YNAB: You Need A Budget (Yes, you do!)

You Need A Budget, or YNAB as it’s affectionately called by us YNABers, is a personal finance management app that underscores the philosophy of zero-based budgeting.

YNAB, personal finance management, apps

I stumbled upon YNAB on the App Store’s recommendations list and now I am quite addicted. I check it multiple times a day, and religiously input every single expense and income.

YNAB says that it takes an average user 4-12 months to see positive results if you follow their 4 Rules. I especially like rule number 3 (Roll With the Punches), because it doesn’t let you beat yourself up if you’ve forgotten to budget for a particular need. The rules are basically all about prioritizing: where do you need to put your money?


The software, which is available on both mobile and web, is feature-rich, enabling you to create categories and assign budgets for each one. It also has a tracking account feature, where you can see your debts or outstanding balances. Inputting recurring transactions is also included, as well as icons that turn red when you’ve overspent your budget for a particular category.

More on YNAB

The culture surrounding YNAB and its users is crazy. There are podcasts, whiteboard presentations, a book, Facebook groups, subreddits, what have you.
Their in-house support is also amazing. Their responses are personalized and come blazing fast, tailoring their answers to your specific problem and pointing you to the right resources for you to get the most out of YNAB. I understand why this comes so highly recommended by several sites that review personal finance management apps.

Pros of getting a YNAB premium subscription

  • It can help me keep an eye on my actual cash on hand and avoid overspending
  • It can help me pay off my debts by letting me see how much money to allocate
  • The nerd factor: the community is just so cool and I want to be part of it, lol

Cons (or, just one con)

  • It’s expensive as fuck, at Php4000 per year. They don’t bill monthly anymore, which is sad because I would have felt that expense a bit less. They do say that you’ll see a return of investment when you start getting into the system, and I’m drinking that sweet, sweet marketing Kool-Aid.


I feel optimistic that this will help me manage my expenses much better than I’ve been doing for the last 5 years. For the first time in a long time, I see a light at the end of the tunnel: that I will be debt-free, hopefully in less than a year. This is another step towards me taking control of my life, and I’m happy about it.

Ela is a twentysomething who is constantly getting stuck in self-destructive behavior and bouts of low self-esteem. She struggles with depression and writes to relieve herself of her feelings. Sometimes she even blogs about other things like makeup and positivity. One of her pieces was published in the Inquirer Young Blood in October 2017. She likes cats, dogs, and sometimes even people.

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