What's Coming for YNAB 4

Back office discussions (over Skype, since almost all of us live in separate states, countries, or hemispheres) for YNAB 4 went something like this:

Team Member A: “Man, this is going to be great. I’m so glad we fixed ________.”

Team Member B: “What about payee settings? Are we going to overhaul that?”

Team Member A: “We need to…I don’t think we’ll have time.”

[Collective moans commence.]

I’m pleased to announce that, along with a ton of other fixes and improvements, we’ve completely overhauled the payee settings screen for our coming free update. It’s now much, much easier to use.

And I’ll bet 75% of you have no idea what I’m talking about. Well, you’re missing out on some serious time savings!

Our old payee screen looked like this:

The new screen looks like this:

You know that person that’s always willing to sing in front of people, but doesn’t sing nearly as well as they *think* they sing, so it ends up creating an awkward situation for everyone present? That was how I felt about our old payee settings. Awkward. A bit embarrassing.

You’re About to Become a YNAB Power User.

For those of you that have never seen the Payee Settings with the old version (again, no surprise if you haven’t used it–it was very confusing), you’re about to learn how to shave significant time off your YNAB workflow. Some of you may even miss the time you had previously spent with your budget. It’s okay…but we all think you should find an additional hobby to fill the time.

Managing Duplicates

The easiest way to manage duplicate payees is through the Payee Settings. For instance, our car and homeowner’s insurance goes through Bear River Mutual. I scan through my list and notice I have a duplicate situation:

That just won’t do.


I know a bunch of you just breathed a big sigh of relief, knowing there’s no longer that duplicate payee sitting in my budget file. Please ignore the Bear Paw one right above. Come on, just ignore it. 😉

Managing Payee Import Rules

I have a combined payee now, and I notice that it has a bunch of “import rules” attached to it:

Payee Rules are handy little devils. And I think it’s important you know how to use them if you ever import your transaction files from your bank.

The gist of a payee rule, is that if a transaction is imported from your bank, and it fits one of the rules, then it will be automatically renamed to that payee.

For example:

If an imported payee contains “Bear River Mutua Ins.” anywhere in its imported payee, then it will be renamed to Bear River Mutual.

YNAB will automatically create rules when you rename an imported payee, which is why you see a lot of my “Is : Bear River Mutua Ins. Paymt 0812″. At some point in the past, the transaction was imported with that as the payee, and I renamed the payee to Bear River Mutual, so the rule was automatically created.

Many banks and/or payees will dump a lot of junk in the payee field, like the transaction ID, or the date of the transactions, or the store number (Walmart #23 vs. Walmart #37…they’re all the same to me), and we OCD types certainly don’t like things junking our payee list, so the rules help.

Can you see from the above, that my rules with this payee are now redundant? If an imported payee contains “Bear River Mutua Ins.” then I don’t need a rule capturing the payee if it’s “Bear River Mutua Ins. Paymt 0812″ because my first rule already captures it.

So, with our fancy new payee settings area, I’ll consolidate my rules down to just one:

Now any transaction that contains “Bear River” will be automatically renamed to Bear River Mutual. You know, since my homeowner’s and auto insurance (both through Bear River) are under my Bills : Fixed category, I could take this one step further and have the payee not only automatically renamed, but also automatically categorized, using the dropdown right above the rules section.

When creating a rule, just click the little ‘+’ button next to an existing rule and you can go to town. Your options are:

Removing a Payee from the List

The only way to genuinely remove a payee from your Payee Settings is to no longer use it in any transactions.

However, if you just want to clean up your dropdown of choices when entering a transaction (and you know you do…), that’s easy enough.

Select the payee you’re going to remove, and then un-check the box that says “List and autocomplete this payee.” The payee will no longer show up in the dropdown, and if you’re typing the payee, it will not show up as an autocomplete option.

Once you’ve done that, in your list of payees, you’ll see an icon indicating it’s not being included:

You notice that Boden that’s bold? Blockbuster Video (bless their hearts, we haven’t been there in years), is also bold. A bold payee means it has rules attached to it.

Comb through your payee list, combine duplicates, create renaming rules and auto-categorization so importing time is cut by two-thirds (I’m serious people! That’s totally doable!). You’ll love it.

Payee Settings, the feature you never knew existed, now much improved in YNAB 4.

I wanted to show screenshots of the new Trends Report, but alas, it’s not *quite* ready for show and tell yet. That will likely have to come in the free update after this one.

I don’t have a firm date on when our next update will go out, but it should be fairly soon, provided all still continues to go well in the betatesting arena.

P.S. This is totally off-topic, but for those of you that use Valve’s Steam for gaming. YNAB is up for their Greenlight, where we would actually be available on the Steam platform for purchase. We have to get votes though, so if you want to vote for us, you can do that here. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, that’s okay too! (If we do end up selling on Steam, it won’t change anything at all for you guys, it will just be another channel in which we can market YNAB. Gamers need a budget.)