Importing Venmo Transactions to YNAB

When Venmo started shutting down access to its API and You Need a Budget (YNAB) stopped its Direct Import feature for the service, it was left up to the users to figure out how to budget their money moving through Venmo. YNAB wrote a blog post about it with some recommendations on how to manage funds and it's that blog post that motivated me to write venmo2ynab, a small script to help with importing Venmo transactions to YNAB.

This article is about how I use this tool to keep YNAB up to date with activity from my Venmo account. It's free to use so if it's something you'd like to try, read on.

Who this tool is for

venmo2ynab is a Python script that converts a Venmo statement to a CSV format suitable for importing into YNAB. It works for people who use Venmo and YNAB based on Option Two in the YNAB blog post How to Manage Venmo in YNAB. This tool may be helpful for you if:

  1. You're a frequent user of Venmo and you carry a balance in your account
  2. You've set up your Venmo account in YNAB to function like a checking account
  3. You are comfortable with using the command line 🙂

If you were manually entering your transactions from Venmo into YNAB, this tool may be for you!

Setting up venmo2ynab

The GitHub repo's README has the setup steps that are pretty easy, but I'll modify the installation in this post so that the script is installed globally (feel free to use a virtualenv if you are comfortable setting that up instead):

First, check out the repo, then cd to it.

Then in the command line, run:

sudo pip3 install .

You'll know it's successful when it finishes and when you type venmo2ynab --help in the CLI, you see this:

Usage: venmo2ynab [OPTIONS] [INPUT_FILES]... OUTPUT_FILE

Options:
  --help  Show this message and exit.

Using the script

Below I'll outline the process that I go through to get my Venmo transactions into YNAB, starting with exporting my Venmo statement from the last month to a file, then running that exported file through the script, and finally importing the .csv file into YNAB.

Step One: Download your Venmo statement

Log into Venmo, then go to your statements page:

Find Your Statements in the Venmo Sidebar

Change the dropdown at the top of the page to "Past 60 days" or whatever timeframe you'd like. The page will update and you'll see the table of transactions further down reflect this time period.

Export Your Statement from Venmo

Click the "Download CSV" button to download a file on to your computer with all of the transactions that you have selected with that dropdown. It'll be called venmo_statement.csv, note where it saves the file (in Mac OS, it puts it in your Downloads folder by default).

Step Two: Convert your Venmo statement for YNAB

In this step, you'll use venmo2ynab to turn that downloaded statement to one that can be imported into YNAB. Specifically it follows "Option 2" in the Formatting a CSV File help article on the YNAB website, combining inflow and outflow into one field and also preserving the payee and memo fields.

Open your terminal and locate the venmo_statement.csv file, and change to the directory:

$ cd ~/Downloads
$ ls
venmo_statement.csv

Next, run venmo2ynab, providing the Venmo CSV as the first argument and a new filename for where you want to save the YNAB-compatible CSV content:

venmo2ynab venmo_statement.csv to_ynab.csv

If successful, you won't see any output. You can always open up the to_ynab.csv file to make sure everything looks good. On to the final step!

Step Three: Importing transactions into YNAB

In YNAB, locate your Venmo account and click the "File Import" button and click it. Locate your to_ynab.csv file and upload it (Hint: you can also drag and drop the CSV file into YNAB when your Venmo account is selected!)

Import Your Venmo Transactions into YNAB

You'll be able to preview what's being imported in the next window. It's always worth glancing over it and making sure that Payees and Memos line up. You don't need to change any of the options in the dialog, just click "Import" when you're ready!

Preview Your Imported Venmo Transactions

On success, YNAB will tell you how many transactions were imported, and how many were skipped. It's smart enough to skip already-imported transactions, so you can run this process as often as you'd like!

Now you have new transactions to categorize and approve with all of your most recent Venmo transactions imported!

Conclusion

I hope this little tool helps someone manage their budgets better with Venmo transactions. As a frequent Venmo user, keeping these transactions updated in YNAB has helped me have better control over my spending with it. If you find this useful or you have some ideas on how to make it better, hit me up on Twitter or feel free to contribute to the GitHub project yourself (it's free to use and modify!).

Ideally I'd love to automate this process even more, but it looks like the APIs needed to do that do not exist. If you have ideas on how to make this happen automatically without a lot of user interaction, please reach out!