You Need A Budget 4 (YNAB)

You Need A Budget 4 (YNAB)

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ravenrider Jan 7, 2013 @ 1:34pm
Advantage over gnuCash?
Did someone here already try GNUcash and this program? I'm interested in a good financial program but I want the know the advantages over the free alternatives.
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Showing 1-15 of 18 comments
Dave Jan 8, 2013 @ 4:37am 
To be honest, I havent run across a free alternative.

Yes, I've used both.. Along with quicken, microsoft money, TurboCash and others..

I can only suggest you actually try GnuCash... It won't take long to reduce you to tears.

GnuCash is an ugly, overly complicated, double entry accounting package for running a business.. TurboCash is overpriced.. Microsoft money and quicken are almost functionally identical, but quicken is costly, and microsoft money is gone. (The last version was free for a while, but it never supported QIF format)

YNAB is a personal budgeting system which is about training you to think differently* about how you put your income to work and think about budgeting.

Its the first budgeting application I've run across which ISNT merely an accounting package with a dolled up "planner mode" where it projects your anticipated spending based on your history , casting a bleak future of unending debt.

YNAB realises that your spending history is not a useful indicator of future spending. If you have a family, you know you can't save $6 a month to buy a pair of shoes in July. When you need it, you need it now. In fact, YNAB doesn't recommend you import your bank statement.. Start fresh... If you've left stuff out because you forgot it, you probably didn't need it.

Pirate King Gris Jan 13, 2013 @ 9:38am 
I'm kind of a veteran of GNU Cash and I really love it. True, it is not your "Quicken" in financial software, but it let you handle multi-currency funds, payable accounts, receivable accounts, all of this in a professional way (double accounting, letting ensure you that we really know where you money came from and where it get). Yes, it is complex, but once you get used to it, you really feel like other software are missing something.

You have scheduled transactions, and you can execute it in advance which allow you to have some cash budgeting (ensuring you that you have all the cash you need at the right place). For example, I always scheduled my monthly transaction and paid three months in advance and ensure all my accounts are in the positive all the time.

When it times to go with more capital budget or financial simulation, the budget system of GNU Cash is really almost naked. You can put prediction on accounts and make a report about how your actual accounts do in regards to your budget, but that's all of it (I didn't used it much, so may be someone know better, about it, but that's what you can get from the tutorials and manuals). It's possible to get the accounting system to do it for you, with budgetted assets and liabilities, but it's a double your accounting entrance and make your reconciliation harder (see and I also find that make it harder to catch some basic entrance errors and not encourage some good practice (like always having an budget liability account link to your expense accounts).

In fact, I was just starting to use YNAB exactly for this reason. Right now, YNAB seems to lack a lot of the features that I love in GNU cash, for following my funds, loaned money, etc. But YNAB is really a budget tool, and for this I find it really useful. In fact, I will love if YNAB allow me to just use the budget part and simply import transaction in an easy way, instead of trying to do the accounting themself. I guess it will not feel complete for must user without it however.

Hope this help.
RodeoClown Jan 13, 2013 @ 12:15pm 
Hi Veneur,
You can import transactions into YNAB using QIF/OFX/QFX and CSV formats.
You can see more here:
Pirate King Gris Jan 13, 2013 @ 6:55pm 
Hi RodeoClown,

I still have to find a way to correctly convert data from gnucash to gnc, but I'm not sure if this will work; As said in the YNAB documentation, YNAB model is more about finding a job for your money instead of tracking money movements like gnucash do (including virtual money and expanse like depreciation, receivable, change rates, non-realised profits, etc.).

I'm giving YANB a try right now, but already have some difficulty to reproduce some of my more complex accounts. I really love the budget interface, it's simplicity, clarity, and the way it enable the user to progressively take in charge his financial future. I will clearly recommand it to most people who just want to have a budget and stop living in the fear of the first of the month. However, I don't feel right now that I can leverage the program for my more particular needs, but I'm still giving it a try to see how I can find a better way to incorporate it to my workflow.
RodeoClown Jan 13, 2013 @ 7:27pm 
Hi Veneur,
You're right that YNAB doesn't really deal with things like depreciation, receivables, and the like. It sounds like YNAB may not be a good fit for your situation (it's not for everyone, and that's ok :))

If you ask over at our forums, there may be other users who can help you find some workarounds, but they may also be able to suggest other programs that would work better for you.

Coffee Jan 14, 2013 @ 1:55pm 
Originally posted by ravenrider:
Did someone here already try GNUcash and this program? I'm interested in a good financial program but I want the know the advantages over the free alternatives.

It's simple. GNUcash is an accounting software, YNAB is only for budgeting, that's it, nothing else. GNUcash is better for a rounded financial software.

Is it worth the $60? That is a personal decision.
Soda Jan 29, 2013 @ 8:44am 
I coded my own CSV-converter with c# to match exactly what ynab needs. it was very easy. I can provide the source code if anyone need. But you need Visual Studio to compile it.
Last edited by Soda; Jan 29, 2013 @ 8:45am
Pirate King Gris Jan 29, 2013 @ 7:53pm 
Originally posted by Trick17:
I coded my own CSV-converter with c# to match exactly what ynab needs. it was very easy. I can provide the source code if anyone need. But you need Visual Studio to compile it.

Thanks Trick17,

I really love the YNAB interface and would suggest it to a lot of people I know that don't like to do their budget, but after some time trying it myself, I don't think it is made for someone like me (which can be described as a bit of an OCD with number dyslexia, which can be a real pain sometime ;) ). Right now, I'm trying to figure out what could be a nice budget interface for double accounting, which end up to asking myself what I'm really looking for in a budget software.

So, no wrong against YNAB, it's a really good software, especially if you don't like or don't know how to make a budget and are tired of always running out of money. It is really far more accessible than gnucash, for sure, and for people that let other people do their financial planning (*everyone* should have a financial plan), it's definitely a very good investment IMHO.
tehAon Feb 5, 2013 @ 7:35pm 
I took a quick look at GNUCash and they look like they are a bit different in the way they act. I personally like the look and simplicity of YNAB over what I saw in screenshots for GNUCash.

I should also mention when YNAB first came out it was on sale for 45, you might check it out on the next big steam sale to see if they have another similar one.
Puxy Jan 1, 2014 @ 5:08pm 
Differences between YNAB and GnuCash
What are the differences between YNAB and GnuCash?
foxyshadis Jan 2, 2014 @ 12:05am 
I second the distinction that GnuCash (and MoneyDance) are geared for businesses, as well as anyone who wants to itemize their tax deductions without hiring a CPA. YNAB,, and many other sites are about getting you out of poverty by spending less, not tracking everything you do. I don't need that, I haven't opened MoneyDance in years since I shut down my sole proprietor business, but it's a matter of what you want and need.

As veneur brings up, someone terribly OCD about money might prefer a hardcore business package over a light budgeting one. It's hard to imagine someone OCD living paycheck to paycheck, though.
Nats Jan 2, 2014 @ 5:18am 
Express Accounts is the best alternative to Gnucash for small business accounts and it is a LOT nicer to use, and Acemoney is a good home accounting program that is pretty cheap. Gnucash will be worthwhile when they get the forthcoming stable version out but it remains quite tricky to get into.

But all these programs end up being a pain if used on a daily basis, my advice is do a budget by hand to work out what you can save, set up some savings accounts and automated deposits and then forget about them. You time is too precious to be worrying about home accounting. Obviously businesses have to keep their account records but most people quickly hire someone to do it for them because its such a pain.
Last edited by Nats; Jan 2, 2014 @ 5:36am
zeroxxx Jan 3, 2014 @ 4:32am 
I've been trying to understand GNUCash - yes before the timer of YNAB runs out this sale - still bashing my head against wall however.

So many accounting principals I need to understand before even trying GNUCash. I guess I'll bite YNAB... after all.
Coffee Jan 3, 2014 @ 12:25pm 
You could try Mint also, it's free and I think easier to understand than GNUCash. The question is do you need a bugetting tool/software or an accounting software. It really depends on your mindset and goals. One will work better than the other depending on your personality.
ravenrider Jan 3, 2014 @ 1:43pm 
Mint doesn't work in europe :(
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Date Posted: Jan 7, 2013 @ 1:34pm
Posts: 18