We knew something had to change. We didn’t have a lot of money stress, yet I couldn’t tell you exactly where our dollars were going. I knew our overall budget but the everyday groceries, postage, and (oops!) milk money for school just slipped through. We bought what was needed and that was that. We made it work.

Thankfully, neither of us are “spenders”! But after reading through a few financial planning books and going through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course, we felt uneasy about not efficiently managing our resources and the fact that our money was telling us what to do and not the other way around. We desired to use what we had better. First, we tried the cash envelope system for a few months. I’m just going to come right out and say it: I hate Cash Envelopes! Seriously, I do. Not because we were choosing to limit our budget for certain things, but because they did not function well for us. We rarely use cash; we always use our bank card. Having to set up the envelopes each pay period, then deciding who would have the envelopes felt cumbersome and time-consuming.

Frustrated, I began to search for something else. I knew it would have to be something that would synchronize to both of our cell phones. I knew it would have to be simple and yet functional. Basically what I already knew I wanted was digital cash envelopes.Thanks to the tip of a friend, we found Goodbudget, and it was just what we had been looking for. It’s an app. On your PHONE! Or computer or basically any device you have. Guess what else? It synchronizes to any device signed up through the account!  So if you or someone else in the family needs to get gas and you are not together, you can see in real time how much is left in that envelope. It’s pretty flippin sweet!

Together with a simple spreadsheet that keeps track of our overall budget, we use Goodbudget to work like cash envelopes — when the money’s gone, it’s gone. So no matter if you’re using cash or your bank debit card, you can use the app.

Here is an example of what your envelopes might look like. For you super nerds (like me) you can even run reports on your spending!

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We choose to budget for babysitting and all sorts of other things in the envelopes. You get to choose the envelope names, amounts and how often they auto fill. You can also choose for them to start at zero or roll over. For instance, for my Hair/Beauty budget, I only get my hair done a few times a year so I  budget a small amount each pay period and it accumulates until I have enough to get it done again. There’s less guilt in allowing money for those things than just doing it on a whim and having to take from something else. There is no need for justification because I’ve planned and saved for it. When I go over our big picture budget for the pay period I just make sure the Goodbudget amount is the same as what is left in my checking account once I’ve allocated for savings and other expenses that are not included in envelopes.

Give yourself the freedom to let your money work for you not against you. Give your spouse or family member the freedom to make some choices separate from you and not feel they have to ask you for every dollar from the envelope. Give yourself permission to invest in your hair, a massage, or babysitting — things that you normally may feel guilty spending money on. Use your money wisely, purposefully, and — I’m telling you — it’s so freeing.

Check it out! https://goodbudget.com/home

Ginger Smith Bailey

Author Ginger Smith Bailey

Ginger and her husband work together in ministry at Lake Geneva Christian Center in Alexandria, Minnesota. She cherishes her roles as wife, mom, business manager, and volunteer. She is creative and loves engaging others in bringing projects to completion. She loves to worship, and she’s expressive in her words, actions, and especially her smile, frequently leading to conversations with total strangers.

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