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If you’ve been using YNAB for a while, you know how absolutely amazing and life-changing it is! It is, by far, the best budgeting software available today. But you may not know that there is a way to make it even better! The YNAB toolkit is a browser extension that adds even more awesome functionality to the already amazing app. It’s totally free to use and is updated frequently with new features to make your life even easier!
The toolkit adds a ton of great functionality to YNAB, and there are new things being added or enhanced regularly. Anyone can contribute ideas to the developers and they are always working on new ideas and tweaks. The YNAB Toolkit, though, is not associated with YNAB directly – but I’ve been using it for months and never once had a problem. Some of the toolkit features have even been implemented into the YNAB app! Here are some of my absolute favorite features.
When this is turned on, it adds a toggle switch which allows you to hide your dollar amounts until you hover over them. This is particularly useful if you’re working on your budget in a public place or if you love YNAB so much that you’re sharing it with a friend, but you don’t want them to see all your financial information!
There are so many ways you can modify how your budget looks and behaves with the toolkit! From changing the font size or type to hiding the accounts bar to highlighting certain areas (or hiding them). You can make your budget look how you want it to with just a simple click (or two).
There are several toggle switches that can be added using the toolkit. You can expand or collapse split transactions or scheduled transactions, use a toggle switch to show cleared transactions or not, and even a toggle to expand or collapse all categories.
Show Spare Change
One thing I’ve started doing is setting aside my “spare change” in a savings category for every purchase I make and I use that to pay towards debt. One way to make this easy is to turn on the spare change feature in the toolkit. When it’s on, you’ll see the difference when your purchase is rounded up. Then you can use that information to add that amount to savings!
Show Running Balance
Many people like to see how much they have left in their main account after each transaction. With the toolkit, you can! Just turn on the running balance feature and it will add a column to your account screen that tracks your running balance for you.
Days of Buffering
A common complaint about YNAB is that the Age of Money calculation isn’t really all that helpful. It works by calculating the average “age” of your last 10 transactions in YNAB. (By “age” I mean the number of days your money sat in your account before you spent it). But it doesn’t include credit card spending until you actually pay the bill – so in theory, you could have a high age of money number throughout the month (if you do a lot of credit spending) and then when you pay your bill, your age of money will drop drastically. Many people believe this isn’t really a true picture of your financial health. (Which is why the toolkit also offers an option to hide the age of money in your budget 😉).
So the toolkit created a different metric. Instead of worrying about how old your money is, the days of buffering looks at your total spending (including credit card spending) and figures out how many days you could continue on with that spending pattern if you didn’t receive any more income. That’s your days of buffering. (And, as a bonus, you can change how many transactions are taken into account for this calculation using the days of buffering history lookup – you can choose 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, or include every single transaction you’ve ever made in your budget!)
Paid In Full Credit Card Assist
This handy little feature highlights your credit card category in yellow anytime you have overspent on your credit card (in other words, when your credit card balance doesn’t match the amount you have available to pay your credit card). This makes it super easy to see when you need to double-check to make sure you cover any overspending. There’s even a button you can use in the inspector to cover the difference (be very careful with this though. It takes the money from TBB and if the money isn’t there then you’ll be stealing from the future and may not realize it).
Remove Zero And Negative Categories When Covering Over-Spending
It can be frustrating to have to scroll past 20 categories to get to the one you want when you’re moving money around in your budget to cover overspending. But with this feature turned on, any category that doesn’t currently have money in it will be hidden in the drop-down menu so you only have to choose from the categories you can actually move money from. It makes things so much simpler!
Stealing From The Future Alert
Another major source of frustration with YNAB is the issues caused by stealing from the future. Basically, this happens if you’ve budgeted money in the future and then come back to the current month and budget more money than what you currently have available. Since you’ve already budgeted in the future, your current month TBB will not show that you are over-budgeted. Instead, the over-budgeted amount will show in the future month. This is a problem because, in the current month, it looks like you are on track and everything is covered. But when you flip to the next month, you’ll see a big, red, negative number staring at you from the top of your budget and you’ll probably freak out a little (or a lot).
With this feature, if you budget more than you have available in the current month (stealing from the future), you’ll get a red notification at the top of your budget next to TBB to let you know that this money is already claimed in the future. So if you want to use it now, you’re going to have to go “unclaim” it from future months.
This is a great feature for those who need to break their budget down further than just by the month. It adds a column to your budget to show you how you’re doing with your spending for the month. For instance, if you budget $400 for groceries and need that to last for the whole month, you’ll want to make sure you only spend about $100 a week. Pacing will show you if you’re on track with that or not. You can add a dollar amount, a number of days ahead or behind schedule, or just a simple red/green indicator to tell you if you’re on track or not.
Goals Progress Bar
The goals progress bar is probably my favorite feature! It gives you a visual of where you are with your goals for each category. Any category that has a goal will have a goals progress bar (the category line turns green). As you get closer and closer to your goals, the bar grows! (You can also add a pacing bar if you find that helpful).
The toolkit has so many other features available. And the best part is that each feature can be turned on and off independently so you truly can customize your budget to fit your needs (and change it as often as you’d like)! New features are added regularly and old features are updated as needed. If YNAB decides to push out an update which adds features the toolkit already had, the toolkit developers disable their functionality so that YNAB’s takes priority. Every time YNAB updates, the toolkit updates too – so there’s never a fear of losing your customization or having it malfunction. And anyone can submit ideas to the toolkit developers, so if there’s a feature not currently available that you wish YNAB had, just ask!
While YNAB on its own is seriously ah-maz-ing, adding the toolkit just takes it to a whole ‘nother level!! Honestly, if you’re not using the toolkit and taking advantage of all the amazing functionality of it, you’re really missing out! Download the toolkit now to start adding even more value to your budget!
If you’re not using YNAB yet, you’re missing out! YNAB helps you track your spending, budget your money, and reach your goals faster, all in one simple to use software. Give it a try today and get 2 free months using my link. You’ve got nothing to lose!