Do you have a budget?
Do you follow your budget?
I have had a budget for the past 15 years or so. And I thought my budget worked when I was making more money than I needed for each month.
I used a plan called “Money Mastery” that allowed me to roll over any unused budget amount to the next month. That way, when something came up in the budget category, I had the money.
Only for most months, I didn’t have the money.
Somehow, I was always spending more money than I was making. Turns out, my budget wasn’t working for me.
Sticking to a budget was just never easy for me. I found that I fell into the trap of, “if all my friends.” If my friends can go out, I can too. If all my friends are buying new things, I can too. If all my friends are taking a vacation, I can too. I lived in a comparison world where I wanted to do all the things my friends could do.
That comparison world leads to debt, it leads to not following a budget and in the end, it leads to unhappiness. My friends are not me. I will never be happy living just like them.
So, early on in my blog, I wrote about all my struggles with money. You can read about them here: Money and More Money.
This is really an update. I think I have finally found a tool that works for me. Even though, I have always been a little leery of buying into someone’s “system” of money management. I like this tool that this system has come up with.
The tool is called the “Every Dollar app.” it was created by the Dave Ramsey group that has all kinds of money management stuff that you can buy. But, the app is free. And I love that.
So, here are the things I like and my results with it.
- The app is free. I hate having to pay for stuff surrounding budgets and money management. I want to keep all of my money for me. Not pay someone else.
- I have to enter every dollar I spend into the app. I know that many people would consider this a deterrent, but I think it is incredibly beneficial. It has made me much more mindful of what I am buying and exactly where it is impacting me in my budget. Seeing as this has always been the biggest challenge for me, I think this app forces it upon me. I will often now look at my budget on my phone before I decide to buy something just to see if I have the money and if I want to spend that money on this purchase or wait and spend it on something else. (PS. They do have a paid version that connects to your bank and downloads all your transactions, but I think if you do this, you lose the mindfulness of trying to stay on budget.)
- It is an app on my phone. Thus I have it with me at all times, and I am much more aware of my spending habits. It is also easy to use and enter transactions. I can be at the gas pump and enter how much I spent in under 30 seconds. No more having to go check the transactions in my bank account and write them down somewhere.
- No more calculating how much is left in the budget. The app has three tabs. The budget itself, how much is spent and how much is remaining. Once I have set my budget for the month, I just watch the remaining tab and understand what is left in the budget. I absolutely hate doing math in my head, so the app is a godsend. I will sometimes even enter a purchase before I make it, just to check how much will be left when I am done. (I really hate doing math in my head!!)
My results after all of this: I have been using the app for 5 months now, and I have not overspent my budget at all. I have seen my savings account double in those months and I am not ever worried about over-drafting my account anymore. I know exactly where every dollar that I earn is going. Oh, and I paid off all my credit cards. I was thrilled with that one.
I still have a long way to go with paying off debt and living within my means. I might even get a second job so I can pay off all my debt sooner, but I am confident now, that I will meet my money goals this year and I love feeling that way.
How about you? Have you tried this budget tool or is a different tool working for you?
Let me know in the comments.