Are you looking for a fresh and interesting new way to manage your monthly budget? While it’s tempting just to stick to the same old paper lists and spreadsheets, why not use an app or program? The fact is, there are plenty of different resources out there, and if you’re really struggling to keep a grip on your finances, you’re probably going to need all the help you can get.
In this review, I’ll be taking a quick look at Money Dashboard vs YNAB. These are two very popular services that people across the UK are using regularly to make sure they keep their spending habits under control. But how do they work in practice? What’s better, Money Dashboard or YNAB? I’m going to be taking a look and hope to answer that question very shortly.
Do I Really Need a Budget?
Quick answer? Yes. Of course you do. If you stand any hope of saving, or even living sensibly from day to day, you should always have some form of plan in mind. Tracking your spending doesn’t even need to be that complex. It might be as simple as writing down your expenses and keeping your wage slips on one side. However, as you can imagine, the world is getting ‘smarter’, and that’s likely to mean you’ll need to keep more than just a few paper documents to hand.
Budgeting means you’ll have greater freedom to make your money go further. If you’ve been paying attention to any of my previous posts here at Project Financially Free, you’ll know that I am a huge believer in budgets. So should you be, in fact!
Money Dashboard vs YNAB: Summary
Let’s take a moment to break down YNAB vs Money Dashboard and to see what’s really at
- Both Money Dashboard and YNAB offer you a budgeting tool where you can connect an app or program to your banks and cards. Income and expenditure data feed in to deliver reports to you.
- This also means that you can set targets and savings plans through the apps. YNAB goes into a fair amount of detail, while Money Dashboard keeps it relatively simple.
- Money Dashboard is free to use but has market research services on-board. YNAB charges you a yearly fee after a free trial.
- Both services are secure, however, Money Dashboard will send usage data to third parties for market research.
- Money Dashboard is optimised for UK banking – YNAB, not so much.
Money Dashboard vs YNAB
What is Money Dashboard?
Money Dashboard is, simply put, a streamlined, straightforward program that lets you keep track of all your spending in one place. You can upload card details, bank information, and tailor the service to your own needs. This way, you can always see what’s going out, and what’s coming in. It’s an app that’s available for Apple and Android, and you can access it through a web browser, too.
How Does Money Dashboard Work?
Pretty simply, actually. All you need to do is sign up for a free account, and to start adding ion your banks and cards. You can do this directly through the app, or online, as you see fit. The interface is fairly intuitive, which means it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for your average app-savvy user to get started with.
You can set yourself custom goals and targets, which means it’s pretty flexible. It’s also easy for you to see spending, income and more through various tabs and tags. Again, if you’re already pretty savvy with this sort of thing, it’s very intuitive.
What’s perhaps most impressive about the software is the fact that you can actually predict your financial future. By using your income data and your projected expenses, the app will actually tell you where you’re going to stand in months to come. This way, it should be fairly easy for you to stick to targets and plans – or so you might think! Unfortunately, Money Dashboard can’t do it all for you, but it can give you more than a leg up.
Is Money Dashboard Easy to Use?
Yes – absolutely. One of the most appealing factors of the service is that it’s so easy to get into. It’s likely to appeal more to those people already monitoring other parts of their life through apps and programs. However, there are naturally going to be some people out there who wonder what the catch is, deep down. The fact is, there really isn’t one – though let’s focus on the safety side of things, just in case.
Is It Safe to Use?
Yes. Money Dashboard understands that, naturally, you are going to be fairly protective over your financial data. And why wouldn’t you be? The service lets you protect your data through full encryption at 256-bit. What’s more, it only reads your data, it doesn’t have the finesse, or the permission, to start moving anything around. That being said, it’s worth noting that the app does offer some data to market research companies. If you’re not too happy about this, stay well away.
How Does Money Dashboard Make Money?
Money Dashboard is completely free. Therefore, wanting to know more about where the company’s cash comes from is worthwhile asking about. The budgeting software stays free thanks to the marketing side of things. It makes a little bit of cash back through any products you might want to enter into through the service, such as insurance or loans. Therefore, it’s affiliate revenue that mainly drives the service.
What is YNAB?
YNAB stands for You Need a Budget, and let’s face it, they’re not wrong. YNAB has roots in the US, and it offers an intriguing four-step model which, supposedly, is going to change the way that you budget money for the better moving forward. It’s a pretty basic service which lets you plot out your income from various banks, your outgoings, credit card data and more. Therefore, much like Money Dashboard, it strives to give you full insight into where your money is going every time you get paid.
How Does YNAB Work?
YNAB, much like Money Dashboard, is an app service that lets you link up any bank accounts or cards you might wish to consolidate with the service. You can manage the service at transactions levels, full account overviews, and your budget breakdown. You can tweak and tailor the budget side of things however you like. What’s more, the app actually gives you a fair amount of insight, and generally pushes you in the right direction. By entering in a few details, the app will work out where you’re headed in terms of your financial future, and whether or not you can afford to keep living!
Is YNAB Easy to Use?
Yes – it’s one of the clear benefits of the service. It seems to drill down a little deeper than Money Dashboard on the whole, though the way everything is presented is still very appealing. It’s a bit more cluttered than you’d expect this type of service to be, but in my opinion, that’s par for the course in terms of the level of detail and support you receive. In the battle between Money Dashboard vs YNAB, YNAB wins out for detail, but maybe not for ease of use.
Then again, let’s bear one crucial fact in mind – it’s not open to UK accounting at this time, at least as far as full optimisation. That means it’s unlikely to work with many British banks. Therefore, make sure to keep a close eye on the service if you feel it’s tipping the balance over Money Dashboard – it may start to open up a little more in future.
Is YNAB Safe to Use?
Yes. In fact, it’s one of the safest budgeting platforms around. You have complete access to your data through password control, and what’s more, YNAB will encrypt your information and get rid of it as soon as it’s no longer relevant. Again, this seems to be a little preferential to Money Dashboard’s habit of offering usage information to market researchers.
How Does YNAB Make Money?
YNAB, as an American service, will demand you pay a certain amount of dollars per year for the privilege of its insights. Users can generally expect fees to mount up to .99 per year after a free trial, though this is of course subject to change. Therefore, the way it makes money is obvious – you pay for it!
Is There a Free Version of YNAB?
Beyond a short free trial, there’s no real way for you to take advantage of YNAB for free. Sorry about that!
Money Dashboard vs YNAB: Pros and Cons
Money Dashboard: Pros and Cons
- Money Dashboard is completely free to use. There’s no fees whatsoever – just download the app and upload your accounts.
- The app is very easy to use. It’s probably one of the simplest and most intuitive systems of its kind, which is obviously a very big plus.
- The service will let you pair up UK banks and cards and will give you insight into what you can expect from future months. You won’t need to do much to hit the ground running.
- However, some users comment that the service can take a while to update. This means you might be waiting days between money leaving your bank and actually showing up on the app.
- The data usage policies exercised by the service may not sit well with everyone. While it encrypts your banking data and can only ever read it, the app will deliver usage details to market researchers, and they can approach you in-app with deals and offers which they feel to be relevant to your needs.
YNAB: Pros and Cons
- YNAB is a smart, flexible and very in-depth service. You can manage your money in a little more detail than Money Dashboard, on the whole, though whether or not you go completely in-deep is up to you.
- YNAB is pretty impressive in terms of the help it actually gives you. It doesn’t just take your banking data and put together aggregates. It actively helps you to change your habits for the better by making recommendations.
- It’s also very secure. Over Money Dashboard, YNAB offers users a little more in the way of reassurance. The data it collects is only temporary, and again, it’s going to be encrypted each time it processes.
- However, keep in mind that YNAB is a solidly US-focused service, meaning it’s not really optimised for all UK banks. Therefore, Money Dashboard may have the edge in terms of pairing.
- What’s more, you can expect to pay a fairly hefty fee each year for the privilege. Therefore, it’s clear to see why some people prefer Money Dashboard for the sake of getting into budgeting without any kind of expense.
Money Dashboard vs YNAB: Verdict
It’s a difficult one to call, as there are some strong positives in either case. Money Dashboard is likely to appeal to the free market, whereas YNAB offers a bit more in the way of insight. However, this comes at a fairly steep price, and what’s more, Money Dashboard is optimised for UK banks. When it comes to the best UK budgeting software out there, these two systems do lead the way.
If you really want to enhance how you’re tracking your spending, a budgeting app might just be your best option. However, do be careful when it comes to picking the best platform. The best personal finance software should give you extra confidence, not fill you with dread. Take a look at the options I’ve reviewed here and see how you get on – who knows, it might be the makings of a really solid budget for the months and years to come. Start saving!
by Jon Craig
I am the creator of Project Financially Free and I started this journey to both educate myself and share my insights on personal finance. I’m passionate about financial literacy and I invite you to join me on this transformative path. See more.