Be sure to check out the other posts in my ABCs of Frugal Living series!
Coming up with a budget is one thing. Finding a way to keep track and stick to it is another! And when you’re budgeting with your partner as opposed to by yourself, things can get a little tricky. Did she remember to keep the grocery receipt? Did he use up all the Eating Out budget without telling me?
In a future post, I’ll explain in detail our process of making and keeping a budget, but for now I want to introduce one of the biggest tools we use to keep track of our most used expenses: Goodbudget.
Goodbudget is a digital envelope system, similar to the envelope system that Dave Ramsey has and encourages. Just think of your bank’s checking account as your cash, and you’re earmarking all of the money into different categories.
You create “envelopes” for the categories that you purchase, like groceries and gas, and whenever you spend money with your debit card, you type in how much you spent and the envelopes are updated. Your bank account does not sync with Goodbudget, so none of your transactions will show up unless you manually add them.
Now, you can easily do your entire budget with this app, like keeping track of your bills, but we much prefer EveryDollar for that (Again, I’ll go into detail in a future post). We only use Goodbudget for accountability with our weekly purchases and to help me keep track of how much money I have to spend on groceries.
It’s much easier to pull up the app than to log into our bank, look at the checking account, and maybe take a guess as to how much I have available.
The four categories we have on Goodbudget are Groceries, Gas/Auto, Eating Out, and Miscellaneous. Those are things we use about every week. You can see the bar underneath each category that shows how “filled” the envelope is.
Every month/week, the envelope will refill itself, which corresponds to when we get paid. We also have a couple savings accounts (separate from checking) that are on there to help me when the time comes; for example, our Christmas and birthday gifts accounts, and Thanksgiving baskets for church. That’s especially helpful during Christmastime when I can look at Goodbudget and see how much I have left so I don’t go overboard.
So here’s how I use the app every week. When I plan my shopping trip, I take a look at Goodbudget to see how much I have to spend. Sometimes I have a couple dollars left from the previous week, which will be reflected there, and I calculate my list almost down to the penny, so every little dollar counts.
Our usual weekly routine is to shop at Meijer Friday night, then Aldi Saturday morning, with some odds and ends stores inbetween if I need something else. I like Meijer first because I can then see how much extra money I have left over to buy any clearance items at Aldi.
To add a transaction, I click on the Groceries envelope, click the blue plus sign, and fill in the details of who I “paid” and the amount paid. It will then update my envelope with how much I have left. You can see how helpful this can be to keep me on track with my grocery spending!
You can use Goodbudget from your computer, or install the app on your Android or iPhone. With the free account, you can sync the same account on up to 2 devices (Not including your computer). If you have trouble keeping track of your spending and wish there was a better way, definitely give Goodbudget a try and let me know how it works for you!
What do you use to organize your money?