Master Your Money in Seven Days – 6

YNAB does not include a “Direct Connect” feature that links to your bank and downloads your transactions automatically.

This is on purpose.

The YNAB team states it this way:

We’ve found the direct connection to banks really pulls people away from their money (psychologically). We don’t have any plans to add direct connect into the software – from a philosophical standpoint – as the further you are removed from your money, the easier it is to remove your money from you. Conversely when you are completely aware of the flow of your money then your money tends to fall in line with your actual values much easier. (That’s where you find contentment.) Read more.

What’s my opinion? I agree with them. If I have to log into my bank account, download the transactions, open the software, and import the transactions myself, I’m kept in much closer relation with my money.

I have used financial software that auto-syncs with my bank, but found I far prefer the manual downloading and importing in YNAB. It gives me more control and ownership over what’s happening.

If you’re just starting out, it’s even more important to develop that intimate relationship with all your transactions – it’s the best way to master your money.

All about Importing Transactions

Let’s go over the process of importing transactions into YNAB, categorizing them, and dealing with common questions.

Here’s a list of everything we’ll cover:

  • File download formats
  • Where to download transactions from
  • How to import them into YNAB
  • Importing process overview
  • Catching duplicate transactions and previously imported transactions
  • Approving imported transactions
  • Categorizing imported transactions
  • Good importing habits
  • Real time demonstration

Sound good? Great, let’s watch the video.


(If you cannot see the video, click here to watch it in your browser.)

Import Transactions Daily for now

Now that we know how to import and categorize transactions we need to make a habit of it.

Import your transactions as often as you need to stay on top of things. I recommend doing it daily for at least a month so you make it a habit.

Once you get everything in order you can import several times each week – as long as you can remember what you spent the money on.

Finishing Up

Tomorrow – in Day Seven – we’ll learn how to use YNAB to get out of the cycle of perpetual overdraft – so stay tuned.

Tomorrow is also our last day, so if you’ve made it this far, pat yourself on the back, you deserve it!

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Days in the Series

  1. Day One
  2. Day Two
  3. Day Three
  4. Day Four
  5. Day Five
  6. Day Six
  7. Day Seven


About Matt Jabs

Adventure. Stewardship. Purpose. You can also follow my financial insights on and my sustainable living adventures on