YNAB worth it with 1 account & Monzo love?

Since getting Monzo & becoming geeky about my spending/budgeting, I keep seeing YNAB recommendations.
But I only have one bank account, and I’m really happy with the categories, targets & pots in Monzo & have started to stay in the black for the first time ever.
Those of you who use YNAB, does it sound like I’d get much out of it since I already have Monzo & don’t need to aggregate anything?
YNAB looks intimidatingly complex & the web interface makes me squint at all the info, but I’m willing to try it if it can offer more than what monzo’s already giving me. Would love to hear your thoughts.

1 Like

I dabbled with YNAB a few years ago (pre monzo) but couldn’t be doing with the extra admin.

After using Monzo a while I realised that I had unwittingly adopted YNAB’s key tenet - “give every pound a job” - but Monzo makes it frictionless.

2 Likes

Not sure you’d get much out of it if you’re happy with pots etc. on Monzo.
I use it as I have multiple accounts and it helps keep track of what money is saved for what. I used to use a spreadsheet but it was far too easy for me to just spend the money I had in my current account!
I am giving it a go for a year, and then going to decide whether I need ynab for longer. It’s helpful with knowing how much I need to put a side for savings goals / how much to pay off on credit cards each month so I never pay any interest.

1 Like

YNAB felt like it demanded too much interaction from me to be worth it.

I feel like that’s a huge bonus for a few specific people though. Mainly:

  • people on extremely tight budgets
  • people working their way out of debt
  • people who have fairly complex finances, multiple accounts, credit cards, loans etc

It’s no where near worth the hassle for me with my debit card and credit card and savings account. :woman_shrugging:

1 Like

I have monzo and another bank account, a credit card and a car loan so it helps me manage where the money goes. When I’ve finished repaying I’ll cancel and just use monzo for budgeting instead

2 Likes

Thank you, everyone. Much obliged.
I took another peek at YNAB yesterday, recoiled when i couldn’t figure it out, & decided this advice plus my gut feeling means I’ll stick to my current ways. Monzo + Excel FTW! :fist:

Update: I couldn’t quite drop the urge to get YNAB working, & eventually found enough info in the support docs & forums to get going.
If the support documentation had been more clearly signposted from within the budget itself I might have found & used it earlier!
It also helped to see posts in various places from other people struggling. My ego felt better knowing it wasn’t just me
Verdict so far: it is worth it even with one account, because it lets me plan ahead (eg see what my Savings balance will be if I stick to my budget for 6 months) & have tweaked budgets/goals for different months (eg move cash around for the month I have lots of gigs to pay for).
I also like having more categories & mentally setting up more ‘pots’.
Tip: don’t import loads of transactions in at once. It’s too overwhelming when you don’t know what you’re doing yet. Start with today as Day Zero, & budget with the funds & payments between now & next payday. Once you’re comfy with that you can go back & import historical transactions if you want.

2 Likes

I’m having a look at YNAB and seeing as you’re post was over a year ago now, just wondering if you’re still using it/find it of any benefit?

You can get a 4 month trial here https://www.youneedabudget.com/landing/stack-social/

(This isn’t a referral)

I’ve just started using it, monzo has some nice tools but they don’t offer full budgeting of your accounts.

2 Likes

Brilliant. Thank you. So far so good?

What I really like about it is how it manages credit cards and managing your savings goals and budgets.

It’s not just a case of save a penny here or there with rounding up etc. But you can quite easily plan for each savings goal you need from your insurance renewal to holidays to house deposits.

You can keep track of investments and liabilities as well to give you a general picture of your overall net worth.

I’m using that free trial for the moment so going to see how it works for me, but so far it’s given me a much better picture of my spending and actual cash availability.

1 Like

You can also set-up an external script to send each Monzo transaction (spend/receipt) into YNAB automatically. I have it running and it is great - even less manual input. It’s a bit complex to set-up though…

2 Likes

If you have an amex account, ynab natively supports syncing it (regardless that its a UK account).

I’m a big fan of YNAB - I used to have about 6+ accounts in it, but after moving to Monzo I’ve tried to narrow that focus much more. Admiteddly I fall into bad habits of not checking in with it, but I’ve used it, mostly ‘on’ for the last 6 years - and it’s helped me get out of debt (mostly) have a small emergency fund, get out of my overdraft, etc.

The principles can apply in any tool - you could do it by paper if you needed - but I found a lot of value in the software. The principle of ‘every £ you have, must have a job’ was what changed my relationship with money. Previously I saw money sitting around as money left to spend.

It can be as precise as you need it - you can create hundred of categories, which helps you focus on specific goals; rather than just “Savings” you could have; Pension contribution, ISA, Holiday Savings, Investment Savings, etc.

I found it particularly useful in trying to reduce my bad financial habits - eating out too much, and drinking too much coffee. So I made an eating out category and a coffee category, so it helps me control my spending.

I really rate - there are a few tools that help you sync - though I think certain transaction types can be a bit hit and miss.

Needs a bit of tinkering to set up.

Same person made this version, which is subscription based and uses TrueLayer and Open Banking for other bank accounts - though I always had issues with the Open Banking links

https://syncforynab.com

Or you can set up an IFTTT Integration using IFTTT Platform:

The main thing though is creating a habit.

2 Likes