YNAB vs. Quicken??

dpandslemmendpandslemmen Posts: 942Member
edited September 2010 in Desktop
I would like to hear from YNAB Users what they like about YNAB that is better than Quicken. I currently switched from MicroSoft Money to Quicken and failed to do my research to see if there are other products out there. I like having all my finances in one spot. Does anyone here use Quicken for investment tracking and YNAB for Day-to-Day transactions and budgeting and if so is it worth the money to use both programs. What does YNAB have that Quicken doesn't? and what does Quicken have that YNAB doesn't?

Post edited by Unknown User on


  • PatzerPatzer Posts: 3,796Member, Beta Tester
    YNAB beats the pants off Quicken for budgeting. It's a great tool for controlling cash flow and helping me make good spending decisions. Quicken does a fine job of telling me what I spent my money on after the fact, but its budgeting is so clumsy as to be unusable. YNAB does a great job of showing me where I stand *right now* with respect to my budget so I make better spending and budgeting decisions. In terms of how much time I spend with each, there is no contest. I spend a lot more time with YNAB, because what it does well impacts many decisions I make throughout the month.

    Quicken beats the pants off YNAB for historical reporting and investment tracking. Most of the time, my interaction with Quicken is just to put the data in as transactions happen, or to import stock quotes that I downloaded from Yahoo. At the end of the year, I use reporting from Quicken to know what numbers to expect on my 1099's before they get here and to generate numbers for tax estimation. I use Quicken to track my net worth. I use Quicken occasionally for historical research, like when I can't remember how old my snowblower is. (Let's see, I bought it at Walmart, probably using my Discover card . . . need to look for a payment to Walmart in the mid 1990s for about $700 . . .) While I don't spend much time looking at data out of Quicken, when I need it I need it bad.

    I need both programs. I don't trust the XML data format to be useable for large quantities of data spanning many years. I know I can use Quicken for data going back to 1993. OTOH, I trust Jesse to try to maintain YNAB to be a better program. I expect Intuit to maintain Quicken in a way to extract more cash from its customers, even if that means destroying functionality that formerly worked. (This is why I quit upgrading at Quicken 2006, and sometimes wish I'd quit at Q2004 or Q1999.)

  • JillHJillH Posts: 229Member, Beta Tester
    The problem with Quicken is that its budgeting tool doesn't work very well. I got -0s and weird amounts on the Spending Plan section. Every year the software gets more bloated.
    It was not working well on Vista. (Supposedly that's fixed in the 2010 version). Their tech support is virtually non existent.

    Anyway the problem with Quicken is that if it crashes you can't get your data out without a lot of work.
    The only benefit Quicken has is its downloading capabilities and tax estimation capabilities. I gave up on Quicken and am importing transactions into Moneydance. At least if I quit using Moneydance i can export my data to CSV

    So for budgeting purposes -YNAB works great. You need to know how much is left to spend in a category.. with Quicken its an extra step or two to figure that out.
  • deckie49deckie49 Posts: 7Member
    I think it all depends on the type of budgeting you want. For envelope budgeting which seems to appeal to many who don't have alot of discretionary income, YNAB does "beat the pants off" quicken.
    however, if you simply want to monitor spending in different catagories without worrying too much if you've overspent a little here or there, and spending all your time entering data, i think quicken is much better. the biggest advantage, imho is that quicken can do automatic downloads from most institutions.
  • lautzulautzu Posts: 1,388Member, Moderator, YNAB Team, Beta Tester
    YNAB is the only application that lets you (with any efficiency) build budgets each month based on the reality of that month. Any other personal finance app's budget feature is just a hypothetical, typical month. It's thoughtless, and YNAB makes you think.

    I used to LOVE Quicken, and maybe I would still use it (as Patzer does) - but I'm on Mac and, well, they kissed of most Mac users years ago. So I use YNAB now and another app for my investments.
  • PatMPatM Posts: 105Member
    I'm in the same boat as Patzer and for pretty much the same reasons. I have used Quicken for years and still use it and YNAB. I could never get the budgeting features to work in Quicken. At least to my satisfaction. It just took too long to understand it and get it to work. YNAB is an excellent tool for budgeting but does not have a lot of functionality for downloading data from financial institutions. I use Quicken for downloading transactions from certain financial institutions although that is getting to be less and less. I use an online bank that does not download transactions but it's a trade off to get 4% apy checking and 2% apy on my working savings account.
    I actually have YNAB set up with 19 accounts so I track my net worth with YNAB and keep it synced with Quicken. As a serious budgeting tool YNAB has no equal in my opinion. If you are serious about taking control of your finances and spending YNAB can't be substituted. I'm very please with it thus far and hope that enhancements will be a regular progression.

  • dpandslemmendpandslemmen Posts: 942Member
    Forgive my tardiness of saying thank you for your comments.

    I to0 like the evenlope method of budgeting and have found a way to get that to work in both MS Money and now in Quicken. but, I do mention the YNAB product to newlyweds and college students to encourage them to track their money and to give each dollar a name.
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