Welcome to Your Mobile Budget

This is where it all begins. The start of your budget. Perhaps you're here because of a desire to end financial stress, knockout debt, or finally take that dream vacation. Those payoffs will come, but you have to start first.

If you're brand new to YNAB, we highly recommend checking out this video for a brief intro.

Quick Start Step 1: Set a Goal

A budget is about reaching your goals. Big or small, here's how:

First, think: Why decide to budget? What's your goal?

  1. Select the category in your budget that matches one of your goals. If you need to, make your own!
  2. Tap the Details icon in the Category Menu (the panel that pops up when you tap a category). 
  3. Tap Create a goal under the Goals section.
  4. For this first one, select Category Balance by Date. (You can explore the other goal options later!)
  5. Now enter the Target Balance and the Target Date. How much do you need to save? By when?
  6. Tap "Save Goal". Ta-da! 🎉

Notice that category is now orange in the Available column. That means your goal needs money to stay on track! The next two steps will make sure you have it there.

Quick Start Step 2: Add Your Accounts

All those goals and categories in your budget need money, and that money is in your accounts. Time to add 'em.

Checking Account

The best place to start is your main spending account, usually a checking account.

  1. Tap the Accounts icon.
  2. Tap Add Accounts on the next page.
  3. If you're planning to use Direct Import, tap on Linked and search for your bank to connect. If not, tap on Unlinked and enter the account name, type (checking), and today's balance.

Credit Card Account

Use the same steps above, but check these key points about credit cards in your budget.


A credit card payment category will be created for you so you know exactly what's available for your payment. When you use your credit card to spend money you budgeted, that money will automatically move to your payment category.


If you have a balance on your card, you need to budget to pay it off. Consider setting a Payoff Balance by Date goal!

Unlike money that moves to your payment category from purchases, to pay off this balance, you’ll budget directly to the category.

Check out this section of our Help Docs for more info on Credit Cards!

Quick Start Step 3: Budget Your Money

You've set up a few goals and now you've got your starting balances. You’re ready to budget. All that money in your accounts from Step 2 is sitting in To be Budgeted, right at the top of your budget.

The next step is to give all your dollars jobs, until To be Budgeted is zero.

⛔️ Stay out of the red!

If your To be Budgeted turns red, that means you have overbudgeted (given jobs to dollars you don't actually have!). Tap the To be Budgeted number to move some money back from a category!

Three Ways to Budget

You have three ways to get your dollars where they need to be. You have full permission to try them all — go crazy!

Quick Budget

Remember the goals you created and how they made categories orange? Orange always means you’re underfunded, and it's super easy to budget underfunded categories.

Tap the Lightning Bolt icon in the upper left corner of your screen. In the Quick Budget menu, select Underfunded, then hit Done. Bingo! All underfunded budget categories are now funded.

You can also fund categories individually by selecting the category and tapping the Quick Budget Lightning Bolt in the Category Menu.

When you have a little bit of history in your budget, you’ll be able to jump start each month's budget based on spending averages and other historical whiz-bangs. But let's not get ahead of ourselves!

In the Category

You can budget a number of dollars directly to a category by selecting the category and using the number keypad. Need $90.00 for that cat toys category you just created? (Do you? Really?) Just enter $90 and hit Done.

Moving Money

You can also tap on To be Budgeted, enter the amount you want to move, select the category, and boom!💥 Dollars budgeted.

This one is especially handy when you already have $19.53 budgeted to a category and you want to add $18.76 more. Math, amiright? It’s okay, Move Money has you covered.

If you need to move money between categories, simply swipe right!

You’ve given every dollar a job. Excellent! Now it's time to get prepared by scheduling transactions that you know are coming.

Quick Start Step 4: Schedule a Transaction

  1. Navigate to the Transaction icon. 
  2. Enter the amount and type of transaction, then tap Next.
  3. Choose the payee, category, account, date of the next occurrence, and how often you would like the transaction to repeat. You're all set!
  4. Your transaction will now appear at the top of your register in gray. It will not yet affect your budget.
  5. When the date of the next occurrence comes, the transaction will appear in bold in your register, waiting for you to approve it (we want to make sure it actually happened as planned!)

Using Scheduled Transactions in Your Budgeting

Bonus Wins!😍

  • When you have a scheduled transaction that you haven’t (fully) budgeted for, you’ll see orange (orange = underfunded!) in the category that month. You can use that fancy Lightning Bolt icon to pull up the Quick Budget tool to fund any Underfunded categories.
  • For additional info, select the category that has a scheduled transaction. Tap the Details icon. You’ll know how much will be available in the category after that bill is paid. Glorious.
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