Monarch Money vs YNAB: Finding the Right Fit for Your Finances

With Mint out of the picture as of early 2024, everyone’s on the hunt for the next best budgeting tool. The spotlight’s on Monarch Money and YNAB, two big names vying to be your go-to for managing money.

Monarch Money is all about keeping it straightforward and user-friendly. It’s great for getting a bird’s-eye view of your finances, tracking investments, and understanding your overall cash flow and net worth without needing to link every transaction to your budget. This could be a pro or a con, depending on how hands-on you want to be with your budgeting.

Then there’s YNAB (You Need A Budget), which takes a more disciplined approach. It’s built around the idea that every dollar should have a purpose, pushing you to plan for every cent and ideally, spend less than what you’re bringing in. YNAB is for those who want to actively engage with their budget and have a clear plan for their money.

So, Monarch Money vs YNAB? It really boils down to what you’re looking for. If you want something that gives you a complete overview with less fuss, Monarch might be your pick. But if you’re all about getting down to the nitty-gritty of budgeting and making every dollar count, YNAB could be your best bet. It’s all about matching the app to your personal finance style. Keep reading as I show you how the 2 platforms stack up. 

Monarch Money vs YNAB: The Features

Common Features:

Monarch Money and YNAB both provide comprehensive budgeting solutions to improve users’ financial management. These platforms allow users to monitor their spending, income, and overall financial status effectively. They assist users in establishing and achieving financial objectives, such as saving for a holiday, eliminating debt, or creating an emergency fund. 

Both offer features for organizing and tracking financial targets, sorting expenses, and offering insights into financial behavior. Additionally, they provide accessible online platforms compatible with multiple devices, enabling users to manage their finances seamlessly from any location.

Unique to Monarch Money:

  • Investment Tracking: Monarch Money stands out with its investment tracking feature, allowing users to monitor their investments alongside their everyday spending and savings.
  • Joint Financial Management: This platform supports couples or families who want to manage their finances together. YNAB does offer a function called YNAB together that allows some level of budget collaboration, but it isn’t as streamlined and thorough as Monarch Money. 
  • Customizable Visuals: Users can personalize their financial dashboard, making it easier to digest their financial information at a glance.
  • Flexibility in Budgeting: Unlike YNAB, which adheres strictly to the zero-based budgeting method, Monarch Money offers more flexibility in how budgets can be set up and managed.

Unique to YNAB:

  • Zero-Based Budgeting Philosophy: YNAB uses this specific approach, which assigns every dollar a job, aiming to ensure users are making conscious decisions about every dollar they earn and spend.
  • Educational Resources: YNAB offers extensive educational resources and workshops designed to help users learn more about personal finance and budgeting.
  • Emphasis on Debt Reduction: While both platforms can be used to manage and reduce debt, YNAB has specific features and methodologies aimed at helping users aggressively pay down debt.

Monarch Money vs YNAB: Pricing

The pricing models for Monarch Money and YNAB (You Need A Budget) differ, catering to different user preferences and financial situations.

Monarch Money Pricing:

Monarch Money offers two subscription plans:

  • Monthly Subscription: $14.99 per month
  • Annual Subscription: $99 per year

This pricing structure is relatively straightforward, providing users with the option to choose between a more flexible monthly plan or an annual plan that offers cost savings in the long run. The annual plan, in particular, is designed to be more economical, saving users approximately $80 compared to monthly payments over the year.

YNAB Pricing:

YNAB, on the other hand, offers a single pricing structure:

  • Annual Subscription: $99 per year

YNAB does not provide a monthly subscription option, which means users must commit to an annual payment. However, YNAB typically offers a 34-day free trial, allowing potential users to test the platform before committing to the annual fee. This trial period is beneficial for users who are unsure whether YNAB will meet their personal finance management needs.

Monarch Money vs YNAB: The Unique Selling Points

YNAB stands out with its structured approach, emphasizing budget discipline through its four foundational rules: assigning every dollar a job, embracing true expenses, adapting to financial changes, and encouraging money aging to improve financial health. This method aims to transform personal finance management by instilling proactive budgeting habits.

On the other side, Monarch Money offers a comprehensive view of personal finances, supporting synchronization with over 11,000 financial institutions. This wide-ranging compatibility ensures users have a complete overview of their financial landscape. 

Also, Monarch promotes collaborative budgeting by enabling partners to manage finances together with individual logins, enhancing joint financial planning. The platform also ensures an ad-free environment, allowing users to focus on their finances without distractions.


In the matchup of Monarch Money vs YNAB, deciding between these platforms comes down to personal preference, whether you prefer Monarch Money’s flexibility and investment tracking or YNAB’s zero-based budgeting and educational resources. Evaluate your financial goals, budgeting style, and the features that matter most to you.

If neither Monarch Money nor YNAB seems to align perfectly with your financial needs, Simplifi by Quicken presents another popular alternative, offering a blend of features that might suit your personal finance strategy.

For a closer look at what each platform has to offer and to find the tool that best fits your financial lifestyle, consider exploring further:

Click Here for YNAB.

Click Here for Monarch Money.