5 You Need a Budget (YNAB) Alternatives

If you’re looking for an alternative to You Need a Budget (YNAB), you’re in the right place. I’ve been closely following YNAB as it’s evolved over the last few years. I remember YNAB4 when it was a software application you purchased. I remember when it transitions to a monthly service. I remember how upset people were but I felt from a business perspective, it made them better suited to invest in the business to make it even better.

There are several reasons why you might be looking to replace YNAB. The best alternative for you will depend on why you’re replacing it. Whether it was the recent price increase, outgrew the product, or you feel like you could do it on your own?

With plenty of options we breakdown the top 5 YNAB alternatives below.

Table of Contents
  1. Why Do You Want to Switch?
  2. What We Looked For
  3. 1. Tiller
  4. 2. Personal Capital
  5. 3. Mint
  6. 4. CountAbout
  7. 5. EveryDollar
  8. Conclusion

Why Do You Want to Switch?

The YNAB Price Increase – YNAB used to be $50 a year, billed annually. It will now be $6.99 a month, still billed annually so $83.88. It’s a sizable percentage increase but not a significant dollar increase, just under $3 a month.
I think it’s worth $3 a month for YNAB but long-time users have had to navigate two pricing changes the last few years – first, when the software went from a flat fee to a monthly fee; now, to a slightly higher monthly fee.
To put it into perspective, EveryDollar is a budgeting app that has a free component but costs $129.99 a year for their Ramsey Plus (they rebranded it and added features to what was previously EveryDollar Plus).
It follows Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover approach, has a similar “give every dollar a name” philosophy, and is on a freemium model. That means the app is free but if you want to connect financial accounts, download data automatically, that’ll run you $129 a year. It’s still cheaper than one of their most similar alternatives (which we don’t list below because it’s more expensive).
You’ve Graduated – Congratulations! YNAB has put many people on the path to sound budgeting with its “Every Dollar Needs a Job” mentality. If you’re ready to graduate to a free tool without as much guidance, then there are several options below.
If you need less guidance and you want more support in the area of investing and retirement planning, my best recommendation is Personal Capital. It offers a personal finance dashboard that lets you plan for your investments and retirement better than any of the alternatives.
If you need less guidance and just want to track your budget, my best recommendation is Mint. Track your budget automatically, completely free, but you don’t get the same philosophy and guidance as YNAB. We compare YNAB vs. Mint in a head to head comparison that you can use to decide if mint is the one for you.

What We Looked For

You chose You Need a Budget for a specific reason and it’s not just to “track your budget.” There are a ton of budgeting apps out there and most of them are free.
You chose YNAB because of the philosophy and how the tools married with those philosophies. You wanted more than a simple tracker tool.
We also didn’t include alternatives like EveryDollar (until the end) because they were more expensive. We recognize YNAB is pretty solid on features so you’re probably looking for a cheaper replacement rather than a more expensive one. (if we’re wrong, let us know!)

1. Tiller

Tiller Money Logo

What is Tiller? Tiller is an automation tool that integrates with Google Sheets so you can build your own budgeting spreadsheet while pulling in data automatically from your accounts.

Why is Tiller a good YNAB alternative? First and foremost, they have a way to import your YNAB budget into a Google Sheet. So if you wanted to make the transition, it’s super easy.

Second, and this is more about spreadsheets than about Tiller specifically, but you get complete control and customization with Tiller powering your spreadsheet. You tailor the spreadsheet to exactly what you want and they pull in the data so you avoid the manual data entry. I use a spreadsheet for this very reason.

Tiller is just $79/year after a 30 day trial, which makes it slightly cheaper than YNAB. If you start using it and are able to save more money in your budget, those savings could easily pay for Tiller. Read our Tiller review for a deep look at what makes this tool so great.

Learn more about Tiller

2. Personal Capital

Personal Capital Logo

What is Personal Capital? Personal Capital is a personal finance dashboard that will aggregate all of your accounts in one place. They have a premium financial advisory service as well as wealth management, but those are optional (I don’t use them). There are also powerful planning tools, like planning future income in retirement based on your expenses, that really make it a 30,000 foot view other tools don’t even try to do.

Why is it a good YNAB alternative? It’s not a good budgeting tool replacement for YNAB but if you want to graduate from just budgeting to higher-level financial management, Personal Capital can be a helpful tool. I don’t mean “higher level” as in “better” or “superior,” I mean 30,000-foot view vs. 10,000-foot view.

Budgeting is crucial but it has a short-term view. You may budget your paycheck, which may be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. You may budget annually too – but you won’t be budgeting from now until your retirement. That’s why a tool like Personal Capital can be valuable – giving you visibility on the long term view.

Personal Capital is free.

Learn more about Personal Capital

3. Mint

Mint Logo

What is Mint? Mint is one of the oldest budget tracking packages out there and they are owned my Mint, who were the former owners of Quicken. Mint has everything you need in a budgeting app and is completely free. Many of the budgeting tools may sound familiar to YNAB but they will take getting used to it. You have bill pay functionality as well plus additional features like credit monitoring and some investing tracking (but no recommendations or advice).

Why is it a good YNAB alternative? If you need a budget but don’t want to pay for You Need a Budget, this one gets you all the budgeting functionality at absolutely no cost.

Mint.com is free.

Learn more about Mint.com

4. CountAbout

Countabout Logo

CountAbout was designed specifically to be an alternative to Quicken, which is one of the oldest and most popular budgeting packages out there. CountAbout was founded in 2012 and offers a very rich feature-set at a very modest price. It costs just $9.99 for the Basic and $39.99 for Premium (which includes automatic transaction download).

Here are some of the other key features, making it a solid budgeting tool without the monthly fee:

  • Imports data from Quicken and Mint
  • 12,500+ financial institutions
  • Multi-factor login protection
  • Android and iOS apps
  • Category customization (add, delete, rename)
  • Tags (add, delete, rename)
  • Reporting for Account balances
  • Reporting for Category activity
  • Reporting for Tag activity
  • Report exporting
  • Individual Account QIF importing
  • Budgeting
  • Running register balances
  • Account reconciliation
  • Graphs for Income & Spending
  • Recurring transactions
  • Investment balances by Institution
  • Memorized transactions
  • Split transactions
  • Description renaming

5. EveryDollar

EveryDollar is a very basic budgeting tool created by the team behind Dave Ramsey, using his principles for managing money. We reviewed EveryDollar and found that it’s claim of being able to set up a budget in 10 minutes to be accurate – it’s super simple, very easy to navigate, and follows the overall structure of Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps.

It is a freemium product with the free version letting you do everything the budgeting tool offers. There is an EveryDollar Plus (now part of Ramsey Plus) that’s $129.99 per year which adds in automatic transaction downloads and a few other features. With the Free version, you have to manually enter all of your transactions.

Conclusion

If You Need a Budget has served you well, my recommendation is to find a few bucks each month to continue paying for it. No tool offers what it does at a cheaper price and there’s a reason why it’s one of the most popular personal finance tools out there – it works.

One of the nice things about many of the recommendations on this list is that they have trials or are completely free. Keep with YNAB, try one of the alternatives we listed, and if it wins – switch. If it doesn’t, you won’t have lost a step with your existing budget.

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Jim Wang

About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a thirty-something father of three who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and a farm in Illinois via AcreTrader.

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  1. Jason says

    I love YNAB4. Completely changed our lives and now we’ve saved more money than ever.
    However I can’t stand the new ynab. I hate subscriptions but also they changed the interface(hate) and they changed 3 rules from YNAB4 to the new YNAB which I absolutely cannot stand. It just makes a lot more work to get the same results. It’s harder to “see” what’s going on. The interface is bad and it’s slow.
    Mint just bombards you with ads and it doesn’t support envelope budgeting. If i’m going to have to pay for a subscription i’m going to seriously look at mvelopes. Seems to be the best fit for what I want to do.

  2. Ben says

    When YNAB increased their price, it was only for new users. Current users still get the old price, so it’s not really accurate to say long-time users had to whether two price increases and it’s not a reason to leave YNAB if you already had it before the price changed.

  3. Bill P says

    Everydollar is now $129.00 per year. I’m not sure when their price increased. I do find everydollar very easy to set up use but am exploring other options before my free everydollar trial expires next week as I do find the price pretty steep. I would like the budgeting app on everydollar to be stand alone vs bundling with Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University content so maybe they could maybe offer it at a lower price.

    • Jim Wang says

      Thank you for letting us know about the price increase, that’s relatively new (within the last year).

      TBH, that is a pretty steep price just for automatic transaction importing… but I guess they throw in the FPU if you want it. I think that was probably an afterthought just to make the price increase more palatable?

  4. Bruce E. says

    Regarding YNAB 4: I have a MacBook Pro and iPhone. I’ve used YNAB since it came out in a beta version.

    Apple announced that its newest Operating System, called Catalina, will not support 32-bit apps. YNAB 4 is most definitely a 32-bit app, meaning if you upgrade your Mac to Catalina, YNAB 4 will not open. As of October 31, 2019, Jesse at YNAB decided they will no longer be able to support YNAB 4

    This means I have to decide if I will forget upgrading to the new Mac operating system or not. But YNAB will no longer help support YNAB4 after this October.

    The problem is that from time to time YNAB 4 stops syncing with Dropbox and you have to delete the app from your phone, delete your Dropbox app, Save a version of YNAB on your laptop, reinstall the Dropbox app and reinstall the YNAB APP. With no support, it will be impossible to use YNAB4. In fact, come to think of it you CAN’T FIND THE YNAB4 APP (Classic Version) any longer in the iTunes app library because they NO LONGER display apps that are unsupported!!!!

    So I guess I could ditch the use of the app on my phone and just update my laptop YNAB to keep track of things. I can still download transactions from my bank and credit cards.

    I’ve loved YNAB and especially YNAB 4. There seem to be a lot of negative reviews for the new cloud version and the loss of many good features YNAB 4 had. That’s sad. I may try it but it looks like I am going to be searching for an alternative. Any feedback from people that have tried Brans?

    I hate the fact they went subscription but nowadays (at least for the past 10 years) that’s the direction all companies have been moving so as to make money for themselves. I guess if I had an online business like theirs, that would be my ultimate goal too. I think that was the initial intention anyway as they were looking down the road… get PEOPLE HOOKED and then go subscription. They may lose 30-40% of their followers but what the heck, that’s not where the money is. Ugh….

    • Hugh says

      +1

      I have nearly 10 years of transactions in YNAB 4. The new YNAB does not work for me and I now dare not upgrade my Mac as YNAB will stop working and I have not yet found a replacement.

      I am UK based and with open banking I hope a product will emerge. Money Dashboard nearly works for me but has some missing functionality. I am hoping a future release of this will solve my problem but for now I hate it that I am probably going to lose access to the tool that I use to manage my finances.

  5. Bob says

    The most important thing for me is to have a hierarchy of categories. I want Home/Mortgage and then Home/Utilities and even Home/Utilities/Electric but very few of these have that YNAB does have two levels but even that’s not enough. I like deep categorization not horizontal

  6. chris says

    Agree with many of the YNAB4 users above. Had this discussion with Jesse at the time of nYNAB and they just don’t seem to get that many long loyal YNAB users/evangelists don’t want their personal financial data out there in the cloud. Look at what outfits have been hacked and tell me YNAB can guarantee your security (they can’t). nYNAB also lost functionality some of which were core reasons for using YNAB. Why YNAB cannot see there is room for a cloud version and for a standalone version I don’t know. I’d be happy to pay for upgrades to YNAB4 that didn’t monkey with its functionality.

  7. Susan I Bensen says

    Hello,
    Thanks for this article. It was very helpful. I’m wondering if you know of any budgeting software that’s NOT cloud-based, that I can just house on my computer, and that I can import old YNAB 4 information into. I’ve just had to buy a new iMac that doesn’t support YNAB 4. The more I read the comments above, the more uncomfortable I am with having all my information in the cloud. I’ve always manually entered everything. I liked YNAB 4 because I could manually enter things, NOT link it up to my bank, have it on my desktop and generate reports at the end of the year for taxes. Do you know of anything like that? Thanks so much!

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