Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Do you have a budget?

I hardly feel qualified to talk about budgeting. Actually, scratch that. I'm not qualified at all. Matthew and I literally started hardcore budgeting about, oh, maybe four days ago? Five? BUT I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT IT, I had to share. Not even kidding! My mom said I must have the budgeting gene. She has it, and my Grandma had it too. Budgets excite us in this line of women. For some reason, a budget makes the budgeter (or me, anyway), feel a sense of control and peace. Control and peace? I don't know about you, but I need more of that in my life!

Anyway, most of you know Matthew is in law school. He's pretty much done now, but won't officially take the bar and be a lawyer until next year. Right now, the income I earn through my blog and my photography business is mostly carrying us - scary, but super cool all at once. Bottom line, though, is that things are going to be tight for a while. So we made a realistic list of every single expense we have per month, and then we both got this cool app on our phones called Easy Envelope Budget Aid, which you can sync between more than one phone. (I'm not being paid to say this or anything - that's just the first app I found that had good ratings and seemed like it'd do the trick for us!) We can fill different "envelopes" with the budgeted amount for that month, and every time one of us pays a bill or spends in a category like "groceries," we'll write it in and the app subtracts the amount from the applicable envelope! It even tells you if you're on track with your spending, so you can either slow down or feel guilt-free about that purchase. For example, right now in our Entertainment & Dining Out envelope, a little message tells us "you're behind by 36.97. Stop spending for 4 days?" Oops!

It's just a cool system that lets you see how you're doing throughout the month. If you have trouble with saving, keeping track of where your money goes, or conflict in your relationship due to money, you really do need a budget. It's freeing. I attended a budgeting workshop by Eric and Kelsey from Words of Williams at Texas Style Council, and I'm so thankful for the inspiration they provided me. Kelsey said something during the workshop that I jotted down: "budgeting gives you permission to spend your own money." I liked that, because I struggle with guilt every time I spend. I have a feeling this new system will really help with that. (Oh, and if you'd like to read the Williams' story about paying off almost 40 grand in debt in under two years, go here! Inspiring!)

Do you have any budgeting words of wisdom? Cool apps or programs that work well for you? Do share!

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