Introducing YNAB’s API

Let’s make YNAB even better, together!

Written by Shannon Marie  |  on


Have you ever wished that your budget could do more? Like, for example:

  • Text you an alert if you’re blowing through your fun money too quickly this month?
  • Or, email your partner a bi-monthly ‘Christmas’ category update to keep savings on track?
  • Or, even block you from visiting Amazon if you’ve used up all of your ‘Fun Money’ for the month? 😉

The list of incredible YNAB feature suggestions is as infinite as the possibilities of a well-budgeted life! And we have some great news—while these examples are not currently a reality, they’re 100 percent possible …

We’re Pleased to Announce YNAB’s New API!

If you’re a developer, you’re probably thinking “Cool!” (Go ahead and skip to the bottom of the post for how to get started.)

The rest of you might be wondering “What’s an API?”

API is short for application-programming interface. The YNAB API is a way for developers to write code to work with and enhance YNAB. If you use the Internet, you already benefit from APIs on a regular basis:

  • Have you ever watched Netflix on your television?
  • Or, purchased something online and had it delivered to your home?

Both of those actions are supported by an API that helps Netflix talk to your TV setup or the store’s website talk to the shipping company.

What Does This Mean for Your Budget?

In two words? More features! Using an example from above—if you choose to add an API-supported feature to your budget (totally optional)—it will enable an app built by a trusted developer to ask YNAB’s API for your ‘Christmas’ category balance. That app would then send an email to your partner. Voilà, a reminder email appears in their inbox, helping your family to stay on track for your Christmas savings goal.

You Had Me at ‘API’

If you’re a developer and the words “YNAB API” have you drooling at the possibilities—like, could you turn your Phillips Hue lightbulb red if your checking account balance goes below $200.00?—this section is for you.

Here’s Taylor, YNAB’s chief technology officer, with the introduction …

“I can’t tell you how excited the entire YNAB development team is to release this API to our fellow developers.

YNAB is a fully remote company, and our API actually grew out of our last in-person developer meetup—a 24-hour internal hackathon in which we built a prototype API. By the end of that meetup, not only was our API prototype up and running, we’d also tested several cool integrations, including: grocery budget reminders popping up on Android phones when we walked into the grocery store, automated text messages arriving on our phones if we overspent on ‘Fun Money’, and an IFTTT integration!

The API has come a long way since that day, and our excitement has only grown. Some of us are, of course, already using it to experiment with our own budgets, but we’re most excited about what you, our community, will build. From one group of geeks to another, welcome to the YNAB API. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!”

But How Do You Get Started, Already?

For full details, check out our API documentation. If you need any help, visit our API forum—then you’re off to the races!

Imagine the Possibilities

What’s the one YNAB feature that you’ve always wanted? With our new API, the sky’s the limit! Shout out your feature idea on social media with #YNABAPI so we can find it. We can’t wait to see your suggestions!

And, developers! How about a friendly, old-fashioned API contest? There will be prizes …


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Your Next Step

Budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. So what do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress?