*This post may contain affiliate links, please see my disclosure
YNAB is one of the most popular budgeting apps out there. I have personally used several versions of it over the past decade, and currently track our budget with YNAB even today!
If you search on Reddit or other popular money forums, you will see overwhelmingly positive reviews, and lots of fans that adore everything about YNAB.
But it’s not for everyone. And instead of simply NOT budgeting your money because it doesn’t work for you, I wanted to show you a few of the best alternatives to YNAB.
I specifically looked for apps that are easy to use and are CHEAPER than YNAB, some of them are even FREE!
So, if you aren’t on the YNAB bandwagon, check below for some of my favorite YNAB alternatives!
Why YNAB May Not Be for You
It Costs Too Much. YNAB used to be a one-time cost tool, and has since moved to a cloud-based model. This means lots of great feature updates, but also, it’s now a monthly (or yearly) recurring cost. The price increase, and recurring cost might be a deal-breaker for some. Currently YNAB is $84/yr. (averaging $7 per month).
Complicated Setup. YNAB can feel overwhelming if you are brand new to budgeting. And then managing things like Credit Cards and setting up recurring transactions, can feel a little…..advanced. I’ve heard from users that they simply gave up after a few months because they couldn’t keep up with how YNAB was designed to work.
No Investing Tools. YNAB can do most anything with budgeting, but they simply are not designed to help you with investing. There are no tools to show you how to invest, project your retirement savings, or anything.
Poor Reporting. One of my personal issues with YNAB is their reporting is too simplistic, especially on the mobile app. They have added a few reports
YNAB Alternative Apps: What To Look For
Free (or at least Cheaper). There are many Free budgeting apps available (though not all of the are good). There are also cheaper apps with lots of functionality. So, when searching for an alternative to YNAB, I wanted to highlight a few options that cost less, and still pack in some great features.
Simple To Use. If your budget isn’t simple, then users won’t care how amazing it is. With YNAB, I personally like the details of it, but for some, it’s simply too complicated. I wanted to highlight a few options that are “easier” to use than YNAB (though I’ll admit, ease of use can be in the eye of the beholder).
Help With More Than Just Budgeting. YNAB is a true budgeting app, through-and-through. But some users want MORE, so I also am highlighting a few apps that bring more than just budgeting in terms of features. Things like investment tracking, total net worth tracking, and investing education and advice.
The 5 Best YNAB Alternatives
There are dozens of money apps out there, so I wanted to just show the ones that I think bring good value as an alternative to YNAB. Some of these are free, most are cheaper, and they bring lots of
My Free Budget Template (Google Sheets)
My budget first started in 2008 on a simple excel spreadsheet. Over a decade later, it has evolved, but I still like to keep it clean and simple.
I created the Google Sheets budget template for a few reasons.
- Sync With Your Partner. I wanted a way for people to be able to sync their budget with their spouse or partner. Google Sheets allows you to simply share the sheet with anyone by email address. They can then simply click the link and it will open up and been in sync with the other person.
- I wanted it to be mobile-friendly. I sized it to fit on a mobile device, because the hardest part of budgeting is simply tracking your expenses and categorizing them. Having it with you makes it VERY EASY to pop in each transaction once you make the purchase.
You can grab your own copy for FREE below!
Tiller Money is a tool that allows you to sync your bank accounts to a Google Sheets or Excel Spreadsheet budget. You can use one of their templates, or create your own.
Their connector then syncs your financial accounts, and for Google Sheets users specifically, you can set rules to automatically categorize your transactions as well.
It also has a support community, weekly LIVE webinars for financial education, and a daily email summary of your transactions.
If you want total control of your money, custom to your exact situation, spreadsheets are still the best way to do this. And Tiller has found a way to POWER UP your spreadsheet by making it automatic.
If you want more control than YNAB gives you, and you want to spend (slightly) less money (Tiller is less than $7/mo), then learn more about Tiller HERE.
BONUS: Tiller has a way to import your YNAB budget!
Personal Capital is a FREE financial tool which is focused on investment tracking and education, but also has the ability to sync your financial accounts and track your spending.
Personal Capital’s spending tracker and reporting are fairly basic, but give you a quick snapshot of your money. It’s not a budgeting software in the traditional sense (you can only set a total monthly budget, but not budgets for each category), but for those who want to step back from the day-to-day of budgeting, it will help you still keep an eye on your spending.
Personal Capital shines in its investment tools. It’s “Fee Analyzer” gives you a great way to see how fees can affect your retirement (hint: they can hurt a LOT). And the “Retirement Planner” shows your projected investments and what you can spend per month in retirement.
For those who want more tools, charts and graphs, and want to get a bigger financial picture outside of the monthly budget, Personal Capital can be a great tool.
Personally, I use Personal Capital to track my net worth and analyze my investment strategy for retirement, and I use a separate budget for the daily tasks.
If you want to try out Personal Capital for FREE, learn more about them HERE
Mint.com is a FREE money management tool that helps you create a budget, track your spending, track your bills, set money goals and see a full snapshot of your finances. It is owned by Intuit, the same company that brought you Quicken and TurboTax. It is ad-supported, so there is no monthly cost to use it.
It has some good budgeting tools built in, including goal-setting and some nice visual graphs to see how you are doing with your spending. It also has some basic reporting and tracking of your investment accounts.
It a great tool to get started with your budget, because it pulls in your previous spending for the past few months, and categorizes it for you too. The setup is more automatic than YNAB, and it’s pretty simple to get started.
If you want to learn more about Mint.com, see my full review and how to use it HERE
EveryDollar Dave Ramsey’s brain-child for his budgeting system based on the 7 Baby Steps. It’s a straight-forward budgeting app, that allows you to give “Every Dollar” an assignment. It also incorporates his 7 Baby Steps into the app, allowing you to track your Financial Progress, which is kind of cool!
It’s pretty straight-forward to get started, and they have a VERY simple step-by-step process for inputting your income and expenses into the budget. I would say it’s probably the easiest setup for any budgeting app.
There are two versions of the App, the FREE version (which is full budget, just need to manually enter your transactions), and the “PLUS” version, which includes syncing with your financial accounts, custom reporting, access to Financial Peace video content, and built in baby-steps tracking.
It’s a great alternative to YNAB for people who want a simple setup process, and want to get started in 10 minutes or less.
You can manually track using the FREE version, or sync your accounts (and access other features) for $129.99 per year.
YNAB is a great budgeting tool, but there are some great options besides YNAB to help you get your money right!
I recommend trying out at least one of these options to see if it fits your budgeting style, and stay on top of your finances.
Ultimately, these are only tools, but they don’t replace you as the CFO of your life. Grab an app, take back control of your money, and start your journey to Financial Freedom today!