Budgeting Made Easy

Budgeting Made Easy
That old adage "opposites attract" never proved more true then when you find yourself married to a spender when you are a saver or vice versa. If you have had a marriage anything like ours, the biggest argument and relationship struggle is  usually over money...what to do with it...where to spend it. 

Trying To Budget
When I first got married, I had no debt and I followed Dave Ramsey's advice of putting cash into envelopes to budget. But my husband was opposed to carrying around cash and didn't like that idea at all. For a very long time, he dug in his heels about doing any budgeting at all!  But finally, I convinced him it was important and so we sat down and we laid out our budget. We figured out exactly how each paycheck could fit into our different budget categories...

This is an example of the categories we use: 
  • Rent/Mortgage 
  • Utilities Bill
  • Water Bill 
  • Phone Bill 
  • Car/House Insurance (divided by 6)
  • Life Insurance 
  • Car Registration Fees (guesstimate and divide by 6)
  • Internet Bill 
  • Food Budget 
  • Gas Budget 
  • Savings 
  • Auto Repairs 
  • Clothing Budget 
  • Home Improvement Budget
  • Kids Budget 
  • Date Night Budget 
  • Dentist/Eye Care 
  • Essential Rewards order (toxin-free cleaning, body care products, etc.)
  • Health Insurance 
  • Emergency Fund 
  • Tithe 
  • Giving Fund 
  • Personal Spending Money
Sticking To The Budget
All was well and good until we both had to stick to the budget without having the money divided up into budget envelopes. We tried keeping track on a spreadsheet. We tried budgeting apps like Envelope and Mint. But no matter what we tried, we always went over budget in one or more categories, often by accident but when your budget is down to the penny, there is no room for that! 

For a couple years, we tried to make do and figure it out but honestly, nothing was working and we were just getting more and more frustrated with each other. It even got to the point where we couldn't even sit down to have a conversation because we were too triggered by previous conversations. Side Note: Marriage counseling is amazing and I 100% recommend for working through small issues so they don't became mountains out of mole hills!

Finally An Idea
Finally, I was fed up with trying everything and nothing working. I thought of this idea of creating a bunch of different checking accounts, one for each budget category that we needed to be able to keep track of expenditures through the month or save up for a big payment like Car Insurance. Checking accounts for one-monthly payments like rent or utilities or cell phone service weren't really necessary but having a budget for Food, Gas, and Personal Spending money was a must! 

I then ordered debit cards for each of these checking accounts and named each checking account and labeled each credit card with its appropriate budget name (a label maker was very handy for this!) We then took our weekly paychecks and figured out which ones would cover which budgets. So we started with the bills at the beginning of the month and took them out first and then worked down the list. For example: 

Week One - Paycheck amount $
Subtract the budget categories that you can take out... 
Gas 
Food
Rent 

Take the total and if it is not $0, add it to the next week's paycheck... 

Week Two - Paycheck amount $ + leftover from previous paycheck 
Gas 
Food 
Utilities 
Phone 
Internet 

Take the total and if it is not $0, add it to the next week's paycheck... 
Do this until you have all four weeks of paychecks laid out so you know exactly where each paycheck is going.

Setting Up Your Automatic Budget
Once you figure out your monthly budget broken down by paycheck, you can automate your budget by simply setting up reoccurring transfers out of your main account "Income" into each budget category in the week that you want the money transferred! 

The beauty of this system is that not only is it automated but because each budget pulls out of its own checking account, you can never spend more than the amount in the checking account! (Turn off the ability to overdraw and it will just deny the payment if you don't have enough money to spend.) 

This system has worked miracles for us...of course, there are months when we need to move some money around but you have the freedom to do that very easily but without messing up your entire budget in the future. I hope this idea helps you and your spouse to be on the same page about money! 

xo Rachelle 


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