I first started getting interested in a personal finance software 3 years ago, when not tracking my finances properly was no longer an option for me. I installed Ace Money and have used it ever since (I’ll write a review about it in the near future). It’s not one of the most used spending tracking programs, but I got used to it and it does the job.
Doing a lot of reading lately in the personal finance blogosphere, a new program caught my attention: You Need a Budget (YNAB)
So, being the geek I am, I just installed the trial version to see if my long lasting relationship with Ace Money will come to an end. Here is how this program works for me.
1. I don’t need to connect to any server
OK, call me crazy, but I don’t plan on sharing my financial data on ANY site out there. So no, Mint or anything similar won’t get me as a customer, unless there’s a stand-alone personal finance software I can install on my computer. The reason why I don’t use Basecamp either (to handle my web design clients’ jobs – I have something installed on my server – though it’s easier to use a regular agenda).
So, the fact I could install the software directly on my PC made me want to try it out. It installed FAST and nicely.
2. Looks great
I know for many people looks don’t matter, but I’m a web designer, so if I can get a pretty personal financial software to play with, I’ll get it instead of something that’s less appealing to my designer’s eyes.
3. Great Budget screen
I absolutely LOVE how the budget screen looks like. It really emphasizes nicely what I need to have in mind when it comes to managing my money. All reports look lovely, as mentioned before, this personal finance software can make even a designer feel great using it, which is not something easy to achieve.
4. It’s easy to use
I have ‘played’ the budget game for few years now, so You Need a Budget didn’t give me any headaches. I am sure that, if any problems would arise, I’d be able to do a quick search online and find the solutions.
YNAB makes me like to input my data there, so it would be a good solution for me, if it weren’t for the CONS:
1. All data needs to be entered manually
I’m listing this as a ‘con’, since it’s what annoys most of the YNAB users. In my case it’s not an issue, all these years I’ve done my spending / income tracking manually. Just allocating few minutes every few days allows me to keep on top of my budget. If you’re like me and have no problem adding the data yourself, then by all means get the program, it’s really really nice.
2. Cannot more than one currency for my accounts
And I’m afraid this is the end of the road for me. As you can see on the above screeny, I handle multiple currencies on a daily basis (not because I’m some hotshot rich woman, but because we have our Romanian Leu here (Lei is the plural – did you know that we also call the lion leu / lei?), the European Euro (I live in Europe, so we do save money in this currency as well) and the USD, since many of my clients come from the US, so they’re not paying in Lei or Euro.
There would be 2 ways to go around this lack of feature, but the software still wouldn’t work to my needs.
So, as much as I actually love it, YNAB is not the budgeting software for me. Sure, if the budget would allow for multi-currency accounts, as Ace Money does for instance, I’ll immediately buy it.
Are you using You Need a Budget as your personal finance software? Do you like it?
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