Back in late October/early November of 2021 YNAB announced a significant price increase. As a legacy customer it meant that my annual rate would go up 2x from $45/yr to almost $90 annually. The entire release of the news came abruptly and with a tone that the YNAB community did not appreciate. We all really felt like just a number to another corporation seeking more profits.
Personally, I was upset about the things mentioned above, but truthfully I’ve been looking to leave anyway. The transactions import was broken with a few of the banks we were using it was broken for months. Additionally, I felt like as a family we got to a point where a budget is helpful for us, but tracking every single transaction and categorizing them into individual buckets was not something we needed anymore. We had automated savings and debt payoff, and in general were comfortable with our everyday spending. So we stopped using YNAB around December, even though the subscription didn’t expire until middle of April 2022.
As some would guess, even though not having a budget didn’t have catastrophic consequences to our finances, the life creep definitely showed. All of a sudden we are eating out more often and ordering more items on Amazon. We have more subscriptions than before and we come home with more groceries in our cart than we can possibly eat.
I don’t agree with Dave Ramsey on a lot of things, but he (and other financial folks) is correct when it comes to using cash vs cards (credit or debit). Paying with a card or even digital wallet like Apple Pay reduces the friction and the pain of giving up some of your resources. And that is what happened to us.
We do prefer to use the cards so we are not going to change that. YNAB did provide us with some of that “pain experience” of looking at our budget and seeing where we have went way overboard. It also added the friction
As the backlash to YNAB grew a lot of other competitors gained popularity. They all are better at one thing, and totally sacrifice the other aspect at which YNAB is amazing. In the end, the reasons we are back to YNAB are the following:
- Well designed web and mobile apps on all platforms.
- Automatic transaction import (some banks are still an issue, but it is an improvement from 2021)
- Zero based / envelope style budget is what we are really used to after 5+ years of YNABing.
- Some other alternatives charge as much for the subscription with less features.
One particular application stands out: Budget with Buckets. It definitely lacks some features and polish in comparison to YNAB, but it is indie and not subscription based. The developer is very responsive and I’ve even contributed with translations to Ukrainian.