Ever wonder where your money goes?
Does it seem like you’re living for payday and then immediately after payday you are all out of money?
I do not believe that money buys happiness, but I do believe that money can buy comfort and help other areas of our life be easier to manage. I’m not talking about winning the lottery type of money; I’m talking about a good solid income and some savings in the bank.
Imagine a life where it doesn’t matter if payday is a Tuesday or Friday.
You’re not waiting anxiously for payday in order to pay bills, buy groceries, fill your car up with gas, or sign your kid up for soccer.
I have always been a manager of money. I think in a past life I was an accountant because I love managing money.
Our first budget involved a spreadsheet, and then I went to a binder with each category having its own “account.” For a while I dabbled in Quicken, but found that having to go to the office computer to rectify accounts was annoying and it just wasn’t happening.
I really preferred the paper and pencil method until……www.everydollar.com.
I am as my husband calls me, “a Dave Ramsey fangirl” and on his podcast (Dave Ramsey’s not my husband’s) he was talking about his new FREE budgeting program, Everydollar last spring. It launched in March and I finally, reluctantly, decided to give the Everydollar budget tool a try in June. I maintained my paper ledgers for a month while I tried it out just in case I didn’t like it. It was exactly how I was budgeting on paper, but so much easier. The system is real time, web-based. I didn’t even have to be on my home computer. I could log in anywhere and so could Brian (in theory). Once I bit the bullet and got a smartphone (December 2015-yes I know I waited a long time-remember I’m cheap frugal) I was even more sold on Everydollar.
They have an app for iPhone which is simply amazing. I can now update my purchases as I make them.
I’ll be honest, I was an easy sell on the program because I was already budgeting, but I talk to others about it all the time. I convinced my sister, who has never been a strict budgeter, to check it out. She has now converted to budgeting and loves it.
Everydollar is a budgeting tool for budgeters and non-budgeters alike.
I cannot stress it enough—
you need to have a budget. Why not set up a simple Everydollar budget.
It is the only way to know where your money goes and where you can cut back to save money. Again, there is no cost. Take a few minutes to check it out and see if it could work for you and your family.
Once you have a budget and know where your money is goes you are better equipped to tell your money where to go and to start saving or paying off debt.
Tips for utilizing everydollar budget program:
- Set-up is only 15 minutes or less. Once you get your email verification you will have to decide whether to use the free or PLUS option (which they give you a free trial for 15 days). I have not tried the PLUS option but would suggest going with the free option for now. Often when people sign up for free trials they forget to cancel them and end up paying for that “free” trial for months and years to come.
- Customize budget categories to meet your needs- Delete the categories that don’t pertain to you and add in categories that do. For instance, I didn’t need the health insurance category because that comes directly out of my paycheck.
- Delete the miscellaneous expense category- If you leave the misc. category you are less likely to add other specific categories and may be more inclined to spend and just add the costs to that category
- Look at your paychecks for the previous month and put those in the income section for planned
- Add a miscellaneous for income- This is how we track any extra income we may get from garage sales, ebates income, ibotta income, etc. It is important to account for this income as well. When you budget all money is accounted for coming in and going out
- Estimate how much to plan for each category. Some items you will know how much you spend every single month. Your rent/mortgage is probably the exact same every month, while other categories may change.
- Put more money in food than you think. This is the category that people grossly underestimate how much they spend in a month. You can choose to put food in one category, but I find it more useful to divide into groceries and eating out as the program defaults.
- Remember this is a fluid document and will be tweaked over and over again. After the first couple of months you will have a better handle on it and only minor tweaks will need to be made
Track every single expense for the month. Even if you go over budget, you need to know how much you are spending. This is the only way to get it under control. Remember you (and your significant other if you have one) can move money around within the budget categories within the month. Your goal is to have every dollar budgeted for in the month.
- At the end of the month look over the budget and get ready for the next month.
There are many more tips for budgeting in general, but these are the most important for utilizing Everydollar to start with.
I do think it has some limitations (I want charts and graphs, etc. because I LOVE to budget). I hear there are updates coming to it. For instance coming soon will be the ability to track category expenses over time.
I strongly encourage you to at least give the Everydollar budget program a try. If you do, try it for 3 months before you give up. It takes a couple of months to figure out your budget and expenses. I would love to hear what you think about it. Try it out and share tips you have for others just starting out.