Bye Bye YNAB

I’ve just cancelled my recurring subscription to YNAB. Summary and Pots are doing for free what I was paying YNAB $45 a year for!!

As a bonus, I’m now free from category tyranny and endless hours moving money between them on YNAB because my month NEVER, once matched my budget.

Don’t get me wrong, YNAB taught me well about managing my money, and I still use the four principles, but Monzo have totally helped me make the practice of those principles way simpler.


Having never heard of YNAB, what does it do over free apps like Yolt?

I haven’t used Yolt but from a look through their site… YNAB (You Need A Budget) is not a simple money tracking application, it’s software that supports the “Envelope” budgeting method. They’re heavy on the education around their method with articles and videos and webinars and support. YNAB is a great platform for people who are clueless about their personal finances and want to build good habits and a good understanding of money. Their core principle is that informing you at the end of the month that you’ve spent £400 on food isn’t very helpful, rather they believe that it’s important to budget every penny of your income and keep yourself aligned with your budget through the month, adapting as your goals/needs/wants shift. You can also budget across months, so if you make a car insurance payment once a year it can still be part of your monthly budget working towards the actual payment.

Their method will change the lives of people who aren’t great with money but it isn’t going to change the lives of people who are already very good at managing their money and don’t want to budget that way, so an approach like Monzo’s (“I want to spend £100 a month on food”, “You spent £110 on food this month”) might be more than enough.

I use YNAB for consolidating all of my account information in one place, it’s essentially a glorified spreadsheet for me… but for someone who is struggling with money and wants to get on top of things with budgeting it would be my recommendation far above something like Monzo.

The downside of YNAB is the limited support for UK financial institutions so we have to import transactions manually – thankfully I only use an Amex for my spending, which is supported – but there is and fintech-to-ynab for those using unsupported banks who don’t want to do it manually.


I was that person (and so was my wife) so YNAB totally transformed our financial landscape and understanding. If (like us) you start with finances in a total state, you faithfully update everything everyday (or few days), but once you’re on an even keel it’s really easy to get to a point where you only update it once a fortnight and have discovered that your budget is now a mess. That’s what happened to us, so Monzo now provides the prompts we need to stay on track.

If I haven’t mentioned it already, I LOVE Summary!!

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I still love YNAB and Monzo isn’t detailed enough for me to switch. I don’t think Summary is enough for my use case. For example I split out food into three separate categories: eating out (for restaurants), groceries (home) and work (lunches/breakfasts at work). Every bill I pay is it’s own line in YNAB. I having ‘spending money’ and even travel is seperated into taxis, train and parking.

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What doesn’t work for me about Summary is that you can’t rollover the budget to a new period.

But maybe I could do this with Pots? @Mrberry do you use use Pots for monthly expenses or just for saving up for specific things?

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