I love YNAB. I adore Chromebooks. Here’s how to install YNAB on a Chromebook. :)

Chromebooke + YNAB

As you may already know… I adore YNAB. (<— That’s a referral link… use it and we BOTH get $6)

And I adore Google’s Chromebook – their cheap, fast, safe, and worry free computer that has become my main computer. The only time I EVER fire up my MacBook Pro is to run YNAB.

Until YNAB comes out with a web based or Chrome packaged app version, Chromebook users are out of luck… that is unless you own an Intel Chromebook such as the original Samsung Series 5, Series 500, Chromebox, or the Acer Chromebooks or the HP14. This hack will unfortunately not work on the ARM Chromebooks such as the Samsung Chromebook or the new AWESOME HP11 – which unfortunately are the more popular Chromebooks.

It involves a sort of hack and putting your Chromebook into developer mode. It will NOT void your warranty but it requires a little bit of work. And since it’s a Chromebook… it’ll only take 5 minutes to literally put everything back to normal if you decide not to do it anymore.

That really is the magic of a Chromebook.

Running slow? – do a complete factory reset powerwash and have everything back up to normal in less than 5 minutes with all of your data and settings intact.

System updates? They happen seemlessly in the background and make your system FASTER each time.

Truck run over your Chromebook? Open a new one and have everything back within seconds. Literally.

But I digress… here’s how to get YNAB onto your Chromebook:

  1. Put your Chrombook into developer mode and  install Crouton (Linux) using these steps:http://lifehacker.com/how-to-install-linux-on-a-chromebook-and-unlock-its-ful-509039343
  2. Install WINE “sudo apt-get install wine” in terminal
  3. (optional but good) Install Firefox so you can install Chrome. (for some reason the default web browser in crouton doesn’t work with the Chrome download page.)
  4. Install & setup Dropbox
  5. Download YNAB http://www.youneedabudget.com/download/ynab/redownload/?
  6. Install YNAB using the script on this page:http://forum.youneedabudget.com/discussion/16409/how-to-run-ynab-4-in-linux-using-wine/p1

And IT WORKS and SYNCS across the CLOUD! Amazing.

I have a Samsung Series 5 (the original Intel Atom Chromebook) so it’s a little slow but still usable. It should scream on the new Haswell Chromebooks such as the Acer Chromebooks or the HP14.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Dr.KILLEMOFF July 7, 2014, 6:13 am

    This is total crap Chromebook will not let me down load any thing that’s not approved by them !

    • cdub July 22, 2014, 9:03 am

      Ok… did you even READ this article? The whole article was about how with a little bit of tweaking you can run any Linux app and most Windows apps on a Chromebook?

      A Chromebook is the best computer I’ve ever owned – I even just upgraded to the Acer i3 version and it’s blazing fast.

      For $379 I got a super fast Chromebook that is super secure, never needs to be backed up, boots in 3!! seconds, comes back from sleep instantly, and with a little tweaking I can run any windows app such as YNAB on it.

      It won’t run iTunes but personally I’m not a fan. If you have an Android phone it’s 100% seamless.

  • Logan September 17, 2014, 12:33 pm


    I loved your post and got excited to see that there was a way to run YNAB. I’m STRONGLY considering picking up the Acer C720P. I own a business and it is pretty much driven by Google Apps Unlimited. I haven’t used the Google docs, slides, or spreadsheets though but don’t mind at all migrating from MS Office.

    I’m also a fellow YNABer (best budgeting software out there!) and it’s SO important to me that it was a deal breaker on anything Chromebook until I came across your post. Does YNAB run seamlessly and with no stability issues using this method? I wanted my little bro to test YNAB out using this on his Chromebook but he never did.

    If YNAB does run without any fault then I will buy a Chromebook TODAY =)



  • adriano November 18, 2014, 5:02 pm

    I’m wondering if YNAB is still working fine for you, and if your Crouton and WINE installs are working great still. Would you recommend exactly the same steps now after a year’s experience?
    I’m about to take the dive, thanks to you. I need YNAB, and I only have an acer C710-2833 (which I totally love, except for the battery life). I am not tekkie, and am slowww, so I’m a bit nervous about tinkering…
    thanks for an interesting blog

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