When comparing GnuCash vs YNAB, the Slant community recommends GnuCash for most people. In the question“What are the best cross-platform budgeting apps?” GnuCash is ranked 1st while YNAB is ranked 10th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Investment support
Pro Multi-platform and free
GnuCash supports Linux, OSX and Windows and is also free on those platforms.
Pro Small business accounting
Pro Auto backup
GnuCash has auto backup settings so users can set it and forget it.
Pro Easily set up
GnuCash walks the user through setting up their accounts making setup extremely easy for new users.
Pro Double entry accounting
By fully using the double entry accounting features in GnuCash, you can know (for example) not only that you spent $25 at Hugemart but that you spent $13 on groceries, $2 on disinfecting wipes, and $5 on motor oil. Later on, you can use data from that transaction and others to find out how much you're spending each month on food, home supplies, and car maintenance, along with other expense categories.
Pro Provides a method for budgeting
Provides a 4 step method for budgeting money, that really makes budgeting simple and powerful.
Pro Mobile apps for easy expense tracking
Pro Online web app
Pro Free trials available
YNAB lets you try it's software free for just over a month. This gives you a bit of flexibility when doing a monthly budget - 4 extra days to review your budget and determine whether YNAB helped out enough to justify the $5 price.
If you're a student, you can get an additional 12 months for free (for a total of 13 months) and after that you can get 10% off yearly subscriptions.
Pro Easy to manage and flex budgets
I've tried several including Quicken desktop app and I just like the way YNAB works. It is easy to learn and actually works as advertised.
Pro Understands human beings and reality
It allows you to move around budget allocations. Sometimes you just need to spend that extra money in one category and take it out of another budget without losing control of the overall budget. It's flexible, clever and understands life.
Pro Frequent updates.
The YNAB team does a great job of offering rapid response times to support requests, listening to user feedback and implementing commonly requested features into the app via frequent updates as well providing live financial workshops on a daily basis at no additional charge. All of these features make the subscription model well worth the cost to me.
Pro Free online workshops.
YNAB regularly offers live workshops on a variety of different topics. These workshops include time for Q&A which is very helpful.
Con Report customization is complex and difficult
Setting the options for existing reports requires use of a multi-tab interface with poor usability. Creating new reports requires programming that will be beyond the abilities (or desire to spend time and effort) of many users.
Con Double entry accounting may be confusing or difficult for non business owners
For those that are unfamiliar with double entry bookkeeping it may be difficult to understand making using GnuCash a bit confusing on how it works.
Con Data is stored in the Cloud
All budget data is stored in the cloud on AWS servers which are most likely based in the United States. HOWEVER, there is an option to save budget data locally as well.
Con Subscription based
Instead of a one-time purchase, you will need a subscription to use YNAB after the free trial. Subscriptions can be bought annually for $83.99, which is about $6.99 per month.
Con Learning curve
There is a learning curve to the YNAB method.