Okay friends, today I am going to chat about what can be a sensitive topic (for me especially), and that’s budgets. The word alone makes me feel cringe and feel restricted, but life really isn’t about having it all is it? I do have a love for fashion and decorating and shopping in general, but I truly am thankful to have a husband that keeps me reigned in.
My husband Jack and I started dating in high school at the age of 15 and it was one of those cases where we just knew God had us planned for each other early on. I give my father credit for doing his best to teach me about finances from an early age and Jack loves to tease me about how I would be on his case for saving for our kids’ college funds (prior to even being engaged, mind you) during our years of dating. At some point between then and now, I have become the one that needs to be kept in line. I mean, the kids can always get scholarships, right? ;)
When Jack and I were living the DINK (double income no kids) lifestyle, we had some flexibility and didn’t necessarily feel the need to report every purchase to each other. We’d put a certain amount from each paycheck into savings and the rest was up to our discretion. Well, since then two sweet children have entered the picture and it was decided that I would stay home to raise them. From that point on we knew we needed a system to keep ourselves on track. We had heard of the envelope system where you basically put cash for various categories (ie groceries, entertainment, personal etc) into envelopes and when the cash is gone for that period, you wait until the next to make any more purchases. Jack is an avid Dave Ramsey fan, so this is where everything generated. Maybe the whole envelope system was a tad too daunting, but we did give ourselves a budget and began tracking all of our expenses.
It was probably three years ago that we discovered the app EEBA (Easy Envelope Budget Aid). This app was exactly what we needed. We both downloaded it to our phones, set up all of the individual budgets and synched it to one another’s phone. This allows us to enter expenses immediately and it is automatically updated for each other. I should note that this is what we use for all of our variable expenses, the fixed are noted as well, but as the term indicates, they’re fixed and do not need tracking.
I’m sure there are numerous other budgeting apps as well, but this happens to be the one that works well for us.
To be quite honest, there are times we are over budget, yes it happens, but what is important is that at any given moment we each know exactly where we stand financially for that time period. I don’t know if you ever get into heated financial discussions with your spouse, but we certainly used to and now those discussions are basically non-existent.
I realize that I have been focusing on using this as a couple, but this app is most certainly for individuals as well. It’s all too easy to spend away when you have no one to keep you in line. This app can help anyone get on track to save and get yourself into a place where you are happy knowing exactly how your finances line up.
Hopefully some of you find this helpful and I know others will quickly hide this post from your husbands ;) but I promise, once you get comfortable with it, it’s well worth it.