You Need a Budget

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You Need A Budget
You Need A Budget Logo.png
You Need A Budget screenshot.jpg
You Need A Budget (YNAB) 4 "Spending" page
Developer(s) Jesse Mecham
Initial release 2004; 13 years ago (2004)
Development status Active
Operating system Windows, OS X
Type Personal finance
License Trialware

You Need a Budget (YNAB) (pronounced Y-nab) is a multi-platform personal budgeting program based on the envelope method. In 2013 it was the most popular personal finance software among Lifehacker readers.[1] Although the software is the most prominent part, YNAB is best understood as a software-supported budgeting system based on its "four rules":[2]

  1. "Give Every Dollar a Job": All revenue received is explicitly assigned to a budget (expense) category.
  2. "Embrace Your True Expenses": Budget money not only for regular monthly expenses, but for irregular expenses and savings items anticipated in the future.
  3. "Roll with the Punches": Be flexible but consistent in making up for underbudgeted categories by reassigning funds from overbudgeted categories.
  4. "Age Your Money": Break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle by arriving at a financial state where you have a buffer of one month's cash in hand which becomes the basis of all monthly budgeting.


The latest version, dubbed "The New YNAB," was launched December 30, 2015[3] as a web-based application, with companion apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.

The previous version, YNAB 4, is available for OS X and Windows[4] and was released in June 2012. YNAB 4 will be maintained through 2016, and the company promises to continue to support YNAB 4 users indefinitely.

YNAB 3 (released December 2009) ran on multiple platforms using the Adobe AIR runtime,[5] and previous versions included a Microsoft Excel/ Calc spreadsheet implementation (dubbed YNAB Basic and discontinued in July 2009) and a Windows-only executable under the name YNAB Pro (discontinued in December 2009).

YNAB for iPhone was released in 2010 and runs on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. It is not a standalone budgeting application but is instead designed to complement the YNAB for Desktop application. A version tailored for iPad and including budgeting support was released in 2014.[6] YNAB for Android was released in September 2011.


  1. ^ "Most Popular Personal Finance Software: YNAB". Lifehacker. Gawker Media. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "". 
  3. ^ "The New YNAB is Here". You Need A Budget website. You Need A Budget. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  4. ^ "Download page". You Need A Budget website. You Need A Budget. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "You Need A Budget for Mac". Macworld. IDG Consumer & SMB. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "YNAB for iPad is here". 

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