gettin’ back on track

Nels and I have been trying to return to a more organized/discipled approach to managing our money. It’s hard to even spit out the word ‘budget‘ but hey – if you’re gonna be a good steward you are probably going to have to have a game plan, right? 🙂

This past week I took a financial management workshop at school and while I was bored out of my mind  attending this class, I took the time to look over our current budget (that we have half-heartedly been implementing) and evaluate it a little bit. Nels pays most of our bills. I fired myself from that job because I tend to either break out in tears, hysterics or hives when I fear that ‘ends’ are refusing to meet. Plus I hated always saying, “You really shouldn’t be spending that,” after he worked all day long to provide for us. Now he is responsible to know our situation and make informed decisions. It’s smoother this way, and I am thankful. BUT…I do a large majority of our grocery, clothing, gift and household shopping as well as random errands, so it’s important that I adhere to our budget as well…not always easy.

In the past we have done a cash/envelope system, which is really great. Especially for newlyweds. At this point I am kind of over that, but still need a simple way to track my spending for the month (and not go over!).

Enter wonderful, simple, life-hack apps…

I did a little research and ended up downloading two that I really like so far…

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Mint – amazing! It’s free and lets you connect to your checking accounts, savings accounts and credit cards to keep track of them all in one place. It automatically categorizes your spending to help keep an eye on your habits. Mint also offers nuggets of financial “advice” and alerts personalized for your budget.

My only trouble with it so far is that it was a little tricky to get my accounts set up with it. This might be due to the banks’ security features (or because I was trying to do it on my iPod during a seminar?!). I’m not sure, but now that it’s set up its great!

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Ace Budget I got the ‘lite’ version, but already love the simplicity of this app. Not to mention the cutesy little icons you can pick to customize your budget items! 😉 It is simple to keep track of groceries, gasoline, giving, etc. Set your $ amount, your cycle (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) and then enter each purchase as you go…love it!

I am, admittedly, not a great money manager. It stresses me out like crazy. But I am hopeful that we will do our best and be able to take care of our family well, pay off our debt quickly, and also give more to great things like this.

How do you manage your household budget? Do you use any apps to help you? 

jc

“To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey…” [from Matthew 25]

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