Money Management Software For The Desktop: YNAB 3 Review

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2009-10-278

A sneak peek at YNAB 3.

There are a lot of great budgeting software products in the market, many of them free. But a lot of the free financial tools are browser based, and while there are certainly a lot of people who are mighty fine with having their information stored and transacted via the web, there are still those folks who are more comfortable with desktop tools, especially when it comes to managing their budget or net worth. If you prefer to do your money management transactions in your own personal “space”, then a desktop tool may suit you better.

The dominant product in the market right now is Quicken software, now that Microsoft Money has been retired. However, I’d like to bring up a lesser known desktop budgeting product that I’ve actually written about before called YNAB or You Need A Budget, which is a great alternative to Quicken. If you check Amazon ratings, you’ll find that YNAB smokes Quicken in the rankings and positive feedback.

Money Management Software For The Desktop: YNAB 3 Review

YNAB 3 is the newest reincarnation of You Need A Budget, and it’s much anticipated. It’s finally available and if you happen to have YNAB Pro (the previous version), you can get a discount if you upgrade to the latest version.

YNAB is available for purchase through this link. You can also check out the YNAB store for more product selections.

To see how YNAB 3 looks like, check out the following screenshot: click on this link or the image below for a sneak peek.

YNAB 3 Register

If you want to see YNAB 3 in action, you can view these demos: here’s a video walkthrough that covers Categories and Notes. Here’s another video that shows how the “Spending Tool Tip” feature works.

You Need A Budget! YNAB 3 Features

YNAB 3 promises some great improvements, as its new features attest. Let’s have a quick run through of the changes you’ll see in this version:

1. Runs on the Mac. YNAB 3 running on the Mac should make a few budget-minded folks happy. A good number of us have been eager to try out YNAB but haven’t been able to, in the past, due to software platform restrictions.

2. Reports. It’s my opinion that all software tools (particularly financial ones) should have reporting capabilities. For those who need additional reporting beyond what YNAB 3 offers, the tool will allow you to export the data elsewhere, to work with as you wish.

3. Improved Search and Usability. The ability to undo our work or to customize fields are things we take for granted in many tools; glad to know these are now part and parcel of this version of YNAB.

4. Cash Flow Management and Asset Management. The software allows you to track both budgeted accounts vs other types of accounts (such as your mortgage, retirement accounts and car expenses), while adhering to YNAB’s core cash flow management methodology.

5. Flexibility With Accounting. There’s flexibility here with how you can account for aspects of your budget.

6. Proactive and “Smart” Budgeting. You can move your budgeted numbers seamlessly across budget categories if you prefer to do this rather than deal with negative numbers. YNAB is also “smart” enough to inform you if you’ve got errors or things out of sync between your budget and your bank account(s).

7. Better Look and Feel. Just by checking the videos above, you can see the cosmetic improvements that this version has over its predecessors.

If you’re not familiar with the tool, do check out our comprehensive review of YNAB or You Need A Budget to get an idea of the philosophy behind the software and what you’ll get out of working with it. Or you can download a free trial through this link and see how it can work out for you!

Copyright © 2009 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason @ One Money Design October 27, 2009 at 6:44 pm

I like the slider feature of seeing multiple months of the budget and results. I think you make a good point in that some do refer a desktop product. There are still great desktop apps available even though the web-based apps are so heavily talked about today. When I was a Money user I always liked that I could work on my finances without having an internet connection.

Eric October 27, 2009 at 8:11 pm

Can’t wait for the Mac version. I’ve felt left out for a looooong time.

So when exactly does “end of the year” mean? Christmas time?

John DeFlumeri Jr October 28, 2009 at 5:40 am

Thanks for reviewing this software for us. It’s awful to buy a program, and the find out it’s not what we thought.

John DeFlumeri Jr.

Kris October 28, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Nice review. But if I wanted to pay that kind of price, I’d buy Quicken. I’d rather stick with a free option like GnuCash.

Silicon Valley Blogger October 28, 2009 at 1:56 pm

I believe that YNAB 3 is slated for a November to December release. The developer behind this, Jesse Mecham, is pretty excited about this launch. This product of his came out of his Excel spreadsheets, would you believe. What’s nice about YNAB is how it comes across to me as a “home grown” product that is now sharing the market with some bigger, well-known names. There’s that “grass roots” feel about it still. One other good thing about YNAB is how it’s positioned to keep you a little more disciplined about your budget as there are helpful features in the tool to assist you with your debt reduction planning.

There are definitely other tools out there doing similar stuff, and you should go with what you’re most comfortable with. There sure is no shortage of new, spiffy budgeting tools staking a claim in this space, but it’s worth checking each one out to see what fits your particular requirements.

Kalen October 30, 2009 at 12:08 am

I have been waiting for the MAC version for a long time. I think it is coming at the end of the year.

John A Torrington October 30, 2009 at 5:35 pm

I guess what jumps off the page is the lack of an investment portfolio manager, unless I’m missing something.
Probably is OK for those who just want to control their spending, but no competition for Quicken when it comes to an overall, electronically updated net worth statement or tracking your stock holdings.
We still need a good replacement for Quicken in the Mac environment.

PJ November 1, 2009 at 12:14 pm

I’ve been using this product for about 3 years. I’m out of debt, and I know where my money is going! It’s a wonderful combination of everything I ever wanted in a budgeting program but couldn’t find all in one place. YNAB is the place! I put off trading in my PC for a Mac specifically because this program didn’t run on Macs. No more excuses! I’m very happy about this.

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