This week I became a Dropbox user and am excited I decided to sign up for my free service which includes 2 GB of data storage. Dropbox allows you to get access to important files from any computer. It’s what everyone refers to as storing data in the cloud. Basically, you sign up for an account online at www.dropbox.com. Install Dropbox on your PC and it adds another directory to your computer called Dropbox viewable in Windows Explorer. Any file you put in this folder will sync with your online Dropbox account. You can then access your files on the web or from another computer which has Dropbox installed.
So what does this service have to do with personal finance? YNAB (You Need a Budget) users know that YNAB stores a local file on your computer with your transactions, budget, etc. Up until now I could only manage my finances from one PC. But now that I have Dropbox I can store the YNAB file in my Dropbox folder and access it from any PC that I have YNAB installed. Why is this such a big deal? If I update YNAB from my work PC my wife can instantly see those updates if she opens the YNAB file from our home laptop. So, no more of her calling me and asking me how much money we have in the groceries category. :) No, she can just go to the Dropbox directory and open up the file to see the balance for herself. Awesome!
I thought I was really cool to have figured this little trick out this week, but others seem to be onto the same thing when I browsed the YNAB user forums. Click here for a discussion in the forums on how this works in greater detail. I know this can sound somewhat confusing to readers who aren’t familiar with cloud computing, but it is really quite simple. Let me leave you with a few more quick tips on making this work best for you.
- Once Dropbox is installed create a YNAB folder with in the Dropbox directory.
- Take your YNAB budget file and add it to that new folder. Your file is still on your computer but it’s in the Dropbox directory.
- Behind the scenes Dropbox syncs the file with the server (the cloud).
- You’re accessing the file locally just like you always have been, but your file is getting updated on the server behidn the scenes and the updates are pushed to your other computer when it’s online.
- To open YNAB you can simply double click the YNAB file your Dropbox folder.
Are you a YNAB user? If so, what do you think about using YNAB with Dropbox?
Try YNAB free for 7 days (they don’t require a credit card of course): For fast, effective, financial relief: You Need A Budget