Family life comes with a lot of responsibility and constraints. It seems that everything is in constant competition for your time. Learning to live on 24 hours a day is a never ending and ever changing process. The same can be said for your budget. If you aren’t careful, you will end up with more month at the end of your money! Families of all sizes are subject to tight budgets and keeping to them can mean the difference between living comfortably and living under severe stress when the money and savings run out.
Now that we’ve become a family of six, sticking to a budget is more important than ever. Over our 11 years of marriage, Janessa taught me a lot about budgeting and how to stick with it. When we were young and first starting out, we barely had two pennies to rub together. Budget was our number one priority if we were going to make ends meet. One method that really helped us through the early years was the Envelope Budget.
It is exactly as simple as it sounds. We made a list of our bills, designated an envelope for each one, and filled it with the budgeted amount of cash. We never spent beyond the allocated budget and the money in each envelope was only for the specified bill. When the money ran out, you made do another way. For example, the food budget was set at a certain amount that included groceries and eating out. We had to be very careful to stick to the allotted amount or it was grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup until we refilled the budget next month! By sticking with envelope budgeting, we always had cash in our checking account at the end of the month.
Now most bills are paid online so the envelope method might seem a little outdated. Well, there are apps and websites for that! Several actually. Digital envelope budgeting is a great modern option to follow the spirit of this method. Most of these apps and websites function the same way. You design your budget within the program and allocate the proper amounts to each bill. By entering your transactions into the program, it tracks the amount spent for each “envelope”. EveryDollar, GoodBudget, Mvelopes, and Budget Ease are just a few examples of the apps and websites you can use as your envelope budget tool!
Sticking to your envelope budget will ensure that you have money at the end of the month rather than more month at the end of the money! If you are having a tough time sticking to a budget, give the envelope method a shot. It can’t hurt and could possibly save you a lot of unneeded stress. If you try it, let us know how it goes!