YNAB for iPhone in Apple's Hands, Awaiting Approval!

I’ve been using YNAB for iPhone for several months now. The experience has been fantastic. The software is extremely well-done (big hats off to Sebastian — basti in the forums).

On this day of First App Store Submission Ever, I only have one big regret: not getting a mobile budget solution out there quicker.

I’ve been closer to my budget in these past few months than I was in the prior six years (I was really close to the budget when YNAB wasn’t called YNAB, just “the budget”, and was just mine and Julie’s. Manual transaction entry, a single register for all accounts, one massive budget page…).

This “closeness” has manifested itself in many ways:

1) I’ve turned down purchases.
2) I’ve been more thoughtful while shopping.
3) I’ve sold YNAB to two cashiers (“What’s that?” — “Oh, I enter every transaction into YNAB. It’s some software I created to help people become really awesome at managing their money…”).

I actually fire up YNAB less than I used to. (Which wasn’t all that often really. We’re a YNAB-minimalist household, to be honest.) I’m staying on top of my spending and entering “receipts” without it.

It’s been fantastic. Our average spending has declined. We’ve managed to stay within our grocery budget three out of the last four months. (Those of you who know the kind of gremlins I deal with in the grocery store — the kind that throw things in my cart with me unaware — will appreciate that Everestian feat.)

Anyway, I’m sold, hook line and sinker.

So now I’ll take the next two hundred words to sell you :)

No, not really.

I wanted to announce the price. We sent an email to those people that have told us they’re interested in hearing about the iPhone launch the moment it happens. The #1 question I received back was about pricing.

It’ll be $9.99

Some earlier emailers got the wrong price from me. I told them $9.95, which would have been my choice, but Taylor called me just a few moments ago and let me know it’s actually $9.99. Apple demands that every price end in “.99″ — fascinating, no? I thought so.

Earlier today I received a tweet from a beloved Twitter(er) letting me know that anything over $5 they simply won’t buy.

I cringed.

Well before we dove into the iPhone/Touch/iPad foray, people were begging us to build something for their device (I’ll say iPhone going forward, but it can be for any of the Apple devices). We weighed the pros (happy users!) with the cons (major development resources!) and decided to go for it.

Here’s the business skinny of things. The app is priced at a point where it justifies our efforts. But there are two sides to the justification: the business (we think it should be priced at X because we’re pouring Y into it!) and the users (we think it should be priced at X because [insert any number of reasons]!).

Once the app is approved, it’ll be judgement day for us! We’ll either be justified in our efforts, or we won’t. Either way, YNAB users all over will be able to vote :)

Is it “worth” $9.99? Oh my gosh yes.

But we have a rule here… tattooed right on my left deltoid: “Only Happy Customers.”

To that end, our 30-day moneyback guarantee still applies. Use it for 29.6 days and if you don’t find it well worth the price paid (a pizza, a paperback, a really really fancy cup of coffee, a movie, an appetizer…) then just give us a holler. We’ll refund the purchase price in full and eat the 30% cut that the Big Apple takes right off the top.

I need to send this to PR so I can get all the wording just right, and then I’ll hit publish. Just kidding :) I’m just trying to be brutally honest with everyone. I know a lot of you have been waiting a LONG time to get your hands on the iPhone app. I hope you find it well worth your hard-earned money.

And hopefully, since the approval process can take a while, I’ll have given you enough time to budget for it. I don’t want to see that transaction logged anywhere except in the following categories:

Happiness : Productivity
YNAB : Support
Must : Have
Über : Budgeting
Budget : Awareness
Nerd : Fest

Looking forward to making the announcement that the approval process is complete. Now go sell some cashiers!

58 Responses to “YNAB for iPhone in Apple's Hands, Awaiting Approval!”

  1. Matt

    Very excited….really looking forward to it.

  2. Andrea


    $9.99? Are you kidding? That’s *all*?! I’d buy it in a heartbeat and I don’t even have an iPhone. You, sir, have no reason to cringe for even half a second. Happy customers? Just read the forum. We are out there, in full strength, and are literally delirious at the gigantic changes for the good that YNAB has brought into our lives. And this is only to be extended by the benefits of mobile access to our budgets. Personally, $9.99 is a munificent price point – I’ll take two!


  3. Dion Manly

    Count me in. It may cost more than most apps, but let’s face it, most apps won’t save you time and money like this one will. Thanks for bringing this to fruition.

  4. lehall

    I’d pay 9.99 for YNAB. It’s just that an iphone is out of the budget right now. Just out of curiosity, what’s security like for a mobile device as opposed to computer based program?

  5. Sheldon

    First I cringed. $9.99. However, as soemone who has taken classes in programming, I realize the work that goes into it. This program will greatly benefit and be the best $10 app that money could buy… and make keeping the budget easier. wow.

    I’m in, even though I’ll cringe, I’ll support this product and vision for proper money management. Your EXCELLENT post was a premier example of PR, and Dale Carnegie would be proud. In your post I went from, “not gonna buy” to “have to buy” because of how you presented the facts.

    great job!

  6. Chris

    I would pay $9.99 for a YNAB app. No question about it. My problem is that I prefer Android. If you find success with this app, then please consider an Android app.

  7. WairereRose

    I have no idea what apps cost, but I’d buy that one even converting it to $NZ. All I need is an iThingy of some description (still dithering, and the state of my budget means I have no need to hurry and decide, LOL) and I’ll be getting the app. If I win some kind of iThingy in the meantime from one of the many comps I enter, then the app will go right in the ‘fun money’ category expenditure without needing me to up that budget at all. I’ve managed the last few months with more than that left over in there :-)

  8. Noah

    I was actually the one who mentioned the $5 limit and it probably warrants an explanation.

    1. I rarely buy apps either because I demo them and don’t find them worth the $ or determine I wouldn’t use it very much
    2. I threw out the $5 figure because I honestly believe most apps aren’t worth more than that

    However, it was my opinion based on never seeing a single screenshot or feature of YNAB Iphone Edition. I will certainly take a long and hard look at it and determine then whether it’s worth it. Usually when I see an app over $5 in Itunes, it only has 2 or 3 stars and the most common comment is “it’s not worth $X”

    Jesse threw out the question about price and I was simply being honest based on my experience. If anything, it challenged him to come up some good selling points, which he did.

    Love the YNAB product and will give the portable edition serious consideration.

    • Jesse

      @Noah, just to be clear on your tweet. I completely appreciated your candid response. That kind of feedback is always, ALWAYS welcome.

  9. Travis

    Pricing on the app store is a bit crazy. In some sense lower prices can be justified by volume because there are millions of people willing to spend < $2.99 on a whim if something applies to them. From the data I've seen, this seems to apply more to games than other classes of application.

    $9.99 feels right. Hopefully enough to recoup the resource investment, and at 1/6th the price of the main application it is an awesome enhancement to it.

    During testing on the app, I actually realized I could purchase something I *wanted* while I was at Costco because I had enough "Travis" money in the budget to do so. So it works both ways- puts in place the boundaries you've set for yourself, but also gives you immediate permission to make a "want" purchase if it fits in the budget- and not stress about it.

  10. Sarah

    That’s very cheap, I’ll be buying it the moment it comes out.

    I don’t often encourage people to up their prices, but seriously this stuff saves me a few hundred dollars every month, you could have charged 5 times as much and I’d still buy it in a snap.

  11. David

    Ouch. I’ve been really looking forward to this, but 9.99 may be a bit high. The competition here is not some other app, but rather no app at all. The question I would have is if 9.99 is worth the alternative of simply peeking at my balances before I go shopping and entering in paper receipts when I get home.

    I’m not sure. I guess I will have to see how other people react to it. And as I recommend YNAB to everyone I know, I’d love to support the iPhone app too, but I guess I was just expecting it to be really cheap for those who already have YNAB 3. I’ve never spent more than $1.99 for anything on my phone at all, so it will have to really capture me to make the jump.

  12. Kenny D.

    $9.99 sounds like a perfectly fine pricepoint to me! The way I see it, you will have two groups of people using YNAB on the iPhone: those that enter something once in a while. To them, anything over $4.99 is probably going to seem nuts.

    Then there are those who will take advantage of it & enter everything into it. For those (including myself), $9.99 is a bargain.

    Look at some apps out there that are $9.99 and up: Things (todo list) $9.99 A similar app – OmniFocus – is $19.99!! For a todo list! There are also some remote desktop apps that are $24.99. That is going to seem outrageous for someone who needs it “Just in case” but for someone using it daily, if it’s good, it’s worth it.

    I’ve got Taylor’s new development blog in my RSS reader & will be buying YNAB for the iPhone the day it comes out. Let’s just say between Dave Ramsey’s teachings and YNAB, I’ve had a 5 digit increase in net worth including paying off all my debt except the house & saving up just over 6 months worth of living expenses in an emergency fund.

  13. Adam

    Fan…wait for it….


    $10 seems fair. Now get the ipad version out there and let’s get
    really YNAB-crazy!

  14. Trevor

    I’m not sure how it got to be that everyone thinks that software should be free or dirt cheap. People pirate .99 cent apps on the iPhone. $9.99 for functional productivity software is a bargain in my book. Why should programmers have to work for free.

    One irrational irritation that I have with the app store is the sale pricing after all the early adopters have purchased an app. Being an early adopter, I prefer the model where an app is on sale for a limited time at launch. I am aware that it is the usual price to pay for being an early adopter of anything. But if I see the price of the iPhone app put on sale a week after it launched I will be an irritated customer.

  15. Chris

    As far as apps go, this is indeed expensive. I will purchase it for the added convenience, and I’m sure other YNAB owners will do the same. Since it’s expensive, it definitely won’t cause non-YNAB users to give YNAB a try. Maybe a free, “Lite” version could be released in order to drive new users to the core product.

  16. Ramsey

    Ok first I just have to say I have subscribed to that iphone dev thing and I *never* get any emails… hmm… will have to go check my spam folder (again).

    Now, onto my question. Does Apple dictate the cost of things? I mean, it seems like Jesse and the YNAB team have set the price at something they came up with… now I’m reading that Apple might put it on sale. I’m confused?

    Also, I think I looked at the cost as a bit steep at first, especially as something that is a complimentary addition to a software package I already paid for. However, the more I thought about it, the more I think I agree that $10 bucks is a decent, fair price for it. If that is enough to allow the developers to make a little on it, awesome. And it keeps me accountable to it: “Hey Ramsey, remember, you DID pay $10 bucks for that app, you BETTER use it!”

    Can’t wait to see it!!!

    Any chance at a contest where a handful are given out? ;-)

  17. Mike

    I started out not liking the $9.99 price point. (I thought it should have been more like $4.99.) However, I think $9.99 is nearing the sweet spot for an app like this. Here’s why.

    I compare this situation (app + iPhone companion) directly to a to-do list manager called Things for the Mac OS. Things cost about $50 when I bought it, and Things for iPhone cost $9.99. The Mac OS app is awesome and worth the money, and the iPhone app provides a great companion while away from the computer.

    If the YNAB app does the same, then I think we have a winner. If it falls short, I’ll return it. It’s that simple. For $4.99, it needs to add a fair bit of value… but for $9.99 on a little device like the iPhone? It has to add some serious value–that’s the breaking price point for a lot of people, including me.

    Things for iPhone adds tremendous value because you can capture things immediately, and get things done. YNAB for iPhone will allow you to capture data on the go as well, and provide you with information you can _act on_ so you can make smarter spending decisions.

    It’s starting to sound like $9.99 is the right price for something like this… as long as it’s useful, and I think it will be.

  18. Dave

    First off, love YNAB. Worth EVERY penny even though it took me a long time to consider coughing up a lot of coin for a program based on watching the money you spend. Irony indeed.

    Now one of the last reasons I made the plunge was the impending iPhone app. I mean what a natural extension of a well made application.

    After patiently waiting for MONTHS our prayers our answered. Alas to the tune of $9.99 on top of the steep price for the software itself. Kudos to YNAB for being consistent to their high price model and I will pay for this since they have me by the short hairs but this feels like a slap in the face.

    Someone asked for an iPad version. Get ready to fork over another $9.99…

  19. Nathan

    As someone who has bought a lot of apps 9.99 seems fair. The 99 cent apps tend to be novelties or from major companies that make their money on ads, etc.

    Given that this app will sync with the desktop and is meant to be used every day, it seems justifiable to charge a bit more.

    I just hope it does split transactions.

  20. Claire

    Please port it to my little android…

    Please, please please please!

    I will happily pay 9.99 for it!

  21. Scott

    Question. If someone had a wifi enabled ipod touch, could the ynab app run on it?

  22. Rob

    That is a very fair price.

    The only reason people think $9.99 is a high price for an app is because when the app store was first live everything was priced so low. Therefore consumers became accustomed to very cheap apps and cried foul if anything was more expensive than $4.99.

    Also, many apps are impulse purchases which also encourages the low prices. YNAB however I do not believe will be an impulse purchase. It will be people seriously thinking about getting their finances under control, looking for an app that can help them do so.

    For $9.99, it is worth every penny and more.

  23. James

    Hold on you greedy iPhone users with your request for ipad apps and lite versions. Let’s think about the other YNAB users on Android that would like to know the joys of on the go budgeting. Hint hint Jesse

  24. Kelly

    I will happily pay $9.99 for this the second it comes out. I’ve been using iXpenseIT as a cobbled together solution to keep my budget on the go and it costs $4.99. To have an integrated YNAB app that syncs my data, I’d pay double without batting an eye. Thanks to the YNAB team and can’t wait to get my hands on it.

    And I second/third… the android app nomination in due time!

  25. Matt

    Count me in.

    I’m surprised at how many people don’t buy apps or won’t spend over $X, “on principle.” it’s ridiculous and just makes no sense. How many apps do people have on their Macs or PCs? Many of them probably cost a lot more than 10 bucks (um, like say YNAB?). I guess — to paraphrase the Barenaked Ladies — it’s a matter of conditioning. I’ve probably spent more than I should in the App Store, but you know what? Unless you’re a still a student, $9.99 is just not a lot of money. Especially for something so useful, and something that will likely be helpful for along as you own your iDevice.

    Jesse, my only request is that you consider making the app a “hybrid” iPhone/iPad app at some point (like Simplenote or Amazon).

    Looking forward to the release.

  26. TLBauer

    I participated in the alpha and beta testing of the iPhone YNAB app. It’s fantastic! Even at the alpha stage, there were very few bugs. But, you’re gonna love this app. It will be really fantastic to take with you on weekend trips out of town. Not only can you keep tabs on your budget, but you can enter any spending right into the iPhone app and then sync with the desktop version when you get home! No more misplacing receipts or entering things twice (you know, copying into YNAB what you entered into a spreadsheet while you were away.)

    Well worth the price at 9.99!

  27. Brad

    Well, is it too soon to ask for a droid YNAB app?

  28. khad

    Apple has set the tone for 99 cent apps and I think that clouds people’s thinking on what an app is worth.

    I’ll be buying this the second it comes out. In fact I’ve been refreshing the iTunes search page just in case I notice it approved before Jesse does.

  29. Orlando Barrowes

    I’m so excited to see an iPhone app coming! $9.99 is a good price!

    … except…I can’t buy it because I can’t use a program that doesn’t sync to my banks or the web. I need a budget I can sync with my wife and that can more easily keep our accounts up to date.

    I might buy it just to show that I want to support YNAB, but it isn’t where I can actually use it yet.

  30. Ronaldo Santana

    I would buy no problem – the big $$$ problem is the iPhone – out of budget for now :)

    I agree with some comments – port it to Android. I rather buy an Android instead of iPhone. Being a software developer I don’t like Apple approach on developers and think Android is better.

  31. Ben

    I will gladly pay $9.99 for brining my budget closer to me and being able to make real time decisions.

    The cost of the app will be offset in spades by better decision making and savings.

    Now, if I could only refund ten of those junky .99 cent apps I bought over the years. :)

  32. Rebecca

    This post just makes me want to buy an iPhone! I need a new budget catagory now.

  33. Boomer

    This sounds like a great product. I agree with a few other customers, please develop YNAB for Android. I’ll pick that up for $9.99 in a heartbeat.

  34. sam

    Android version please!!! I’d pay upto $25

  35. Liz

    I was very excited about the prospect of the new YNAB app. The price gave me pause, but not for long. All the posters who said we get used to very cheap apps is right. But frankly, they’ll only be 1/100 of the use of this app. At the moment I use my iphone Notes function to record expenses (especially non-receipt ones) but the ability to record expenses directly into the app via sync is worth it’s weight in iphone Gold.
    And if I can see a real-time budget too, I am going be one happy iPhone user!

  36. Paul

    I’d pay $9.99 for the app …

    for the android version that is … yep, another voice to the droid brigade.

    I used to use an ipod touch, and wanted to get the YNAB iphone app, but now I have my most excellent HTC Desire, the touch doesn’t get out much.

  37. Mike

    $9.99 isn’t much for a well-designed, useful product. I paid that much for a rake the other day. People expect app prices to be low because there are so many cheap apps out there, but there’s also a fair number of apps priced higher. The good ones are like YNAB: aimed at a niche market (that’s hopefully growing!).

    I’ll buy the app the day it comes out. I hope you sell a bunch, so that it will have been worthwhile!


  38. James

    $9.99 is cheap IMO. That’s a very fair price. Perhaps leaning towards the low end. I’d easily pay more.

  39. Orlando Barrowes

    So, can 2 people with seperate iphones sync to the same budget? I’m trying to figure out how to make this work.

  40. visorvet

    +1 to those saying that $10 is a fair price as long as the product is feature-rich. I would not pay this much to simply view my category balances or transaction histories. The key feature for me is the ability to enter and categorize new transactions quickly and easily at the time I am paying for things. If the app could then update my entire budget on the fly once that info has been entered, that would be gravy!

  41. Jeff

    Please create a version for Android! I’ll pay $10, $20, $25 . . . Whatever you want!!

  42. khad

    @Orlando Barrowes: Yep. Just be sure a single purchase is only recorded on one phone and it’ll work.

  43. Crew

    I guess I’m in the minority who think the price is not right.

    I say this because since it can only be used by those who have already purchased YNAB on their desktop, it seems rather opportunist to charge another fee to use it on the iPhone. That you have an iPhone App is a good incentive to buy the desktop version, but to charge again for it for me seems done in bad faith.

    I am not talking about the value in the iphone app itself because you always have to look at the value of the entire system (including the desktop). Sure there were resources used to develop the app, but the returns would be realized by more sales of the desktop version.

    It may have been the economical thing to do but it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

    • Jesse

      Thanks for your thoughtful feedback. I definitely don’t like the fact that it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Your point here:

      “but the returns would be realized by more sales of the desktop version.”

      is definitely something to consider. I’m not certain if that would actually be the case b/c the pulling power of a free app that requires a desktop version from browsers of the App Store perhaps wouldn’t have really been there (I surmise). Obviously it would have certainly helped out purchasers of the desktop version. But I’m also not certain that it would have helped sales of the desktop version for people on the fence. It could honestly go either way.

      At this point, we can only speculate. I feel good about the price as compared to other companion apps we looked at (Things, and OmniFocus being the most popular). However, I certainly don’t have a Business Crystal Ball (oh that I did!). I basically took what resources we had and tried to deploy them in a way that didn’t carry as much risk — built into my nature I suppose. After three or four months of using the app personally, and seeing how it helped me in my own spending and workflow (time savings), I feel really good about the value proposition of what an extra $9.99 can bring a user.

  44. Jody

    A couple of questions…

    1. Will this also work on the iPad? I just got one as a gift. I have YNAB on our PC desktop so my second question is…

    2. Can you sync YNAB entries between the iPad (assuming question 1 is a yes) and the PC desktop?

    And, just to confuse matters a little more, I do have an Android phone (HTC Hero) so ideally I’d love the mobiles for Android and iPad and then be able to sync with my PC desktop.

    PS. If this isn’t the place to ask these questions, would someone kindly point me to the correct forum?

    A devoted YNAB marketer

  45. cassandra

    Android version……..ASAP………Please!!!!!!!

  46. j Voos

    I think the price is too high. I think if this is primarily a data capture application, it should be subsidized by the desktop version. I haven’t seen it, but I think supply and demand will drive the price. I would start out at a lower price, and if it is successful, I would raise the price, don’t get caught doing it the other way around.

    But what do I know, i worked for for a very large Personal Finance Company for ten years in a past life!

  47. jam40jeff

    PLEASE make an Android app. This is the only reason I haven’t bought YNAB yet. I need mobile access, and currently Mint gives me that, although I would much rather be using YNAB.

  48. Don

    I’m on the edge of purchasing YNAB. $60 is quite an investment. I’ve been waiting for another coupon code to come out … and it’s been months of going without a budget (quicken, bought w/a discount, and mint just don’t cut it). However, $60 is not chump change either. I have an iPhone and a free app would make it a slightly more palatable decision. However, the prospect of spending *$70* to manage my budget seems counterproductive.

  49. Greg

    Like others, I would pay $10-25 in a second if you put this on Droid. I am sure you are working on it as Android is gaining market share faster than any other mobile OS and will be the #1 within a year or so (according to studies, not my opinion). I have wasted time with mvelopes and EEBA just to try to get a mobile solution . . . but I love YNAB and it helped save my families financial life several years ago!!!!


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