Beautify Your Budget with Emojis

Here at YNAB, we believe all budgets are beautiful. Because of course we do—we’re all about budgeting. However, objectively speaking, there’s a reason budgets aren’t displayed in galleries or shown off on the red carpet. They’re just not very exciting to look at for most people.

(I, for one, would totally go to a gallery of budgets and I suspect some of you would too.) 

But your budget doesn’t have to be boring. Adding emojis to your budget is quick and fun—and can actually be really helpful. While we all love budgeting, there are times when it can feel a bit mundane. So, use emojis to inject a little joy into your budget. And as an additional benefit, emojis can also help you quickly locate a particular category.

Check out this video for even more tips about customizing your budget.

Bedazzle Your Budget with Emoji

 Some of my personal favorites include :strawberry:for groceries, :female_genie:for the wish farm, and :see_no_evil: for stuff I forgot to budget for.

A budget screenshot with emojis to represent categories
Adding Emojis to your budget is fun.

Divide accounts

While there isn’t a way to ‘group’ your accounts in YNAB, you can use emoji to help create ‘dividers’. Create an unlinked account with a zero balance, then repeat an emoji to create the illusion of a line.

If you have a lot of account types in your budget, this can keep everything nice and tidy. 

(Favorites: ◎, :white_medium_square:, ❖)

A account register screenshot where emojis are used to create page breaks
Use emojis to create a page break in your budget.

Mark accounts for easy reference

If you have several account types in your budget, using emoji in the account name can help you identify different accounts quickly! For example, you can use :credit_card: for credit cards or :bank: for savings.

A screenshot of an account register that uses emojis to identify different account types.
Use emojis to more easily identify which of your accounts are checking, savings, or credit cards.

Make your own subcategories

Use arrows or other emoji in the category name to create your own “subcategories”. This is helpful for categories where you know you want to out money aside, but aren’t sure exactly what you’ll use it for, like Fun Money  (:arrow_right:, :arrow_forward:, :small_blue_diamond:).

A screenshot of a budget where arrow emojis have been used to create "subcategories" underneath a category.
Create “subcategories” under a category by using emojis.

Mark your ‘don’t touch’ categories

We want you to roll with the punches, but also understand that not all categories are fair game. Use emoji to mark categories that you don’t want to touch, like your Emergency Fund! :x: or :-1: both work well.

A screenshot of a budget with a red "x" emoji next to the "emergency fund" category.
A red “x” emoji is a good way to indicate a “Don’t Touch” category.

Mark categories for specific household members

Do other members of your family have their own categories? Have each user pick an emoji for quick reference. You could also use emoji to mark categories that include shared expenses.

Budget screenshot with different emojis to denote different family member expenses.
Use different emojis to denote different family member expenses.

Check out this step-by-step article for how to add and use emoji in your budget on your specific platform.

Emojis as tags

When entering a transaction, try using an emoji as a “tag” in the memo field. The memo field is fully searchable, and you can even put the emoji in the category name to help you remember which emojis you are using.

I have a hobby category, so I use “:cookie:” for baking, “:art:” for art stuff, etc. The category name would be something like, Hobbies (:cookie:, :art:).

A screenshot of emojis in the memo section so that you can search by emoji later.
Add emojis to the memo section so that you can search by emoji later.

Using emoji can make your budget more efficient and more visually appealing. And, in a way, they can make budgeting more fun all around. 

Use your phone’s keyboard to add emojis to the category line of your budget, or if you’re a web user, copy and paste them from elsewhere. Experiment with adding a little bit of flair to your budget and find what works for you! 🧪  

Ready to create your own budget masterpiece? Try YNAB for free for 34 days. If you’re already a user, sign up for the YNAB Weekly Roundup for more bite-sized budgeting tips and tricks.

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