Do 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?
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!
Did 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.
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:
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!
I’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:
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!
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.
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!
You may be thinking, why even have a rainy day fund?
Well, have you ever heard of Murphy’s Law? If you haven’t, it states: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Let’s face it, the more you are unprepared for something, the more likely, it seems, it is to happen. There’s always something. Maybe your car breaks down, maybe something needs fixing in your home, or maybe your kid gets injured. The more you are prepared for emergencies with a rainy day fund, the better off you are.
The recommended amount to have in your emergency fund is three to six months worth of expenses. Some experts are even saying 12 months, which I get, especially with what’s going on in our world right now. The more you have saved up the more wiggle room you have to get through these trying times.
My husband and I have six months of expenses saved up. But, it wasn’t always that way for us. We used to have zero saved. But, we started out with small goals. Our first goal was to just save a thousand dollars. Once we hit that first goal, we bumped it up a bit because we knew we ultimately wanted to have at least three months. Once we got to three months, we felt secure and reassured and we were comfortable for a bit. But eventually we decided to try saving up six months worth of expenses. I’m the type of person who wants to be extra prepared and have that extra safety net for our family.
Now, don’t get overwhelmed, it didn’t happen overnight. It took years and years of saving, but we started off small and so can you! Just think, have you ever heard the phrase: How do you eat an Elephant? One bite at a time. It’s the same thing with building up an emergency fund or rainy day fund.
Here are some ideas that you can incorporate right now into your day-to-day life to build up your rainy day fund:
Automatically take a portion off of each paycheck.
Have a specific amount of money automatically deducted from your pay and put into a savings account. Out of sight, out of mind. The key here is to make it automatic, so you don’t even have to think about it. That way, you aren’t tempted to touch it.
Keep the Change Saving Programs.
Many banks, like Bank of America have programs where, when you spend, they will round up to the nearest dollar and automatically put the remainder into a savings account. If your bank offers this type of program, enroll in it! It’s another thing you can do to save without even thinking about it. It might seem small, but over time you’ll start to see it grow.
Sometimes, you might be trying to change a habit. Maybe it’s a swear jar, but you can do this for any habit you or your kids might want to change. Whenever you do that thing, you add a specific amount of money to your jar. You can get the kids involved and they will really stay on top of you to let you know when you need to add money to the jar. It almost becomes like a game.
When eating out or buying a treat, put a certain amount aside.
So, every time you go out for ice cream, a coffee, or out to dinner, add a set or predetermined amount to that fund or money jar. Make sure to do it every time. If you have the money to go out for a treat, you have an extra dollar to put into your fund.
Take a portion of a bonus or refund check and put it aside.
I know a lot of people get so excited when they get their bonus or refund check. That’s fine, but before you spend it all, take a portion off the top and put it into your rainy day fund. You can still splurge or treat yourself, but be sure to save some, too.
Whatever you come up with to do to save for your rainy day fund, get the whole family involved. Write it out and make it a family affair. Include your kids and make it fun. Remember to be consistent. It might seem small at the start but over time things will add up. Be careful not to dip into your fund until there is an actual emergency (and buying a cute pair of shoes on sale is definitely not an emergency).
Can you use help getting your rainy day fund set up? 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!
I 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
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
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!
I have to admit, years ago, there was a time in my life when I exhibited all 10 of these signs of financial struggles. It started right around the time my husband and I got married in 2006. We were spending, spending, spending – and we had no idea how bad of a situation we were getting ourselves into. Honestly, I don’t even know what we were spending on. We had multiple credit cards open and we were racking up the debt faster than we could pay it off!
In the beginning, we were only experiencing 1, or 2, or 3 of these signs, but before we knew it, we were experiencing almost every single one.
Does this sound familiar?
If this sounds like you, I want you to know, you are not alone and even reading this shows me that you are heading in the right direction. In order to resolve and take care of an issue, you need to acknowledge it. My hope is that you’ll see these signs and if you recognize them in yourself, you’ll make the decision to take action before things get too far along.
Here are 10 signs financial struggles might be creeping up on you:
You Don’t Know How Much You Owe
Credit cards, loans galore – it can be so overwhelming. Do you feel like there’s just so much, you decide to push it to the back of your mind and ignore it or pretend it’s not there? If that’s you, the financial struggle is real.
You’re Arguing with Your Partner About Money
When arguments continually center around money, finances, and spending – your financial struggles are a real problem.This arguing can start out small and escalate, especially if one person is a saver and the other is a spender. When both spouses aren’t on the same page about spending, it results in tension and, over time, this tension puts a strain on your relationship.
You Need to Use Credit Cards to Cover Expenses
You know you don’t have money in the bank but you’ve got a handy-dandy credit card in your pocket. So you buy now and pay for it later. This leads to rapidly racking up credit card debt. It’s time to really look at your finances if you always find yourself relying on your credit cards.
You’re Only Able to Make Minimum Payments
If you are only able to make the minimum monthly payments on your loans and bills, it is a sign that your finances might not be where you need them to be. When you have multiple credit cards and loans, those minimum payments add up and the balance never appears to get smaller due to interest.
You Frequently Make Late Payments and Overdraft Your Account
When you miss a payment or overdraft your account, you’ll get hit with loads of extra fees. No one wants additional fees – they really start to add up. And, mounting fees and charges will just add to your debt. If this happens to you frequently, it is definitely an underlying issue you’ll want to look at.
You Don’t Have a Savings or Emergency Fund
Emergencies happen, things break down, so it’s important to have a plan and some funds set aside for those unforeseen events and accidents. Without a savings or emergency fund, you’ll end up taking out more loans and using your credit cards. It can take a while to get to a place where you can set up a savings fund but the sooner you’re able to do this, the better off you’ll be.
You Find Yourself Borrowing from Family and Friends
When things are bad, you might feel like you have no other option than to rely on family and friends. Fortunately, this wasn’t a huge issue for us. If you rely on friends and family to bail you out, it is time to start establishing new financial habits to move towards financial security.
You’ve Requested an Increase on Credit Limits
Credit cards have limits to help us from not racking up more debt than we can payback. If you’ve hit that limit and you’re requesting more credit, that’s not a good sign. This goes hand-in-hand with opening up multiple credit cards. Or, have you found yourself getting creative with moving balances and debts from one place to another? If this is you, it might be time to take a good hard look at these habits.
You Have No Retirement Savings
This isn’t necessarily a sign you’re struggling, but it is something you want to start thinking about. I’m sure you don’t want to be working until you’re 80 or 90 – no one does! But if you are getting closer and closer to retirement age with no financial plan, you’re going to find yourself experiencing financial struggles. The later you start saving for retirement, the more difficult it will be to grow your funds into something you can live off of.
You’re Living Paycheck to Paycheck
If this is you – you get paid and you’re already relying on your next paycheck. If you’re in the vicious cycle of using your paycheck before it even hits your bank account, that is a really strong sign that you are struggling financially.
Take a step back, lay everything out, take a look at your situation, and be honest with yourself. Acknowledge and be aware of what is happening in your life and your finances. It is going to be okay. Now, let’s take some steps to move your family forward to a better financial space.
I’m holding a FREE live online Family Budget Planning Workshop at the end of August and I’d love to have you join me. Click here for all of the details so you can begin to manage and control your family without the overwhelm.