Budgeting helps you spend less than you earn and set aside cash for upcoming goals. An easy-to-use budgeting app like You Need a Budget (YNAB) or EveryDollar can provide the confidence you need to reach your spending and saving goals.
There are many similarities between both apps, including bank account syncing and customizable plans. However, each platform has its unique strengths that can make one a better match for your goals and needs than the other.
Our YNAB vs. EveryDollar comparison takes a closer look at both apps to help you decide which one can make it easier for you to achieve financial freedom.
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What is the Difference Between YNAB and EveryDollar?
You Need a Budget (YNAB) utilizes the zero-based budgeting method to assign a job for every dollar you earn. Its goal is to help you stop living paycheck to paycheck and pay this month’s bills with last month’s income.
The YNAB budget software is more in-depth than its competitor and provides more hands-on features.
While setting up your monthly budget can take longer, the automated features can make it easier to manage your money in the long run. It’s free to try for 34 days.
EveryDollar helps you create a zero-based budget with custom categories, but the planning isn’t as in-depth. You may prefer this platform if you can get by with fewer details.
The free version is sufficient for a basic budget to track your spending, but it doesn’t link to your financial accounts. Upgrading to the paid version provides benefits like account syncing, personalized suggestions, and access to Dave Ramsey material.
What is You Need a Budget?
YNAB is one of the most in-depth personal finance tools for budgeting. It practices four money management rules:
- Give every dollar a job: Know precisely how much you want to allocate for expenses and savings goals.
- Embrace your true expenses: Compare your planned and actual spending.
- Roll with the punches: Be flexible and make changes to improve your spending.
- Age your money: Stop living paycheck to paycheck and pay your bills from your savings.
You stand to gain the most from this service if you have a tight budget and are struggling to pay the bills.
After joining, the app connects to your banking accounts to track your income and expenses. Plus, it walks you through a category-based budget to allocate how much you want to spend on your core expenses and upcoming goals.
After setting up your initial plan, the program looks for ways to save money every month by reducing your spending habits.
New users may also appreciate the live question-and-answer sessions discussing different budgeting topics. These online events are daily, and you can watch video recordings to learn more about improving your money skills.
YNAB is accessible via a mobile app, wearable devices, and web browsers.
You Need A Budget is a robust budgeting platform you can use to pursue multiple financial goals. Here are some of the top tools that help track your progress.
Connecting to your bank account to view your real-time account balances and sync your transactions is easy with this budgeting tool. Additionally, you can link your credit cards and investment accounts for total control of your finances.
The service will sync transactions between multiple devices, such as when spouses access their accounts. You can even manually assign a budget category or create auto-categorization rules as new transactions download.
Despite processing lots of data and providing a highly-detailed spending plan, this budgeting and saving app is easy to navigate from your phone, tablet, or computer.
It’s effortless to view your deposits, payments, and goal progress. The app also uses color-coded progress bars, and you can tap on a specific item to find out more.
Compared to most online management software, YNAB has one of the most helpful account setup experiences. It walks you through multiple common and overlooked budget categories, including groceries, debt payments, car repairs, and travel.
This detailed analysis helps you quickly pinpoint budgeting mistakes where you might be spending more than you estimated.
Additionally, the service lets you evaluate if you’re not saving as much as you need to accomplish your savings goals by the target date.
Along with reviewing how much you spend each month, YNAB helps you create a savings plan to save money for future expenses. You can decide how much you want to save and the target deadline to estimate your monthly savings goal.
It’s easy to set goals and track your progress from your account summary. The app summary lists your total savings balance and your monthly funding progress.
In addition to tracking your savings progress, this online budgeting service produces spending and net worth reports that simplify evaluating your full financial picture.
Age of Money
The final YNAB budgeting rule is to pay your current bills with money that has been in the bank for at least 30 days. In addition to tracking your spending progress, your budget also measures the age of your money.
For example, if the money’s age is 15 days, your paycheck must remain in your spending account for approximately two weeks before it pays a bill. This number will increase as you lower your spending and pay off debt.
How Much Does YNAB Cost?
All new users can try You Need a Budget free for 34 days and receive full access to every feature. After the trial period, you will pay $14.99 month-to-month or $99 when paid annually ($8.25 per month).
College students can enjoy one free year of membership.
*Related: Starting a budget can be difficult if you’re just out of school and a novice. Consult our printable budget worksheet for recent college graduates to learn where to begin.
Read our guide on the top YNAB alternatives if you prefer a different budgeting strategy or need a lower annual cost.
What is EveryDollar?
EveryDollar can be an excellent option for fans of Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps who want to get out of debt since it’s produced by Ramsey Solutions.
It adopts the zero-based monthly budget approach where you assign each dollar a job, but the platform also works well with envelope budgeting and value-based spending as you can create high-level categories.
A premium subscription is necessary for account syncing, automated tracking, advanced planning tools, and custom budget reports. Additionally, paid members can access group coaching to get financial questions answered by a money expert.
When registering, you can try the paid subscription free for 14 days to compare the extra tools to the free version. You will need to choose a Ramsey+ subscription to access the network’s other premium resources, including Financial Peace University.
However, the free budgeting software is best if you’re comfortable manually tracking your income and expenses since you cannot download your transactions. This is ideal if you want to quickly compare your actual spending to your planned amount.
You can access your EveryDollar budget using a mobile app or an online browser.
Read our guide on how to create a budget if you prefer to choose the free option and manage it yourself.
The premium budget app helps you save time by downloading transactions from linked financial accounts. This automation also means you won’t forget to record a transaction, which would adversely impact your ability to accurately track your spending.
Paid users can connect an unlimited number of accounts and categorize them accordingly. The app shows your current account balances along with the spending comparison to the budget targets.
Unfortunately, this service doesn’t auto-categorize your transactions, which can be frustrating if you want to put in less work monitoring your finances. Simultaneously, you don’t run the risk of miscategorizing a purchase, which can skew your spending reports.
Customizable Spending Categories
All users can create customizable budget categories that can be as in-depth or basic as they choose. Within each category, there are line items to plan for specific expenses.
For example, you can create a housing expenses category with line items for your mortgage payment, utilities, and repairs. Users can split transactions between multiple items.
This flexibility can make EveryDollar a worthy replacement for YNAB if you want a simple budget since it tracks your spending while quickly letting you know when you are living beyond your means.
According to the app developer, you can create your first budget within 30 minutes. The budget walkthrough process is basic, and incorporating these recommended budget percentages can help you decide how to allocate your paycheck effectively.
Create Sinking Funds
In addition to making a spending plan, free and premium members can build sinking funds to track their savings progress for upcoming purchases and financial goals.
Sinking funds are separate from emergency funds, which you can also create in this budgeting and saving app.
As with most features, premium members have more tracking and estimation tools.
Listing your monthly income and spending targets is an excellent start, and several budgeting features make it easier to manage your money with this app.
Free subscribers can enjoy these benefits:
- Customize budget items and categories
- Receive monthly articles and budgeting tips
- Set due dates
- Sync budget data across all devices in real-time
Experienced budgeters and those wanting a barebones app will enjoy the simplicity of these features along with the ability to track transactions manually.
This is a bit similar to what you’ll see with Mint. Read our YNAB vs. Mint guide to learn more.
A premium membership’s best hands-on tools include:
- Customized budget reports: Receive in-depth income and spending reports along with a downloadable .CSV file for other online money management software.
- Group financial coaching calls: Online sessions about budgeting, investing, spending, and other financial topics like your credit score.
- One-click tracking: The app monitors your spending activity and recommends ways to save more money.
- Paycheck planning: This cash flow forecast tool lets you visualize your financial progress after including upcoming paychecks and expenses, making it easier to predict overspending.
These advanced tools make it simple to accurately track your progress and plan your future because you have more hands-on control.
How Much Does EveryDollar Cost?
EveryDollar has two tiers to choose from. These tiers are:
- Free: No service fees
- Premium: Free 14-day trial and then $12.99 per month or $79.99 annually ($6.67 per month)
This service is cheaper than YNAB, but the paid plan doesn’t provide as many in-depth tools. If you don’t need the extra features, you can have similar transaction syncing and zero-based budgeting at a more affordable price.
Unlike some free budgeting apps, there are no advertisements for products or services if you stick with the entry-level plan.
How Are EveryDollar and YNAB Similar?
There is a lot to like about EveryDollar and You Need A Budget. The popular budgeting apps share many similarities that make them worth using.
Here are several of the overlapping features between the two platforms:
- Easy to use
- Built on zero-based budgeting
- Customizable categories
- Link to bank and investment accounts
- Can make budgeting recommendations
- In-depth spending reports
- Work on multiple devices simultaneously
- Two-factor authentication (2FA) to secure your accounts
- No in-app advertisements
Both apps have you start by making a spending plan based on your monthly income. Either one can help compare your actual and planned spending.
You can make adjustments on-demand when necessary to help you achieve your financial goals on time.
How Are YNAB and EveryDollar Different?
The winner of this EveryDollar vs. YNAB comparison depends on your financial goals and budgeting needs. Here is a summary of the notable differences between both services:
- App layout: Both apps are easy to navigate, but YNAB does an excellent job of having a functional layout and including more features overall.
- Budget setup: Both let you create a detailed budget, but EveryDollar tends to be more hands-off with the walkthrough process. This can be better if you’re in a hurry and don’t want a super-detailed budget.
- Categorization: You can have YNAB auto-categorize transactions to save time managing your budget. However, it’s a good idea to review your activity for errors.
- Ease of Use: EveryDollar Premium can be easier to set up since its planning tools are less extensive and let you create in-depth line items to track your spending. However, YNAB still provides more data and hands-on planning tools overall.
- Financial coaching: EveryDollar provides group financial coaching, which can make it easier to have your budgeting questions answered in real-time. In fairness, YNAB also offers live discussions but can be restricted to a particular topic.
- Price: YNAB is more expensive overall and doesn’t have a free plan, with the exception of a 365-day free membership for college students.
- Savings potential: EveryDollar reports an average first-month savings of nine percent, which results in approximately $332 in savings. In comparison, YNAB reports an average of $600 in savings during the first two months and $6,000 in the first year.
Overall, YNAB provides more hands-on features that are valuable to serious budgeters and those who want automated tracking. In comparison, EveryDollar can be better for stable financial situations and casual budgets that don’t require as much ongoing attention.
If you need substantial budgeting help, YNAB is usually the better choice because it provides more hands-on support. The extra tools are beneficial when you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck or are new to making a budget.
EveryDollar is better if you want to spend less money while creating a personalized budget or need a cleaner interface with fewer optional features. The paid version lets you sync transactions and receive customized budgeting insights.
If you don’t know which one to choose, try the free trial for each to determine which is best for you.
What’s most important to you when choosing a money management app?
Josh uses his personal experience of paying off over $130,000 in personal debt and changing careers to write about saving money, investing, and paying off debt. He has regularly written for notable outlets including Wallet Hacks, Well Kept Wallet, and Debt Roundup.
Josh was previously an operations supervisor for a Fortune 500 company for seven years. He is married with three small children.