One of the big things that I’ve kept top of mind ever since finding out that we were expecting was finances. Tristan and I haven’t been ones to splurge much on material things (ok, besides his car), but we wanted to be in the best possible position for our little one. The last thing I would want is for our child to start having bigger wants and needs, and for us to say “no” all of the time because we had some debt weighing on our shoulders. It’s not a peaceful way to live nor is racking up even more debt on those pesky credit cards. It’s definitely the easy way to live “the good life,” but I wouldn’t wish that life on anyone. Debt never looks good on anyone. We had to discuss in the clearest possible details: a Budget.
Whether or not you’re expecting a new addition to the family, I think it’s always good to sit with your spouse and re-evaluate where all of your money is going. I have a good friend who wants to go to Europe next year, and that is definitely a great way to get started. Set long-term goals.
When we went to decide on our goals, we had 3 in mind:
- Save up enough for me to take the maximum amount of maternity leave under FMLA
- Save up a healthy 3-month emergency fund on top of that and
- No debt besides a car and a house in 5 years.
I looked into the Dave Ramsey methods and couldn’t really take the plunge with his methods with everything we’re expecting. However, I did love the snowball method. Very worthy read if you have more than one source of debt.
The method I thought was the most efficient for our situation was the envelope method. This is where you pull exactly how much cash you’re allowed to spend each month, put them into separate envelopes for each need (ie Groceries, Clothing, House needs, Emergencies, etc), then when the envelope is out of cash, you just can’t spend in that category until the next month. Depending on how much money you want to save each month would help determine how much cash you want to break out into each envelope.
The biggest issue I had with this was that there was no way we were going to our home to grab an envelope each time we needed to go to the store. More often than not, we make our stops on the way home from work. What if Tristan had the groceries envelope on him while I had plans to stop by a store too? You know what my first thought was after that?
There has to be an app for this…
I tried about 7 different budget apps until I found one I liked. Now, I introduce you to the Goodbudget app.
It’s pretty straightforward. You put the amount of money in each envelope that you plan to spend each month. You get to create the envelope categories and the budget. Best of all, it syncs to at least one other phone. So, when Tristan goes somewhere and enters his purchases into the app, and I go to another store 5 minutes later, I’ll get the updated budget I can use for my purchases instantly.
I love this thing so freakin’ much. It keeps me sane. I know some people steer clear of budgets because it makes them feel so restricted, but I honestly think there’s nothing more freeing than knowing for a fact that at the end of the month, you’ll consistently be able to save a certain amount of cash for the future. There’s so much to plan for me beyond the baby shower that I’m so happy we use this now. It has given us both peace of mind that we’re using our money wisely instead of just hoping that we’re saving by seeking out good deals on a daily basis.
Anyhow, I decided to share this because I’ve shared the app with a few friends and they all found it really helpful, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to continue spreading the word. If you’re looking to become a budget-savvy citizen, I hope you find this app (and some of the articles) helpful!
If anything, the little envelope logo is pretty cute. He also gets sad if you go overbudget on your envelopes. Hah.