New to YNAB? Here's what you need to know

If you're new to YNAB, or simply coming back to it after a break – here are our top tips to give you the best chance at success.

Only sync back to the beginning of the current month

When you first sync your transactions using Budget Feeder, you have the option to choose how far back to sync, up to 31 days. We recommend you only sync back to the beginning of the current month. This is in line with YNAB's philosophy of looking forward, and leaving the past in the past. The spending decisions you made before now are going to be different to those you will make now that you're using a budget. You'll be setting spending goals, and working to achieve them. Aside from that, going through and categorising all those past transactions is really tedious.

Here's what we recommend

Before you perform your first sync, first create your bank accounts within YNAB.

Create your Bank Accounts within YNAB and set the starting balances

You will need to create a bank account within YNAB for each of your actual Bank Accounts, Budget Feeder does not do this for you. Follow these steps:

  • Create a bank account within YNAB for each of your bank accounts that you will be syncing. These should be un-linked accounts.
  • Go to your online banking, and find out what the balance for each account was on the 1st of the current month.
  • Set the starting balance of each bank account within YNAB to what the balance was on the 1st of the month. This is important and is something you do need to do manually. Budget feeder does not set your balances. Instead, it syncs your transactions and YNAB updates your balance for each transaction up or down, depending on whether the funds are incoming (salary) or outgoing (spendings)
  • Change the date of the transaction that sets your starting balance to the 1st of the month in YNAB (or enter a new transaction if needed)

Now you're ready to sync from Budget Feeder

  • Use Budget Feeder to sync back to the beginning of the current month for each bank you have connected. If you're syncing at the beginning of the month and Budget Feeder has synced back beyond the 1st of the month, you can manually delete these transactions from within YNAB.
  • Go to your YNAB account and refresh the page to see the synced transactions.
  • Ensure that the first transaction is from the 1st of the month. If any transactions are from before this date, delete them within YNAB.

Next Steps

Congratulations on taking the first step!

It's going to take some determination and persistence from you to keep it up. If you do, you'll join the the ranks of savvy budgeters who have used, and continued to use YNAB to take control of their finances, and reach their financial goals.

Here are just some of the things you can achieve using the YNAB method:

  • save a buffer and live off last month's income
  • get out of debt
  • save an emergency buffer
  • not worry about losing your job since you've got a cash buffer
  • plan ahead for all your bills so you're never surprised when they arrive
  • pay your bills on time, every time
  • pay off your credit cards
  • save for a holiday
  • save for a new car
  • save for a house deposit
  • be more generous with your giving
  • save for your child's future

YNAB have lots of really useful guides to help you get set up. Head on over to the YNAB Help Centre for more information.

In case you have any questions, are not sure about something or simply need a hand please feel free to get in touch! We find that for customers new to YNAB, the first few weeks are critical, which is why we're happy to help you via in-app chat, or schedule a phone call to help you get all set up.

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