly check in on your spending relative to your budget.
If you’re wondering which is better: YNAB or Mint, check out our full YNAB vs Mint comparison to learn more.
Best for Financial Planning: Personal Capital
Our next YNAB alternative is Personal Capital. Personal Capital is one of my favorite financial tools. In fact, I use both YNAB and Personal Capital.
Why? Because Personal Capital offers a holistic suite of financial tools to help you with your banking, investing, and financial planning.
If you’re looking to use a single tool for all areas of your finances, Personal Capital is the one to use. It will provide a long-term view of your finances, which can help you consider how your budgeting decisions impact your financial future.
Personal Capital is a comprehensive suite of financial tools that helps you track your net worth, make sure you stay on track for retirement, and much more! The best part about Personal Capital is it offers a FREE way to track your investment and cash accounts and plan your financial future! Check out this review to learn more!
Best if You Like Spreadsheets: Tiller Money
This next YNAB alternative is for spreadsheet junkies. Tiller Money helps connect your financial accounts to either Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel.
One of the biggest pains of budgeting with a spreadsheet is that it is very manual. However, Tiller aims to change that by helping you connect data from your banks, credit cards, brokerages, and more to a spreadsheet. Once your data is linked, Tiller offers templates to make budgeting easy. Tiller also offers templates that make it easy to track your overall financial picture and monitor your money trends.
This spreadsheet alternative even allows you to migrate your data from YNAB, so switching is easy if you’re already a YNAB user.
Best if You’re a Dave Ramsey Fan: EveryDollar
Next, EveryDollar is the tool that is perhaps most akin to YNAB in its budgeting principles. Like YNAB, EveryDollar encourages you to allocate all of your income to specific purposes.
EveryDollar is a freemium service. While you can use the base app for free, you’ll need to sign up for their premium service if you want to sync your bank transactions.
Because EveryDollar costs more than YNAB, it’s not the solution I recommend. However, if you’re a Dave Ramsey fan and want to follow his principles exactly, it can be a very effective budgeting solution.
Best if You Are a Legacy Quicken Fan: CountAbout
This final budgeting solution comes as a big step up from “legacy” budgeting solutions like Quicken, and it’s called CountAbout. Think of CountAbout as a modern take on Quicken. This service allows you to seamlessly import data from Quicken or Mint and create very detailed budgets.
CountAbout is also one of the least expensive options on this list, coming in at just $9.99/year for the basic program and $39.99/year if you want automatic transaction downloads.
While it’s a relative newcomer to the list, it offers budgeting tools that are worth considering, especially if you want a step up from Quicken.
YNAB Alternatives: A Summary
In recent years, countless new budgeting apps have come onto the scene. While YNAB has become one of the market leaders, many are left wondering if there are better alternatives than YNAB.
In my opinion, YNAB remains the best dedicated budgeting solution on the market. But if you’re looking for an option that costs less than YNAB, or you prefer to budget differently, there are some other great options to consider. To recap, here are the five best YNAB alternatives to consider for your budgeting needs:
- Best Free Alternative: Mint
- Best for Financial Planning: Personal Capital
- Best if You Like Spreadsheets: Tiller Money
- Best if You’re a Dave Ramsey Fan: EveryDollar
- Best if You Are a Legacy Quicken Fan: CountAbout
So, what are you waiting for? Get started with one of these budgeting solutions today and begin improving your finances!