YNAB Debt Sync

If you use two-way YNAB categories to manage short-term lending between yourself and someone else who also uses YNAB, this web application efficiently finds the transactions that are missing from both categories. This makes it a snap to get the balances on both budgets to match, instead of manually comparing transactions.

Dropbox budgets

A demo walkthrough using dropbox

To use the Dropbox version, you need to have YNAB in Dropbox already, and the other person needs to have shared their YNAB directory with you. The end result is that you need to have a "YNAB" and a "YNAB (1)" directory in your Dropbox.

Local budgets


Quick overview

  1. Get the Budget.yfull files for both budgets. The next section explains where to find them
  2. Go to https://ynabdebtsync.herokuapp.com
  3. Select the first budget's Budget.yfull file, e.g. Bob's budget
  4. Type in the category name for that budget, e.g. "Alice"
  5. Select the second budget's Budget.yfull file, e.g. Alice's budget
  6. Type in the category name for that budget, e.g. "Bob"
  7. Type in the year and month (in YYYY-MM format) you want to compare
  8. Click the "Compare budgets" button.
    Note, best results are obtained when loan/borrow dates match in both budgets.

Finding the Budget.yfull files

Getting the budget files is the only tricky part, and involves a little bit of detective work the first time.

Getting their Budget.yfull file

The easiest is to get their budget them from Dropbox, which is where YNAB stores its budgets if you use its cloud feature.

Get the other person to share a link to their Dropbox's YNAB folder with you and click on it. You'll have to trawl through some folders until you find the right file. Once you've found it, make sure to bookmark the page for future reference.

The first step is to click on the folder for the person's budget. When creating a budget, YNAB asks you to give it a name. The folder you're looking for is called after that name.

Once you're in the budget's folder, you will see a list of subfolders called "dataN-...", where N is a number. The next screenshot is from a budget called "moneros" and it has eight data folders.

To find the Budget.yfull file, you'll have to look through these data folders. In this example I started with "data1-74AAF215". After clicking on it there were three more subfolders, so I started with the first one, "3BBA0FF0-C28D-430C-BF14-25F2594A6CB5". After clicking on it there was a list of files. I pressed Ctrl-F to start a search, and typed in "yfull" to see if the Budget.yfull I was looking for was in the list, as you can see in the next screenshot.

There were no results, so I clicked on the browser's "Back" button and tried with the next folder down. It did have a Budget.yfull file, but the modified date was from a few months ago, and I knew the budget had last been updated the day before. On with the search, I went through the rest of the folders in "data1-74AAF215", and then the rest of the "dataN" folders until I found (and downloaded) the correct Budget.yfull, inside "data8-...\69..." with a modification date of 27 hrs ago, as you can see in the next screenshot.

Getting your Budget.yfull

You can follow the same steps as the last section, just starting from the YNAB folder from your own Dropbox account, or you can open the Dropbox folder on your computer, which is a little quicker in my experience. The only difference is that the budget's folder has a blue YNAB icon, making it look like a file, as the next screenshot shows. Just double click on it as if it were a folder.

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