YNAB provides the best guidance and attitude about money, priorities, and inevitable financial failings of any app we researched or tested.
Above all else, YNAB provided the best and most accessible help to newcomers.
As you budget, spend, adjust, spend, and adjust some more, YNAB has more useful info for you: charts, balance sheets, net worth trackers, and an ever-present counter for the “Age of your money.” That last metric is uniquely visible in YNAB, and a helpful number to understand.
YNAB’s core budgeting system is “Give Every Dollar a Job,” also known as a zero-sum or “Envelope” style budget, where every last bit of your money goes into a defined category so you’re not left with any untracked cash.
Nearly every financial advisor we spoke with, and every well-regarded book we looked through, suggests the kind of budget YNAB helps you set up: adding up income, listing your fixed expenses, tracking and averaging your discretionary spending, and accounting for every dollar-even “Fun.” You will get things wrong, sometimes drastically, but YNAB’s zero-sum system helps to prevent you from spending rent money on concert tickets.
The mobile versions of our other top budgeting apps offered much the same kind of budget/entry, but YNAB’s zero-sum “Voice” comes through in its app, and overall we liked the interface more than the other options.
Most of the questions you might have about budgeting, or how the app works, have already been covered in the Help Docs, on YNAB’s support forums, or on the YNAB subreddit.