If you’re looking for a YNAB alternative, you can use these easy steps to get your budget and register out of YNAB and into a Tiller-powered Google Sheet.
Tiller is the easiest way to manage your financial life with the flexibility, privacy, and control of a spreadsheet.
That’s because Tiller automatically imports all your daily spending, income, debts, and account balances directly into Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel. No more data entry, CSV files, or logging into multiple accounts.
Prebuilt templates help you budget, analyze trends, and confidently plan your financial future. Track all your accounts in one place with everything customizable, strict privacy, and no ads.
If you haven’t already, sign up for a free trial of Tiller with your Google Account and connect the same accounts you are tracking in YNAB to your Tiller Console.
We may even support some accounts for a direct bank connection that YNAB doesn’t and we offer faster, more reliable OAUTH based connections for several popular institutions like Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo.
Prepping Your Data Files
- After connecting your bank accounts, create a spreadsheet and choose to start with Google Sheets from the Tiller Console.
- Link the same accounts that were linked to the YNAB budget that you will export.
- Export your data from YNAB. You can do this by clicking on “My Budget” in the top left and then choosing Export Budget. This will export a zip file that contains two CSVs: one for your budget and one for your register.
- Once those are downloaded onto your computer open your Google Drive at https://drive.google.com and drag and drop the two CSV files from the YNAB export into your drive.
Prepping Your YNAB Budget Data
The next step is reorganizing the YNAB budget CSV to match the Foundation template Categories sheet.
The Foundation template offers a monthly and yearly budgeting option. It does not calculate your surplus or deficits per category month to month.
For envelope or zero-sum budgeting, you can add the Foundation template compatible Savings Budget solution built and supported in the Tiller Community. We’ll get to that step later.
- In your Google Drive double click the “My Budget as of [date] – Budget.csv file and then click the “Open with Google Sheets” button at the top.
- Open your Foundation template sheet from the Tiller Console (https://sheets.tillerhq.com/auth/google) and navigate to the Categories sheet (a tab along the bottom).
- First copy over your categories from the Category column in the YNAB budget CSV. Select the first category, hold shift, then select the last category to do a bulk selection. Copy the list by right clicking (or CMD + C for Mac or CTRL + C for Windows).
- In your Foundation template right click the second cell in the Category column (row 2) on the Categories sheet and choose Paste Special > Values only.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the “Category Group” column in the YNAB Budget export to copy the Group data into your Foundation template.
- Set a type for your Categories, likely these will all be expenses except any credit card payment categories should use the Transfer type.
- Add a group and category for your monthly income and choose the Income type. Simply type these in at the bottom of the list.
- If you’ve been using YNAB for a while, you’ll have multiple months of budget data in this budget CSV. The Foundation template 12 month budget start month is set in cell E1 on the Categories sheet. You can leave it set to the default January [current year] or change it to whatever month you like by entering the date for the first of that month and year. Learn more here.
- Copy the budget data for each month of past budgeting data you want to have in your Foundation template from the YNAB export. Paste it into the Categories sheet in the appropriate month column. As long as you didn’t sort the Categories sheet the values should line up with the Categories from the Budget export.
- Lastly, if you want to see your categories list organized differently, you can alphabetically sort the categories list by the Category, Group, or Type column by clicking the small down arrow when you hover over the column letter and choose “Sort A>Z.”
Prepping Your YNAB Register for the Transactions Sheet
- Back in your Google Drive, open your My Budget as of [date] – Register.csv file as a Google Sheet.
- Check your Transactions sheet in the Foundation template and compare against the data set in the YNAB register CSV file.If there is any data that you don’t want to move over from the YNAB register, clear it from the YNAB Register CSV file.
- If there is duplicated data in the Transactions sheet of your Foundation template that you want to overwrite with the YNAB register’s data, clear it from your Foundation template Transactions sheet.
- If you made changes to the Google Sheet version, export the YNAB register CSV file.
- Install the Tiller Community Solutions add-on for Google Sheets
- Navigate to the Tools
- Choose Import CSV Line Items
- Click the “Upload CSV file” button
- Locate your YNAB Register CSV file on your computer
- Click open
- Confirm upload.
- Review the Transaction data for accuracy.
This will pull all the data from your YNAB Register CSV into your Foundation template transactions sheet.
Note: The Tiller Community Solutions Import CSV workflow is supported in the Tiller Community.
Move on to Budgeting
Now when you open the Monthly Budget sheet you should get an idea of your budget progress for the current month. You can review the Yearly Budget sheet to get the big picture view of your finances for the year.
You can further customize your Groups and Categories and update any category budgets that need your attention on the Categories sheet.
If you decide to change a category’s name, check out the community-supported “Rename Category” tool in the Tiller Community Solutions add-on under Tools.
If you prefer YNAB’s budgeting methodology, where you give every dollar a job, you can set up your Foundation Template budget so that your Planned Cashflow in the upper left of the Monthly Budget sheet is $0. This means every dollar you plan to earn for that month is allocated to some category in your budget, whether you’re actually spending it or not.
If you prefer to see how your unspent or overspent funds from one month roll into the next month, check out the Savings Budget solution in the Tiller Community. You can add it right on top of your Foundation template, but you’ll use the Savings Budget dashboard instead of the Monthly and Yearly Budget dashboards that come as defaults in the Foundation template.
The Savings Budget sheet is supported in the Tiller Community, whereas the Foundation Template budget sheets are supported by Tiller’s success team.
More help & resources
Review our getting started steps for the Foundation template for more on how to get started and join our Weekly Foundations Webinar for a live demo & Q&A of how to get started in the Foundation Template.