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Last post Author Topic: YNAB moving to a subscription model  (Read 8158 times)

superboyac

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #50 on: January 08, 2016, 01:29:17 AM »
One thing I don't quite understand though is that if YNAB4 is working fine and might work fine for years to come, why are so many die-hard YNAB4 fans (like Macdrifter I linked to or the above open source developers) looking for alternatives already?

It's called "getting ahead of the problem," I think. The "problem" being YNAB has overstepped what many of their existing customers think is acceptable behavior on their part. These people are now looking for alternatives outside of what YNAB is plannoing to do. Most of them also assume (and I'm inclined to agree with them) that YNAB has got something in the works (probably a sellout to some other entity) that they're not talking about. And whatever it is, their present user base suspects it probably isn't going to be too happy seeing it come to pass when it does.

From a technical standpoint, YNAB runs on Air. AndAir is a dead-end technology that's just waiting to tombstone. The minute a major update to Air breaks YNAB, your options will be to "upgrade" to whatever web-based product YNAB is currently planning to offer - or to find another desktop alternative. As of right now, there's nothing (AFAIK) that does exactly what YNAB software does in quite the way it does it. It is a pretty sweet app in it's present form. Sorta like so many other apps that started of clean and focused and then got wrecked thanks to feature bloat, being repositioned as an online service, or both.
Is there anything preventing (in a serious sense, like legally or something) companies like YNAB from going the subscription route, and at the same time just keep their latest "classic" version updated to work on modern devices, etc.?  like MS did with windows xp until recently?  Of course, the only thing I can think of is that by not supporting the old one, the users will have more motivation to use the new model.  but if they just don't use it and they simply lose users, old or new, what's the point? 

the weird situtaion would be like...
the new product has, say, 100,000 users a year after launch
the old product has 500,000 users a year after launch, and it didn't decrease by 100,000 or even close.
then what?

40hz

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #51 on: January 08, 2016, 05:09:35 AM »
^Hey SB!

Nothing serious to hold them back other than whatever deal they have with their stakeholders or potential buyer.

Keeping a classic destop version while trying to sell a online service version isn't too practical however. The desktop version really needs a full rewrite to get away from its Adobe Air dependency. So that's time and money and hoping peoplle will buy the rewrite now rather than wait till they have to. Which is exactly what their problem is right now.

It also works at cross purposes to them trying to sell people on a transition to the online version.

So eiher way, I think them doing an updated desktop version along with an online subscription version isn't likely to be in the cards for them. I think going online looks to them to be their easiest way out of their current dilemma from a technical and practical viewpoint. From a business and marketing viewpoint, it's an entirely different matter however.

Selling their existing users on it is a whole 'nother story. Especially considering the rather surprising amount of bad feelings and pushback they're getting so quickly following their announcement.

I wish them luck. But as things stand I suspect they've jumped the shark with this one.

Is it just me, or is that really Another One Bites the Dust playing faintly in the background right now?
« Last Edit: January 08, 2016, 05:18:40 AM by 40hz »

dr_andus

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #52 on: January 08, 2016, 11:48:40 AM »
This is a bit off-topic, but related: taking the maxim "time is money," has anyone tried to apply the YNAB philosophy to time management itself? Could this be replicated by let's say using two Google Calendars, one for the "budget" and the other for "actual"?

wraith808

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #53 on: January 08, 2016, 12:31:42 PM »
Nothing serious to hold them back other than whatever deal they have with their stakeholders or potential buyer.

That's the part that scares me about this move.  It seems more a positioning move after you find out there's not a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  And that scares me.

This is a bit off-topic, but related: taking the maxim "time is money," has anyone tried to apply the YNAB philosophy to time management itself? Could this be replicated by let's say using two Google Calendars, one for the "budget" and the other for "actual"?

That's actually a good idea for an experiment.  And then the experiment could be taken to the software world if it works.  I think the largest part of the problem with trying that is going to be granularity.  Every dollar has a name is one of the tenets of the financial strategy.  What's the equivalent of a dollar?  Maybe that's good for a different thread?

40hz

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #54 on: January 08, 2016, 02:06:52 PM »
This is a bit off-topic, but related: taking the maxim "time is money," has anyone tried to apply the YNAB philosophy to time management itself? Could this be replicated by let's say using two Google Calendars, one for the "budget" and the other for "actual"?

I agree with Wraith that not only could it work, but may be interesting to try.

FWIW, I always planned for billable time in my companies. And I actually created an inventory item called "tech hours" for each of my techs and contractors.

That time "inventory" got budgeted and monitored just like any other expense/sale item for planning and control purposes. And it was easy to do. You had an employee/vendor hour at a fixed cost of $X with a related sell price of $Y. And an average available pool of 2000 potential billable hours, since 50 weeks times 40 hours is 2K hours for an employee. Unbilled (or unliquidated if you prefer) hours are the equivalent of "spoilage" since once the week goes by, those hours are lost forever. Just like a barrel of apples or anything else with an expiration date. Any hours used purely for company purposes get "billed" to the company.

By looking at hours as a "product" with an opportunity sales value and a fixed cost, you can get an immediate feel for how effectively you're utilizing your marketable time resources. And even more important, you're able to track and analyze using some solid numbers for management purposes.

You could also do the same with your personal time. Just think of it as an inventory item, with an expiration date, associated cost, and sell price and you're on your way.

One other thing to keep in mind. Accounting is not just about actual dollars. It's about discovering patterns and trends. The dollars on the books don't always represent actual money. They're just markers used for convenience. And since "everything has it's price," money becomes a common unit of measure that actually works quite well for management purposes. But you could assign "happiness" or "fulfillment" points - or whatever else makes sense for you - to do the tracking. All that's important is that you understand your unit(s) of measure and consistently apply them. AFter that, budgeting and determining whether you're "gaining" or "losing" becomes relatively easy to do.

Here's a grossly oversimplified simplified way of looking at how you might do it with a computer tech. (In a real business case, these projections would involve the use of historic data, industry trends, business seasonality variables, statistical analysis, and some modeling.)

Assumptions:

Available billable hours = 2000 per 12 month period.

Estimated billable hours best case: 1600 hrs.
Estimate billable hours worst case: 600 hrs.
Expected billable hours average case: 1200 hrs.
Projected billable hours based on above: 1166 hrs per 12 month period

Costs:
Salary $75,000
Benefits: $6000

Total annual cost of labor: $81,000 (essentially fixed for most purposes)
Total cost per hour for 2000 hr. year: $40.50 (81,000/2000)
Average billable hour rate: $90 (I'll skip how that number might be determined.)
Breakeven hours on annual basis: 900 billable hrs. (81000/90 = 900)

Projected profit: (projected billable hours x average billable hourly rate - cost of annual salary and benefits)

Best case: $63,000
Worst case: <$27,000> (loss!)
Expected: $$27,000


You'd need to do this for each employee or vendor. If people are paid hourly, it gets a little more complicated and involves a little more educated guesswork. But it's still very doable.

With all this worked out, yo can project a fairly decent estimate of your expected profitability from time. But you'll need to offset that by operating and fixed expenses. So this is just the tip of the iceberg. But it's a good place to start. Because doing this exercise helps you decide if it's even worth getting into a specific service type business. Maybe you can sell all your hours. But the projected profitability may not cover expenses. Or be worth it to you even if it does. Many times you'll realize that there's a lot of people who opened a small business  - but aren't operating a business in the truest sense - they merely "bought themselves their job." Because most barely pay the owner and cover expenses. Which is why they fail so often the minute there's a downturn in the economy or they hit a snag. There's no buffer to cover contingencies or tide them over a lean season.

So it goes.

Ok. End of lecture. 

Now here's an extra credit exercise: How could the above concepts be applied to personal time management when not thinking solely in terms of financial opportunity and cost?  Why would it be worth it for you to start thinking of it that way? How would you do it if you decided to? 8)


« Last Edit: January 08, 2016, 02:26:47 PM by 40hz »

dr_andus

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #55 on: January 08, 2016, 05:15:59 PM »
I think the largest part of the problem with trying that is going to be granularity.  Every dollar has a name is one of the tenets of the financial strategy.  What's the equivalent of a dollar?

You could also do the same with your personal time. Just think of it as an inventory item, with an expiration date, associated cost, and sell price and you're on your way.

All that's important is that you understand your unit(s) of measure and consistently apply them. AFter that, budgeting and determining whether you're "gaining" or "losing" becomes relatively easy to do.

Now here's an extra credit exercise: How could the above concepts be applied to personal time management when not thinking solely in terms of financial opportunity and cost?  Why would it be worth it for you to start thinking of it that way? How would you do it if you decided to? 8)

Yes, I am thinking of it in terms of personal productivity, which I have been tracking for some time, to understand patterns.

One thing I did figure out is that the "unit" is a very complicated thing. What needs to be budgeted is not just time but a unit of "attention" or "concentration" (some kind of mental energy, though it depends on physical energy as well), which is not equally distributed across time.

My ability to concentrate and produce high quality work solving difficult problems is the highest on Monday morning, then it drops after lunch, might go up a bit in the late afternoon, and then goes down in the early evening. And this resource gradually depletes across the week. So it might take 2 or 3x as much time on a Friday to to produce the same quality of work as with 1 hr of Monday morning time (if at all possible).

So it doesn't matter what my hourly rate is, the fact is that the opportunity cost of Monday 9-12 might we worth the entire Friday.

One system I was trying to devise for this was to use different sized post-it notes to plan my daily tasks, to represent the diminishing value of hours in a day. The 9-10 or 10-11 post-it note would be the biggest, and then the others get gradually smaller. If you consider lunch and other breaks, we might be talking about 4 or 5 pieces of paper (the largest ones may represent bigger chunks of time, such as 60 min or 90 min).

The point of this is to remind myself that difficult and high value tasks should be done in the morning, and that I shouldn't even think of putting those on the smaller notes in late afternoon, as it's unlikely I'd have enough mental energy to finish the task or produce good quality work.

These different-sized pieces of paper then represent a kind of a depreciating financial instrument of different values. They represent different values in terms of possible return on investment and opportunity cost, if I waste them (don't convert them into a valuable output) or plan the wrong type of activity.

So I can take these "bills" and invest them into activities. I guess one could try to put a financial value on these notes, to express the different opportunity costs.

I have tried to re-create this electronically by using Gingko app's virtual index cards, but as they are all the same size, it didn't quite work.

Using two Google Calendars (budget and actual) could be one way to try to combine the above ideas with the YNAB method. One could plan out the day and week in the "budget calendar" and share those events with the "actual calendar," and then move the events in the actual calendar to the times (and durations) and dates when they had actually got done (if ever). At the end of the month (or at any moment, really) one could view both budget and actual side-by-side, and learn from it. "Not completed" tasks would need to roll over into the new month.

So a custom-made software would allow one to assign the higher monetary value to certain blocks of time, and then drop those blocks onto the budget calendar and assign specific tasks to invest those blocks in. Then the actual calendar could allow one to record how that investment was actually spent, and record the estimated value of the output (i.e. whether the unit of concentration was spent fruitfully). Perhaps total outputs and wasted effort could be somehow calculated at the end of each day, week, and month, and perhaps even monitor them as the day is progressing.

There would be a lot of advantages to do this in Google Calendar, so the ideal solution would be some kind of a browser extension or plug-in that could overlay the exta features.

The point of it all would be to get better at budgeting time and mental effort, to achieve maximum productivity with highest quality outputs. This of course also means that time for rest, exercise, or less demanding work would also need to be allocated appropriately.

I still haven't read up on YNAB though, so would need to do that first to see how all this could be related to it.

Deozaan

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #56 on: January 08, 2016, 05:31:46 PM »
In general, they have to renegotiate to get your business... whether that's just a we're doing this, do you want to continue to use your account, rather than it being automatic.  My bank just merged with another bank.  And we had to OK our accounts being a part of the merger.

I've had two bank accounts from separate banks which got bought out by other banks. One just after the big banking bailout in 2008 or so. The other just a couple of years ago.

In both cases my accounts transferred over. I never had to renegotiate anything. From my point of view, pretty much everything just worked the way it worked before the buyout. I just got sent new debit cards with the new bank's name/logo on them.

But maybe that's down to a difference between a buyout and a merger. (Though IMO that seems to be two words to describe the same thing.)

One thing I don't quite understand though is that if YNAB4 is working fine and might work fine for years to come, why are so many die-hard YNAB4 fans (like Macdrifter I linked to or the above open source developers) looking for alternatives already?

I think 40hz explained this pretty well. But I think another part of it is that for people who have used and loved YNAB, they've heartily recommended it to family and friends. But now they can no longer do that so they're looking for something else that they can recommend. It won't be long before we can no longer say "I recommend YNAB 4" because YNAB 4 will no longer be available to new customers. Sure, I can keep using it for the foreseeable future because I already own it. But I suspect they'll stop selling new license keys to YNAB 4 within the next few months.


40hz

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #57 on: January 08, 2016, 09:09:29 PM »
Yes, I am thinking of it in terms of personal productivity, which I have been tracking for some time, to understand patterns.

One thing I did figure out is that the "unit" is a very complicated thing. What needs to be budgeted is not just time but a unit of "attention" or "concentration" (some kind of mental energy, though it depends on physical energy as well), which is not equally distributed across time.

My ability to concentrate and produce high quality work solving difficult problems is the highest on Monday morning, then it drops after lunch, might go up a bit in the late afternoon, and then goes down in the early evening. And this resource gradually depletes across the week. So it might take 2 or 3x as much time on a Friday to to produce the same quality of work as with 1 hr of Monday morning time (if at all possible).

Yeah. Your individual productivity/attention/energy curve seems somewhat similar to a seasonal business cycle with it's slow and busy periods. We always followed that and scheduled things like training and enrichment activities - or vacations - whenever possible during slow months.

On a daily basis it's even more important to be aware of your own personal cycles and get a handle on them.

I'm like you. I'm most productive between 5:00AM and 1:00PM. Afternoons are generally not a good time for me. I'm usually sagging between 2:00 and 7:00PM. I'll get an upswing around 9:00PM however. That's my best time for creative things like music composition, long-range/strategic planning, non-technical writing, or graphic design. And as long as I don't break momentum on something, I can easily go from 9:00PM into the wee hours of morning if I'm fully engaged. I need to balance that out against my morning schedule's requirements. But as of now, I can get away with less sleep than I'd like (or should get) for about two or three  days in a row before it becomes a real problem for me. It's still something I try to avoid. But it's also nice to know I can do it if I need to without suffering too much of a physical or mental backlash as long as I don't make a habit of it.

So yes. Cycles definitely need to be taken into consideration because some hours are more "golden" than others.

(@dr_andus: Have you experimented at all with blind testing biorhythm charts against yourself? I've tried it and the results were mixed as far as their accuracy and usefulness is concerned. I definitely think there's a chance there might be something to it. But not in the simplistic form it presently has.)

dr_andus

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #58 on: January 09, 2016, 10:03:51 AM »
And as long as I don't break momentum on something, I can easily go from 9:00PM into the wee hours of morning if I'm fully engaged.

But as of now, I can get away with less sleep than I'd like (or should get) for about two or three  days in a row before it becomes a real problem for me. It's still something I try to avoid.

I used to do that until I reached a point in my life where I realised (partly through tracking my daily "pure productive hours," (i.e. not including any breaks), and quantity and quality of outputs, as well as writing a diary at the end of the day) that if I skip gym (or some sort of exercise) at 6pm and carry on working, or work on the weekend, I'm borrowing productive effort from the next day and the next week (and from my sleep and rest time), and I'm no better off, in fact much worse off, as it quickly leads to burnout.

So I only engage in that kind of overtime work right before some mega project's final deadline, which is fine, as after that I can take a week off to recover, if necessary.

(@dr_andus: Have you experimented at all with blind testing biorhythm charts against yourself?

No, how do you do that?

dr_andus

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #59 on: January 10, 2016, 07:01:41 PM »
I finally managed to install and play around with YNAB 4, and I like it a lot so far, it makes a lot of sense, so I think I'll bite the bullet and buy a licence for it. Thanks all for the recommendation.

The only thing I didn't like was that it doesn't seem possible to scale up the app on a 1920 x 1080 14" monitor, and the text and numbers look quite small and washed out. On the plus side, 6 months worth of budgets fit on the screen.

stisev

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #60 on: January 10, 2016, 08:11:38 PM »
I have tried about 103 financial apps.

Here are my results:

Mint - for daily checking of accounts
Expense tracker - HomeBudget (iOS).  They have an Android app too, but I can't vouch for the quality.
https://itunes.apple...ync/id306257910?mt=8

I advise everyone to try the lite version. If you're just interested in tracking your expenses, this is THE app to buy. There's a lite version you can try out.  Trust me, i've tried all of them including YNAB.

superboyac

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #61 on: January 10, 2016, 09:17:10 PM »
I have tried about 103 financial apps.

Here are my results:

Mint - for daily checking of accounts
Expense tracker - HomeBudget (iOS).  They have an Android app too, but I can't vouch for the quality.
https://itunes.apple...ync/id306257910?mt=8

I advise everyone to try the lite version. If you're just interested in tracking your expenses, this is THE app to buy. There's a lite version you can try out.  Trust me, i've tried all of them including YNAB.
the modular approach...now you're talking my language.

what is it that's so great about mint?  every time i try mint, i just end up going back to quicken.  i think it would be helpful for me if you write just a little bit about what distinguishes each of those, i will definitely give them a try.

tomos

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #62 on: January 11, 2016, 01:20:25 PM »
YNAB 5 Is Not For Me

his favourite alternative there was Moneydance, even says he's moving over to it.
Their website was very generic (uninformative), so I tried asking about security:
Quote from: Question
I was unable to find any info about privacy and/or the EULA - I'd like to know a bit about all that before trialing.
Especially relevant for online sync: how securely is that done?
(Considering the potential sensitivity of the data, I think this aspect should be given space in the website proper.)
Quote from: Answer
Unlike Quicken or Mint, Moneydance does not store any of your financial data on our servers. If you are not using the mobile sync feature all of your financial data is stored locally on your computer. If you are using the mobile sync feature the data is synchronized using Dropbox. In order to use this you need to set up an account with Dropbox. You are then agreeing to the Privacy / EULA of Dropbox.

While Dropbox encrypts your data in transit and at rest they happen to hold the keys to decrypt it. For this reason Moneydance encrypts any data that writes to your dropbox account for mobile syncing. This encryption is end-to-end symmetric AES256. Only your mobile device and your local Moneydance installation have the keys.

Ben Spencer
Infinite Kind Support
http://help.infinite...s/22220-privacy-eula
(thread was locked after I thanked for answer)

That's as far as I got -- I intended to trial it, but havent yet.
Tom




Deozaan

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #66 on: January 20, 2016, 03:01:51 PM »
There is a long thread on their forum with people voicing their opinions about the change.

Is anyone here registered on their forum? I can no longer access the above linked thread (I'm not registered and therefore not logged in). Do they now require viewers to be registered and logged in to view threads on their forum?

If not, it is a bit troubling to think that they may have censored/closed the thread simply because of the disapproval expressed there. But perhaps it devolved into a flamewar. There's no way to know without being able to see it.


wraith808

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #67 on: January 20, 2016, 03:26:03 PM »
You apparently have to be logged in to see the forum.  Go to http://forum.youneedabudget.com/ and you'll see the same behaviour.

40hz

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #68 on: January 20, 2016, 04:04:34 PM »
I don't recall that you had to be registered merely to view their forum in the past. Unless I'm mistaken, you only had to register to participate - the same way it works for most places.

So unless I'm wrong about that, I'm guessing the heat is starting to be felt about their change in direction, and they're trying to practice some containment.

Deozaan

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #69 on: January 20, 2016, 04:17:24 PM »
I don't recall that you had to be registered merely to view their forum in the past. Unless I'm mistaken, you only had to register to participate - the same way it works for most places.

Exactly.

I had read about 15 pages of the above-mentioned thread without having registered/logged in. Now I can't.


wraith808

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #70 on: January 20, 2016, 05:25:26 PM »
Oh yes... I was just saying that they had implemented it, not just on that thread.  And I'm not of a mood to register just to see the thread, so... :)

dr_andus

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #71 on: April 04, 2016, 10:58:14 AM »
I'm still dragging my feet on this one... As I'm not interested in a subscription-based model, I feel reluctant to invest time, money and effort into YNAB Classic at this point, considering that it's only supported until the end of 2016. I know it's likely to work for a while beyond that, but then if the iOS and Android apps would stop connecting one day, it would become frustrating.

So, I have started looking for alternatives. Has anyone here tried Moneydance? Is it a reasonable alternative to YNAB?

The other ones rated highly in the UK are AceMoney, BankTree, and Home Accountz.

P.S. Oh, I see Moneydance came up earlier in this thread. I guess I'll just have to go ahead and trial it. But any feedback on experience with Moneydance would be welcome.

40hz

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #72 on: April 04, 2016, 05:43:02 PM »
I'm still dragging my feet on this one... As I'm not interested in a subscription-based model, I feel reluctant to invest time, money and effort into YNAB Classic at this point, considering that it's only supported until the end of 2016. I know it's likely to work for a while beyond that, but then if the iOS and Android apps would stop connecting one day, it would become frustrating.

So, I have started looking for alternatives. Has anyone here tried Moneydance? Is it a reasonable alternative to YNAB?

The other ones rated highly in the UK are AceMoney, BankTree, and Home Accountz.

P.S. Oh, I see Moneydance came up earlier in this thread. I guess I'll just have to go ahead and trial it. But any feedback on experience with Moneydance would be welcome.

I'm partial to GnuCash for standard home and very small business finances. I like it as much for what it doesn't try to do as what it actually does. It's not a budgeting method like YNAB is. It's more along the lines of Quicken Home and Business. But without a pile of "features" I don't need. I'm more of a minimalist when it comes to business software however. I like most financial programs to do one thing - but do it extremely well rather than try to be a Swiss Army knife. And because I have a background in finance and accounting I don't need (or want) much in the way of hand holding. So take the above for what it's worth because my criteria is probably different than that of the average user.

I used Money Dance for awhile. It did the job very nicely. Decent budget tracking capabilities. They'll give you a 100 transaction trial to see if it's for you. You could do a lot worse for $49. (Like buy Quicken.) ;)

IainB

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #73 on: April 06, 2016, 01:41:03 AM »
Even if it is just used for budgeting, one of the best accounting tools on the market - Microsoft Money Plus Sunset - would be extremely hard to beat, and the user can easily extended their use of the tool into accounting (personal or business), if/as and when they wanted, without having to fork out any money - since it is $FREE and Microsoft are still quietly supporting it in the Windows 10 OS, so it is likely to continue to be useful for a long time yet.
Refer: Microsoft Money Plus Sunset - Mini-Review
6.0 Why I think you should use this product:
For home or business users wanting to better manage their financial affairs and budgets, this software could be of enormous help.
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dr_andus

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Re: YNAB moving to a subscription model
« Reply #74 on: April 06, 2016, 09:08:54 AM »
@40hz

Thanks for the feedback on Moneydance, I'll give it a try. I didn't know about GnuCash. It looks very interesting, though a bit too sophisticated for my current purposes.

@IainB

Thanks for the tip, I didn't realise MS Money was still an option. Does it have any mobile apps, like YNAB or Moneydance, to keep the budget etc. updated on the go via Dropbox?