The 13 Best You Need a Budget (YNAB) Alternatives
Almost everyone who has researched budgeting tools has heard of You Need Budget (YNAB). YNAB helps you calculate your income and expenses, control your costs and thus save money. YNAB is currently the most popular (some say the best) budgeting app, and there are many YNAB alternatives.
Although very popular, some people are looking for an alternative to YNAB due to fees, interface problems, and difficulty learning.
In one of my previous articles, I wrote about budgeting apps. I suggested many alternative apps to each other. Now, I would like to recommend 13 alternative budgeting tools to YNAB.
I am sure that you will find the most suitable ones for yourself among these tools.
When you search for budgeting apps, you will find many alternatives to YNAB, but I tried to choose apps that can be really alternatives to YNAB. Although they all serve a purpose, they work very differently from one another.
Here are the best YNAB alternatives that I have shared with all the details below, based on my experience and research.
(Infographic: The 10 Best You Need a Budget (YNAB) Alternatives)
Mint, founded by Intuit in 2006, is an app where you can track and budget all your money in one place. In my opinion, it’s the first one on the YNAB alternative list since it represents the best among the YNAB alternatives. However, before I move on to the reasons for this, I want to talk about what exactly Mint does.
Mint allows you to keep track of your bank account, credit card, investment account, and debt accounts in one place while budgeting. To do this, you need to give access to all your financial accounts for Mint.
Unlike other budgeting apps, Mint sends you an alert if there is any decrease in your bank account. Likewise, it sends signals about your debts and credit card.
Thanks to this feature of Mint, you will prevent your payments from being delayed, and you will not have any financial or legal problems.
So why is Mint the best YNAB free alternative, in my opinion? Here is why.
YNAB and Mint are two of the best apps for budgeting for me. Both are doing a tremendous job.
Despite this fact, Mint stands out from YNAB because it is entirely free and has a straightforward interface for beginners. So, if you don’t want to pay $84 a year and want to use that money for savings, Mint is among the best free alternative to YNAB.
PokcetGuard is another budgeting app that can be a YNAB alternative. Just like in Mint, you can follow all your financial accounts from a single place in PocketGuard.
PocketGuard has a straightforward interface to track your expenses, money in your accounts, upcoming debts, and bills. All you have to do is connect your financial accounts to PocketGuard.
If you want to act by calculating your expenses, PocketGuard is an application where you can track your expenses in the most detailed way.
PocketGuard is not a completely free app like Mint. If you want to connect your bank accounts to PocketGuard, you do not have to pay a fee, but if you want to take advantage of the application’s other advantages (customized categories, unlimited purposes, etc.), you have to pay $3.99 per month and $34.99 annually.
In conclusion, PocketGuard is a very convenient app to track your expenses and make a simple budget, but it’s not a detailed app like YNAB. But still, if you are looking for a zero-based budgeting app, PocketGuard is the best alternative to YNAB.
EveryDollar (aka Dave Ramsey’s budget app) is another budgeting app among the YNAB alternatives. With EveryDollar, you can budget in 10 minutes without getting lost in the details, so the app is very convenient for those new to budgeting.
EveryDollar offers both free and paid plans. You can manually add your income, expenses, and budgeting information through the app, and you do not have to pay any fees.
In EveyDollar’s paid option (EveryDollar Plus), you have to pay $130 per year. While you have to do everything manually in the free version, you can do most things automatically by connecting your bank accounts in the paid membership. You can also access many tutorials and tools prepared by Dave Ramsey for free.
So what is the difference between EveryDollar and YNAB? At YNAB, you can track your investments and manage your bills, but at EveryDollar, you can’t do them.
The advantage of EveryDollar is its tax reporting feature. This feature, which is not available in YNAB, gives you many advantages. Moreover, you can access EveryDollar in Canada outside the USA.
Goodbudget is a budgeting application developed for those who want to manage their monthly expenses. It is based on the envelope system. It is a good YNAB alternative to determine what and how much you want to spend.
Based on the envelope system, Goodbudget gives you envelopes of cash to spend in specific categories. For example, it provides a separate envelope for your bills and a separate envelope for your subscriptions.
The nice thing about Goodbudget is that you can use the app with your partner. In other words, you can easily prepare the family budget through the application. Unfortunately, the free version of Goodbudget allows up to 10 envelopes, and one account can only work on two different devices.
The paid version includes unlimited envelopes and accounts. In addition, you can access a single account from more than five devices. So if you have a big family, it is very ideal. The annual fee for the app is $49.
Goodbudget’s downside to YNAB is that bank accounts cannot be linked to the app. On the other hand, the two apps are pretty similar in that they use the envelope system.
5. Personal Capital
Personal Capital is a budgeting app that helps you manage your money. It may be the only application that can compete with YNAB in terms of coverage or even more comprehensive than that. Also, according to many, it is the best among the YNAB alternatives.
Personal Capital, like Mint, asks for permission to access your financial accounts. When you give this permission, you can track your debts, expenses, credit cards, investment accounts from one place.
When you become a member of Personal Capital, two different services greet you. One is the free service, which covers the things I listed above. You can track your income and expenses through your financial accounts, free of charge and automatically. With a paid membership, you get financial advice, wealth management, and private banking services.
So what is the main difference between Personal Capital and YNAB? The main difference between Personal Capital and YNAB is the advantages it offers. Personal Capital gives users a longer-term view of the budget compared to YNAB with its free tool. So it can be considered better than YNAB in that aspect.
Personal Capital offers such a big picture because it evaluates money in all accounts, including retirement. So you can see the big picture of your retirement savings by looking at your current spending.
So, the main difference between Personal Capital’s free tool and YNAB is that it offers a long-term view. Moreover, this service provided by Personal Capital is free of charge.
6. Tiller Money
Tiller Money is a good YNAB alternative for income and expense tracking and budgeting, and it’s different from all the other alternatives on the list.
The main difference that sets Tiller Money apart from other alternatives is that it uses Excel and Google spreadsheets. It may be the best budgeting tool on the market for those who can’t break away from Excel.
When you sign up for Tiller Money, you link your financial accounts to the system, just like many other tools on the list. In this way, you can use customized spreadsheets to manage your money.
Tiller Money costs $79 per year. So what is the crucial feature of Tiller Money that makes it a good alternative to YNAB?
What makes Tiller Money stand out from all other budgeting tools is the customization. You can customize any spreadsheet in Tiller Money as you wish. The best part is that these tables update automatically.
Mvelopes, like Goodbudget, allow you to budget through the envelope system. So you put your money in envelopes to spend like in the old days, and these envelopes represent categories like kitchen necessities, savings, and debts.
Thanks to the envelope system, you can measure in which category, how, and how much you spend your money. Saving thus becomes more effortless.
You can connect an unlimited number of financial accounts to Mvelopes, so you can instantly see what and how much you’ve spent, as well as manage all your money in one place.
The main difference between Mvelopes vs YNAB is that Mvelopes makes budgeting easier thanks to its envelope system. Because many people have a hard time making a budget, the envelope system is straightforward in that it clearly shows how much you will spend in which categories.
Moreover, Mvelopes has so many financial learning tools and courses. By examining them, you can improve yourself in financial matters.
PocketSmith has been answering the question of how to make a budget since 2008.
PocketSmith allows you to connect multiple accounts to the app as long as they are from the same bank. You can easily track your income, expenses, extra expenses, and many other things through the system.
PocketSmith’s monthly subscription is $9.95, and if you buy your subscription annually, your monthly payment is reduced to $7.50. With the paid membership, you have access to a 10-year financial projection and the opportunity to create an unlimited budget.
The projection or forecast graphic feature in question is what actually makes PocketSmith a good alternative to YNAB. If you want to examine the details of this feature, you can take a look at this article.
Moneydance is a good YNAB alternative, but not an app. It is software that makes it easy to make a budget.
You can connect your bank accounts to the system in Moneydance, as in other applications and software, as in the list, and you can easily track your incoming debts and bills.
Moneydance is currently $49.99. It can be easily used on MAC, Windows, and Linux operating systems.
The main difference between Moneydance and YNAB is that Moneydance does not have a cloud-based system. Moneydance, as software, keeps your information local. In other words, it does not transfer all your information to a cloud system like YNAB.
Moneydance does not transfer users’ information to the cloud and keeps it locally, which is the reason why many people who want to protect their information use Moneydance.
Note: You can keep your information locally in YNAB if you wish.
Wally is the free alternative to YNAB. It helps you control your spending and make a budget. However, unlike the paid applications on the list, you have to enter your financial transactions in Wally manually.
If you don’t want to enter your financial transactions manually, Wally has a Gold version. In the Gold version, you can easily connect your bank accounts to the system, and all transactions in your accounts are automatically reflected in the application.
Wally Gold is based on a lifetime membership system and costs $19.99. The application is available from both the App Store and the Play Store.
Wally, along with Mint, stands out from the other apps on the list in terms of being a free alternative to YNAB because everyone who wants to make a budget wants to save even the smallest space.
Although Wally is a free budgeting app, its interface is not as user-friendly as other You Need A Budget alternatives.
Note: Wally is not the best YNAB free alternative for YNAB, but it is still one of the few free apps on the market.
11. Lunch Money
Lunch Money is a simple budgeting app that does not have a mobile application, ideal for those who want to get their work done on the computer.
Lunch Money is ideal, especially for people who travel frequently. It supports many currencies such as the dollar, euro, and yen. If you’re a frequent traveller and typical budgeting apps struggle to get things done, you can try Lunch Money.
Lunch Money costs $10 per month and $100 annually.
To people travelling the world, who are mostly abroad during their work, Lunch Money is a more advantageous financial management and budgeting tool than YNAB.
Also, if cryptocurrencies make up the bulk of your financial assets, you can take advantage of Lunch Money’s cryptocurrency tracking feature.
One of the disadvantages of Lunch Money is that it’s only available for the desktop platform at the moment.
Simplifi is a budgeting application introduced by Quicken at the beginning of 2020 and is ranked among the top budgeting tools by Wirecutter (New York Times).
Simplifi automatically categorizes your expenses into three categories: income, bills, and goals.
The best thing about Simplifi is that after you indicate how much you earn, how much you spend, and how much you want to save, it instantly shows you how much money you can spend. In addition, you can see the upcoming bills and debts so that you can follow the state of your budget.
Simplifi, on the other hand, costs less than the paid apps on the list. You can enjoy all the features of Simplifi for 4 dollars per month and 36 dollars per year.
The main difference between Simplifi and YNAB is that Simplifi is quite simple. If you are a newcomer to budgeting, you can easily prepare a budget on Simplifi with your intuition. It’s pretty easy to keep track of your expenses and debts.
Moreover, Simplifi is more affordable than YNAB.
CountAbout is a user-friendly budgeting app. If you already have your financial data on Quicken, you can easily switch to CountAbout. The system easily syncs your Quicken data to CountAbout.
Moreover, you can easily change the category names in CountAbout. The annual price of the app is also pretty cheap compared to other paid budgeting apps, only $9.99.
Unfortunately, you cannot follow the activity in your financial accounts through the system with this fee. If you pay $39.90 a year instead of $9, the transactions in your bank accounts are automatically downloaded to the system.
CountAbout can be downloaded from both the App Store and the Play Store. If you want to follow your income and spending on graphs, you can give the app a chance.
CountAbout is an excellent YNAB alternative. However, unlike YNAB, you cannot track your CountAbout investment accounts. Otherwise, CountAbout has a simple interface, and its annual fee is also more affordable than YNAB and other paid budgeting tools.
CountAbout vs Moneydance seems to be a topic to be mentioned as Moneydance doesn’t transfer any of your information to a cloud-based system and stores the data internally. While CountAbout allows you to change the category titles and names in addition to the ability to save your data to their system.
There are also smaller companies among You Need Budget alternatives or competitors. These companies are not trying to be an alternative to YNAB. Many of them are pretty small companies, and some even have their apps no longer receive updates.
Microsoft Money application is one of these companies. I also want to mention these companies, although they are not the best YNAB alternatives.
Microsoft Money, as the name suggests, is a software developed by Microsoft. Once upon a time, anyone who wanted to make a budget used this old-school software.
Unfortunately, I have not accessed any information on when this special software was last updated. In 2007, four versions were released under the name Microsoft Money 2008, and I’m not sure what happened after that.
If you like old-school software, Microsoft Money is among the free alternatives to YNAB. You don’t need to pay to try.
Note: Microsoft Money only works on Windows operating systems. If you want to learn about the software and download it, you can check it out here.
Spendee is a personal finance and budget app. In fact, it deserves to be among the best YNAB alternatives, not on this list. I believe we will hear more of the name Spendee in the future.
Spendee, like its alternatives, syncs your bank accounts and lets you control your daily spending. For now, you can use the application both on the phone and on the computer. The phone app is available in the app stores for both Android and iOS users.
Spendee has three membership systems: Basic, Plus, and Premium. Basic is a membership system that you can use without paying, but you have to manually enter all your financial expenses. Plus and Premium memberships include features such as unlimited budget and automatic synchronization. Prices are $14.99 (Plus) and $22.99 (Premium) per year.
You can find a good review of Spendee here.
Banktivity is a budgeting app that tries to make personal finance easy. Made specifically for MAC, unlike other budget gadgets. Although there is an application in the App Store, it is more suitable for use on a computer.
Banktivity claims it has better features than Quicken. The software can be tried on a free 30-day membership just to find out if this claim is true.
It is quite difficult to prepare a budget, track expenses, and save money. Most of us try to live by spending as little money as possible every day on our goals. Even the smallest mistake in budgeting can distract us from our goal.
Thanks to YNAB and its alternatives now automate and simplify everything when it comes to budgeting, and we avoid many mistakes. Controlling our spending has become much easier now.
There is no doubt that YNAB is the best budgeting app right now, but many people are looking for an alternative to YNAB. The biggest factor in this is that YNAB is expensive. The second factor is that the YNAB is quite detailed. Many newbies to budgeting find it difficult to use YNAB.
I am sure that you will find the best budgeting tool for you among the YNAB alternatives on the list. I would also recommend that you take a look at this list on Reddit.
If you have any questions, please don’t forget to write them in the comments below.