You Need a Budget (YNAB) is a multi-platform personal budgeting program available via digital download or traditional CD-ROM. YNAB 3 is designed for OSX, Linux, and Windows, running on Adobe AIR. Previous versions were created in Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice Calc and as a Windows-only executable under the name YNAB Pro.

It was designed to work closely with the YNAB budgeting methodology.

Unlike other software budgeting tools that give you a snapshot view of how your budget did over the last month, YNAB is instead a forward looking proactive plan for money before it is spent. It does so using what is called a "Buffer" which equals one full months worth of expenses. The Buffer therefore is a specific known amount of money already in hand having been saved for that purpose. In doing so it provides a system for planning and executing short term and long term budgeting goals much more effectively than the standard crystal ball approach where you have to estimate what you are going to have for income before you get it.

As the month progresses income is tagged as "Primary" in the software which virtually sets it aside until next month where it becomes the full Buffer on the first day of the next month thus repeating the cycle.

The YNAB Methodology uses four rules of cash flow management:

  • Rule # 1: Give Every Dollar a Job ( Standard zero-based budgeting. Basically deciding where each and every dollar available needs to be saved or spent.)
  • Rule # 2: Save for a Rainy Day (This rule forces a person to accept the realities of life in the sense that there will always be "Rainy Days" when ample amounts of cash are needed in a hurry for repairs or other emergencies. By allocating money to these types of budget Categories you can stave off panic over what to do when those events occur.)
  • Rule # 3: Roll with the Punches (Since even with a forward looking and planning system you can sometimes overspend in a Budget Category, YNAB has a method that spreads that overage across the next month's budget where it can be absorbed more readily. Since (by design) a person has money reserves at hand (The Buffer) the overage can be covered easily.
  • Rule # 4: Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck (This is the ideal final state. A person will have reached a position where they have lived a month without spending income received in that month. This income is then allocated against budget categories for the month ahead.)

YNAB for iPhone was released in 2010 and is designed for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. It is not a standalone budgeting application but is instead designed to complement the YNAB for Desktop application. It enables the YNAB iPhone user to have instant access to their budget. This enables the user to have immediate knowledge of their budget status and to carry out day-to-day budgeting tasks. The app can then sync with the YNAB for desktop software over a local wi-fi network and update the budget.

YNAB for Android was released in September, 2011.

  • YNAB 3 was available as of December 2009
  • The spreadsheet version, YNAB Basic was discontinued in July 2009.
  • YNAB Pro, the Windows-only version, was discontinued in December 2009, when YNAB 3 was released.
  • YNAB 4 was released on June 26, 2012


External links

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article You Need a Budget, that was deleted or is being discussed for deletion, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Author(s): EEMIV Search for "You Need a Budget" on Google
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