We have many customers moving over from YNAB solution so we've decided to create a small guide that would perhaps make MoneyWiz easier to understand for someone coming over from YNAB. This guide will help you to change your personal finance management perception - if you want to move your data across, have a look at this guide.


Please note however that MoneyWiz is not meant to be a copy of YNAB and that we have made different design decisions as well as have different philosophy. This guide aims to explain the differences between MoneyWiz and YNAB and how you could go about minimising them but please be prepared to make some adjustments to your finance management habits.


YNAB has very specific set of rules and habits that it encourages in order to work with the application. MoneyWiz guides offers guidances but we do not require from you to work in a very specific way and offer a wide range of freedom in your actions. MoneyWiz is powerful and packed with features and it can adapt to your style of working with finances.


The first rule of YNAB is to "Give Every Dollar a Job" by assigning amounts of money to categories. Your whole YNAB spreadsheet composes of a single Budget Register with different amounts of money allocated to different categories. MoneyWiz on the other hand, allows you to create several budgets, each with selected categories that the given budget will monitor, and selected amount of money. As you spend money, your budget allowance for each budget will decrease. It's possible to set the budgets to rollover from month to month which means that if you underspend your budget, the remaining amount will be added to the next month's budget allowance. If you overspend your budget though, the difference will be deduced from your next month's allowance.


When you move to MoneyWiz, you should start by creating your Scheduled transactions in the "Scheduled transactions" section of the application. That's where all your salaries and regular bills go. You can read more about it in the Scheduled transactions guide.


Once you've added these, you'll have an overview of your repeating transactions, most importantly - your incomes. Once you have this information you can get back to the budgets guide and start creating some budgets!


YNAB asks you to assign some amount of money to every category. MoneyWiz expects you to assign a specific amount of money to every budget but a budget can monitor any number of categories. Therefore now it's the time to think about what areas of your life you'd like to control with a budget. You could use MoneyWiz's pre-defined set of categories as a reference but remember that we give you complete freedom here. You might want to for example create budgets for:


  • Transportation - think of how much you'd like to spend for petrol or transportation tickets each month then enter that amount as a budget amount. For categories select those that you want to monitor - it either could be Petrol/Gas or Public Transport. Then over time you'll see if you are left with some money that you can re-allocate somewhere else or that you didn't budget enough (which might be either an indication that you should dust-off that bicycle or increase the budget allowance a bit - up to you!)
  • Food - similarly to the above, you need to think of how much you'd like to spend monthly on this area of life and create a budget for it. It's up to you to decide if you consider eating out to be "Food" or would you like to create a separate "Entertainment" budget for it for example. The budget scope is defined by the categories you set it to monitor.



Other areas you might consider are:

  • Entertainment
  • Sports and hobby
  • Online Subscriptions
  • Children


Remember that budgets in MoneyWiz can be created with a Start Date set in the past. If you are importing some historical data from YNAB, you might want to build up some budget history (accessible from Reports section) by setting the Start Date to the date of your first imported transaction. MoneyWiz will parse the old data against the budget criteria so when you generate a Budget Balance report for Last Year, you'll actually see some data. That's not to say that you are forced to do that - again, you have the freedom to make a decision whether to start afresh or not.


Now, coming from YNAB you might ask yourself "should I create a budget for every category I have to reflect what I was doing in YNAB?". The choice is up to you but we believe that having a lot of budgets can reduce the overall readability. We'd suggest that you give category bundling a try (creating budgets that monitor more than one category) but if you want, you can also try to re-create your YNAB setup by creating a budget for each category (creating a budget that monitors just one category).


Furthermore you might ask yourself "OK, but how do I know how much money do I have left available for budgeting?". We don't display it the same way as YNAB does but you can still get this information.


On mobile version of MoneyWiz go to Budgets section and scroll to the very bottom (on Desktop versions you will find it next to the Net Worth indicator that is hidden at the bottom of the sidebar on the left and can be expanded by clicking on the arrow in the bottom right corner of the sidebar). There you'll see how much you've budgeted so far, how much of that you've spent and how much money is still available to spend. The difference between MoneyWiz and YNAB is that we don't monitor your incomes to compare it against this data. But since you know how much you earn every month, you can compare that figure with the "Budgeted" amount.



Note that this indicator works best if you set your budgets on monthly repeat schedule - but you've been doing that in YNAB as well so that should not be an issue.


Here, you once again have the freedom to make a decision: do you want to allocate 100% of your income to your budgets or would you like to allocate only part of it, treating the other part as savings you'll put aside each month? Note that the former solution doesn't necessarily mean that you won't be saving each month as you don't have to spend 100% of your budget allowance each month. However, if you'd like to stay true to other YNAB rules you've been using until now, let's say we'll allocate only part of our income towards the budgets, leaving a sum of money un-budgeted. In YNAB you'd see this money as to be budgeted but in MoneyWiz you can create a Scheduled transfer from your Checking account (for example) to a Savings account to remind you to put this amount of money aside each month. This way your income has been now assigned two roles: budgets and savings. In YNAB terminology, every dollar has been given a job.


You know your total income from the Scheduled transactions you've created in MoneyWiz. The Budgeted expenses is calculated by MoneyWiz and visible in the Net Worth indicator/Budgets section. The Scheduled income is the difference between Total income and Budgeted expenses.


Remember that it doesn't matter if you create transactions from the Budget register or from the Account register - as long as the transaction meets the budget criteria you've set, it'll appear in the budget and decrease the budget allowance.




What if you've got a refund for one of the transactions? Just find the original expense transaction in the Account register, tap on it to expand it and then select Options -> Refund.


It will look like you're adding a new transaction. You can modify the target Account, Categories (if applicable), amount, date, etc. If you were refunded in full, just leave the amount as it is. Otherwise, modify the amount there.


Save the refund and MoneyWiz will take it into account when calculating your budget allowance as well as when generating reports!



Give yourself some time to build up budget history so that the Reports section becomes more helpful. Then you can generate reports such as Budget Balance to see if for particular budget you've been underspending, overspending or kept right at it. This would help you to make decisions whether you need to reallocate some funds from one budget to another. If you want to reallocate some money short-term, just use the Budget transfer functionality. If you think you are ready to adjust your budgets long-term, based on your trends from a period of time, just edit the budgets to change their allowance amounts.



We hope that this guide has been helpful in understanding how does YNAB compare to MoneyWiz and what you might need to do to transfer over. Please note that this is just a fraction of what MoneyWiz can do as we've focused here on relating to YNAB. You can explore major MoneyWiz features here as well as head over to the guides section to learn more about the features we've covered here (plus many more that we didn't!).

If you still have any questions (or suggestions) after reading this guide, please contact us and we'll be happy to help!