I have been waiting on writing my review of YNAB 3 for a while because I wanted to make sure I was solid on my verdict. First let me step back a bit. Early last year I started using Mvelopes (Mvelopes Review) and if you read the review you will see one of my frustrations with it…
“I think the user interface could use a makeover. The tool is very powerful and offers a lot of great features, but they could take some lessons from Apple on their navigation to make the user experience a little bit better.”
As I continued to use the program for a few more months my frustrations with the interface continued. The best way I can describe the issues is to say that the software just seemed buggy. I would click this and it wouldn’t work or things would open automatically, etc. It really bummed me out because the actual system they created is great, but the user interface was quite frustrating for me. I am not sure how much of it has do with the fact that I was using a Mac, because I can’t imagine that they would have released the software with some of the issues that I was seeing, but either way I figured it was time to try a new tool.
Enter YNAB. Being a personal finance blogger I have heard about YNAB for years and have even given copies away multiple times for Free Stuff Friday. So I talked to Jesse, the creator of YNAB, and he gave me a copy to try out. With budgeting software, if possible I prefer to really try it out to give it a thorough review. So, with that said, I have now been using YNAB 3 for about 6 months and I am a committed YNAB user.
Jesse has done a fantastic job of creating a beautiful user interface that is intuitive and effective. After the issues I experienced with Mvelopes, YNAB was the perfect antidote. Like I mentioned before I really liked the “system” that Mvelopes created, and had I not had interface issues I would still be using them.
- One of the things that I liked better with Mvelopes was that my bank data was auto-imported. With YNAB, I have to go to my bank, download the transations, and then import them. It only takes me an extra minute, but I wish it had some kind of auto-import button.
- YNAB is also software that resides on your computer vs. Mvelopes which is basically a Web application. What this means to users is that YNAB is arguably safer because your data is stored on your computer rather than in the Mvelopes database. On the other hand, users can access Mvelopes from any computer since it is a Web app. So both have their pros and cons.
- For a long term user YNAB is tremendously cheaper. YNAB is a one-time fee of $59.95 vs. Mvelopes which is a subscription service that costs about $7-$12 each month (depending on the length of contract)
Rather than pasting in a bunch of screenshots of the YNAB software, I figured I would just include a video showing what it can do. If pictures are worth a 1000 words, how much is video worth?