I used to have a very large number of apps on my phone, constantly downloading and trying out new ones. Those were in the golden early days of the App Store. Nowadays, it’s rare if I add a new one every month.

As a part of this change, many developers have moved over to subscription models. For many customers, this is a huge problem because the value proposition is unclear. There is an exception.

One of the best apps that I’ve used, now going on six years, is YNAB. I would put it on the same shelf as 1Password, CARROT, Castro, Day One, Deliveries, Fantastical, Oak, Things, Ulysses. This is a quality, well-designed, beautiful app.

YNAB switched to a web app and subscription model back in December of 2015. There was the usual consternation, but over the past 3 years, there has been tremendous, meaningful, solid development work. New features are released regularly, and the syncing backend is as solid as it gets.

At the beginning of this year, I took inventory of my apps, workflows, and tools. This is a normal occurrence. When it came to my family’s finances, I looked at our YNAB budget and considered if it was really working for me. After much reflection, observation, and research, I decided to fully implement YNAB’s four rules.

I created a “Fresh Start” budget, realigned my categories to mostly match theirs, and reallocated my dollars. The whole process took less than half an hour, which is incredible for budgeting. Now, I just have to maintain the machine.

YNAB is a great example of a simple idea, executed thoughtfully, and assembled with an eye on design. It’s an app I used across all of my devices, every day, and it gives me the comfort and peace of knowing where my money is and what its doing.

© 2019 Chet J. Collins