You Need A Budget 4 (YNAB)

You Need A Budget 4 (YNAB)

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cryptographrix Dec 26, 2012 @ 6:53am
YNAB feature request
This would be usable with the following features:
- "Classify all expenses with this name/regex as..." - when importing transactions from my bank (which is the only way anyone should intend to put transactions into this software - ESPECIALLY if people use automatic billing [which they should]), there is no way I'm going to re-tell this application that spending on "SEAMLESS" equals "restaurants," spending on Con-Ed equals "electricity," or spending on RCN equals "Internet."

- Individuals/Family transaction approval is unnecessary. Get rid of it for individuals/families. A small business owner can use it, but for a family it just adds an element that makes it hard to use. "Of course I approve these transactions, I spent the money on them!"

- We realize that this software relies a lot on the non-software "method" but since there's no integration for the "method" in the app, it's little more than an unintegrated Excel/Numbers worksheet. At least in the Excel/Numbers worksheet, we can create an associative "classification" worksheet that links the transaction with the transaction type. Add integration for the method you're talking about, and people will realize that there is a method behind the madness.

MAKE IT EASY TO USE OR PEOPLE WON'T SEE A POINT IN IT, especially since this software is basically competing with software (in the same price range) that banks, investment services and brokerages planet-wide export their data directly to (thinking of one that YNAB even imports data from the format of).

Seriously, if this doesn't have a benefit over, say, pen and paper, people aren't going to use it.

Everybody that is buying this has already gone through lectures and classes and YouTube videos of "here are methods to budget by hand, by <competing software>, by Excel..." and has tried this EXPECTING easier ways to do things with financial transactions than pen and paper.
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RodeoClown Dec 26, 2012 @ 12:31pm 
Hi Cryptographix - the classifying all expenses as [X] already happens. You need to classify them the first time you import, and from then it will automatically classify them next time they are imported. You can also set up payee renaming rules etc from the Payee Settings screen (ctrl-y).

We actually have lots of users who like the transaction approval. It lets them know that something has been added that they are unaware of. You can approve all in three clicks as well if you really want to (in the All Accounts tab, click the checkbox at the top of the register to select all (or Ctrl-a), then right click->Approve). We are discussing making it optional for transactions from mobile devices though.

The method is integrated pretty heavily throughout the entire app:

Rule 1 - give every dollar a job: the budget screen makes this easy. You have a big number at the top, make it equal 0 by assigning all the dollars you have to categories. If you don't assign categories to a transaction, we put them in the "uncategorized" row to make sure they are accounted for. If you go past 0, the number goes bright red (basically yelling at you).

Rule 2 - save for a rainy day: again, on the budget screen, if you don't spend money you've given a job to in a given month, it rolls forward to the next month, building up so you have enough to spend when you need it. There's a built-in calculator in every cell, so you can figure things out if you need to (although we are looking at making this easier to deal with at the moment).

Rule 3 - roll with the punches: once again on the budget screen (most of the budgeting rules are dealt with on that screen), your overspends in a category are zero-ed out for the next month, meaning you have to deal with your overspends, but they are effectively distributed through all of the next month, instead of punishing you in a category by making you budget your overspend AND what you pay next month.

Rule 4 - aim to live on last months income: on the register there are only two ways of classifying income: this month and next month. The aim is to push it all to the next month's budget. When you can sit down at the beginning of the month and budget for all your expenses with money you pushed forward from the previous month, then you've hit this.

I'm not really sure why you think we aren't supporting the method. I'd suggest checking out our (free) live classes here:

They'll step through the whole process really well, and you can ask any questions you want (I can't guarantee the teachers will have a chance to answer all of them, but they get to the vast majority of them).

Also, you can check out the rules in more depth here:

Have a great New Year!
cryptographrix Dec 29, 2012 @ 7:58pm 
Thank you for a rapid and pithy response (the day after Christmas, at that). Much of it was helpful.

About importing:
Usually the first import from a person's account is something like 1500+ transactions at a time and many of those are regex duplicates (^NETFLIX.*$), so applying to the next import doesn't help much - I guess what I'm looking for is a way to apply to the duplicates in the current import.

From what you've suggested, it seems like the only way to do that is to set payee renaming rules prior to initial import.

On approval process: Please at least make it an option in a config somewhere.

It's interesting to sift through what my account activity was for the past week or month, but ultimately,

if ( ( my payee rules are correct ) and ( I can do basic math in my head ) )

# "how much is Netflix? $8/month? That's basically $100/year....why do I have $150 billed by them?",

then ( the "other" group is catching all errant transactions that I would have questions about
# and which my bank should be catching and flagging my account for

...which makes my validation procedure:
- Is the job that each dollar has being applied to that dollar in the correct amounts? ("Is Netflix charging me $96/year as they said they would be?")


- Is there anything in "other transactions" that I didn't actually do this month? ("Why did someone buy something from a Wal-Mart in Florida on my NY-based debit card?")

...thus negating the need for an approval least for as much as I need.

The last response is helpful enough that I can begin to work with YNAB more, but especially for first import (unless I'm missing something here), it would be cool to have a way of applying payee rules to the current import as they are created.
RodeoClown Dec 30, 2012 @ 2:39am 
We'd actually suggest not starting with an import at all, and just entering the amount you have in your bank accounts right now. Budget that, and then enter your transactions that occur after that date (or import, but only include transactions after your starting date).

See this page for a better overview:
Last edited by RodeoClown; Dec 30, 2012 @ 2:40am
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Date Posted: Dec 26, 2012 @ 6:53am
Posts: 3