How I Manage My Spending Without Cash Envelopes

How I Manage My Spending Without Cash Envelopes

Pin image for How I Manage My Spending Without Cash EnvelopesDo you use cash envelopes? Or do you know someone who does? Or maybe, like me, you’ve tried it and hated it!

Cash envelopes are a really good tool for some people, but not me. I’m here to tell you about why I don’t like them and what I do instead to keep my finances organized and how I manage it all.

Spoiler alert: my system is easier and much more simple! 

Who are Cash Envelopes Good For?

Cash envelopes are a great option for people who really need to have that control. These are people who don’t want to be tempted to overspend on things.

It’s also great for people who need the visual of seeing that a particular envelope is empty and knowing that you’re done with that for the week or month. 

Why I Don’t Like Using Cash Envelopes.

Using cash envelopes can be a lot and it can get overwhelming and confusing. You have to have all of these envelopes and all this cash on you at all times. You have envelopes for groceries, eating out, paying bills. If you don’t want to keep the cash on you at all times, you can leave your envelopes at home. But, if you leave them at home, when you’re out and about, you could end up needing it but you won’t have access to that particular envelope at that time. That’s a little inconvenient.

It can also be a bit dangerous to keep that much money on you. What if you lose it or it’s stolen?

a cash envelope

Additionally, it takes more time. You have to go to the bank and take out a specific amount of cash. You might want specific dollar denominations so you need to have the teller take care of that for you. Then you have to take all of that cash and divide it into all of the envelopes. It’s a completely manual process and it’s time consuming. 

Cash envelopes can also be tricky if you have more than one family member who needs to spend from the same envelope. How will you handle that? Will you both take money from the envelope or will one person take the envelope and the other take some money? What if you end up not having the right amount of money? This process can just be a bit inconvenient. 

What I Use Instead.

My family uses a quick and simple app called, YNAB. YNAB stands for You Need A Budget and it’s personal budgeting software available for Windows, Mac, and iOS. What I love about YNAB is that it’s super simple for me to divide and budget our funds into different categories. Then my husband and I can see what we have left to spend by simply looking at the app on our phone. 

In the app, we set categories for all of our monthly expenses. When you add your budgeted amount to each category, it is automatically deducted from our monthly total. This might seem like a lot of work, but it’s really so quick and easy. Each month, it only takes me a matter of seconds to update our budgeted amount for each category, as opposed to all of the time it would take with cash envelopes. 

Best yet, it updates instantly on all connected devices so my husband and I can both see, at all times, exactly how much money we have left in each category. 

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of a way to budget that is different from using cash envelopes and you can see if, maybe, this is a system that you would prefer. Let me know, which system has worked for you in the past or which system you think would work best for you and your family. 

 

Do you like the idea of  having access to your budget on an app on your phone at all times? I’d love to offer you a done-for-you/done-with-you family budget program! One where I will hand deliver a fully set up and organized YNAB budget plan based on your flow. I’ll work side-by-side with you to develop a routine and process to keep you on top of your family finances once and for all. Schedule a free 15 min call with me! Find out if we’d be a good fit and how I can help make it happen for you!

Top 3 Reasons People Start Budgeting and then Quit

Top 3 Reasons People Start Budgeting and then Quit

pin image for 3 reasons people start budgeting then quitDid you ever start budgeting, just to end up too overwhelmed and then quit? Don’t feel bad if this is you, it’s so common! But that doesn’t have to be your story. 

When my husband and I were first married, we found ourselves quickly buried in debt. Budgeting helped us to get out of over 120K in debt. But it took a lot of trial and error. I’m hoping that some of you will be able to learn from the missteps we made at the beginning. 

If you are thinking about getting started with budgeting or if you’ve started before and quit, I want you to be successful from the start this time! Check out the top reasons people quit budgeting just after they start. You’ll be able to see the challenges and face them head on. 

Here are the top 3 reasons people start budgeting but then end up quitting:

You just don’t know where to start.

3 reasons people start budgeting then quit

You’ve heard all of these ways that other people are successfully budgeting, like cash envelopes, zero based budgeting, apps, and spreadsheets. You’re hearing it all but it’s overwhelming and it’s making you freak out. You just can’t figure out where to start. 

There’s a lot of information out there to sift through and it absolutely is overwhelming. It’s hard to know what is the right system for you and your family. Because of the information overload, many people try and quit, or worse yet, they don’t even start. 

You don’t have a solid foundation set up.

Many people who have the best intentions and really want to have a solid successful budget just don’t have the foundation in place to get started and stick to it. Before you even start budgeting, you need to get into the right mindset. Ask yourself why you want to budget. To be successful, you really have to know that piece. If you don’t have a clearly defined “why” your budget will continue to be low priority. 

You start with a tool, process, or system that doesn’t work for you.

So many families start budgeting but they get started using the wrong tool, process, or system for their family or household. Obviously there are tons of different ways you can budget successfully but not every way is going to work for every family. 

Before starting, it’s important to really consider the different options and what will work best for how your family operates. Make the best choice for your family, but also remain flexible and open minded. That way, if the system you chose to start with doesn’t work out for you, you can seamlessly move to a better fitting system. 

What’s worked for my family:

 a couple will start budgeting together

The system that my husband and I have used to manage our household finances since 2013, when we got ourselves out of debt (and kept ourselves out of debt for all these years), is a system called YNAB. YNAB stands for You Need A Budget and it’s personal budgeting software available for Windows, Mac, and iOS.   

YNAB is a system but it has helped us to create a routine and process for us and our household that works really very well. I would LOVE to show you how to use it as well. 

If you are overwhelmed and you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get your household finances on track with a plan, we should chat. 

Do you like the idea of a done for you/done with you family budget program? One where I will hand deliver a fully set up and organized YNAB budget plan based on your flow. I’ll work side-by-side with you to develop a routine and process to keep you on top of your family finances once and for all. Schedule a free 15 min call with me! Find out if we’d be a good fit and how I can help make it happen for you!

What’s Your Money Personality Type

What’s Your Money Personality Type

Money personality pin imageI’ve always known that we all possess certain behaviors around money. But, I never knew someone had actually coined these into personality types until I started reading Money Harmony by Olivia Mellan and Sherry Christie. 

I’m always looking to learn new things to better myself and so that I can share them with others. According to the ladies who wrote Money Harmony, there are 9 money personality types. Now, we can all possess a combination of these money personality types. It’s not that one is good and one is bad, what we want is balance. Everything in moderation is the goal!

Here are 5 of those personality types and how you can use them to grow a healthy relationship with money for yourself and your family:

The Spender

Everyone can usually relate to this from time-to-time, especially if you’re someone with a bit of debt. Spenders are also often impulse buyers. You might have a tendency to spend a little too much and then feel guilty about it. It’s a cycle of spending followed by guilt. It can also cause some tension and friction in the family.

If you’re a spender, you can find a friend or accountability partner to help you out with this. Put them on speed dial and give them a call next time you’re ready to make an impulse buy. Take a step back and have your friend talk you through it. 

You can also have a portion of your paycheck automatically transferred to your savings account. Now, since it’s deposited automatically, it’s done and you don’t even have to think about it!

The Hoarder

Money Personality type - the hoarder

This person likes to save and doesn’t like to spend. You definitely don’t like to spend on yourself and you especially aren’t buying frivolous stuff! You’d prefer to save for a rainy day. We all want to save, but you need to be aware of if it is causing friction between you and your family or friends. If that’s the case, you’ll want to take a look at your habits.

Consider once a week spending $20 on a treat or a snack you can enjoy right then and there. Or, once a month, spend $25-$50 on a gift for someone you care for. See how that makes you feel and make note of what it brings up for you. 

Giving to others can feel nice and balance out your tendency to save too much all the time. It’s great to save, but it’s also okay to splurge from time-to-time. Don’t feel guilty about that!

The Money Avoider

If you are so overwhelmed with your finances that you don’t have any idea about your money situation, this might be you! You don’t know what’s coming in or what you owe, this can get messy really quickly.

Reach out to a family member or friend who is good with money. Maybe even a professional who can help you get organized. It’s okay to start slow to get a handle on your finances. Maybe just choose 3 bills to start with. List out how much you owe and the due date and start to track them on the calendar on your phone. Each month, add on another bill and eventually you will be on top of everything you owe!

The Money Monk

This person thinks that money is evil or that you are not worthy of having money. What these people usually end up doing is self sabotaging. So, subconsciously you self sabotage to the point where your life is suffering.

It’s nice to be generous and to give back, but if it’s to the extreme that it’s harming you, that’s not good. 

If you’re a money monk, try to think of people that are wealthy and doing really good things in the world. Ask yourself what qualities you admire or respect in those people. Then ask yourself what you have in common with those people. Chances are, you’ll find that they are generous and so are you. It will help you see that being wealthy isn’t bad. The more wealth you have the more you can do for others. It’s all about a simple mindset shift.

The Amasser 

Money personality - the emasser

This is your workaholic – they eat, breath, and live for work! They feel they can never have enough money even if they live a comfortable life. They’re never satisfied with what they have. When they go on vacation with their family, they are always working. This type of behavior will cause friction within the family. 

If this is you, you can make sure that all of your work is taken care of before going on a trip. If that sounds like too much, start out with just one day where you put all your focus on your family. 

I’m guilty of this one myself. I get so engrossed in my work that I tune everyone and everything else out. Then, I feel bad about it. You can ask your kids and family how they perceive your relationship with work. The last thing you want is for your kids to only see you working. Then, they may grow up thinking all there is to life is work. 

Do you see yourself in any of these money personality types? Are you one or a combination of a few? How about your spouse? If you and your spouse have different money personalities, that can be good! You can balance each other out.

Looking for help setting a family budget that works for all of the different personalities in your house? Book a FREE 15 min call with me to find out how I can help you with your budget plan. To schedule your call, click here!

The Top 3 Expenses Parents Fail to Plan For

The Top 3 Expenses Parents Fail to Plan For

Top 3 Expenses Parents Fail to Plan For pin imageI see it time and time again with my friends, extended family, and even my own family in the past. As parents, sometimes we fail to plan for certain expenses and then, when those things sneak up on us, we scramble to find the money to pay or we end up moving money around to make it work. The whole cycle creates chaos and can cause conflict between spouses. But, it doesn’t have to be this way!

My goal is to help parents live a more prepared life. When we think of being prepared, you might immediately think of things like safety, but being financially prepared for situations is so important, too! Being prepared for unexpected expenses is just one way that parents can make sure they manage their household and raise independent kids that grow up to do great things! 

When you prepare for the unexpected by adding some extra wiggle room in your budget, you avoid unnecessary stress, arguments, and you set a great example for your kids! The first step in being prepared for unexpected expenses is to recognize them. 

From my observations, here are the top 3 expenses that I see most families fail to plan for:

#1 Birthday Gifts

expenses - birthday parties

Now I’m not talking about birthday gifts for our own kids or partner. I’m talking about all of the other birthday parties that pop up throughout the year. We all have kids and those kids get invited to birthday parties ALL. THE. TIME! 

But, most parents rarely plan ahead, financially, for purchasing all of these birthday gifts. I have two kids and between the two of them it feels like we are getting invited to 2 or more kid’s birthday parties a month. That’s a lot of gifts to buy and all of those gifts add up to a pretty good chunk of change we’re putting out every single month. 

# 2 Back-to-School Supplies

This comes around every year, yet every year we’re surprised by how it all adds up. 

We buy our kids supplies like pens and pencils, crayons, markers, binders, and other physical school supplies, but that’s not where it ends. There’s also new backpacks and lunchboxes, new clothes, and more. Our kids grow every year, so every year they need new clothes! 

When the time comes, every single year, back-to-school shopping hits hard. And, the more kids you have, the bigger the expense can get. 

#3 Holidays and Parties

BBQ’s, potlucks, dinner parties – plus holiday parties and gatherings, oh my! They happen every year but we don’t always think to plan for them. 

But why do they create such a large, unforeseen expense? If you host, you need to buy all of the food plus decorations. For me, I have a separate fund for our family food and groceries. But if I’m hosting a holiday or a party, I don’t want that to come out of our regular weekly grocery budget. It has to come from somewhere and if you don’t plan for where, it can easily end up going on a credit card. 

Bonus: Christmas Shopping

expenses - Christmas

I know I said I had 3 expenses that parents fail to plan for but I’m throwing in a bonus for you and it’s Christmas! So many parents don’t budget for Christmas gifts. Or, they budget for Christmas gifts but forget about ALL of the other expenses that come along with the Christmas parties, like food, decorations, and outfits! There is so much to spend on at Christmas time it can get overwhelming. 

The Super Simple Solution

All of these things happen every single year, yet we always find ourselves caught off guard. Well, you don’t have to continue with that cycle! I have a super simple solution to share with you. 

For each occasion, take the amount you think you normally spend on those things. For example, back-to-school clothes. Decide how much you think you normally spend each year to buy your kids new outfits, then divide that by 12 and put that smaller amount aside each month. Now, when back-to-school shopping rolls around, you actually have money dedicated for that that you can pull from. You don’t have to worry about where the money is going to come from or pull out your credit card!

When you start thinking of things early, you know it’s coming so you can plan for it and be more prepared.

If you’d like to learn more about budgeting for all of your yearly expenses, I’ll be hosting a Happy Family Budgeting Workshop in just a few weeks. Head here for all of the details and to get signed up!

Tricks for Managing Online Distance Learning While Working from Home

Tricks for Managing Online Distance Learning While Working from Home

distance learning pin imageLike many families, we’re facing uncertainty as we approach this new school year. Many schools across the country won’t be immediately reopening for in-person learning. Here in California, we’re gearing up for distance learning. If you had asked me back in the spring, I would have NEVER thought this would be our current situation.

Whether you’re a stay-at-home-mom, work-from-home-mom, or a mom working outside of the home, we all have distance learning challenges. I always try to look at situations from a positive perspective: the cup is half full instead of half empty. I’m trying to remind myself that I can only control what I can control and that I have to make the best of it. But, the truth is, this distance learning thing is HARD.

I know that I have it easier than others since I can work from home. As someone who used to work full time outside of the home, I really sympathize with the parents who need to work outside of their home. That situation is so difficult and I know I am lucky to be able to work from home.

That being said, I (and all of the other work-from-home parents) need to figure out how to work while also managing our children through distance learning. I need to figure out how I can work but also keep my kids on track with their work. 

So what is the best way to survive this and still stay sane?

To get started with setting our plan, I asked 2 important questions:

  1. First, I had to consider what worked and what didn’t work for me and my work back in March and April when distance learning first started. 
  2. Next, I needed to consider my kids and their personalities and learning styles. I asked them what they felt worked well for each of them. 

From asking those questions of myself and my kids, I learned quite a few things. Here are a few of the changes in our home and routines that we’ve made to improve on distance learning this fall. My hope is that these changes will structure and streamline our day to make online distance learning this fall as successful as possible. 

3 Changes We’ve Made to Improve Our Distance Learning Plan for Fall

a young girl participates in distance learning

  1. We upgraded some of our furniture. One of the first things the kids mentioned was that their chairs were so uncomfortable it was hard for them to focus. Now, we have more comfortable chairs. The kids will feel good about sitting in them while they participate in their online sessions. 
  2. We took steps to make Zoom meetings more comfortable in the kids learning space. We made Zoom areas free from background noises, like TVs and radios by providing headphones for everyone in the home. The kids also mentioned being distracted and sometimes embarrassed by having family members walking around in the background while they were in Zoom meetings. I came up with the idea of having them each decorate their own background. I grabbed them each trifolds and they can decorate them on their own.  These give the kids their own personal space. They can also be folded up and put away after school time. 
  3. We’ve set routines. I like structure, it helps me keep flowing. Before distance learning, the kids knew their routine and what was expected of them before heading to school. Now, we’re incorporating these routines and structures in the places where we do have control – like before and after their online sessions begin. We’re going to stay consistent until this new normal becomes a routine. Just like when they go to school, they have a daily timeline they are used to so I’m trying to stick to a similar situation at home. My hope is that they’ll be less likely to interrupt me while working if they are into their set routine and schedule. 

Hopefully these ideas are helpful for you in setting up your schedule and work spaces at home for distance learning. If your family needs support setting routines and systems in your home, you can check out more of my posts on the topic right here. I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for how your family is planning for smooth distance learning this fall.