Budget Mania: Level Money & NYNAB Unpacked

 In today’s edition of Budget Mania I’m going to cover the two apps I gave the least amount of time to.

level money logoLevel Money is something I just couldn’t get into. I wanted to like it. The interface is gorgeous. But it just wasn’t a good fit. It’s been over a year since I tried it and things could have changed, but at the time, so many other apps had more features and flexibility. All this basically did is tell me how much spending money I had in any given week after paying bills and saving money. It wasn’t very useful or interactive. It might work for people who don’t want to categorize anything. You can set it to warn you if you’re overspending in any particular category. But since you have to tell it what transactions to include as they show up, you risk missing a lot of stuff, so I’m not sure how practical that is. And because it only tracks your spending, at least at the time I used it, I couldn’t link things like investment accounts and mortgages. So, overall, I didn’t know what to do it. Might as well just use Mint.

In the psuedo-comprehensive budgeting app post, I touched on why I didn’t like the original YNAB. I don’t know why, but I had it in my head that it was similar to Quicken, so that might account for some of the disappointment I felt over it. I wouldn’t be able to bring my too many years worth of records over to YNAB, so I would have to start over from scratch or use both. That didn’t appeal to me at all. I do occasionally pull up a transaction from say, three years because I forgot how much I paid for something. It’s useful to me to be able to do that. But that aside, I just didn’t get the hype. It’s a digital spreadsheet, and quite frankly, it was one that irritated me a bit.

YNABBeing the kind of person I am though, when I heard about the NYNAB aka “The New You Need A Budget” app, I had to try it, of course! It had bank connectivity (something the previous version doesn’t have), and according to Jesse Mecham (owner of the company), it was “easier than ever” to use.

Now, I’m an impatient person in a lot of cases, to be sure. But I am good at technology. If I can’t figure something out in a few minutes, it’s not worth my time. I couldn’t figure out how to connect to my bank in a reasonable span of time, so I walked away. I did set up my budget and try again to connect a few days later before having to walk away again. And that’s my entire experience with NYNAB. And I am far from the only one to be frustrated. Scott Alan Turner talked about his super frustrating experience with NYNAB this past March. (For the record, it is entirely coincidental that both of our posts have “Budget Mania” in the title. LOL!) He said pretty much the same thing I just said, only he has a formal tech background, whereas mine is more “learn-as-you-go.”

In addition, I read so many reviews and comments from people who had to contact tech support to figure out how to use it after trying for nearly an hour or more. It’s $60 a year, and I think it’s $50 if you’re coming from the regular YNAB. For something called “You Need A Budget” you would think it would be user-friendly. I liked the price as compared to EveryDollar Plus, but I still don’t like the “age of money” feature in the New YNAB, and I didn’t even really use it. I just hate being in the red for no damn reason, and I hate most that I don’t have a choice. I don’t want to be two and three or seven months ahead. Or even one month ahead. And I definitely don’t want $10,000 in my checking account! I can’t believe Jesse thinks that’s a good idea. The liability on that alone is enough to make my stomach cramp up. Not to mention, people like me don’t need to see thousands of dollars in our checking accounts. Hello, disaster.

And yes, he really thinks it’s a good idea. I listen to his podcast because it’s short, and most of the episodes are of him defending and rationalizing both the crazy quirks of the software and his theories on money. It’s interesting, and he does have some good things to say at times, but some things are just not a good idea.

Hi ^_^