Last week, I shared that I am trying to organize our family again after realizing things wouldn't just straighten themselves out once I went back to work. You can read more about that here. This week, I am hoping to provide some budgeting inspiration for you. But before I get to that, I mentioned in my first post that I started with just trying to keep my kitchen clean, so I took a picture of it after our dinner routine. This is the part where I use my posts to help keep me inspired! It's not perfect, but I can wake up to it in the morning and be happy.
How Do I Start Budgeting?
The next thing I needed to work on was our budget. I'll share what I did, although this might not be the best next step for you or you might find something else works better for you.
Awhile ago, we were using Dave Ramsey's envelope system, and that worked really well for us. We were to the point where we actually felt like we had a handle on our money and out of debt and contributing to savings. It was nice! Then we got off track, because life happens and in our case the budget went out the window.
This time around, I was able to find his Every Dollar program that helps you keep your budget. In fact, I used it for a little while and shared how it helped my son budget on a trip we took a few months ago. Find that here if you need tips on getting your kids on board with budgeting. I liked using the free version of Every Dollar, but it doesn't let you connect to your bank accounts unless you upgrade to the paid version. Entering everything manually became a daunting task, especially when your husband isn't the best about getting or saving receipts. So I decided to investigate different budgeting tools, even if they cost some money. It was worth it to make budgeting a little easier!
Where to Start
There were multiple reviews comparing Every Dollar to You Need a Budget. I hadn't heard of the latter, so I checked it out. All of the reviews pointed towards that one being more preferred. I was a little skeptical at first, because I already had my budget set up and didn't want to have to do it again. But then I realized it would be cheaper to get You Need a Budget! I guess I could put in a little more time to try it. You get a free trial period for about a month, and it was enough for me to learn the ease of using it. I stuck with that, and it was $50 for the year. That's less than $5 a month for financial bliss! (Okay, I'm getting a little carried away with the bliss part.)
You Need a Budget has multiple videos and tutorials to support you as you set up your budget and learn to use the system. You can pick the topics you need. I was able to use our previous budget and adjust it to follow some of their tips as well as ones we already knew. With a little Dave Ramsey and You Need a Budget all mixed together, we should be on the road to that financial bliss I was exaggerating about earlier.
There are four rules that the program uses to get you started, but you can completely customize your budget if you want to set it up a different way. Following the steps definitely helps. We had built up our $1,000 emergency fund that Dave Ramsey recommends, and we ended up needing it. Our budget stayed on track, and we just go back to working on building it back up. It's always a process, but when we were successfully budgeting a few years ago, it felt so good to have that financial security.
You can explore Every Dollar and You Need a Budget or maybe one I'm not even talking about to see what might work for you. Every system has their own way of helping you organize, and it depends on what works for you. Dave Ramsey has Baby Steps to follow. Here are the first four "rules" from You Need a Budget.
You Need a Budget is a tool that helped me get back on track financially. This was another area of our family's chaos that I was worried about. It doesn't always go smoothly, but I am at least moving in a positive direction. As budgeting becomes a habit again, it will hopefully become second nature.
You can do it, too! Find a tool that works for you and go with it. Maybe you have to go through some trial and error. I certainly did! But eventually you will find what works best for your family. As you work towards that, you're always improving. And then you'll have a budget that allows you and your family to take control of your money and feel that financial security.
Please share any inspiration you have, tips that might help others, or budgeting tools you've used that work for you in the comments below!!